Gloomy Scale

February 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

One of our maples has funny-looking dark patches on its bark:

Gloomy Scale on Maple

Mr. E did some digging. It sounds like an insect infestation called gloomy scale. (Lat. Gloomy Scale, Melanaspis tenebricosa (Comstock), Hemiptera: Diaspididae; haven’t found a Finnish name for them, but possibly something kirvansukuinen.) Gloomy scales can settle onto maples in poorer growing conditions and, among other symptoms, turn the bark black as if it’s been burned.

Looks like we have horticultural oil, mulch and watering in our (yard) future. Ohwell. Learned something new again!


Dealing with Snow and a Downed Tree

February 9, 2016 § 3 Comments

We had a snow storm last Friday. We were out to shovel the seven inches / ca. 17-18 cm of sloppy, heavy snow three times. It started during the night and went on most of the day, but by early evening the sky was clear already – and absolutely beautiful! This is the sky just before sunset, which was gorgeous, too, but I didn’t get a picture of that because nature served something else to distract us.

Pink Sunset in Feb 2016

A tree came down, completely blocking the street and the top of our driveway!

Tree Blocking Our Driveway

To the left of the pole in the picture above is our driveway.

Our nextdoor neighbor had just driven past on his riding snow blower to clear his niece’s yard up the road; likewise, Mr. E had just finished clearing the top of our driveway. The two of us were, in fact, standing in front of our garage about 10 yards / meters away from where the top landed, talking about the shoveling when we heard a crack and saw the tree come down. (Oak, we think.)

The fire department was out almost immediately to clear the road. It took them a couple of hours to chop the trunk, haul it aside and check the wires. By then it was too late for us to do anything about the top half that lay on our property.

Saturday morning we came out with loppers and saws. I snipped off smaller branches to make it easier to get to the trunk, and Mr. E sawed off the larger branches and cut the smaller trunks into manageable pieces. We staged the various sized parts in piles all around our driveway before hauling them off into the woods.

Larger Branches Ready to Haul off

Smaller Branches in Piles

Tree Trunk Pieces Downed Wire

Fortunately the day was sunny and bright – a joy to work in – for there was an awful a lot of tree to move, even though it wasn’t a particularly large one. I certainly have a new appreciation of how much of a tree’s volume the upper branches form!

All in all, Mr. E and I got off easy: the only damage was to the loppers, which I broke trying to snip off a branch that was a little too thick:

Broken Loppers

What makes me really happy is that no-one got hurt. Even the damage from the downed wires was limited: three households down the street lost their phone & Internet overnight, but I believe no-one was without electricity. There was no property damage, either. We were all very lucky.

There is still one piece of wire looping down to the ground (like a U), but it’s not obstructing anything, and we have four pieces of tree trunk to the side of our driveway that we need to cut and move. Lots of firewood in our future! 🙂

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

December 8, 2015 § 1 Comment

We got our Christmas tree this weekend from our yard, like last year. This one looks better, I think!

Tree 2015

In the front hall, I set one of my prized Scandinavian-style electric candle sets, our Finnish straw goat and Danish straw pig, the Finnish himmeli and a vase of leftover brances from the pine (barely visible on the floor).

Front Hall Ornaments 2015

I’m off for the rest of the year. Hyvää joulua ja onnellista uutta vuotta!

Happy End of November!

November 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

I’m taking the rest of the month off, blogwise.

November Sunset

Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating! Outside the U.S.: happy end of November!

End of a Season – Again

October 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

Fall’s undeniably here again. The overnight temps have dipped below freezing a few times already. Daytime temps are also inching closer to wintry numbers. We’re roughly in a mid-50s to low 60s Fahrenheit / 12-16 degrees Celcius range after a late weekend & early week in the 40s F / 6-8 C. I guess these will be the last wild flowers of the season:

Last Bouquet of 2015

The woods do look gorgeous, though:

October 2015 Woods

Hope you’re enjoying October!

Almost-Dead Tree Down

April 8, 2015 § 2 Comments

Construction for a new house (for a new owner) has begun on our neighboring lot. One definite benefit for us is the removal of a tree that has worried us for years.

There was a large, dying tree just beyond the borders of our lot. One of the trunks already came down a few years ago, and we thought it would only be a matter of time before a storm brought the whole tree down, and if we were unlucky, it would fall on our house. Fortunately, man got there first.

Dying Tree

For a few days, a team worked on clearing the lot for the diggers to get in. I just happened to look out the window in time on one of the felling days, grabbed my camera and saved the monumental event for posterity.

Dying Tree Down

Now it’s finally gone!

Monthly Photos Collected: The Final Edition

January 22, 2015 § Leave a comment

Here are all of the photo collages of my monthly photo project. The first third of the year is a little dismal:

2014 Monthly Photos Mashup 1of3

The second, very summery:

2014 Monthly Photos Mashup 2 of 3

The final third (of September, October, November and December) is looking quite grey:

2014 Monthly Photos Mashup 3 of 3

A full year finally done. It was really interesting, but I’ll admit I had some trouble with remembering to take the photo. I could manage the day just fine, but remembering to actually do it at noon – phew!

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