November 2017


C clamps for JD tire



Cut expanded metal for grates for smoker

Buy install Fire Detectors

Fertilizer for Citrus Grove

Go To back

Burn pile in Driskell field

Cut down dead tallows along ditch fence

Remedy on sweetgum stump

Paint rust on gate

Burn old papers

Tie up Wisteria

Seal tire to rim on JD mower

Fireplace Vent cap – investigate alternatives, Get Fireplace cleaned

Buy hydraulic oil for Dad’s jack

Check on electrical quotes

Search for cypress log to support oak tree

Ask Ted to help with pole in pole barn

Find 4 lug wheels for disc

Have vendor inspect heater

Talk to Structural engineer about patio

Fence Installation by Paul

9/25/2017 – Paul Ferril began installing 4-board fence along the east side of the yard, changing to only 2×4 wire from a new gate across from the grain bin back to the lane fence. Then 2×4 wire along the existing fence past the barn and south to the new gate at the road.

Replace Gables and Eves

9/18/2017 – TNT Construction unloaded Hardie Plank sheeting and boards for facia. Work began the next day and stumbled on until Friday with Timothy and his brother got the gable over the carport near completion so we could see it. Scope has increased to include beadboard for the soffits and the ceiling of the two porches.

Week of 9/25/14 – They made some progress.

Week of 10/2/17 – The work has progressed across the front but still not made it to the east gable. They appear to have the front porch ceiling done and that likely took a while.

September, 2017

This work week was to be the week of Labor Day but that was the week before Hurrican Harvey happened. Houston flooded. Postponed this work until recovery was underway and no new surprises should arise. In the meantime, Hurricane Irma hit Florida and came up the west coast but died down before it went very far north. Did not get much wind or much-needed rain.

Cool early mornings becoming still and humid, then hot afternoons. Thunderstorms around most afternoons and rained three times.

Saturday, 9/16/2017 – Picked up limbs some and weeded beds some. Mowed the grass at the back door.

Sunday – Cut all 2 acres of grass and hauled away the limbs. Weeded the front beds and trimmed the crepe myrtles.


  1. Planted the seedlings we brought in front of the climbing roses either side of the gate and filled in between the pecan trees in the backyard.
  2. Picked the sand pears that are turning yellow and pulled away easily.
  3. Sprayed fungicide on grass dollar spots that remain from the last spraying.
  4. Timothy Turner/TNT Construction delivered HardiePlank trim boards and sheeting for the gables.

    From the same tree

  5. Went to Blairs and bought 3 daylilies, two Agapanthus (semi-dwarf Lily of the Nile) and two dark leaf, deep red crepe myrtles named Sunset Magic (Lagerstroemia “Phlagix PPAF”.

Tuesday & Wednesday

  1. Yard work with tiller to connect five roses and hydrangeas into one bed.
  2. Went to Kitchen & Bath Ct and talked to Angela who recommended for appliances Coast Design Kitchen & Bath. Talked with Barbara Fretwell 251-610-1887 and she quoted GE Monogram oven with a fume hood and GE Cafe Dishwasher.


  1. Tilled between crepes along road fence to create straight grass line.
  2. Chimney inspection by ARC found grout missing above the fire chamber and grout joints above roof need to be ground out and re-pointed and grout cap removed replaced and new SS cap provided for $2400.
  3. Picked up 2 scoops crushed pine bark mulch at Woerner and mulched new bed at back door, the new Majestic Magic Crepes and the beds either side of the gate.
  4. Planted more Mexican Lirope either side of the gate and deepened those beds.
  5. Planted more Mexican Lirope and pink plants between the pecan trees in the backyard. After all the seedlings were planted I counted 31 pots to take back to Houston to bring more.


New bed, house siding underway & new porch columns

  1. Spread mulch on the new bed and in larger beds in front of the angled fence at the gate.
  2. Planted the red crepe myrtles with dark leaves in along the driveway in the front yard lined up with the plants in the new bed.
  3. Lime citrus grove and treat carpenter ants with bifenthrin.
  4. Moved amaryllis bulbs from the oak tree at the road into beds. Two were 4″ in diameter.


  1. Re-tilled new beds along road fence, raked out sod and it filled the wagon to the brim.
  2. Spread 13-13-13 on all beds. Spread cottonseed meal on new crepes.


