Friday, August 19, 2016

Rocks and Roll

What do you do just before going on vacation?  Pack clothes and towels and shoes?  Yes.  Grab your swimming suit? Yes. Make snacks for the ride? Yes.  Get 21 tons of rocks?  Yes! Only at the Cat Ranch.

We're not just talking about stones, we're talking about ROCKS.  Rocks, baby.

Walt Kowalski and I directed traffic as the tri-axle truck delivered the stones.  Some cars didn't mind waiting a moment and other were jerks and speed off like they were late for surgery.  Those are the same people that pass you and you catch up to them at the red light. 

The truck couldn't get off the road any more because there is a dip and he didn't want to get stuck.

Now that is a pile of rocks. As the driver was empting the load, our neighbor stopped to watch.  Normally, when we see him, he's half in the bag, but today he was leaving.  (Probably to go GET half in the bag.) He stopped his truck and watch the stones pour out of the truck.  As the driver was unloading, he said "Yeah! Jerk it man, jerk it.  Yeah!  You got it.  Good job!" 

Then came the hard part, which Walt Kowalski did most of, moving the stones one by one.  By hand.  We wanted the largest ones as a base and fill in to the top.  I used the smaller stones to fill in from the bottom up to Walt Kowalski's edge.

The pile slowly decreasing.  Every day, move a few more. 

My work of making a "river" up to meet Walt Kowalski's.

I like how the rocks follow the contour of the land.  We want to add some more so the "river" isn't as small.  

We've had so many people stop and tell us how nice it looks.  Some stopped right in the middle of the road. Several times, people looked twice and almost sideswiped the guardrail! One guy even pulled up in the driveway, got out of his car, and walked over to talk to Walt Kowalski.  Snuck up on him and startled him.  This guy had a whole list of questions.  "Where did you get the rocks? How much did the cost? How many tons?  Are you a professional?  Are you the homeowner? Can I get this for my yard?  Can you help me with my yard?"

Monday, August 8, 2016

Falling Trees

We have been so busy with everything.  (Isn't everybody?) We have neglected so much.  Lately it seems like all we do is laundry and clean up cat hair.  How many cats DO we have?

When I'm at work, all I can think about is everything I want to do at home. After work we've been working on drywall and patching seams at the project house, then by the time we get back to the Cat Ranch, all I want to do is sit and watch the sunset with a cocktail and Walt Kowalski.   

Two months ago, in the middle of the night, I heard a big crash of a tree.  The crash in the silence of the night woke me out of a sound sleep.  It was a clear night with no breeze.  In the morning, I told Walt Kowalski and we went out to the patio to investigate.  Nothing. Maybe it was in my dreams. 

Several weeks later, we were sitting on the patio and Walt Kowalski said "Look at that big branch that fell over in the forest!" We went to investigate and found the branch I heard fall.  It wasn't just a branch, but a branch the size of a tree.  

Last month, we were at the neighbor's cookout when we heard another branch falling in the forest.  Same tree. Not as big of a branch, but still a big crashing noise.  Everybody at the cookout stopped to watch.

Our trees are self-destructing.

Two weeks ago, we were sitting on the patio enjoying the sunset and having a quick dinner.  With the humidity so high lately, the evening breeze has been a relief. As we sipped our cocktails, we could hear the branches in the canopy above us.  We thought we heard what sounded like a cracking noise. Nothing alarming, no visible branch falling.

Then last week, we were once again enjoying the remains of the day on the patio when Walt Kowalski happened to look up and say "Holy crap look at that branch!" Just off the patio, in the canopy of leaves above, was a HUGE branch that had fallen. The leaves and small top branches were caught in the crook of a branch on another tree.  The trunk of the branch was still attached to the main part of the tree.  It was hanging precariously over the entrance to the shed.  

So what did we do?  We went to look at it and stood directly underneath of it and looked up.  Of course. 

It was ripped, but still connected to the main part of the tree. 

Everyday we looked and it was still there.  Still attached. But the rip was getting longer.  And the amount attached was getting smaller. 

Then this weekend, while we were away helping a friend move, the neighbors called.  

Neighbor: "There was a big crash of a tree up at your house. Everybody in the neighborhood came to look."
Walt Kowalski:  "Oh man, the branch fell.  Did it hit the shed?"
Neighbor: "Nah, but one of your tiki torches took a direct hit and there is mulch all over the patio."

It was a nice sized branch and is blocking one of the doors to the shed where the tools to cut up the branch are located. 

You can see how high the branch was when it was originally attached. 

And the dagger that speared the mulch. We figure this is where the initial impact of the branch hit, then it splintered again.

We were bummed we missed it fall, but we're glad it fell. Had it fallen when we were home, we would have probably been working in or around the shed.