2017-10-23 Hurricane Irma Aftermath

Here's what the place looks like AFTER all the repairs were made following Hurricane Irma. 

The back fence has been repaired.  The front fence rails have been replaced.  We're still hoping to come up with an idea of how to repair the flattened fence in front without having to replace it.

As you can see, the huge Chinaberry tree that flattened the fence is gone thanks to our friend Carl from church.  Because I have a heart pacemaker, my doctor said I can't use a gas operated chain saw.  My little electric saw is too small for a 70-foot tree.  Carl made short work of the tree in 3 or 4 days almost entirely by himself except for one day when his daughter helped him.  He moved pieces I could not have lifted even when I was as young as he is.

While my construction guys, Mike and crew, were here, I prevailed upon their expertise to replace some damaged siding.  We'll paint this later.

Mike's guys also replace all the roofing that had blown off during the storm.

These next few photos are to show where trees once were.  We've had them all removed.  The storm, blew down our only shade trees and left no trees on the property but Eastern Cottonwoods.  Those things almost always rot from the inside out leaving a dangerous hollow trunk to support the limbs above.

There was a large Cottonwood in front of the toolshed.  Gone!

Here's a photo in October showing only one tree left in the back yard.  This tree is now gone also.

While Mike's construction crew was here we had them add another lean-to between the small storage building and my tool shed.  Now we have a great place to store our mower.  Just drive through from either direction and the good air flow provides a safe place for gas storage.

Here's a closer look at the new lean-to.  My pressure washer is on the left.

The photo below shows what the lean-to on the other end of the tool shed looks like now.  As you recall from the photo essay showing hurricane damage (see "2017-09-11 Hurricane Irma"), the old lean-to was flattend by a 70-foot-tall Chinaberry tree that also took out my well tank.  

The water tank for my well is now on the INSIDE of the lean-to rather than outside where it once was.

This lean-to provides space for small garden tools.  The mower is under the other one.  It was a real pain having to step over and around it just to retrieve a rake or a shovel.  Also, these paint cans were on the ground under the old lean-to.  The new one provided me space to mount a handy shelf.

Mike poured a concrete slab on which to set the well tank.  He then re-plumbed and re-wired everything putting the wires in conduit for the first time.

All that remains outside is the well head, its associated plumbing and wiring which Mike made much neater than before.

While he had his metal working guys on my property I got Mike to build us a cover for our yard swing to keep the hot summer sun out of our eyes and bird droppings off the seat.

The sides of the swing are now covered.  This keeps the low evening sun out of our eyes and provides a handy storage area to protect yard furniture.

Speaking of all the trees gone, there used to two large Cottonwoods, one on either side of our driveway.  One was here beside the house.

The other was here toward the neighbors.  Both trees were in the way but the one on this side really made it inconvenient trying to park my enclosed trailer.  Glad they're both gone.  While cutting them down we discovered one was hollow inside.  That's very typical of these trees.

Here's a view of my back yard showing all the trees are now gone.

Here's another view of the back yard.  There used to be 4 Cottonwood trees along this fence and one in front of Linda's She Shed (building on the right).  As I mentioned earlier, there was also a Cottonwood in front of my tool shed (building in the center).  Half these 6 trees had hollow places in them.  One was hollow from the base to about 4 feet up.  Looked solid from the outside.

Of course a gardener like Linda won't rest with so much empty space.  Time to fill it up!  Since the climbing rose was so large, as I mentioned in a previous photo essay, I chopped it into 4 pieces and planted one at each corner of the back yard.  They all seem to be surviving.

Along the outside of the front fence, Linda had her roses planted.  After the storm, she asked me to help her plant Barberry bushes.  We have them in front of the house and transplanted some shoots here.  They're so tiny you can hardly see them except for the pinestraw mulch but in 5 to 8 years, these will completely cover the fence.

Linda decided to plant a large area in the back yard.  We've mulched a small part of it already but it took several hours tilling it up with our little Mantis tiller.  Oh, well.  It'll be a nice area once it's done.

These first plants are Camelias.

These two are large Hydrangias that were growing by the back steps.  Glad to see them gone.  They get WAY too big to be growing next to the house so this open space will be perfect for them.

In this space, Linda hopes her Day Lillies will get re-established.

She decided to plant one little flower spot on either side of her She Shed.  Here there's space for a Butterfly Plant on the left and a very small Crape Myrtle on the right.  In a few years, the Butterfly Plant will completely cover this area and the Crape Myrtle will grow nearly as tall as the building.

So what happened to all the trees?  Need I say more?

We have a lot left to do but the basics are done.  I'd like to remove these 4 grape vines and spread them out along our fence or something.  They're too crowded in this little space behind the fence.

I've grown grapevines for years.  If you've never grown them you'd be suprised how fast they grow.  This is only 2 seasons of growth here.  I'll cut them all back so that they look like little sticks poking out of the ground, each with 4 tiny stubs of limbs on them for new growth.   They'll grow up to 40 feet in one season.

What's left?  Well the Sega Palms are doing well.

Here (to the left) are what well-established Butterfly Plants look like in the winter time.  In Summer they almost take over and are complete covered in tiny flowers.

Hope ya enjoyed the tour.

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