Archive for the ‘yardwork’ Category

I have been intimidated by the number of windows in this house ever since we bought it. There are 35 altogether. The windows are “6 over 6” throughout and all but two have storm windows. The ones without storms are modern all weather windows and the smallest in the whole house.

The west side of the house gets the dirtiest because it faces Bradley Street and Rt. 96 and the prevailing wind. On Tuesday I started with those windows on the ground floor. Not only are they the dirtiest, but they are also the ones that the guests look at during breakfast. Now they are clean. This afternoon I cleaned the windows of the French doors on the front porch. The south side of the house is the second dirtiest.

Once I get going on windows I wonder why I put it off. It is sort of a rewarding job, really. When they are cleaned there is such a big difference and you refine your technique as you go along, so they go more quickly and you fall into a sort of rhythm.

I am using a squeegee for the first time. I bought them years ago and forgot about them. I am a habitual user of newsprint for cleaning windows. This time I use the squeegee for the first pass and then clean up the corners, edges and tough spots with the newsprint.

I’ll just keep doing a few at a time over the next few weeks and then I will be done until next spring.

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We didn’t have a lot of snow this winter, but we had snow often and it was bone-chillingly cold for weeks in a row.  Changes in the weather were often accompanied by howling winds. The white pines and Norway spruce on the north side of the house took a beating this year; there were limbs down all over the place.

Overproduction of cones is not a good sign.

Overproduction of cones is not a good sign.

The pines in particular are in rough shape. The needles have been yellowing and falling off for at least three years now and there are a troubling number of mushrooms coming up under the trees. It could be that they don’t like cars driving over their roots all the time. It could be that they have got some blight. Or it could be that they are just getting old. Because they are probably at least 80 feet tall and less than 10 feet from the house, we have been talking about having them taken down. It will be a real shame because they add a lot of character to the property.

The spruces are far less majestic and arranged in a line extending from the corner of the back deck. The pines may actually be shading them out, so they at least may benefit from their removal. Left standing there on their own though, they may look a bit scraggly.

Two years ago we planted four hemlocks. Two of them are under the pines and next to the spruces. Hemlocks are happy to grow in the shade of other trees, while pines and spruces are not. In the best case scenario these 10-foot high trees will be 15 or 20 feet tall when the pines have to come down.  The other two hemlocks are out in the open and have been growing much more quickly, so when the pines go, the hemlocks formerly under them are likely to really take off.

We have a large box-elder on the northern boundary of the property. These soft maples grow quickly, but do not live long. We’ll have to have our tree guy do a clean-up of the dead limbs this year. It is a majestic, spreading tree, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I outlived it.

One of the pines is at left and the spruce branches hang over a little hemlock.

One of the pines is at left and the spruce branches hang over a little hemlock.

Along the western boundary on Bradley Street there was once a continous row of sugar maple trees. They were the result of a Progressive Era planting campaign throughout the village. Since they were all planted at the same time, they are all entering into senescence at about the same time. When the trees were planted, nearly all the roads in the village were dirt and there were far more horses around than cars. The advent of paved roads and winter salting has done these shallow rooted trees no good at all. In addition, their roots have thrown the flagstone sidewalks all over the place. Many of them have already been removed and many other have been liberally trimmed. The village is in the process of seeking state aid to replace these street trees.

In a couple of weeks, when the twigs and pine cones are not still frozen to the ground, it will be time to get out there and rake. The village DPW comes around once a week on Mondays to pick up yard detritus. You have to make sure everything is less than four feet long and you have to tie it up so that they can throw it up on the truck easily. Anything smaller has to go into a paper (not a plastic) bag. Trumansburg is on a schedule with the other villages and towns in the county; the grinder comes around periodically and reduces all this yard waste to something like compost, which residents are then invited to go scoop up and spread around their shrub borders.

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