Wednesday, April 26, 2017

So glad you asked - yes, everything is doing fine.

Everything is Spring and in full swing this April 2017.

The water fowl seem to congregate in the small streams out behind our garden.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Unbelievable - I captured the mint in the garden growing!

I did not think it was possible but my mint not only survived the winter, I also captured a video of it growing.

New leaves sprouting out - I love delicious chocolate mint.

Make sure you watch it for at least 10 minutes...

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April is doing its thing- Flowers on the up!

Made in China, nope, 'merican made!

More relaxing than that light beer your sippin'!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Spring arrives slowly, just like a wandering turtle.

It may creep up on you like this tortoise, but it is over 80F in mid-April.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Idiot's Guide on How to Raise a Fallen Tree

DIY or Die!  Idiot's Guide

 on How to Raise a Fallen Tree

It won't cost a fortune, I was able to upright a medium sized tree by myself for under $20 and about ~4 hours of labor over 2 days. Please read the entire post before starting - for entertainment purposes only


  1. Don't worry- I had never done this before. If one understand basic principles of leverage, then you are way ahead of the game.
  2. Google search with a few keywords; fallen damaged storm tree raise , for example. Read up a bit so you have an idea of the end goal.
  3. Gather these items you should already have, I only purchased a come-along and long nylon tie down strap.

  • rubber mallet to tap lumber into place when securing the tree
  • ladder if needed to attach securing points high on another tree.
  • long stick (over ~ 6 feet) used to raise a securing point when ladder won't reach
  • car jack ; hydraulic preferred but a scissors or screw jack would work
  • 3 pieces of lumber (I used 2"x 4"s) : 2 short (1 to 2 feet long) and 1 long (~6 feet long)
  • large screwdriver (used to release safety catches & keep your fingers out of the way)
  • heavy gloves & eye protection (you love yourself don't you?)
  • shovel, your favorite of course as you will be moving heavy wet soil.
  • buckets; 1 small & 1 large
  • come along ( I used one rated at 1,200lbs. as the tree was not too heavy), if you can afford a heavier duty one or may have other uses in the future- upgrade now)
  • nylon tie down of the length necessary to reach a very large & secure tree. If you decide to attach to a man-made object or structure, please video record the episode for one of those funny home video shows or a now trending disaster viral website. Use a nylon tie down, if something snaps or gives way, the energy will disperse and it will fall to the ground. If you use a long piece of metal cable or chain, you could decapitate yourself. The nylon strap is still dangerous under tension but has less mass. Here's a video of what happens when a metal chain snaps.
  • motorcycle handle bar straps (optional but effective, they are just strong short nylon straps with loops on each making adjust easier and less damage to the tree, here's an example)

OK, you have read a few posts by experts- now it's time to dig in!
Get the shovel, but wait, let's examine the digging process...

You want to dig a semicircle on the side you will pull from.

Once the semi-circle is dug, it's time to clear under the roots. When you raise the tree it will need somewhere to go, this is very important. I managed to save the large roots by excavating carefully.

Remember the two bucket? Now it's time to get any excess water out. Most trees fall over in a storm accompanied by rain so the ground is probably saturated with water

You will now notice a tree that would not budge no matter how hard you pushed will now move easily. Hopefully the fallen tree is not laying flat on the ground. Recall those basic leverage principals and try and get the tree propped up as much as you can. My fallen tree so a crooked one so it did not lay flat on the ground. This probably the only time you will need assistance if the tree is laying flat.

Methods of preparing a tree completely level to the ground to get better leverage:
1) use lumber to leverage it up; or
2) the car jack (which you forgot to get but will definitely need later)

Let's secure the ends of the device to raise the tree. You can see the nylon strapped will limit damage to the tree's bark. A ladder or pole can be used if you want to place the tie off point higher, just remember to maximize your leverage points and calculate how strong your securing points will be.

It is advisable to have the come-along on the lower point and next to the tree where a slip and fall in the mud won't be as bad as falling off a ladder. When hand cranking at the lower point next to the fallen tree it is easy to listen to the stress on the roots structure and the cabling. This way you stop before disaster strikes. Note: I used heavy gloves and eye protection at this point. If your a motorcyclist like me- helmet with face shield and those protective gloves can be used.

OK, now the moment you have been waiting for. Remember to ratchet slowly, listen, and stand (or anyone else nearby) out of the direct line of the cable and keep away from the fallen side of the tree. If the device slips or fails , a lot of energy will be released AND the tree will fall again but maybe not in the same place as soil was removed from under it.

I had a two day window of good weather. I decided to raise the tree half leaving room for the excess water to refill the hole and not to stress the roots in one attempt. After raising the tree half way I braced it with a long piece of lumber.

Here's where the fun ends,
 you will encounter problems.

By design you will only be able to raise the tree part of the way. The come-along spool will only accept a certain length of the cable. You did read the safety instructions included for the come-along.  Here is where the lumber and car jack come in handy. You will need to be creative and brace the car jack to relieve tension on the main device and strap. Since the nylon strap is a tie down, it will be adjustable and you can take in the slack when reattached. Once you release the tension, you will be able to pull out the cable from the drum of the come-along and finish raising the tree.

OK mate! Time to adjust the device by letting out the cable slack on the come-along and adjusting the slack out of the nylon strap. As stated before I left it secured with strap and cable overnight so the excess water could be removed. 

Once the tree was upright re-secure it with the strong limber and refill the hole with dirt The experts tell us to pat down the solid and water the ground at this point. Personally I would recommend not over soaking the ground.

We are not done yet!

Again use the jack and lumber to release the tension on the strap. You want to remove the come along from the securing line or expect it to rust or worse yet bang your head into it since the line will need to stay one or two years for the root system to redevelop to a healthy and strong state. At the final securing I raised the two ends of the tie off points on the tree higher to be out of the way. The ladder and stick come in handy at this point. Careful on that ladder as the ground maybe soft. Hopefully you read the whole document to end by this point and were wise enough to buy a nylon strap in a color that you may have to look at for 1 or 2 years. 

Please be safe & good luck. I do not endorse anyone trying this themselves, as I stated- For Entertainment Purpose Only. 

And here is how it looks a few days later...

Pic of the base of a small tree that was successfully raised after wind damage

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Early design stages of R2D2

This will make my 5 gallon

 old pickle bucket obsolete!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Fabulous Miniature Tulips in Northeast Ohio

Gardening, yes, it is Better than Baseball 

- but not by much

It's almost opening day for Cleveland Indians

 but we are still in spring training

Picture of a White and yellow miniature tulips in Northeast ohio
Miniature Tulips

Why not try growing some tulips this year?

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Springtime and the little devils are sprouting up

It seems we had more rain than 

snow this winter in Northeast Ohio

Let's hope the sun drys out everything

 so we can get to gardening

It might not look like a lot to you but if you sat out a miserable Ohio winter with gray skies and frowns this is all a welcome sight. 

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pic of small green leaves sprouting during April in Ohio

pic of small budless flowers sprouting during April in Ohio

pic of small budding crocusesrs sprouting during April in Ohio

pic of dafodils without flowers sprouting during April in Ohio

pic of purple flowers during April in Ohio

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