Showing posts with label trees. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trees. Show all posts

Friday, April 24, 2015

Front Yard Evolution

There were two trees and
an ungroomed and ugly hedge in
front of our house when
we moved in.
One was a sad looking
pine tree and the other was
a trash tree. 
Both needed to
come down in my opinion. 
And actually so did
the hedge, but we
couldn’t afford it.

The trash tree was
the first to go. 
It was either borrow a small
amount of money to take it out, or
pay the neighbors an outrageous sum
down the road because the roots
were pushing into her driveway.

We cut the hedge each week and
slowly got rid of some of it. 
We had the remainder taken out
after mom died. 

Jenna loved the pine tree. 
She’d often climb the ugly thing.
She begged us to keep it always. 
But after the last wind,
Roland noticed that it was leaning,
and the short roots were lifting up. 
So now we are rid of that tree. 
And Jenna is sad. 
But it’s not as though we
were planning on taking it with us
to Oregon. 
She was going to lose it eventually

Currently we have a bunch of
short logs on our lawn. 
It still looks better than
the trees or hedge did.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Still in Awe

                                                            There have been
                                         some really bitter cold days and
                                         many that have felt like fall still.  

Most trees are bare, 
but I am floored by 
the leaves that are
still clinging on. 

We’ve had some 
really strong winds. 
I'd think the leaves 
would all be gone.  

We haven't had the snow 
that we've had with so many 
other winters.  It looks
like fall

                                           Perhaps the leaves on the trees 
                                           are just too
                                                                     frozen to move.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Saying Hello and Good-bye to Autumn

Whereas autumn seemed to linger for several months last year, I believe that the cycle will be over all too quickly this year.

I had heard the mountain trees had started turning in August.  But as for my view of Salt Lake City valley, the trees (or the majority of them anyway) did not start turning until last week.

            There are still many green trees that haven’t handled the chill in the same way as those that are already starting to lose leaves.  What?  The ones that started turning last Monday are now shedding their leaves for the winter?  

            Toward the end of the week, I did notice more that were turning.  This morning I saw radiant beauty of yellow and orange golds, one tree that was undressing and still a wide variety of green.  I’d like to see them radiate color before the winter brings snow – if it brings snow.

            I heard that it had started snowing in the mountains earlier than it has in the past.  I don’t know.  I don’t seem to go to the mountains as much as I used to.  And yet I’m so close to them. 

            Weather is peculiar!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Thank you Rocky Mountain Power (and What Devastation)

            I didn’t realize that Jenna viewed the crab apple tree as a friend.  A good friend at that.  True, it often did provide shade over her trampoline.  She also got bonked by tree branches when she jumped too high.  And she was always having to sweep debris off the tarp – mostly from crab apples and leaves.

            There was a crab apple tree in the front yard of the house that I grew up in.  Beautiful pink blossoms filled the tree in spring.  Several of us spent hours climbing the trunk and branches.  I suppose it provided shade.  I didn’t dislike the tree, but I certainly didn’t love it.

I never got why anyone would purposely plant a tree that produced such horrible fruit.  What is the point of crab apples anyway?  Thousands of cherry-sized “apples” covered our lawn.  I am guessing that is why it never came up lush green.  The grass didn’t like crab apples either.

            The crab apple tree on our WV property was located at the end of the yard behind the house.  It had grown wild and needed pruning.  It seemed like I was always cutting branches whenever I’d hang clothes.  For the most part it was the only time I’d really take notice of the tree.

            The tree had been planted beneath power lines – both electrical and telephone lines.  A March wind had sent some branches to rub against the power lines earlier this year.  My neighbors said there were sparks.  I called RMP the next day.  I was told someone would be out at the beginning of summer.

            Summer came and went.  I never saw anybody.  But RMP had also had pressing challenges with the elements creating fires or floods and a lot of power outages.  The company had more than its fill, I’m sure.   I had only that one report of sparks flying.  Still . . . if a power outage were to happen, I wanted to be able to say that I had called and made a report that the tree had grown around the lines.

            I was told that someone had come out and looked at the tree and didn’t foresee a problem, but that they’d send someone out again.  On Thursday I was told that there were nine lines going through the tree and that someone would be out later that afternoon or else yesterday morning.  I knew I wouldn’t be home Thursday night and had left a note.  Whether they came last night or not, I don’t know.  But they were waiting for me when I got home yesterday morning.

            I had left the same note with a couple of changes.  I said I would be back between 9:00 and 9:30.  I arrived at 8:50.  At first I thought the city had sent a crew to repave the road when I saw a work sign and polycones paved on one side.  A truck was parked in front of my neighbor’s house.  It was a tree truck.  They must have been waiting.  I forgot to ask how long.


