Silver Maples

The silver maples along the road are starting to bud.

These poor trees have been topped by the power company for decades.

We talked about taking them down but I’m sure they are home to the screech and hoot owls we hear and other creatures, too.

They’ll stay for now.

I think there are eight of them.

I should have gotten a far away shot of them. Will try to do that tomorrow.

Afternoon of Pruning

Our daughters boyfriend, Luca, finished pruning this apple tree for us.

Luca, Samantha, Dave and I spent a couple hours yesterday afternoon hacking away at the honeysuckle between the pasture and the creek.

Forgot a before photo. This tree on the left was covered with honeysuckle.

We have so much more to do.

Above is the pile we created for the honeysuckle and the big tooth aspen we cut down some time ago. We are taking down the aspen because it is spreading into our meadow and most of it dies once it reaches a certain size anyway.

Once we clear, oh, another 20 feet or so of honeysuckle we will reach this tree. I can’t wait to get closer to identify it. It looks like it has an aspen growing through the middle of its many trunks.

I took all of the above photos this morning.

Took this photo this afternoon after I finished taking all this honeysuckle in the foreground away from the tree, top center. We’ll just keep chipping away at this invasive weed. Some of it is vines and some the bush variety. Many places on our property have both type. I also cut some out around the pines in the backyard and the maples along the road. I’ll need some help getting the roots out. Luca is coming back out later this week to help and Damian will help too once he recovers from a head cold.

Walk in the Pines

We crossed our creek to our pine forest today to plant some pignut hickory nuts, willow oak acorns and beech nuts. The pignut hickory nuts came from a walk we took on Christmas day at Betsy Bell Park here in Staunton. The acorns came from downtown Richmond and the beech nuts from my mom’s in Maryland.

Notice this ridiculously large vine wrapped around this tree. It’s probably japanese honeysuckle. We’ve started trying to rid our property of this invasive species. It totally covers the trees and kills them. Total eradication might be impossible. We will do our best.

Dave sees a bitty crayfish in the creek.

Fruit Tree Pruning

I woke up early yesterday and took this photo of the old elms in our front yard.

In the afternoon Dave and I pruned our pear tree. This is in the front yard. You can see the elm branches above the pear tree. As usual I forgot to take a before photo. We were very aggressive – shortening the tree, cutting off the water shoots and generally thinning it.

While Dave finished taking down the mistake of a fence we put up a couple years ago (below), I started pruning this apple tree in the orchard. It has been very neglected.

Yes, forgot the before photo. The fence just didn’t look good and it wasn’t functional (keeping the dogs in the yard) because we haven’t put up a fence in the back. Plans for any fencing are on hold. Basically, the dogs go where they want. Duke stays on our property – frequently roaming into the brush beyond the pasture and coming home full of burrs. Len visits the neighbors – giving them a look like they are on his property. Given his weight gain I expect he also visits the property behind us where they host dinners and bluegrass dances every Saturday night.

two white pines in the back yard

This is the apple tree when I finished with it. Lots more to do. You can see what I cut off in the foreground.

Sadly, we no longer have chickens. Well, we have them but they are in the freezer and the stock pot. We started having a predator problem in the fall – well, maybe in the summer, we just didn’t notice until the fall.  This week we were down to just three hens. We locked them in the coop and waited for a relatively warm morning. That was today. Maybe we will try having chickens again when Dave retires in a few years.

Getting some much needed rain today. Hoping for a good snow fall in February.

Photos of the Week

I’ll just lump these last several photos into one post. Good to get caught up!

Love the color of the leaves on our little chestnut oak planted a year ago in front of the barn.

Dave was away this week visiting his mom in South Carolina. Len missed him and would whine for him every so often. I’ve learned to ignore it.

Early morning frost on elderberry leaves.

A very old Norway Spruce.

It grows between the house and our two story shed.

Cottonwood Tree

I identified this tree – pretty sure it is a cottonwood – in the corner where the backyard meets the orchard. Then I found two more – another in the orchard along the property line and one down by the creek.

Chinese Privet

The end of October we started sawing away at this Chinese Privet. It is a highly invasive alien and we just realized what it is. Hard to see the small red bud tree among it’s foliage.

We also found a small American Beech tree.

So green! When I realized it was a beech I begged Dave to come out with me in the rain to put fencing around it to keep it from the deer. I’ve been thinking about the large beech tree we had in the backyard of our house in Springfield. The wildlife loved it. I’m very excited to watch this little sapling grow.

We also found another small tree but I guess I didn’t get a photo of it. Not sure what it is – possibly (hoping) a native plum.

Here is the mass of privet. I was amazed that Dave took down most of it over the course of a week. As you can see it is in the far corner of our front yard.

Here is just some of the wood from the privet. We’ve been told it makes good firewood.