New Roof July 2017

Apex Roofing and Restoration, 993 Yeager Parkway, 251-660-4555, Kelly and Beverly
Keith Horness – cell 920-287-2836,
Adam Stewart, QC, 256-962-2028
Installers: Sergio, his daughter Jennifer and his younger brother.

Shingle are GAF’s Timberline HD, Weatherwood style
Peak “Ice & Rain II Underlayment”

Click here to see all photos in DropBox folder.

Shingles were to be delivered Monday, 7/3 but supplier did not have the Certainteed Wedgewood so they upgraded to GAF Timberline HD (hi definition) with the Wedgewood style/color. They did not arrive until Thursday morning.

Found rotted decking at the peak over the carport and at the plywood repair on the west, north and east sides of the fireplace. Repaired with 1×6″.

Rain Wednesday, 7/5 while Sergio was away on a long lunch, blew back the underlayment and rain leaked in at the fireplace and hallway. Calls to everyone had them scrambling but no visible damage as the rain quit and no more that day.  Promised to be complete by 9 AM tomorrow, Thursday.

They were at the gate at 5:30 AM and on the roof at 5:45. Good progress until it good hot. The roof was on and they were working on the backdoor overhang about 1 PM. His brother walked out on the overhang even though Keith told me they would be doing it from ladders. Mary and I told them to get off and he did. Keith called and I told him about being on the roof. He showed up in 20 min and took photos.

Installed new attic vent fan in the location over the house and moved the existing one to a location over the carport; i.e. future studio.

All done other than cricket at fireplace and Sergio wants to leave and he and Keith argued about the cricket. Sergio to be back Monday to install it.

Saturday – Apex connected new attic power vent fan. A very hard thunderstorm blew in and we had a little water dripping down the chimney. Called Keith and he came out and was here when Baker arrived to hook up the attic exhaust fan. They inspected the inside attic around the chimney and reported they saw no water. They strapped a blue tarp around the Chimney above the roof to see if that stops the infiltration. I told Keith I thought it was coming in the brick joints. Baker thinks it may be the rusty vent cap.

Sunday – Removed the blue tarp and inspected the metal flue cap. There is some surface but no holes. Noticed separation between the old roofing mastic and the flue where the metal flue cap rests. The other side had a 1/2″ gap and a low place that would let water pond and run in the crack and down the outside of the flue. Inspection of the inside walls of the flue had evidence of running down a long time ago. Filled the gap all the way around the flue and filled in the low places where water was ponding.

Pecan Tree Toppings

July 6 & 7, 2017 –  As the row of pecan trees next to the house back to the grain bin had become very tall and spindly–growing so close together–Steve Cain’s (Cain’s Tree and Landscaping) advice was to “top” them so they would not be so susceptible to high winds. We also decided to top rather than remove the one next to the carport.

They also removed the limbs over the barn and the tall skiney sweet gum close to the NW corner of the barn. The gum had stunted a nice small live oak that hopefully will fill out the flat side and grow.

They also limbed up the two pecans along the driveway.  It took the 1.5 days he estimated and cost $3,900 that included the trimming, cutting a lot of firewood and hauling everything else away.

Click here to see all photos in DropBox folder.



July 4, 2017 Work Week

Saturday, July 1 – JD cranked and we mowed the front and west yard. The capacitor on the AC compressor went out and Shane with ESTES replaced it. Charged tractor batteries.


  • Mary finished cutting the grass and I trimmed the back of the ditch that Ted had sprayed. Trimmed around pecans and various places.
  • Charged Fergie’s battery, replaced battery clamps and installed with felt insulators. She cranked quickly and then ran her around the pecan orchard in the shade.
  • A long-horned red cow had a calf across the street from the pecan orchard.


  • Ford would not spin fast enough to crank and the new battery would not take a charge. Bought a new 4DR LT from Dueitt’s Battery Supply,  251-478-1638, 3225 Springhill Ave. for $165.

    Barn Graves June 2013

  • Sprayed nettles and big weeds in the garden with Glyphosate + 2-4-D.
  • Mary weeded and trimmed crepe myrtles and got too hot.

Tuesday, July 4th

  • Installed new battery, it spun fast and cranked quickly. Attached Ted’s box blade with rippers and leveled old barn site.
  • HGeat index in the afternoon was 115 degrees so stayed inside a lot.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday – See post about new roof installation that began today.

