Archive | November 2012

In Honor of My Poor, Lamented Oaks


Trees by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed

Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast.

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray.

A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of robins in her  hair.

Upon whose bosom snow has lain,

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.


As It Once Was…

Sigh.  I’m still so sad about losing our trees.  The loss of their shade and beauty is even worse than the frustration over having been treated badly by the removal company, and having to clean up the mess.  It will never feel the same to me without the majesty of these huge trees.  I WILL, of course, be doing some major gardening and beautification of the area, but it will never even begin to make up for losing the oaks. Here are a few photos to show you what we have lost.

Shortly after we had moved in, before I painted the faux bricks white.  Three of the larger tree bases…all gone now…show here. The one on the left actually gets bigger farther up, where a very wide fork developed. 

Another view of the bromeliad bed in its infancy. That hedge in the background is now about twelve feet tall, and completely hides the view of the road and the houses on the other side.

View of the clump of oak trees from the street, about a year after we moved in.  It’s early spring and they haven’t gotten their full complement of leaves yet, though they are never bare, being an evergreen species.  You can see better in this picture how massive the trunk of the tree on the far left was.

Yes, that is a bald eagle sitting in the largest tree. I wasn’t kidding when I said these trees provided homes for everything from barred owls to flying squirrels. To the right of him, you can see where the big oak splits into two sections, creating a piece of tree trunk five feet thick.  Thank god these shysters came back and cut that down a bit for Mark.  He could never have cut it with his chainsaw, and it was NOT movable, without a bobcat or something like that to pick it up.  It weighed about as much as a block of granite.

So now you can see why I am so sad to lose these beautiful trees.  Having the mess of unprofessional, unscrupulous contractors do the job just added insult to injury.  But the real loss is the trees.  It breaks my heart, and makes me sad to know that the rest of the trees in our yard may not be around much longer, either.  Hopefully, they will last a few more years, though.  Fingers crossed, and prayers sent above.

More Tree Disaster Pictures!

Here are a few more pictures taken on Day 1 and 2, before it got REALLY bad. 

This log section Mark is sitting on is 5 feet wide, believe it or not.  The one his cup is on measures right at 4 feet.  His chainsaw is 18 inches.
Eeep. Does he look discouraged? 

This was later on Day 1 or early Day 2.

This is our driveway.  No, really. It’s under there.  This was Day 2. It got worse.

This is the beginning of the debris pile in our side yard.  It ended up measuring 8′ tall, 10′ deep, and 30′ long!!!!!

This is the beginning of the mess in our side yard, the end of day 1. 

By day 5, I couldn’t even go out there without crying, so there are no more pictures.

The fact that these guys gave us a price we could actually scrape together (not that we could afford) was a miracle.  But as I said, miracles don’t come cheap. We knew we would have to do some of the work ourselves, but they really left us in the lurch.  However, we are young and strong and determined.  (Okay, we are really just one of those things.  I’ll let you figure it out.) And we WILL PREVAIL!!!


I’m Baaaaa-aaack…Mostly.

One Small Section of Debris

Alert the Media!  I’m back!  Mostly. 

Yeah, I know I’ve been gone nine days, and believe me, I have missed this blog more than you could imagine!  If I tried to tell you everything that has conspired against me to keep me from posting here, you probably wouldn’t believe it.  Suffice it to say, we have been inundated with problems around this place, and Mark’s five-day Thanksgiving vacation turned into five days of toil and trouble for both of us.  But we have survived, and even though the end isn’t here yet, it IS in sight.

Just as a quick recap of part of the problems, we had a huge tree die overnight, practically, and that started it all.  Our yard is filled with giant laurel oaks, old and majestic…and apparently dying of Sudden Oak Death.  Yes, folks, there really is something known among arborists as SOD.  After a long summer and early fall filled with unplanned for expenses such as transmissions falling apart, and flywheels literally breaking into pieces (both cars involved), we found we were down $7,000, and had tightened our belt to the max.  Thus, we were faced with a serious problem when the largest oak in our yard turned brown over the course of about 3 days.  From lush green, to completely dead brown, on a tree species that is evergreen.  Within weeks, it was brittle and dropping branches on our roof.  It had to come down.  Sadly, we couldn’t afford our regular tree guy, so we went with a cheaper solution that involved what turned out to be a less than professional company cutting down both of our biggest trees (since a second one was dying, too) and a smaller tree.  They were supposed to do it all in one day, leaving us the logs, but clearing away all debris and the first 10 feet of the massive (we’re talking over 4′ across) base of the tree.  Five days later, these awful people have buried our yard under debris, logs too big to move, and piles of sawdust 3′ deep.  Then they got mad because yet another piece of THEIR equipment stopped working, and they walked off…leaving our entire yard looking like the picture above, which is only a fraction of the mess we have to deal with.  (The side yard has 3 times the wood and debris in it.  This pile merely blocks the driveway!)  I didn’t take a picture of the biggest slabs, but the one on the top of the pile in the photo is right at 4 feet in itself, and it is nowhere near the biggest one.

You cannot imagine the mess we have been left with, and working every day right along side of them (and now on our own) has barely made a dent in it.  I finally got them back over here to cut the massive segments into smaller pieces that Mark can handle with his own chain saw, and the rest of the clean up is on us. 

