Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tree Climbing

Today in my Fall Tree Care class we did our tree climbing test. 
First thing Spencer had to get a line up into the tree to get things started. 
 I got harnessed up and and tied my knots: two half hitches, a blake's hitch on the climbing line, and some figure eight stopper knots.
Climbing the tree using a double rope system.

 Made it up the tree.
 The instructor sent up a little extreme ironing for me to do while I was up there.
It was a lot easier to repel down than it was to climb up.
 Back on the ground it was time to undo all the knots.
Good day.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Stuff I want to know ...

  • How to efficiently process hazelnuts in the shell
  • A good system for cleaning my garden tools. What kind of oil should I use? 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rain Garden Construction

Time to mark out a rain garden to capture the water from the gutters that are about to be installed. This looks like a good place for a garden. Needs to be 48 square feet (which is one tenth of the roof area this downspout covers). Time to start marking the outline with a shovel to begin to remove the turf.
Shasta helpfully supervises.
Keep marking.
There. I now have the boundary delineated. Now we pull the turf out of the interior.

The dirt I remove I use to build up a berm around the outer edge, and a bigger berm between the garden and the sidewalk that I'll use to plant a hedgerow.
Adding some compost to the base of the berm to improve organic matter and water holding.
Dig in the compost a little.
Lay some branches to decay in place, add some soil, then sprinkle with glacial rock dust for good measure.
Now for some serious earth moving.
Shasta keeping a close eye on things.

Hey look, it works!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pruning with Friends of Laurelhurst Park

Once a month, the Friends of Laurelhurst Park gather at, you guessed it, Laurelhurst Park to work: weeding, mulching, pruning.
This week I spent most of my time pruning a Pieris japonica.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Pittock Mansion Pruning

I went to volunteer at the gardens at Pittock Mansion this morning with the intention of doing battle with the re-emerging Vinca, but it turned out to be pruning day.

We had a nice array of weaponry at our disposal to address the DDDDD's of pruning: Dead, Dying, Diseased, Damaged, Disoriented.

The tools were pretty new to me, but it didn't take long to get the hang of them. Pole mounted tools sure beat having to use ladders to get close to everything. Though they also had some nice 3-point orchard ladders for getting up high enough to clean up the crowns. A chain saw on a stick is a beautiful thing.

After working on three of the cherry trees, I spend a little bit of time starting to clean up a pretty scraggly little fellow....

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Plant Propagation -- Followup -- Labor of Division

In week 6 of the PCC Plant Propagation class we did some work dividing plants. Recently I took a couple followup pictures.





Gardening at 1860s Kitchen Garden

I volunteered for the first time at the 1860's Kitchen Garden at Champoeg State Park. It has a lovely rustic arbor covered with hops.
The garden has several prepared beds. Most of the bed is typically in one crop with a little patch at the end need the path planted in something different.

I liked the use of cloches (glass bell jar) to give some plants a head start.

There were some terrific trellises made from apple tree trimmings. Some had the buds bloom after they were planted.
Here is a nice arrangement for beans to climb on...
I worked on making a large trellis that we took to calling trellizilla that will obscure the modern electrical box once the plants grow up.

A view of the garden with the threshing barn beyond.
I liked the look of their compost bins as well.

Portland adventure

Sharon had a meeting downtown so we decided to make an adventure of it and walked to the Max and took the Green Line to Pioneer Square. On the way we saw some navy ships docked for Fleet Week.

I hopped off early to check out the offices of Timber Press which publishes a number of books I have enjoyed and many more that I want. I asked them if I could get a discount if I bought one of each. Turns out you can get 10% off if you buy $200 or more. That would be easy do. I probably found 40 books that would be nice to have. Then I remembered the reading stack I am actively trying to work through. They are coming out with a book on Free-Range Chicken Gardens that looks really cool.

When I finally made it to Pioneer Square to meet up with Sharon there was a cool display of flowers in the form of a World Map.

We enjoyed the view as we shared a Honkin' Huge Burritto.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

PCC Spring Tree Care Bracing Practice

Our Spring Tree Care class ventured outside to take care of a Juniperus scopulorum 'Tolleson's Green Weeping'. This was a tree we looked at last quarter in the Winter Plant ID course. The first step is to form a plan.
More than a simple case of included bark, this tree actually had two branches that have grown right against each other. We decided on two bracing rods, one above and one below the crotch.
Once we had our plan of attack we drilled the first hole with a very long 3/8" bit to accept a 3/8" rod.
Juan Carlos hacked the rod down to size.
We decided after quite a discussion to remove one small branch that was crossing and twining around the low branch shown on the left. Then we repeated the process for the upper rod, which was a little trickier to line up, but went fine. To me the tree still looks out of balance and would do better without that lower left limb all together.
Here is a look at our handiwork.
Once we were done, we took a look at some cabling done on the Medlar (Mespilus germanica). It looks very in flower.