Monday, September 27, 2010

How to shorten a rope

Okay, so most people purchase a rope based on the size they need. Right? Right. We, on the other hand, buy a long rope and shorten it by pulling out tree stumps. It works every time. You see, we have a yard full of trees and a LOT of hard pan. That means that most of the tree roots spread out near the surface rather than digging deep into the ground. It also means a heavy wind can knock over a tree every now and then. I'm not sure why they always tend to fall across our driveway or into some other position that is nearly as big of a nuisance , but they do. In this case, however, we elected to cut down a tree that sheds leaves down our chimney, even though, technically, it isn't that close to the chimney. It is close to the house, however. So, this particular tree, a Japanese Elm that I liked very much - until it became a problem, lives in a soft spot, ground wise. Its roots go all the way to Japan, as a matter of fact. We begin by cutting off its limbs, its trunk, and then digging up the roots. Now, I don't usually mind digging in the dirt, but this tree happens to be particularly stubborn. Its roots are tangled and twisted. It seems that no amount of artfully revealing its lifeline is going to release the stump. And so, after hacking away at the mass of large and small roots, our only option was to get the rope and yank it out. Let me say that the stump not only stopped the car dead, it also shortened the rope by a good 4 feet. The snap probably resulted in a few calls to the sheriff too, because it was quite a loud Snap! We have found this an effective way to shorten rope on several occasions actually. While I don't recommend it, I know that it works.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Pumphouse Blues

"It appears your pump is dead, and your grass is not doing well," said the gardener over the phone. "We're expecting hundred degree temps this week too."

This is not a good thing to hear when home is in California, and we are in New York. Needless to say, we headed home. It's not quite a 3,000 mile trip, so it was not exactly an overnighter, given that we were traveling by RV. We had one planned stop we had to make. That added two additional days to our all ready 6-day trip.

"It's the motor, not the pump," said the repairman the day after we finally arrived home to browning grass. "We can fix it in one day, but you'll have to trim some of these trees so we can get the truck with the winch into your back yard."

Now, if you've been reading this blog, you know what I think about having Angela up in trees. However, given the circumstances, and with me standing by with 911 on the speed dial, we began two days of tree trimming. We also had to take the roof off the pumphouse.

We filled the dumpster to overflowing with branches, and then had another huge pile to fill it again the next week left over. The motor was done the next day.

Our poor grass, trees and few remaining flowering plants sucked down water three times a day for four days before we saw the first signs of green shoots again. The RV finally got emptied and cleaned out. Whew!

We finally stop singing the Pumphouse Blues.