Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Buttoning Things Up Outside, Part 2

From the first day we moved in Scott has called our home Camp Needles. At first it was because the previous owners name was Needles. But quickly the name took on a different meaning. There are three magnificent pine trees in the front yard - tall, with big sprawling branches that spread over the lawn, the driveway and the house. They drop their needles everywhere, on the roof, the driveway and the gutters. Last winter, the first time Scott cleared the needles from the roof and gutters, he filled an entire yard waste bag. This fall it’s become almost a weekly task, get up on the roof and blow all the needles off. Then clear the gutters to keep the fall rains from spilling over into the gardens and near the foundation. This regular task doesn’t take that long, but requires ladder work that, quite frankly, Scott is rather done with after the summer of painting.

When regular cleaning didn’t keep the rain from spilling over the gutters, it was time to root out the drains. This meant taking the downspouts off all the gutters and employing a Home Depot special “sewer snake” or auger to try and clear the drains that lead to the street. He was successful in that he was able to clear most of the drains and identified where the drain on the left side of the driveway had collapsed and was blocked right by the tree...another project for next year. After he cleared what he could, Scott reattached the downspouts and routed them to the drains instead of using the extensions that drained to the lawn.

When mom died this past spring her namesake, my great aunt Nancy, and mom’s friends from the Garden Club back in Prospect Heights sent gifts intended for me to plant a tree in the yard of our new home in mom’s honor. This fall dad and I went to a nursery in Ridgefield, Washington where he and my brother John live and found a glorious paperbark maple tree. It stands 10 feet tall and will be beautiful next year. 

Planting the tree was a bit of a challenge, a 10 foot tree weighs quite a bit and requires a big hole. Scott was up to the task of digging the hole, but we required a crew to move it to its new location and actually plant it. I’m pleased to provide pictures of “Old man digging hole” (it’s a classic), but sorry I didn’t get pictures of Scott, John, dad, and son-Scott moving the tree into it’s final position.

Something that Scott did a while ago that I have been remiss in mentioning...he replaced the carriage light by the driveway and painted the post. It’s a small change, but it’s the details that make a difference in the overall feel of the house.

It’s been a lot of work removing trees, loads of shrubs and rocks from the yard. Scott has painted, rooted, cleaned and trimmed. He has likely touched every part of the house exterior and yard this last year. And it shows. Time to button up things outside. Oh, one last thing...on the last garbage bill, three months, we didn’t have a single extra yard waste pickup!