Travel Tag

Thank you for the passing of the Travel Tag to Shannon H, her answers were really good.  You can find her here, https://adventuresinthirtysomething.com/2016/10/01/the-travel-tag-whats-your-adventure/comment-page-1/#comment-1277.  Great pictures, too!  That means read this first, so that I maybe be upstaged after ward. ūüėČ

Seriously, I love a good challenge.  So here goes…

The rules are easy and fun. Just answer the questions below, repost the questions and tag fellow travel lovers, let them know you tagged them and let your blogosphere travels begin!
You are leaving tomorrow to start a life in a new country, where would you go?

This is a crazy thought but I’m going to Costa Rica!  It has mountains, beaches, jungles, Jaguars, great weather….. The whale sharks stop by for a visit parts of the year.  Take away hurricanes, tropical storms, and the “do I have to understand and speak Spanish?”.  It’s prefect! Hey this is there…Corcovado National Park.  Photo stolen from Costa Rica Vacations.  The week of November 11, 2016 is a best deal to go there! The site say so!


You can take someone for a weekend away to the place you had the best holidays ever, where would that be and who would you take to go with you?

Not fair!  The world, the US simply has too much to offer.  I will reflect upon my blogs title, and answer appropriately.  My wife would kill me (she is an officer of the law, really she would kill me slowly with 12 bullets in painful places) if I left her behind.  So that said we are heading for Mexico to visit Chichen Itza!  It’s over 400 feet of pyramid and if you clap your hands it sounds like a bird that lives there!  How cool it that!  Ok, we are arriving on the Spring Equinox to see the snake crawl down the pyramid!  Yes people, by trick of the sunlight a detailed snake actually looks like it popping out of the stonework.  Then we flew to Australia, because while never going there before, I gain a day to see Ayer’s Rock! And maybe Sydney.


You can get married wherever you want to, your budget is limitless, what is your choice?

Been there, done that!  In Honolulu on the Pacific ocean in a city park!  Of course, the budget wasn’t limitless.  Meaning it was us, a surfer dude for a priest, and a guy who does professional photography for surfing, and Hawaiian sports.  We couldn’t afford to bring others along. ūüėČ. But maybe, move it to the Green Sand Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii.

During your travels you can bring back home one animal as a pet, which one would you pick?

I have two kitties from a trip to West Virgina 15 years ago.  They wouldn’t understand more cats.  Soiwoukd pick something interesting like cougarormountain lion.  They would probably not get along with the rest of the household. But look at them, they are majestic animals.  They might try to eat you, but all animals have issues.

You can get back in time and relive one family trip, which one?  

We didn’t do many family trips.  Most were in my formative years, way too far back to remember much.  There’s a time I cut off circulation to Dads leg when my parent didn’t notice a ship’s horn behind their 4 year old son.  That was Saut√© St Marie in Michigan.  But what I can remember, my trip to Montana with my Dad.  We drove three days from Cleveland, Oh to owe an where he went to Grad School.  I saw the west for the first time.  Wide open spaces, real mountains, giant horizons, Yellowstone, Wall Drug and the Corn Palace, the Black Hills, the Little Big Horn.  I was hooked on the American West

What is the first thing you would pack for a one year travel around the world?

Water filteration pump.  There’s a lot of places off the beaten path I would love to go.  Fresh water is a premium and often shared with parasites and other nasties.

What would your fantasy 100th birthday destination be, and why?

Angel falls, Venezuela!  I would be happy to be alive and aware of where I was.  But the highest waterfalls in the world.  I would need the plane tour.  I have lots of years to save up for it. But it’s really called Kerepakupai Meru. And why?  It’s the biggest waterfall in the world!!


During your travel you can learn one sport to become a pro, what would that be?

This is a travel answer, soccer.  I lack to general coordination to kick a ball in a certain direction at top speed.  Let alone use the head to do the same. They make lots of cash too!

   

Advertisements

Trees Part 9

The end of my best guesses at what iis growing as a tree or shrub.  There have been 53 so far.  I keep forgetting some shrubs are tender vegetation and get carried inside.  Which means pot bound.  Some take forever to bloom or show fruit.

Rose of Sharon, a glorious weed by any other name surely would not smell as sweet.  Ok, that maybe a bit harsh.  I hated these things when I had a small yard.   You have a thousand seedlings every year it seems.   They with take over easily.   But they can be kept as a hedge.  They will bloom continuously from July til frost.  Every year I cut them back to about two feet tall and they come back really thick.   Left alone they could reach about 6-7 feet tall.   They are a favorite of Japanese Beetles, and may require spaying. 

Hibiscus are a tropical breed.  Hardy ones do exist and require luck this far North.  We have ones that go in for the winter. These are braided as “trees”. They need feed well to stay pretty.  If you let them go dry, It takes awhile to talk them back to blooming.  Once they start they will bloom most of the summer.

