Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
First it was raccoons with the isolated possum and/or groundhog/neighbor's cat which we trapped endlessly for several years in Collinsville. We have the opinion we may have ended the raccoon run, but now we've a couple of groundhogs making themselves home in our yard.
I saw one walking down the driveway last week and when he saw me he ducked under our next door neighbors' deck. But today while working in the yard I came across two freshly dug deep/big holes which can only mean...groundhogs.
You can see the hole and all the kicked back dirt.
Clayton is holding their annual electronic recycling event today and tomorrow in Shaw Park. The recyclers will take about anything that plugs in or has a battery, not to mention old lawn mowers etc. However, many companies which provide this service will not take the older CRT tvi's which are the kind with the fat backs. Clayton's event will take them but will charge 15-20 dollars to do so.
Collinsville's recycling company will not take the CRT's at all during their monthly electronic recyling days. So this weekend we're going to hand over some money in order to get rid of the two we still have in order not to be stuck with them when the time comes that no one will take them money or not.
We had Gildersleeve Tree company do some work in our yard Saturday. They took down a volunteer Maple in the back which had started to grow into the utility lines and most importantly, they trimmed up the Pin Oak limbs in the front yard which had begun overhanging everything and dead branches had begun falling constantly. It's pretty amazing to watch the way these guys work and how they're able to contort themselves in the trees.
Here is the before
In summer when the leaves were on the trees, the branches hung way down and extended way over into both neighbors yards and rooftops. Not to mention our own roof.
I'd recommend this company to anyone, they do things exactly right, do it efficiently and clean up amazingly. We can see out our windows again and the neighbors on each side won't have our limbs scratching their roofs or porches.
Yesterday our next door neighbors in Collinsville had a tree taken down. Now just any tree, but a huge and massive tree which had died from the top down some time ago. The thick upper limbs had become a habitat for a bee colony during the summer months and the bark had begun falling off in a striped pattern. But it was in an awkward spot and more than one tree removal company did not want to take on the project. Bees and a location with utility wires and homes behind. Difficult.
But I have to give lots of props to the men from Gildersleeve tree company with the addition of one or two from J's Lawn and Tree Service. They came in with a crane, a bucket truck, and a haul away truck and within two hours had that tree down and the area cleaned up. The most efficient and capable work I've ever seen. The huge upper limbs were taken off one by one. Each limb was strapped and the strap attached to the crane hook. The man with the chain saw then went to work. When the limb was freed, the crane carried it over to the dump truck.
Then the body of the tree was cut at a perfect level so that when it fell, it did not hit a fence or garage or any us standing around watching. It was excellent excellent work by men who really know their craft. Here's a few pictures of this tree. click to enlarge
See him up in there? Freeing the first limb?
And so it went until all of those upper limbs were off. Then the big part.
First ropes were tied near the top and J started cutting, stopping every now and then to check the cut.
Look at the size of this sucker.
He sawed out a notch which is tree removal one oh one.
Meanwhile three other guys were holding tight to the ropeline. There was some worry the tree could very well fall on the truck which was behind it rather than toward the house and backyard.
During a lull, Ferdie got into the rope line and got petted
Lee then began his cut on the back side of the tree so that it would fall toward the fence and the men with the rope.
And down it came without hitting anything. Perfectly done. The big trunk hit the ground and the vibration was felt for some distance.
Cut into a couple of sections, tied up and ready for the crane.
Into the truck for hauling off
And the most amazing part, they left no sign of the tree. A bit of sawdust swept up and nothing else. Beautiful job.
On April 16th what type of water heater you can put into your home will change as new federal regulations are set to kick in decreeing only water heaters which are more energy efficient.
The new water heaters are supposed to be greener, better and cost-saving, according to the Department of Energy, possibly saving as much as $365 per year. They're designed to cut your bills because they also cut the amount of energy they use.
But the new models will also be more expensive to buy and install what with the new efficiency technology and the taller, wider size. Good news though, for anyone needing a new water heater right now as they will be allowed to be manufactured until April 15th and sold until they run out. If you think yours is on its last legs and like that old style you might want to be changing while you still can.
I am surprised by the new units they're describing because some years ago we had a tankless water heater installed in Collinsville and its the best thing we ever did. It is so energy efficient that the gas company sent someone to the house to see if there was something wrong with our meter. The best part is how little space it takes up as it hangs on the wall. And, you never run out of hot water nor does it have a pilot light which keeps heating all day long whether you're home or not.
Good news for us, tankless heaters will be A-OK under the new regulations.
It's zero degrees at the moment which leads to all kinds of physical angst. But one good thing may come out of this prolonged frigid weather and that is the harm it may be doing to all the destructive bugs which invade lawns and gardens in the summer.
The longer it stays cold and the deeper the frost gets into the ground the fewer insects like fleas, beetles, aphids, scale insects and spider mites we'll see. This is good news for dog owners and rose bush planters and vegetable gardeners. If true, farmers will need less insecticide and make their crops cheaper. It is one natural phenomenon which should be fairly observable this coming season.