 I don’t know why it is I find I need to take so many pictures of transformation, but I do.  I like to see how this 

went to this 

 or this 

to this.  

 Or this 

to this.   

And I take a lot more pictures than I really need (although I don’t necessarily NEED any of them) but I like to have a variety to pick from – in case I need to use illustrations because my words just can’t seem to capture what the camera does.

            I thought the crew did a marvelous job.  One man said that what could be seen above was worse than what we predicted from the ground.  If we had had a worse wind, we could have had a fire.  There would have definitely been a power outage to who knows how many people would have been affected.  We have been blessed that we didn’t have to deal with that.  We’ve been blessed in many ways, actually.

            I think the removal of the tree is a good thing.  Roland agrees – though he’s always seen the tree as a catch 22.  But Jenna has been crying over the tree – literally. She liked the blossoms.  Yes, like I’m going to keep a tree just for two weeks of blossoms.  (They have never made it to three full weeks)

            I’m so sorry for your loss, Jenna, but you need to understand - the danger was more severe than we had imagined.  I am told the elements would have killed the tree eventually and the damage would have been much more severe.

            Thank you RMP for keeping us safe and for doing such a great job and for sparing me for having any feelings of guilt had there been a power outage or fire . . . even though I had nothing to do with the existence of the tree.

            Someday Jenna may understand.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Jenna's Gumdrop Tree

          Jenna had made a gumdrop ornament in preschool one year.  We’ve had it for four or five Christmases now.  The neighbor asked if he could eat it.
          “The candy is really old.  It probably doesn’t taste good.  And it may make you sick either way.”

          He had invited himself to decorate or tree.  I thought that was presumptuous of him.  But it was dark.  I couldn’t see well.  Roland had gone into the other room.  And so I left Jenna and Trume to decorate (they actually were better at spreading out the ornaments than Ooki had been with his first tree).

          Before he returned home, I gave him a small tree that we had put in Jenna’s room last year.            I had confiscated the gumdrop ball and put it on the tree the next day when I could actually see what I was doing.

          After a week I noticed that the small tree had been returned.  I also noticed the gumdrop ball had been ripped apart as there were gumdrops and toothpicks all over the table.  I was upset not because of the ornament itself, but the possibility that someone had eaten these stale gumdrops.  Jenna claims she doesn’t even like spice gumdrops.  Why would she do that?

          I didn’t realize that the gumdrops had been used to decorate the smaller tree.  And actually they do look nice – but they don’t seem to stay.   It was a cute idea.  She said they looked like Christmas lights.  Her creativity made me smile.
We no longer have the gumdrop ball ornament.  After Christmas, the pulled off gumdrops will also be trashed.   

Sunday, December 2, 2012

3rd year, 4th Christmas

          I have so many memories of Christmases – before Roland, after Roland, childhood, on and on and on.
          This year we will be celebrating twelve years together.  Half of them with financial struggles and at least three with sub for Santa.

          When I first moved in to our first house (Roland and the boys had already been living there for six months) it was September of 2001.  In December our family was targeted as the “twelve days of Christmas” recipients.  And that was fun and I felt very welcome to the area.

          Our first tree was an artificial Charlie Brown – the kind that gets used in a window display as part of the winter scenery – but not necessarily Christmas.  It is what would be used in a window selling skis or snow blowers or something – an insignificant tree that blends in to the background – the absolute smallest tree that I had ever encountered during my lifetime.

                                                It was flocked but much smaller than this one
                                                Maybe the second to the smallest - but skinnier

          (Apparently it was so small that I did not get a picture of it – and as it was so pathetic, I cannot even find anything on the internet that will match it.  I did not get my first digital camera until Jenna was three; maybe that’s why I can’t find anything)

          We had purchased two gifts for each of the boys.  We opened our gifts in the back room where we had placed and decorated our tiny tree.

          When we had our second Christmas, Ooki  was living with us.  It was the first time he had celebrated the holiday.  We showed him how to decorate the tree.  We had a large unwrapped gift for each boy.  Roland and I woke them up at like 5:30 or six.  It was too early for all of them – even Randy.

          Our financial struggles were really bad the year I was pregnant with Jenna – it may have been the worse for us – though we were still in the same house another five years – so maybe not?

          The experience that touches me the most (as I still cry when I tell it) is the year we were assigned to bring potatoes to the family dinner.  All month I had been trying to save up with any spare change – I had made a jar and labeled it “the potato fund” (or something like that) and asked each of the boys to assist Roland and me with our attempts to fill the jar.  (I don’t think we ever reached a dollar as Tony would take more than he would give)

Two days before the dinner there was a knock on my door.  I opened the door to find this Nephite  (he wasn’t dressed as a Nephite, but seemed to have that same stature as he filled the entire door frame) standing in my doorway with a bag of potatoes.  He handed them to me and told me that his mom wanted me to have them. And then he was gone.

