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Posts Tagged ‘tree’

Last October I finally stopped and took several photos of things growing on the branches of some of the trees in our yard.

aerial with lichen

Tillandsia recurvata (small ball moss) and lichen

Lichen? Fungi? No idea, I only got as far as the taking the photos.

Actually, I know a bit about some of it, just not all of is. The photo above is Tillandsia recurvata (or small ball moss). It is found a lot in the trees in our area.  The other “thing” growing with it is Crustose lichens. These are super thin symbiont, each a collaborative effort before a photosynthetic alge and a fungus. Cool huh!? (I didn’t know all that part, I had to look it up! The most I know was that it was a lichen!)

more lichen and possibly usnea

lichen, lichen and lichen?

The photo above has more crustose lichen and the more spiky one might be Pseudevernia furfuracea (lichen) or maybe a Evernia prunastri. I have no idea what the lacy orange-ish one is. Could be in the usnea group, just not sure. Just plain beautiful.

The colors are amazing. Nature is amazing.

Do you ever stop and take time to look at your trees? I mean really LOOK and see what is growing there?

Sincerely, Emily

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The entire East line of our property (300′) is full of cedar (Juniper) trees. They are wonderful because they help keep the morning sun off our house and that helps to keep things cooler for a while. They offer shade for some of the herb and flower gardens from the morning sun. They provide habitat for the variety of birds that live in our area. They also provide shade for the clothes line, because the hot Texas sun will fade our clothes rather quickly otherwise.

Chinese Pistache (Pistacia chinensis)

Chinese Pistache (Pistacia chinensis)

Around here, you will hear a lot of people say that the cedar (Juniper) are invasive. You will also hear them say the steal water for other trees and plants. Well, an invasive (to me) is an opportunist. It takes advantage of areas and will continue to grow and produce seedlings if the conditions are right. Back in the day when buffalo roamed our area, there were not a  lot of cedar (Juniper) trees. The buffalo hoof traffic kept the cedar trees under control. Since the buffalo don’t roam here anymore the cedar trees have taken advantage of the situation and now grow everywhere.

I am not sure if the cedar trees steal water from other plants, I do know that when it rains an inch, that all the leaves living on the tree soak up that water before it hits the ground. After that inch of rain, it is completely dry underneath the cedar trees. So, if that is “stealing,” then I guess they do.

As the trees get taller and older, the bottom branches die off.  Around our house, we have worked at trimming them off as they do that. The last few years we have noticed that more and more of the cedar are dieing and we find ourselves trying to come up with a plan to plant other trees amongst them to start growing and replace the cedars as they die.

You’ve probably heard the question, ” when is the best time to plant a tree?”…… answer: 10 years ago. Nothing grows real fast here, so had we been on top of this 5 years ago we would be that much more ahead of this game now. Well, we are not, so the best time to plant a tree for us is NOW.

We have four Chinese Pistache (Pistacia chinensis) in our yard. They are very established and are wonderful. One of them produced a lot of babies last year so I dug up several and potted them up to get them growing and last fall we planted four of them in the ground and they are doing really well. This spring I was able to dig up more seedlings and we will get them planted this fall. We also have a Vitex (also known as Chaste tree & VERY deer resistant) that is growing in the clump of cedar in the front yard. It does not get enough sun so it is rather leggy and scraggly, but we have taken out three cedars that were around it and it is starting to look a lot healthier now. Last Spring I found two babies under it and potted those up to get established. Last fall we planted those up near the front of the property line so that as we take out more cedar they will be growing up and provide us with some replacement trees and privacy.

front yard project 4This is an ongoing process. I am not able to head out with the chainsaw and trim cedar limbs or take down tress right now, so we are doing it as my husband has time. Normally, I would load the truck and take all the cuttings to the recycle place, but I just can’t do that yet either.

Several weeks ago my husband went on a trimming spree and we had 4 truck loads of cuttings that he took to recycle. On one of his trips he brought back a load of mulch. I had a plan to start planting more in the front section of our lot near the street and had picked up another Vitex and several ornamental grasses to go with a few agave babies from our neighbor. My husband dug holes and I helped him plant everything. Then I put out the paper feed sacks and we (he) covered that all with mulch. It is doing well.

You can see the area of cedar in our front yard and a few more dead trees that need to come out.

You can see the area of cedar in our front yard and a few more dead trees that need to come out. You can also see the Vitex blooming (light pink) in the background.

I have plans to create some sort of berm using some of the tree trimming and cover it with dirt and plant on and around it, but that is really going to have to wait until I am completely recovered so I can take that on myself.

My husband is really starting to see the urgency of getting other things planted as he starts to see how many of our cedar are dieing. I am grateful that he has had the time to help with the trimming and planting to move things along. It is an ongoing project, but it is nice to see some progress and some things taking shape.

Are you working on any yard projects?