Thursday and Friday – See post about Cain Trees topping and trimming pecan trees.

Saturday – Stacked all firewood in the shed after splitting the large ones.

Sunday – Planted Pink bloomers and Mexican liriope from Houston: between pecans in the backyard; on yard side at the entrance gate and liriope in front of climbing roses. Smoked BBRibs and Chicken thighs on the Grt Smokey Mtn with pecan splits. Sprayed bleach on vinyl and green brick at carport. Moved the two sickly azaleas in the old barn grave site to the power pole at the street fence. Sealed Chimney brick at flue with roofing compound as the water has been ponding on the old uneven seal and running in a separation of the old seal and the flue.


  1. APEX installed “cricket” at Chimney.
  2. ESTES blew in Owens Corning’s AttiCat® Expanding Blown-In PINK® FIBERGLAS™ Insulation to the R-19 level (6″) in the house where it was already insulated and enough to be R-38 over the carport where the studio will be. $1,800 + $600. Spread cottonseed meal on all beds, crepes, roses, etc.
  3. APEX hauled off leftover shingles, underlayment, and other materials.
  4. Spread cottonseed meal
  5. Hauled limbs and old firewood to burn pile.

Summary of work on the house:

  1. Topped pecan trees
  2. Serviced AC unit
  3. new roof
  4. blown in insulation
  5. Met with Alabama Power and two electricians.

Memorial Day 2017

This long holiday weekend began on an almost cool Wednesday afternoon, May 24, 2017. Thursday and Friday was also cool but warming up. By Friday afternoon we had:

  • Mary weeded the front beds while Tom installed the new mower deck belt and ignition switch on the JD Lawn Tractor, greased the blade arbor shafts and adjusted the mower deck level;
  • Mary cut the grass in the front and east side around the house when Ted arrived. He cut the west side,  barnyard and pecan orchard while she finished around the house. Hauled a truckload of limbs to the burn pile and then a truckload of green limbs from an 8″ limb that broke off.
  • Used the edger to trim the driveway and front walk.
  • Thought the weedeater needed carb cleaned but when removed it the little round screen was clean. Later learned about the spark arrestor screen in the muffler and it was clogged.

Late Wednesday, Steve Cain of Cain’s Tree and Landscape gave us an estimate to top the pecans in the crowded row along the east side of the house back to the grain bin, trim the limbs over the barn, remove the sweet gun at the NW corner of the barn and cut limbs from the pecans along the driveway.

About 7 pm Keith Horness with Apex Roofing and Restoration (920-287-2836) came by and looked at the roof and found hail damage. He helped us report it to Liberty Mutual and they will come to inspect next week with him here.

Friday we were achy and sore and therefore piddled around. Turned out despite the cool weather and little sweating one salt tablet relieved the stiffness. Went to Blair’s Nursery on Daws Lane and bought:

  1. 3 Drift roses,
  2. 4 daylilies. See below for the ID.
  3. 3 gal. Quick Fire Hydrangea and a 3 gal. Pinkie Winkie Hydrangea. Both “panicle hydrangeas”. Both were from Flowerwood Nursery, Inc. of Mobile AL.

Ted said he now has 11 mules, the black & white Draft Horse and two white horses plus the long horns. He said the guy in the back no longer has his horses in our field.

Saturday – Planted roses and hydrangeas bought yesterday. Moved roses that were where hydrangeas are now to the SW corner of the yard, one to the bird feeder and the poorest one to under the kitchen window. Found winged tiny ants in the rose nearest the walk that was not doing well. Moved it to the SW corner and treated the dirt there to kill the ants. Also, spread those granules in the original hole and around all other plants nearby. Watered it in.

Planted two “Pardon Me” daylilies (red flowers with yellow throats) at the point next to the walk on the east side of the front door) and two Stella de Oro (yellow long blooming) at the back door.

Also: sprayed 24D on dollar feed in front yard and large-purple-leaf-flat weeds along north side of Azalea row around to fig trees; filled cracks in driveway; limbed up the sweet gum and little oak at the NW corner of the barn; Mary finished spraying the fence on the west side and the weeds in the and around the barn.