The Bay Tree is a Mediterranean staple.  Here it’s a basement plant and acts like it will melt in the Sunshine for the first month its back outside.  This is about four weeks later.  The leaves are usable for seasoning.   Even can be dried and sprinkled around the counter/floor to repeal ants. This can get seven feet tall and if you leave side branches it’ll look a lot better.  It’ll look much better in another month!

Another Florida native, Lantana is at home in sand and loose soils.  But with enough water, it’ll grow in hard soil.  In nature they are 3-4 feet tall,  in a pot or the ground 2-3 feet is big.   This is another spend winter inside plant.  The blooms have multiple colors on most.  Combinations can be red, orange, & yellow, or pink, purple, & cream.  Even solid white or yellow are common. It’s a nice compact shrub.  If you take care of it, all summer it blooms.

The Sargeant Crabapple is another Arbor Day tree.  It had a decent growth rate.   There are male and female trees.  The females bear fruit.  Not edible type for people though.  The tall one is almost ten feet tall, the shorter one six feet.  The foliage is dense enough for a nest or two.  They prefer soil with drainage but can stand wet soil for part of the year.  Just make sure it’s in the Sun.

Trees Part 8

image

The Black Locust is the main stay of the front yard. It’s a tree that looks more dead than alive most of the year. These are signs of poor soil. They grew in places with standing water, hard compacted clay and will grow with little light. They tend to cluster, partially become they were others won’t. They do actually look good in May because they bloom for a few days or until it rains. The blooms are very fragile.

image
The Peony is very common shrub. It had really nice blooms that look good for than a week. The plant then proceeds to fall face first to the ground. This one is tied up. It has topped out at less than 3 feet tall.

image

This Bush Fushia is a tender plant. It’s more plant than shrub. It will get as large as six feet if I lived in Hawaii. Here in Ohio, it lives in the basement for half the year. The flowers are magnets for hummingbirds. They bloom all year. Like the hanging plant relative,this needs lot of water and fertilizer to stay happy.
image

The Rug Juniper is a spreading evergreen. It will never be more than six inches tall but can stretch out 3-5 feet in two directions. Usually they are long and about a foot wide. They make great accents to demarcate a bed from the yard. This one has a future job doing that!

image

The Florida Weigela is the most common Weigela. It had red flowers that may have stopped for an unknown reason. It’s battling day lilies for space in a bed. Although, it should be 5-6 feet tall and wide, this one is a bit small. At 2 feet tall, it’s been buried alive for the first couple months is good weather.

Trees Part Seven

Every once in awhile we have misfits.  These are either shrubs and trees that were mislabeled or hard to tell what they really are.  A common problem is placement.

image

This is a Chestnut, specifically a Horseshoe Chestnut.  Chestnuts are no longer native here, so we borrowed them from China.  This tree was cut down over 12 years ago, then it grew out of trunk as a shrub.  It has five branches each stretch about 6-10 feet in different directions. It should be a 20-35 foot round shrub with super shiny clusters of leaves.

image

This is an Arbor Day mystery tree.¬† Labelled as a Golden Raintree, there are no yellow blooms and it’s the wrong shape!¬†¬† But other than that…. This resembles a lilac.¬† It would have bloomed already if it was.¬†¬† It’s about eight feet tall and has nice glossy leaves.¬†¬† It’s good looking tree but unknown until it produces fruit or blooms.

image

The perfect place for a Robinson Crabapple in the front yard!¬†¬† It has drainage.¬†¬† It gets water.¬†¬† Even blooms!¬†¬† But it looks like a $5 tree, four years later.¬†¬† It has red leaves to provide interest.¬†¬† It’s six feet tall column.¬†¬† It could get 12 feet tall, but it’s in need of side branches

image

The little guy here is a Forsythia.¬† It’s in deep shade and has dark leaves.¬†¬† The only issue it is buried under trees.¬† Even in spring it doesn’t bloom much.¬† They have soft yellow blooms that often are first things out in March.¬† They make great hedges and will go eight feet high.¬† Mostly they are trimmed much smaller.

image

Here we have an Arborvitae.  This is a little different then most I see in catalogues.   Although, it is considered a fast grower it took five years to grow from two feet to six feet.   It has grown drastically last year.   It is starting to separate a bit.  The branches are spreading away from the center.  In my climate, work large snowfall it requires a little help.   This winter either it gets wrapped in burlap or cord to keep it shape.   Otherwise, next year this could be more porcupine looking with spikes more prevalent.

