Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dead Tree Removal

When we purchased 'The Gear' all the trees and shrubs had been woefully neglected for many years. The yard was littered with broken branches ranging in size from twigs to branches the diameter of your arm. The last 4 years has resulted in many days of trimming dead or damaged branches from all the trees in the yard.

We also have many ash trees. If you live in the Midwest you probably know about the emerald ash borer that is killing ash trees. They believe the emerald ash borer entered this country embedded in a wooden pallet from China. Here in North America the emerald ash borer does not have any natural enemies and is free to multiple and kill ash trees in the Midwest.

You'll know if you have an emerald ash borer problem if you notice D shaped tiny holes in the tree trunk. Another sign is sections of dead branch at the end of a healthy branch. Sometimes you will also notice new growth coming out of large branches or on the trunk.If you have ash trees you can hire someone to do injections or you can treat your trees with Advanced Bayer Tree and Shrub Insect Control. We have had fairly good results with this treatment but several of our trees were too far gone and have died. So it was time to call in the pros to cut down the dead trees.

The emerald ash borer problem is so urgent that they are collecting ash seed just in case all the ash trees are killed or damaged because of infestation. I know there was a homeowner, several years ago that had very old and very healthy ash trees on his property near Detroit. Authorities wanted to come in and cut all his trees down. I know he went to court but I am not sure what the out come was. This was several years ago before the Advanced Bayer treatment was available.

Here's a photo of the little ugly bugger.Minnesota just issued a statement on May 14th indicating that Emerald Ash Borer was detected in the St Paul area. I would suggest that if you live in Minnesota that you start using Advanced Bayer now before you see any damage. If you start now, your tree will be fully inoculated and hopefully kill the larvae before it can do any damage.

We decided to use Precision Tree Care to cut down 1 dead elm (thank you Dutch Elm disease), 1 very large half dead silver maple that was precariously close to power lines and the house, 1 large dead ash tree, and trim a black walnut limb that was hanging over the sun room and heading for the chimney. We decided to have the tree service just cut down the trees and we would cut the wood up to fireplace size and clean up the yard ourselves. We will save the elm and maple for the fireplaces and the rest of the wood will burned in the fire pit as soon as weather permits to keep any emerald ash borers from leaving the yard and infecting more trees.
The tree service was asked to take care and not step on my hostas which were of course right in the way. I can report that not one hosta leaf was damaged. I was very happy with their work and will be calling them back later in the fall to cut down an extremely large semi dead ash tree and to trim several branches close to the power lines so that the utility company doesn't come out and hack and whack my healthy, very large, and perfect shaped ash tree.

One of the reasons you hire professionals such as Precision Tree Care is because they have the knowledge, experience, and tools to do the job correctly. As a journeyman myself, I have done my fair share of rigging but I was really impressed with how they rigged large tree limbs so that they could safely bring them to the ground without hitting the house, the hostas, or the rigger himself.

If you live in Michigan in the Flint area, or the cities of Fenton, Grand Blanc, or Holly I strongly recommend Precision Tree Care for your tree trimming or removal.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Indy Pole Day

I realized that I needed to post more photos of Indy to satisfy all you gear heads out there.

The day was very cloudy and extremely windy. Some people wore shorts and just a t shirt, others had on winter coats. We knew better and dressed warm, nothing worse than going to a race and sitting there uncomfortable because you are cold.

On to the photos!!

This is a photo of the Pagoda (scoring tower). The photo does not truly represent how tall it is.

The pink #99 of Alex LloydThe #3 car of Helio Castroneves
A photo of the tunnel that goes under the race track. It's really something when a race car goes over this portion of the track at 200 + mph and you are under there.The museum that includes the Indy 500 Hall of Fame
This is the medical evac helicopter. They use this helicopter to take injured drivers to the hospital if their injuries cannot be treated at the on site hospital.Here is the medical facilities. All drivers go here after a crash if they cannot drive their car away from the wreck. My understanding is that it is equipped with an MRI and X ray machines plus all the other bells and whistles. This is also the site of after crash interviews where the driver says, "Mom, I'm all right and it was just one of those things." Or "I guess so and so didn't see me and drove right over me."
Each team has their own supply of fuel. They all use the same fuel.This is the electric motor that starts the engine. The cars do not have an on board starter. If you watch the race you will see them pull this out if their car stalls on pit road. It fits into the car at the rear under the wing and between the rear tires.
The garage area of the #14 car.The garage area of one of the Target cars.
The non wing sprint car of R. They decided to go with simple graphics package because they ran out of time and didn't have the time to take the car and leave it for a week so the graphics guy could do the vinyl. They still need to add the contingency stickers.Here's R sitting pretty. When he is strapped in correctly he can't even lean that far forward. The driver and seat are one. To keep your arms from getting broken in a crash, your arms have Velcro straps attached that keep them from leaving the seat area even if your hands come off the steering wheel. Ken Schrader once said that he "assumes the sprint car crash mode even in his stock car" places his hands under his harness straps to keep his arms from flying around and getting broken. R decided to give up his pavement racing number of #81 and go back to his motorcycle racing number of #88. A friend of our said "R went from racing on 2 wheels, to four wheels, and now to 3 wheels." **non wing sprint cars lift the left front off the ground when they are into the throttle heavy. Now all he needs to do is start unicycle racing.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sun Room Exterior Renovation Underway

Last week we started the renovation of the exterior of the sun room. We work one day and it rains and we work 2 days and then it rains. It's frustrating because it is either raining or the wind is blowing so hard it is difficult to use the heat gun.I've been taking photos every day but the change is not that noticeable. At this point we are busy just fixing and correcting problems such as rotted wood and stripping thick layers of paint off the trim. We believe this sun room was not original because you can see exterior cedar shingles between the addition and the original house. We were surprised that they did not remove the shingles before building the addition.R did a little concrete repair to the cement sill. A small chunk had broken off so he replaced the remaining piece and filled in the remainder with concrete. Prior to the repair he removed nearly all the paint and then used the sander to feather the few remaining pieces of paint.

The next step is trimming out the windows so that they blend with the rest of the house. Hopefully this will look better than what was there...which was nothing but a tiny piece of trim molding.

The renovation was put on hold last weekend when we took a short road trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Pole Day. We had garage passes and really saw some very interesting things, probably only interesting to gear heads but interesting none the less. I really liked the Radio Flyer wagon in Dario Franchetti's pits....before you I did not see Ashley Judd. I did see a matter of fact I was about 3 feet from him. Very tall. Back to the wagon...isn't it cute??? You would be the hit of the flea market pulling this filled with antique goodies. The crew member we talked to said they paid 3k for it.After we watched Helio Casteneves (2 time 500 champ and Dancing w/the Stars champ) win the pole with over a 224 mph attempt we drove down the street to The Union Jack Pub for prime rib. Cool sports bar with antique stained glass windows used as partitions and antique lighting hanging from the ceiling. The bar also had some great racing art work. R said they had a yellow sprint car behind glass by the women's bathroom. Don't ask.....I have no idea why he was hanging out by the women's bathroom.