Yard Clean up

Sofa; cloudy, 31 F, 0519

This house has many mature trees in the side and back yards. Every autumn, the trees lose their leaves. Some threes also produce many nuts. This is very nice, but leads to one problem; mice. The mice love the nuts and love the cover of the dead leaves to hide in. If I do not get rid of both, then there is a mouse population explosion and they get in the house.

This requires a layered approach. I do not like poisoning the mice because the effects other beneficial wild life. When a mouse does in the house, there are several traps around the basement baited with peanut butter. That will usually get them.

Outside I make sure that I get as many nuts (hickory and acorns) as possible racked up. I dump them in the woods where the dear, mice and squirrels can enjoy them. I also rack up and get rid of all the leaves around the house and yard. This denies them cover while running from the woods to the house.

Finally, I encourage natural predator like owls, foxes and snakes to take their place in the food chain. I build a nesting platform for great horned owls in the woods. They take up residence in the spring and raise new owlets every year. The foxes are regulars in the back woods and there are plenty of rat snakes living back in the brush pile and stone wall.

As far as the yard cleanup is concerned; most of it is done with the lawn tractor. I mulch and bag the leaves up and dump them in the compost pile. The remaining is taken care of with the rake. The white oak always holds onto its leaves. Throughout the winter, the west wind blows the leaves back into the woods keeping the lawn area clean.

The area in front of the house under the hickory tree requires raking to get rid of all the nuts.

It takes a few hours to complete, but is well worth the effort.

Annual Time Marker

Living room sofa; clear, 45.9 F 0619

We are having a stretch of extraordinary weather. I spent a good amount of time outside enjoy the warm sunny afternoon. It surely will not last.

Gutters filled with debris

As fall progresses, the list of chores changes. When all the leaves are off of the trees, yard cleanup commences, at least for a little while. One item that is fairly important to do every year is to clean out the gutters. As mentioned in a previous post, the gutters, downspouts, and underground pipes used to collect rain water and conduct it away from the basement are an important system. Any problems with those will lead to extra water getting in the basement, which is not a good thing.

Close up view of the problem

After we replaced the siding, I had seamless aluminum gutters installed. These are well worth the money. Like any gutter, they do collect debris over the course of the year. During summer, small sticks break off trees and collect in the downspouts. The hickory tree in the front yard drops copious amounts of nuts every fall. Leaves, pine needles and other things all buildup until rain water cannot make it to the downspout and overflows the gutter.

Removing accumulated leaves, pine needles, nuts, twigs, etc

If that continues for too long, mold will begin to form on the cinder block foundation walls.

Job completed

The best way to prevent that is to get the ladder out and clean them out. It is not a difficult job, just inconvenient. Doing anything on the roof of any building is always a little dangerous. Many people think that the most dangerous jobs are things like police officers, fire fighters or crewing one of those Alaska crab fishing boats. Nope. Those are dangerous jobs to be sure. However, according to OSHA the most dangerous job is roofer. Unfortunately for them, it is also an extremely tedious job. I guess that is why no one ever made a TV show about sweating, sunburned workers repetitively nailing shingles down to the roof and likely swearing like a drunken sailor on shore leave in Olongapo. I may or may not know anything about that last part.

Anyway… Be careful up on the roof.