Mark Builds Arbor for Grapes

In my tree series,you may have noticed I buy clearance plants. One advantage of this is the plants aren’t expected to do much on the first year. If they live we have success. Well year two rolls around abs all of a sudden my bargain grapes  are attacking the garden and the yard simultaneously.

Now I was left with two choices. I started with explaining that World War II future changed with the opening of the Eastern front, leading German forces to split their strength against superior numbers.  The grapes didn’t listen. The attack on the grass got worse on the “Mars” variety of grape. I wasn’t surprised somehow.  Choice two build it and they will climb.  A Trellis.

image

I appropriated five 2″x2″, seven brackets, a bunch of #8 wood screws, four eyelet hooks, four open hooks, 100 feet of 20 gauge spooled wire, 8  1/8″ wire clips, and four turnbuckles.  And three single hole cinder blocks and a bag of fast setting concrete.  Other party favorites needed were a drill, a couple of drill bits (7/64″ and 1/4″), tape measure, level, needle nose pliers, screwdriver (or bit for drill)

image

I measured my grapes and found that the node where the vines split at was about 18″ of the ground.  I drill holes for attaching hardware with the 7/64 bit and in middle post with the 1/4″ bit for passing the wire through. The height of the wires can be customized, or evenly spaced.  I placed a bracket at the top of two posts and two on a third that will be the middle post. I placed one 2″x2″ in place like an L shape to mark the resting place.  By placing the bracket in place and using a pen to mark where the screws will be placed.  Once all piece are marked, the small bit will create a pilot hoke for screws.  Be careful not to drill completely through the posts. From the bracket measure out the spacing you wish for your wires.  I choose uneven to match where my grapes branch now. I have over six feet of height after installed,even spacing would be about 15″ apart as the too would potential be another support.  Measure these four point out on post.  Drill partially through on the end with small bit.  The center piece is drilled all the way through for the wire to pass through with the larger drill bit.  Attach the hooks into the end pieces by hand.

image

The cinder blocks are dug in.  The holes dug here used are not the same depth.  The land slopes and for final Arbor to level this maybe necessary.   You can start with same depth and back fill to make the top level.  It helps to have a second person.  But if you are alone put two posts a piece linking them.  Place the cinder blocks in holes, then attach the top piece.  Put a level on the top and check to see what adjustment is need. Once you get the first two done repeat with the third, but disconnect the first post only use two at a time or you may crack the wood or twist a bracket.

image

If we are level, no we,a reddis the concrete.  The fast setting concrete takes about a gallon of water.  The small cinder blocks will allow for a single bag to cover all is them.   Place a ppst inside then pour enough concrete mix to fill the inside of block 2/3 and add about a quart of water.  Pivot the post side to side a bit without lifting.  Fill the rest of the block up.   You can sandwich the post between two buckets filled with water to hold in place.  You could add another piece of wood to support it as well by temporary screwing another piece to be a leg.  Two ensure the second post is spaced perfectly, I put the piece that would fit on top between the posts in the middle.  It can rest on the eye hooks of the first post.  But let the first post sit for about half hour to hour for concrete to set.  Repeat for last post. Once all posts are set you add the wood pieces on top to complete the frame.

image

The wire that will support the vines needs to be connected.   The best way are wire clips.  They are U-bolts made really small. The clip goes on top of wire, you thread wire through loop and bring wire back through the U-bolts, then tighten.  The picture shows turnbuckle, but process is the same for the closed loops I started at the closed loop on our end side lowest on the post.  I threaded through the center post and then attached it to the turnbuckle as shown above.  The turnbuckle will slip on the opening hook on far post.  As shown, the wire is actually tightened by turning the turnbuckle.   After you install all the wires, you may need to retighten the first one.   You have created tension  across all the pieces and may have drawn the posts closer together.

image

We have completed an Arbor.  I used a soft wire covered strapping to tie the grape vines to the wires.   The leaves will look flipped over but they will straighten out.  The grapes will need a little attention to keep them in their right place.   Once the vines are supported,  I will weed and pave a weed barrier and mulch to keep the vines happy.

image

Tree Part 6

Today’s theme is more on survivors.¬†¬† Most of these were either in a bad space or some other tree took away there own space.

image

The grey narrow leaves here belong to a Russian Olive.¬† It doesn’t set fruit, but is very hard to kill.¬† They tend to spread and take over areas.¬† Some states have actually outlawed them.¬† Well, no chance in it taking over.¬† It lived quite peacefully but a Willow and Honeysuckle bush have converged in its space.¬† It could have been eight foot wide and ten feet tall.¬†¬† Its only those dimensions at an angle.¬† It grew to fit the open space.

