Tag Archives: tree

Daily Drama 22 (Death and Destruction)

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Daily Drama 22 (Death and Destruction)

What is Dobby looking at? Why did he park himself at the gate to the aviary?

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We have had a visitor

It’s raccoon season. I have a love-hate relationship with raccoons. As long as they stay out of my aviary and leave us alone, I’m okay with them. But they are clever, vicious, disease-ridden, and a constant reminder for me to be ever-vigilant.

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Right outside the gate, but outside is better than inside!

It’s great having volunteers! Look at Kim, pretending to be a guinea pig!

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Kim is actually up in the cage.

The cage needed a tune-up. I’m not willing to leave the walls unprotected to see if the guinea pigs try to eat them like my rabbits and parakeets do. However, the back panels protecting the wall were odd colors, and were slipping down. They’re all white now, and attached to the horizontal red ones for support.

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Thank you, Kim!

Kim is especially partial to Carl Sagan.

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Kim and Carl, BFF’s Forever!

We had a big windstorm and 14 hour power failure. Because Connor trimmed back all those branches last summer, we didn’t have any damage to the aviary. I was surprised to discover that the old mailboxes, now relocated as birdhouses to the front yard, had taken a hit.

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Three boxes are open, the far left one is askew, and Dobby’s flag is drooping.

In the photo above, please also notice the horizontal branch to the left of the mailboxes. That was not my tree until it fell into my yard Saturday night.

 

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Poor ickle mailbox

Here’s that tree, or rather, what’s left of the treetop after it shattered itself on the old mailboxes.

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Thank you for the tree, neighbor!

In the photo below, you can see where the tree “crossed the line.”

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Maybe it was trying to escape.

The last tree that tried to escape onto my property was a full-sized weeping willow. When it fell over, the roots turned skyward, breaking the edge of the pond, causing a bit of a flood. This attempted escape was very subtle.

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Neighbor’s property                 |              My Property

The photo below looks back at their property from mine, toward the newly created stump. That’s Scamp’s turtle pond to the right. A second tree broke off near this one and is still laying in the middle of his pond. My neighbor lost 6 trees altogether. It’s all wetland over there, and the dead fallen trees make excellent habitat for amphibians.

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Scamp’s turtle pond

My neighbor is very efficient and has already removed the tree off our fence. The larger bent pipe is the top rail of the fence. It’s still high enough to keep curious capybaras out of his pond. (Yes, I should take him over there, but I’m not confident I would ever get him to come back. Plus, from the pond next door he would readily find the creek that leads to nearby Lake Washington.) The smaller pipe, not so bent, is electrical conduit leading out to the greenhouse. Maybe I should get that checked out someday.

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  Larger darker pipe: top rail to chain link fence                Smaller lighter pipe: electrical conduit to greenhouse

Earlier in the week, tragedy strikes. The graveyard has a new resident.

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Dobby pays his respect.

Little Krumpit, my handicapped Sparrow, died abruptly at the age of 5 years. This has been a year of many losses, but I am surprised at how much I miss this tiny bird. My little indoor flock has also been affected by his departure.

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Krumpit the Sparrow, in the garden, with the prayer flags that adorned his summer-afternoon-outdoor-visiting cage

Dobby has been allowed to carve his own pumpkin. He has gashed a couple jagged scars in it. Now that Halloween has passed, we’ll see if he’s interested in sharing it with the guinea pigs, rabbits, and chickens. Or whether the squirrels will haul it up a tree, to join those decoys!

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Scarface and Scarface

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Daily Drama 19 (Tree Time)

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Daily Drama 19 (Tree Time)

The trees at The Funny Farm have been misbehaving. Actually, they have a disease that is causing the upper branches to die and break off. You can see what this does to my aviary top netting in Daily Drama 13.

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There shouldn’t be big bare twigs at the top of those trees.

There are some band-tailed pigeons that like to perch up there, though.

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I can’t get them to come to my bird feeders, though.

Dobby wants to tell part of the story.

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It’s not me. The crows chase away the pigeons.

