Saturday, June 07, 2008


Stick Farm?

Three trees, replaced last year due to death by unknown causes, began dropping their leaves two weeks ago. I sought help. The local green "Natural Gardener" store asked me if I had thought to bring along any leaves. I didn't. I then made the round trip with leaves, to hell with the price of gas. The response from their expert was, "Gee, I don't know. You should call an expert. Here's the list of experts."

My teeth grinding did stop later that day.

I call the Arborist. "$125. I'm booked till late next week."

Well, heck, trees are expensive and something is making this set look like the last set and that's bad. I book the guy.

He came Friday and was actually someone I trust... of course I don't know any better, but he was older and seemed to know what he was saying. And he had a trowel. He said none of the trees was near death, that I had to lower the soil level, expand the 'saucer' made by mulch'n'compost'n'dirt'n'stuff. And water the hell out of them. Oh - and stake them so that the rootball doesn't wiggle in the wind we get here because that snaps the widdle rootlets before they can establish.

I go to LOWES, get the stakes, some tubing; already have the wire.

Today before it got too hot I thought I'd drive those stakes into the ground... uh...
no. The soil here is caliche. That means it's rock. Our property has a thin layer of soil under which is rock. Limestone.

I got out the "Texas Toothpick" - a 6 foot steel bar with a point on it - I'd guess it weighs 35 pounds, but whatever it is, it gets heavier with use. Trust me. This is seriously heavy-duty steel. At one point I had it jabbed into the 'soil' to a depth on only an inch or so and I was putting so much pressure on it that it actually flexed. Arrr. Arrr. Arrr.

Two of the 3 trees needed staking. While thinking I should:

a) go rent an air hammer
b) seek explosive
c) be careful because by now I am dripping sweat and must rehydrate
d) NOT spray myself with the hose because it's sitting in the sun and that water is scalding
e) get my will in order
f) hire day laborers
h) go buy some quick set cement

...I grunted for hours - literally - and mined my way through the dirt and stone.

The deed is done and I hurt in places I've never hurt. My fingers hurt - my arms, shoulders, neck, back, legs...

But I do feel like I accomplished something.

Will This Tree Cheat The Grim Reaper?

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