image

This is a Red Bud Tree is a sign of spring.¬† It’s trunk is lined with wine red buds.¬† The flowers follow the branches not the tips of the branches.¬† This is a native tree.¬† It’s not as hardy as it seems a native should be.¬† Portions of the tree are subject to dead fall.¬† For no apparent reason it happens.¬† Trimming get the dead off usually gives the tree a fresh growth spurt.¬† This is a tree the Arbor Day people sell for 10 trees for $20. Full grown they rarely top 10 feet.  Most likely will be 8 to 10 feet wide.

image

The European Birch is a baby.  This is a tree from the clearance bin last year.  It was put near some Pin Oak Trees.  The Pin Oaks are out of control but provide shade to help this fellow establish itself.  While it is a 5 foot stick, the future could bring a graceful arching tree 15 to 20 feet tall.  Normally they will have multiple  (2-4 trunks) that will stay kind of tan.  Not as pretty as most birches, but fairly hardy with better tolerances of temperatures.

image

Winesap Apple Tree¬†is another tree in the wrong get spot.  It simply didn’t keep up with the Pin Oak in the last few years.  As with most Apple trees having another kind of apple that blooms at the same time will give you a better harvest.  The tree has never produced well because the pollinating tree has past on to the Orchard in the sky.

image

Scotch Pine Trees are evergreens.   But allows have brown patches.  They look half dead a lot of the year.   They love wet ground.   My swamplandis perfect for them.   The tree in the middle is about 65 feet tall.  It leans a bit.  Several birds pick off the dead ends for nesting material.

image

Black Chokeberry is a shrub.  It’s an escapee of incredible endurance.   It’s everywhere.  It’s a bird feeder for Cardinals, Robin’s, Blue Jays, Tufted Titmice, and Cedar Wax wings.  Needless to say, the seeds are spread by them well.  I kill off dozens of these a year.  The will get 15 feet tall and as wide as they can.  They fill the space given to them.

Trees -Parts 4

image

This is the back side of my property.   This is a forest about 80-100 years in the making.   The hardwood forest is typical for a swampy area of the Midwestern US. Hickory, maple, beech, and oak make a large canopy averaging about 60 feet above the ground.  High above Coopers Hawks, Red Tail Hawks, Great Horned Owls, Barred Owls, and little Saw Whet Owls nest and patrol the woods.  Where the woods open to savanna with high grass,and shrubs they hunt for song birds, mice, squirrels, and anything small enough to pick up.
The sounds come alive after about five minutes.   My wild turkey lives back here with deer, red fox, coyotes, and probably a mink or two.

image

The lower left is a Son of a Beech! The big smooth grey barked trees are Beech trees.  They are sixty to eight feet tall.  They drop branches in storms easily.  But the openings in the trunk are ideal for an owl to crave out a nest.  Woodpeckers can try small one but often get kicked out.  The Beech is softer wood and fast growing.  Common for populating reclaimed farmland.

image

This is a Sassafras Tree.¬† The leaves look like gloves.¬† Some are right and left, a few are double thumbed.¬† Another soft wood, but we have a surprise here.¬† If you break a branch it smells like root beer! Well that’s what its used for in traditional formulas.¬† This is another 50-60 foot tree.¬† They are self seeding, but never take over.¬† Smaller birds will nest in the branches, their large clustered leaves hide them well.

image

The Green Ash used to be the most common tree here.   It spreads easily.  The wood is great for firewood.  It grows at a moderate rate so it can quickly establish a barrier or reclaim land.  There’s only one problem.  The Emerald Ash Borer from China is decimating them.  We have lost a dozen full size trees in a year.  It’s graceful compound leaves (they cluster on the tips of branches) wave in the breezes.  

image

On the edge of the woods, the Swamp Willow with it’s silvery leaves is a super hardy tree.  The original tree fell over in a storm.  One of the branches fell into the ground sinking a couple feet in to the mud.  Two week later, we have a tree that grow roots and two months later spread out new branches.  The biggest this guy will get is about 30 feet tall, maybe this one will be 20 feet wide. It anchors the savanna, the transition from forest to field. 

image

The Thicket Service berry is an awesome shrub for the savanna area too.  It requires water.  That’s about it. This baby is old. It has more than thirty stalks, or trunks making it a shrub.  It will have red berries in August in years that frost doesn’t get the blooms!  I’m not sure if I will have any for the birds.

image

Lost on the little green, but centered with two trunks is a Hawthorne Tree.  These are Arbor Day Foundation Trees.  That means a paid $10 for 10 trees and eight years later, this is the only living tree left!  Hawthorne Trees have beautiful orange berries that Cedar Wax Wings, Cardinals, and Grossebeaks go crazy over.  The tree also has three inch thorns!  Apparently, the tree must be tasty…nature doesn’t add defenses without reason.  On its own, and your suburb may use these on tree lawns, it’s 15 feet tall and a column build to it.  Nice light colored leaves add detail to lsndscape.