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I was going to crop out the truck, but late 70s Ford trucks with levels and plans hanging from the gun racks (sometimes fishing poles, sometimes ice axes, so far never guns) are as much a part of this place as the flora.



Does the fire hydrant look crooked to you, too? I’ve had a several levels on every possible plane and the bubble is dead center every time. If you’re looking for the penultimate hose reel, that’s it right there. When Rapid Reel comes up with an equally well-designed model that incorporates a mechanism that feeds the hose from side to side as it reels it in (the name for that escapes me at the moment) it will be the ultimate hose reel. You’ll spend far more money on cheap but not inexpensive plastic hose reels than if you just go ahead and splash out on this one.

Before long all those pretty leaves will be brown bits of ugly covering everything and clogging up the pond and waterfall under the big green tree on the right (Styrax japonicus). In the spring, that tree is covered with billions of little white flowers and puts on a spectacular show. Later in the spring those falling billions of pretty white flowers require the shutting down of the pond until they all fall off (their descent often aided with a leaf blower and some well-placed whacking of branches), after which it takes Captain OCD several hours worth of cleaning and declogging with his hands in the chilly water to get the pumps ready to go again. Don’t let the beauty of deciduous and heavily flowering plants blind you to the future maintenance headaches of installing them over water features.


The tree on the right is not dying, it’s a larch, a deciduous conifer.


Japanese maples can make anyone look like they know what they’re doing. That someone who lives here does know what he’s doing also helps, but I’ve been complimented on my pruning of the trees and I don’t know what I’m doing, so maintenance pruning can’t be that difficult. To reshape a tree or force it to grow into a shape not inherent in its nature, however, requires artistry, which leaves me right out. Just remember – it’s a tree and it will grow back. Probably.