The Stork's Nest

May 2010



Hazards of Living in the Woods


On the night of May 7th we had a wind storm. As I drove out in the middle of the night
to go to a birth, I had to drive around some branches and vines hanging down in the middle
of the driveway. It was not until I was driving home from the birth the next day
that Fred called me to tell me that the top of a HUGE tree had broken off in the night
and was hanging 40 feet above the driveway between the remaining trunk and another tree.
He said if it fell, I may not be able to get down the driveway to the house.

I was shocked when I saw how big it was; hanging by a thread.
What if it had fallen as I drove through the branches the night before?

On Sunday, the 9th, the children came to help us get it down.

Look how little wood is holding it at the top of the trunk on the right!!

No one wanted to climb the trunk to get it down because it was covered with
POISON IVY!

So the boys tied a string to a tire iron and
after several tries, managed to throw the
tire iron over the tree. They then tied a
series of bigger ropes to the string,
pulling them over the tree.

First they tried pulling it down with manpower.

Then they tried pulling it down with
man/boy power...definitely a
demonstration of testosterone power!

Then they tried man/boy/4-wheeler power.

They were standing there discussing what
to do next and decided the rope was caught.
Suddenly, Ray, 24, started climbing that
skinny little rope!

What if his weight and climbing movement
had pulled the tree down while he was on
the rope?! I was holding my breath!

Task completed, he started down.
But the rope was too skinny to hold onto
it with his legs and feet, so he was holding
on with his arms alone...and was getting tired.

About a third of the way down his hands
started to slide (no gloves) and he got deep
rope burns on his hands, arms and leg as he slid.

About 20 feet from the ground, he had to let
go and jump the rest of the way. Why is it that
men in their 20s think they are immortal?!

With everyone piled on the 4-wheeler
to make it heavier, they began to pull.

With the tree down at last, they used the
4-wheeler to drag it to the side of the drive.
Boy, am I glad my car is not under that tree!


Entry Landscaping


Saturday, May 15th

Unable to mow the grass in the small space around the walkway between the driveway and the
front door with our riding mower (the only one we have) I decided to do away with the grass,
widen the walkway and turn the grass into a nice garden including evergreen shrubs that
would look nice all year long and perennials that would look nice in the summertime.

The centerpiece was to be the Japanese Maple, given to us by my
midwifery friends to be planted in memory of our son, Rick.

BEFORE

First I planned how I would widen the walk.

AFTER

Fred and I met Ellen at the Garden Store to
choose our plants and shrubs. Ellen, Rick's
girlfriend, is a master gardener and gave us
very helpful advice on choosing our plants.

Ellen was inspired when she suggested placing a big boulder in the garden.
Fred loaded a boulder from the edge of the lake into the bucket of his tractor
and placed it gently here. I just love it!

Stephanie and her friend, Gabriel, joined us to dig holes, move plants
and get everything in the ground and mulched.

The white flowers are Stratosphere Gaura.
The pink flowers are Dianthus "Peppermint Star".
The two small plants in front of the boulder are Euphorbia Bonfire.
(They will get about 10" tall and 18" wide with gold flowers and maroon leaves.)

Next to that are three May Night Meadow
Sage. These will spread and grow to 24".

Behind the sage are Daylillies. Heather
gave them to me last year, but they have
not bloomed yet, so I am not sure what color
they will be...orange? ...yellow?

In front of the sage, we planted a rose
bush (Rose de Rescht) that we had
and in front of that two Golden
Yellow Coreopsis.

Finally, the two yellowish plants on the
other side of Rick's tree, by the edge of
the deck, are Magic Carpet Spiraea.
These will get to be 18" wide by 24" high
wirh deep pink blooms.

At the edge of the deck, on either side of
the walk, we placed two hostas that we had
elsewhere and moved to here.

On the other side of the walk we moved all
our ferns to the wall by the screened porch.
because they don't like the sun.

In front of that are three evergreens. As these
get larger, we will have to find another shady
spot for the ferns. The evergreens are two
Arborvitae with a Golden Mop Cypress in
the middle.

In front of the evergreens are two Pink
Lightning Dwarf Astilbe. These will get
to be about 18" high, have dark green and
maroon leaves and when they bloom will
have soft pink plumes in mass!

In the very front, we have two groundcover plants
called Jack Frost Brunnera. They have a lovely
varigated leaf and will have masses of blue
flowers when they bloom.

Finally, on the far right is another rose bush and
in the back, that is an impatiens in the hanging
pot (red flowers). They don't like the sun either.

Matthew and Dad worked on Monday
and Tuesday, reshaping and widening the walk.
They searched in the woods for large flat stones
and then created this beautiful walkway.

The walkway winds around the end of
the retaining wall and then heads downhill
toward the lake.

On Wednesday, I played hooky so I could help.
I packed dirt in around the stones and then
spread mulch around the plants...about 4" deep.



Next, Matthew washed the mud off the stones
to help the dirt in the cracks settle around them.

On Thursday, once the dirt settled, Fred and I
swept sand into the cracks. It really looks lovely.


Memorial Day Weekend

Early in the morning Miker was hard at
work....fishing!

And Lucky, Ray's dog, had already taken a dip
until our swan, Hansel, chased her out of the lake.



The Fun Begins -- Ray is about to throw
Kyle into the lake!

SPLASH!!!


Wet Noodle Wars!

Ray started the war by smacking the kids
with wet noodles.

As the kids began to win, Matthew
came to the rescue!

Oh no! They are chasing the rescue vessel!

Whew! They escaped!

The Winners: Ray and Kyle

Finally in a bathing suit, Ray
starts the war again (notice he has
one hand behind his back)!

The kids (and Stephanie) counter-attacked,
pushing Ray to the edge of the dock!

They finally pushed him off the edge!

SPLASH!!!

And Mom and Rene' cracked up...
...from a safe (and dry) distance!


Even Hansel moved to a safe distance!


Canoeing with Ray

Wait! I want to go, too!


Let's see...is the maximum number of
persons in one canoe is three?

Let's dump Kyle!!!


Kyle and Abby

How many flotation devices can one
child wear?

You can almost see Christopher's
teeth chattering!

Have you ever seen a dog fishing?

Look closely...this is a HUGE
bullfrog swimming with us!

The hammock looks inviting!

Snuggling with Mom in the hammock.

...and a few friends.


Day is Done. Gone the sun.

Making S'Mores over the campfire

Kids are finally in bed...
so the parents can play cards.

 

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