This Old New House

Some things outside had to be worked on, too—some fairly obvious, some not so, some brought on by necessity. For example, in the cover picture, you may be able to tell that the roof is a little rough. It took us three years and four hurricanes, but we finally have a new roof (June 2007).

original front elevation Same picture as on opening page—my favorite view. current front elevation New roof, new shrubs. Linda's done a lot with the plantings. roof detail Roof detail. It's similar to an architectural shingle—I think they call it textured.

Trees were another problem. We (actually our neighbor) lost two with three large canopies on the south side of our house as seen in the Hurricane Charley page. The one in the middle of the front yard has been slowly dying, but I'm loathe to cut down any. Linda kept insisting it was dead—I kept insisting it wasn't. While she was in Chicago attending the birth of our fourth grandchild, I checked out the canopy through my binoculars and reluctantly agreed with her assessment. I decided to take it down while she was gone (so she wouldn't yell at me for overworking myself) and surprise her.

This may have been the hardest physical labor I've ever undertaken. I was wiped out getting the canopies off the roof after the hurricane, but this was much, much harder. I used the ladder, and intended to use my climbing spikes, to get up to the first crotch, figuring to hack off the three leads. I got one cut and it brushed me pretty firmly coming down, which scared me. All those years of tower climbing didn't come near scaring me as much as that did. I decided to fall the rest at the base.

I planted it just where I wanted it, and then hurried to get all the canopy off the street (our street is very quiet). The fatiguing part wasn't the falling—it was the limbing and bucking. I spent three days hand clipping the canopy enough to fill twenty some odd yard waste bags, and leveled the stump, and hauled the bucked sections to the side yard. I was able to get all but two into the wheelbarrow by myself, but needed my neighbor's help on the two largest sections.

text Even though it was dying, it was still a nice looking tree. text I have one lead down. I'm not going back up there. text Oops. Good thing no cars came by during its descent.

text But I laid it right on the line I wanted. text All gone.

That tree was falled on 16 September 2006. Linda was indeed surprised…and pleased. Unfortunately, it energized her to convince me that we needed to take out the biggest tree on the property. The one lesson I learned doing the front tree was that I was not capable of handling the big one. But the discussion only lasted a month.

In October we hired a crew who had done some work at a neighbor's. They were very professional and my neighbor and I sat in lawn chairs in the front yard and watched them all day. Unlike most tree jobs where a climber goes up and cuts and lowers sections to the ground crew, this one was cut entirely from the bucket. The cutter told me the tree was too brittle and had too much lean to do it conventionally.

text It was definitely dying, and being on the north side, wasn't really providing any shade. text What convinced me to go ahead and take it down was the prospect of it failing in another storm and destroying a good portion of our roof (and my shop). text That guy only came out of that bucket a couple of times the whole day.

text Now we're down to about a 30' stalk. The last 25' actually caused more problems than the rest above. text At this point, it was belay the trunk, notch it, cut it, and pull it over. text Final bucking. You can see this was a pretty good sized tree.

text I cut a deal with the tree crew to not only grind this stump, but the one I took down the month before (above), and one I'd had taken down in the back yard in '03. text We're finally used to the old boy not being there, but it took a while. It's amazing how much personality trees can have. text Well, whaddya know? After nearly ten years of looking at (and hearing) that tired old fiberglas™ door, we finally got around to a replacement.

There was one, small 2" leaner in the back yard that I've since taken down. It wasn't a viable tree from the start, so it wasn't an issue. However, absent future storm damage, we should be done falling trees for a while.

Notice that the last picture is recent (January 2013) from almost the same perspective as the one before it (October 2006). Visit the bottom of theshoppage to see some inside effects. One old door, one new door. Crap, now I have to power wash the soffits, fascia, and gutters…

Last updated: 28 January 2013

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