Soooooooo…many lessons learned here, the biggest one being, one cannot keep up an active blog…or any other form of an active LIFE…whilst one is stuffing barrels full of tree trimmings from a pile approximately the size of an airplane hangar, and dollying logs to the back 40 to stack out of the way.  The sound of chain saws is burned into my brain, and the smell of oak sawdust will probably never be out of my nostrils.  GAH!!!!

On the other hand, I no longer have to worry about a tree falling through my roof.  Or at least not THIS tree.  There are still all the others around the yard……………..

Now back to blogging on a daily basis.  I hopeBut first, I have to tend to a small fire ring wherein I’m burning that airplane hangar sized pile of twigs, one little handful at a time.

Garden at Giverny

“I must have flowers, always, and always.”

–Claude Monet

Claude Monet's Garden at Giverny

Garden at Giverny Painted by Claude Monet

(Click to see larger version)

I thought perhaps while my own garden is in such a disreputable state, I might share a few garden images and quotes with you over the next few days.  If you are a gardener at heart or an art lover, you may already know of Monet’s love of flowers. His garden is still considered one of the most beautiful in the world, and attracts thousands of visitors to Giverny, France, every year. For information and some lovely photos of the garden that inspired so many of Monet’s paintings, check this link:

Monet’s Garden in Giverny

Wouldn’t you love to go there?  Maybe some of you have?  If so, was it as beautiful as it looks?

Image found online.

Don’t You Love It When…

Angel Face Rose

Angel Face

(Click for Close Up)

…you come across something you’ve been hunting for for two years?  And better yet, when it is sitting next to something you’ve been hunting for six months?  How cool is that?  In my case, I’ve been positively longing for an Angel Face rose for my garden.  Everywhere I checked for Angel Face, they told me they hadn’t been able to get any in for a very  long time, and thought maybe the grower wasn’t growing them any more.  Roses do come and go in popularity, and it had been a decade or more since I had one in any of my past gardens.  I had just about given up on finding one until two weeks ago.  I stopped by my one of my favorite local nurseries (Lukas, for anyone in this area) and as I was walking along with my friend, Nicki, looking at plants, lo and behold!  What did I spot right in front of me but one little Angel Face!  I was so excited!  And then, I realized it was sitting right beside a Double Delight, the rose I had been trying to get for at least six months.  Double Delight was still being sold everywhere, but somehow I always arrived the day AFTER the last one had been sold.  Yet…here they both were, side by side.  They may as well have had a sign over them saying, “Yooohooooo!  Marcia!  Here we are!”

Double Delight Hybrid Tea Rose

Double Delight

(Click for Close Up)

Being nobody’s fool, I grabbed them both up, and they are happily planted in my backyard now.  It’s the little surprises along the way that make everything worth while, I think.

Both of these roses have heavenly, old-fashioned fragrances, and are prolific bloomers.  They are subject to black spot in Florida, like pretty much all but the antique varieties, but overall, they are generally vigorous plants.  Double Delight is a hybrid tea, and Angel Face is a bushy little floribunda.  I’m tickled to death to have them both in my garden, now.  

Any of you guys been hunting for something you really want but can’t find?

Photos found online.

Today, I Saw A Rainbow Where None Should Have Been

(Photo found online)

Today, there was a rainbow in the sky, where there never should have been one.  There was nothing like rain around me, as far as the eye could see, and yet, there was this rainbow, directly ahead of my car, where I couldn’t have missed it if I tried.  Honestly, it seemed like a miracle.  I have been down for several days, and a sense of wanting to lock myself in my room for a week or so was hanging over me.  I went to run errands, instead.  After all, if I lock myself in my room, who will feed the dogs, let alone my husband who is hard at work and deserves dinner when he gets home?  So I trudged through the grocery store, then back out to the car, and headed home, thinking about everything I had to do yet this afternoon, and not wanting to do a bit of it.

And then–there it was.  A rainbow. In an empty sky.

If that doesn’t qualify as a direct message to my heart, I don’t know what would.  It was in front of me through every turn I made going back to my house, a seemingly impossible trick, and all along the way, it reminded me to have faith.  Just have faith, and things would work out.  It reminded me that I am not privy to the plans of my personal Higher Power.  It reminded me that none of us are, whether we believe in a Supreme Being  or just in our own inner spirit.  We don’t have access to what that so-called Grand Scheme of Things might be.  Therefore, we must remember to have faith in something greater than ourselves, and move forward with confidence and joy.  We must cherish each day, and forget about hiding away.  We must look for what Sarah Ban Breathnach calls our Authentic Selves, and do the things our hearts tell us to do. We must be grateful for all we’ve been given, and let go of the worries that keep us from reaching our full potential.

Our time here is short.  We need to remember to see the miracle of every rainbow, and to live every moment to the hilt.

Today, I saw a rainbow where none should have been.  How miraculous is that?

Happy Veteran’s Day

Flag and soldier, Veteran's Day

Today, we honor those who have served their country to protect our way of life.  Please don’t forget to thank a veteran today.  Many have sacrificed more than you can imagine, and we owe them everything we have.

God Bless America.

NOTE:  This post is in no way meant to be political, on any side of any issue.  I don’t discuss politics here, folks.  Just asking you to remember we can never thank our servicemen and women enough.  There’s no way to repay them for their dedication to duty. If you want to say your thank you in a more tangible manner, one good way would be through the Wounded Warrior Project.