My tears were (and still are) of gratitude, but brought concern to the ReliefSociety president who came by to drop off our sub for Santa gifts. She asked why I was crying and I explained.  The worse part of it all was I didn’t know who the Nephite was.  But she figured it out and told me and I was actually kind of embarrassed that I hadn’t known.

My mom called just as the RS pres. Left.  She told me that I didn’t have to bring potatoes if it was going to hurt us financially.  And I started crying again.

Randy was excited about all the gifts beneath the tree – while the other two were embarrassed over the very idea that we were a product of charity.  I was a bit embarrassed that there were so many gifts – way more than we had had the first two years combined.  There were even presents there for Roland and me.

Someone had donated an overgrown bag (like the kind you see Santa carrying) full of oversize shirts (Roland was on the heavier side back then) although none of them wrapped.  We did have wrapping paper, and so I went through the bag, sorting shirts, wrapping some for Roland and some of them for me (as some of them felt nice on my pregnant belly) 

And then when we lost our first house and moved into the smaller one (where we live currently) the ward we once belonged to followed us over with more sub for Santa gifts – mostly for Jenna.  They also supported our two boys who were out on missions.

We have been in this house for three years now – but this is our forth Christmas.  Last year Randy proposed to Carrie.  This will be their first Christmas as a married couple.  This will be Tony and Rochelle’s first Christmas as mom and dad. Our first Christmas as grandparents – though we won’t actually be seeing them – unless they fly in for the holidays.  They have been here once this year already.

Jenna's very excited for Christmas this year.  She's already made several drawings depicting the holidays.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Artificial Trees: Pros and Cons

         New Years day (for me) has always been the day for taking down the tree – I am usually sad about seeing the holidays come to an end.  This season we put our tree up quite early.  Jenna insisted we put it up the day after Thanksgiving.  I don’t think I’ve ever decorated quite that early before.

          It was a nice day.  The tree was in the shed.  Hauling it out would be no problem as there wasn’t any snow build up in the way of the doors or in the path I would trudge.  I was grateful for Jenna’s enthusiasm and brought in all the decorations for her to choose what and where they would go.

          The first artificial tree I remember was in a box.  I don’t actually remember it on display.  It was one of those very old silver ones that came with a color wheel – folks could plug in the wheel of four colors and the tree would appear to magically change colors as the wheel turned.  A thing of the past.  Quite lame by today’s standards.

          I remember going to the tree lot when I was a kid.  My brother and I always wanted a flocked tree.  Flocked trees were cool.  And you could actually buy them pre flocked or pay extra to have it done.  It was rare that we had a green tree – but I do remember having them.

          We would get home from the tree lot and it seemed like dad ALWAYS had to make an adjustment – cutting down its size to either fit it into the stand or trimming the top in order to get the star on top.  It would never be even, and we always had 15 - 20 books around the stand so that it wouldn’t topple over.

          I don’t remember ever having an artificial tree when dad was alive.  I remember sap and pine needles and watering the tree – trying to prevent it from drying out and rarely succeeding.  I remember pricking myself when attaching or trying to remove ornaments and I remember finding pine needles buried in the carpet long after the tree was taken down (apparently we had quite a pathetic vacuum cleaner)

Mom and I decided to try the artificial tree.  They looked pretty real.  No books, no pine needles – but no fresh pine smell either.  But would you believe – mom and I are Ethel and Lucy when we attempt any project.  We ended up using books – and though we didn’t notice at first, the tree would fray a bit when we were decorating and undecorating.  We still had pine needles on the carpet!  On the plus side there was no sap or dry sticker.  The synthetic seemed to vacuum up much more easily.

My husband and I have had artificial trees.  Our first was actually a display tree for a winter scene.  Talk about your pathetic Charlie Brown types! Our most current tree came with lights.  Now some people enjoy adding their own strands of lights.  I personally enjoy the convenience of not having to.  It’s a plus not to have to untangle and fiddle with strands of lights.

When hanging ornaments, there are no pine needles to pick up.  No more stabbing ourselves with pine needles. We can hang ornaments with ease – and can actually make the branches work to our benefit – for example if the ornament is fragile, we can twist the branch to secure the ornament in place.  Try that with a real tree! 
My husband is great at putting things together.  No more books!  And we haven’t had any false needles end up on the floor either.

Okay, it has to be stored year after year- and dug out of storage.  But sometimes there’s a convenience that goes with it.  This year, for example, we decorated early (in my opinion) and didn’t have to wait for Christmas tree lots or spending money on fresh trees or transporting the tree home (which can actually be a bigger hassle than storage – depending on the vehicle used)

So there you have it.  Artificial trees last longer and overall are way easier to maintain.  That’s my opinion.