First day of March 2014

I made arrangements to take photos at a local farm, but the skies were so gloomy, I begged off until another day.  I usually land up discarding most of the photos I take on a day like this.  I started my day by going to Tuscumbia and dropping by the Tuscumbia Kiwanis Pancake Day for a late breakfast.  The place was packed.  I walked around for a while taking pictures and talking to folks I knew.  Those pictures may be found on Remember Tuscumbia on Facebook.  I decided that if I was going to get some yard work done, I needed to stop yakking and get a carry out.  Once home I heated up the pancakes and syrup just a tad and made another cup of coffee.

 Camera in tow, I walked around to see what needed to be hauled off to the burn pile which started as a wild cherry tree which broke off ten feet up after a storm.  I also wanted to see what was blooming.  A few of the old daffs I moved from an old home site a couple of years ago were just starting to bloom, along with a couple of Lenten rose, crocus and some cute  little flower I don’t remember planting.   I checked my Excel spreadsheet of the planting area and couldn’t find it on my map.  Several of my azaleas and gardenia’s don’t look like they survived the winter.  I’ll find out more when the weather warms up.  My native azaleas look just great and are getting ready to bloom.  My Toomers corner live oak seedling growing for the last twelve years 300 miles north of its comfort zone is looking stressed.

Bluebirds are checking out boxes already.  It’s time to clean them out if you haven’t already.

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 Of the three trees marked for removal, two, a Pink Lady and Gala apples were on the ground as a result of some high winds we had last winter.  I didn’t remove them last year was they were loaded with apples.  However it was a pain trying to mow around them, so they had to go before they bloomed and had fruit on them.  I attached them from the opposite direction they fell with the loader and broke them off easily.  The third was a plum tree that split up the length of the trunk during a late April freeze and snow a few years back.   Part of the tree was still living, but it wasn’t going to live too much longer.  One small bump with the loader and down it came.  A fourth tree bloomed and suddenly died and fell over last spring.  Since it was in a bed of iris and daylilies, I cut the limbs off and left the trunk trying to decide if it could be used some way.  Field rats had made a home under it, so off to be burned.  Blackie and Patches were busy digging and soon caught one.  Patches decided another was in the hole and dug down past her neck.  Every once in a while she would come up for air and the expression on her face was like a marathon runner wondering how many more miles to go.  After the rat hunt, Blackie and Levi did their daily rumble, almost knocking me off my feet.

 The rats apparently had gotten into the greenhouse this winter.  The Hooligans broke out the bottom panel of the storm door going after them, and had another hole where the siding cracked and fell off.  A bare trail runs from under the greenhouse out toward the tree which fell.  The contractor who built it was a good home builder, but knew nothing about building a greenhouse, even with a blueprint in hand.  I was drafty in the winter and too hot in the summer.  I plan to turn it into a garden screen room since I lost the one on the house when I constructed the garden room.

 I hooked a chain around the loader on my John Deere to the first tree and backed up to the burn pile.  On the way back for tree number two, I stopped and propped a young Pink Lady apple tree back up that the first tree toppled over.   After knocking tree number two over and hauling to the pile, I straighten up a nectarine that was knocked over in the fall.   After backing up pulling the fourth tree to the pile, I had myself boxed in by the other three trees.  After getting the tractor out of the corner I painted myself in, it was on to hauling off the limbs I trimmed off of my Toomers corner baby last fall.  Hopefully the trimming will induce it to have an acorn; that is if it survives this winter.   Next week weather folks are predicting another arctic blast.

 Check out my GRIT magazine blog post.  I try to include what is going on in the Shoals when posting. 

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