A LOT of branches have been falling, though they don’t all make holes when they fall.

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We’re not talking about little twigs, here.

The other problem is that raccoons like to enter the aviary through holes that open at the net where the birch tree trunks go through. I have patched holes, and then patched the patches for a dozen years. Now there are so many layers of chicken wire that the leaves and small twigs pile up and hold water. The wire rusts through, and it is no longer possible to determine whether the aviary is secure at the tree trunk area.

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The patched area shows as a dark zig-zag that looks like a swarm of bees in this photo.

Because repairing the net means exposing a large area to predators, the work must be completed in one day, secured before dusk. We recruited our neighbor, Connor, to help tackle the chore. His experience with tree trimming prompted him to immediately recommend taking out the smaller of the three birch trees. It was actually a very low, large branch. That would never have occurred to us. He cut the tree branch and pulled it into the aviary through the hole opened up for the repair. Now we only had to patch around the two larger trees.

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Get in our way and we will cut you down!

By the time the tree was pulled into the aviary, most of the spiders were out of the way.

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The spiders are huge this year.

Dobby wanted to rub his morrillo on the branches, but I sent the flock out to play in the yard with him instead.

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Jello the daredevil chicken stayed in for a while. All the bugs coming down were too tempting.

Here are the two trees that grow through the aviary netting. It isn’t easy to secure the “roof” around them. You can see the chickenwire cylinders we attached. We’ll connect the roof to the chickenwire. You can also see Connor’s rope . . . and just make out Connor way up there.

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Raccoon highways into the aviary, unless the net is secure.

Connor’s second brilliant suggestion was to remove as many dead branches as possible. BEFORE they crash through the net. WHILE the access hole is still open. That’s why he climbed up into the tree.

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Dobby wants to remind everyone that Connor has been up in our trees before. He did some major trimming in spring, and now the rotten maple doesn’t hang OVER THE HOUSE any more.

Everybody moved out from under Connor’s work area, even though he was actually working with a net. Spiders.

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Cutting and yanking branches, tossing them over his shoulder into the open hole in the net below.

Don’t forget about Dobby’s corn time! He likes to take his corn off this table. If we put it on the ground, he walks away until we put it on the table for him.

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“Corn on the table, Dobby!”

More cut, yank, and toss.

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That’s a LOT of dead wood. The trees will probably die, eventually. I won’t spray them over a wetland.

Almost done. Each falling branch would have required a prompt removal and net repair, some random, inconvenient time this winter.

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Preventative maintenance

Grover hid in the aviary, but Kitty Hawk came out and Dobby hung out with him on the deck.

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Dobby doesn’t always chase him. It’s more fun to be spontaneous.

If you look at the earlier photos, you will see how much dead wood Connor managed to remove. There’s still more, but he got the big stuff.

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Not enough time before dark to get all of the dead wood.

Dobby and Kitty Hawk were underfoot. This is why none of us were IN the aviary during the tree work.

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Butt. Other end is probably chewing the top off my boots.

Compared to the tree trimming, the actual net repair went quickly with three people. This time we used 2″x 2″ wire mesh. It is big enough to let small leaves and snow fall through, but too small and too stout for raccoons to get through. It’s also flexible enough to give a little when the trees blow around in strong wind. I love cable ties, but we used a lot of wire, too.

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Raccoon-resistant, because I am not foolish enough to believe that ANYTHING is raccoon-proof.

Dobby is ready to go to the front yard, now. In this photo, and in real time, too. I need to finish my story and go outside with him.

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Waiting patiently

The trees are a beautiful sight, now, knowing that dead wood is down.

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Winky says hello, and why haven’t I mentioned her, not even once? Okay, look for Winky. She’s BROWN.

The old netting we took out? The garbage crew didn’t take it. Wonder why . . .

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Really ugly stuff. We went over the ground with a magnet to pick up bits of wire, too.

Okay, Dobby, I’m coming. But first, look at the leftover wire. We call that “cutting it close.”

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That’s not much spare wire, but we’ll never need to patch it again, right?