Sincerely, Emily

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It feels like spring in South Texas. My apple tree has some buds appearing, one of the peach trees has it leaves almost opening up, and the wrens are sneaking into the back screen porch to build nests. I am up and moving around, so I need to take a walk around the back yard (with my camera) and check out the other trees to see what they are doing. The day time temperatures have been warm, and at time downright hot. The night time temps have hardly dipped at all (although a few nights ago it was 45F – yes I know that is a heatwave for many of you. I grew up in Minnesota so I understand that when you have been in a deep-freeze and the thermometer rises to 30, your jackets start coming off and you roll down the windows in your car.

Perfect wren nesting area

Perfect wren nesting area

The past 3 days I have walked out into the screen porch and found wrens out their building nests (yes, in the screen porch.) I can’t get too upset, after all, I leave the back screen doors wide open, well, not actually wide open but blocked open for the cats to come and go during the day. So the wrens should know that there is a difference. Wide open would mean they were invited to come in and build. Just blocked open means, no not you, just the cats. However, I guess blocked open wide enough for a cat to get through (9″) is really wide open for a wren, isn’t it?! Dang it, I just lost my own argument.

Peach tree 2-2013With all this Spring-like weather the birds are active and singing their songs. The trees are right out there with them, showing their buds. That reads spring to me.  For me, I am way behind in where I should be for this time of year. I have no seeds started, and even though I would like to, it will not be happening this  year. That just makes me down right frustrated, but I need to calm down and go with the flow. And the flow this year, at this time, means I need to take care of myself, and it means no seeds started or yard-doings of any kind. I am finding that I am very good at walking around the backyard with my husband (when I can catch him at home during daylight hours – gosh that is challenging!) and point at things that need to be watered, moved, done, etc. In fact, I even found a bamboo stick back there to use as a pointer, then there is no way he can’t  see what I am pointing at (no bending over for the girl.)  The “water that”, “what?”, “that”, “which one” thing has been solved. I know can point with the bamboo stick, right down to the plant.

The wrens are certainly entertaining to watch (as long as I am not chasing them out of the screen porch.) They are happy singing and busy working. Me, I am just standing still watching and listening. Maybe this surgery is a big huge message for me to slow down and watch and observe. I have a hard time sitting still. Normally, while I work outside, I do sit and watch what is happening around me.  I enjoy listening to the birds and watching them, I just never expected to have to sit and watch them while the world went by.

By the end of March I can start to re-join my real world, with limitations. Limitations! UGH! I am grateful to be here. I am grateful to be able to watch the birds. I am grateful to be able to watch the trees and the bud and leaf out.

I am glad that I have the wrens around. They keep moving ahead, building next, planning for the spring.

Are you on track for your spring chores?

Sincerely, Emily

You can see what else I am up to over at Sincerely, Emily. The topics are varied, as I jump around from gardening to sewing to making bread or lotion and many things in between.

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Happy Sunday to you all!  I hope you are staying warm and cozy on this December day.  When we think of December there are many things that come to mind…snow, woodstoves, family, presents, hot cocoa.  Few things say Christmas and the holidays quite like a Christmas tree!  So today we are sharing some of our photos of what we think of when we consider our Christmas trees.

I used to have trees with fancy ornaments.  I also used to have trees with teddy bears.  I loved those trees…

But somehow I wanted something that was more personal, something with a deeper meaning than grabbing an ornament at Hallmark.  So about 7 years ago I started decorating our trees like this…

I take so many pictures that I actually have 3 trees covered with photos of my family.  This is in the dining room. I tried adding icicles, and garland but kept coming back to simple black and white photos.  I must admit that more than anything else I put up at Christmas this is what brings a smile to my face.  I also can spend vast amounts of time wandering from tree to tree looking at all the pictures and remembering when each one was taken!

Each year I add about 100 photos…I think I may have to get another tree! Oh and yes there are a few pictures of the camel on there…I put them towards the back, lol!

And while we are talking about trees I have to share the giant that lives in our pasture…

This huge fir tree which dwarfs all the other trees in the area is most stunning in winter when we get one of our rare Northwest snowfalls.  I have always wanted someone to climb to the top and put a huge star up there for all of the valley to see…but alas I have had no volunteers so far!

Neither growing up nor during my married life have we ever had a live Christmas tree.  We enjoyed the traditions of stringing popcorn and cranberries and used way too much tinsel, but we never felt like a live tree would help my allergies.  For some reason, this year seemed different to me.  I don’t know if it is the economy or the fact that the kids are getting older, but it seemed like this was our year to do something different and a bit more old fashioned.

11_30_2009 064

We headed to the farmers’ market and selected our first live tree ever.  It was grown locally and I was happy to support a local farmer.  I also got to join the ranks of folks who drive about with a tree strapped to the roof of the van!

11_30_2009 054 11_30_2009 061

We have a mixture of ornaments, some made by the kids over the years and some that we have bought on vacation. We typically do not buy ornaments just for the sake of decorating our tree, but rather buy ornaments at meaningful occasions…like every trip to the beach!

At Roberts Roost the tree is a celebration of the return of light to the world.  We use an artificial tree in the house and plant a new tree in the yard each year.

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