March 30, 2017 with Frank & Gumbo

Went to north fields with Peg and Frank in her new Kawasaki Mule. Surprised to see so little kudzu when it is growing along the road in other locations. Mary’s Springs were flowing well due to all the rain.

Sunday – Sprayed the roses with fungicide and the brown spots in the front yard with Bayers. South humid breeze after the rain blew through can out of the north and provide a few hours of nice weather.

Inspected all pecan trees and found carpenter ants at 7 trees plus the one at the carport that Steve with Cain’s Tree Service found. Mary dug into the nests and I poured in Hi-Yield’s Bug Blaster Bifenthrin 2.4; mixed 1T/gallon of water. Photos below are the infested trees.  [inspection at July 4 did not find any evidence of nests are the trees. It worked.]

Fergie would not crank as battery terminals are corroded. When trying to clean them the positive broke and the negative’s threads was rusted but I worked it off. Need to replace and charge.


Ridex 2 packages
Fresh Black Pepper
Granulated garlic
Mixes of seasonings
White pepper
Large black garbage bags
Driveway crack repair stuff
Ant killer
Grass fungus – Bayer
Battery terminal clamps
Kitchen trash bags
Cut 3-2″ leveling blocks for JD

To Do:
Spray briars
Spread cotton seed meal
Move old firewood to burn pile
Crain trim trees & we stack firewood
Apex install new roof
Level JD mower deck using 2″ blocks. Fix tire leak & grease everything again.
Fill driveway cracks
Investigate backdoor overhang

Paint gates

Onion & Garlic Gardening

Allium Gardening

It’s Time for Alliums

Contributed by The Old Farmer’s Almanac Staff. Extracted from TSC’s web site on 3/25/17.

As the days grow longer, the time draws near to get the alliums going!

What is an allium?

Alliums are more familiarly known as onions and include garlic, leeks, and chives as well as numerous ornamental plants. In fact, the allium family has more than 1,000 plant varieties!

The most widely cultivated allium species is the common onion (Allium cepa; cepa in Latin means “onion”). These are the onions that we use to flavor cooked foods, that enhance fresh salads, and, tradition suggests, that keep colds at bay and relieve ailments. Gardeners have three onion options: yellow (aka brown) onions, white onions, and red (aka purple) onions—but there is no need to choose: Most gardeners can grow all three in one season.

Long- and Short-Day Onions

Onions are photoperiodic. This means that they are sensitive to daylight, or the length of day; the number of daylight hours affects their growth. Thus, they are referred to as long-day onions and short-day onions. Deciding which to grow depends on where you live: Imagine a line from the border between North and South Carolina to San Francisco (approximately 36° northern latitude). For best results, folks north of the line should plant long-day onions (‘Walla Walla’, a sweet onion; ‘Red Florence’; or ‘Yellow Globe’); folks south of the line should plant short-day onions (‘Crystal Wax White Bermuda’, ‘Red Burgundy’, or ‘Hybrid Yellow Granex’).

Day-Neutral Onions

Confused by the long and short of it? Go neutral: Day-neutral (aka intermediate) onions will produce an excellent crop in any part of the country. Varieties include ‘Super Star’ (a mild white onion), ‘Candy’ (yellow), and ‘Red Stockton’ (red).

The varieties noted here are only a few of the possibilities. Consult your local supply store for alternatives and guidance in choosing.

Seeds or Sets?

Onions can be started from seed or bought as “sets” (tiny bulbs, ideally no more than 3/4 of an inch in diameter), bagged or loose by the pound. Seed onions keep better than sets, and seeds offer a greater choice. However, onion seeds need to be started indoors; they need temperatures above 50°F to germinate. Sets go right into the ground.


Aside from light, onions are pretty easy to please: They grow best in well-composted, slightly sweet (near-neutral pH) soil. Onions are sensitive to the crops that occupied the soil before them: They grow best if planted where lettuce or squash grew last season; they fare poorly if they follow a cole crop such as cabbage or broccoli.

Onions appreciate an early start, and cool temperatures encourage leaf growth. A light frost will do them no harm, and a late season snow is sometimes called an “onion snow”—also not a worry. Keep the soil moist and cool; mulch helps to do this while also discouraging weeds that steal precious nutrients from the soil of your shallow-growing bulbs.

Harvest by the Handful

Onions are ready to be lifted (pulled) from the ground when their foliage begins to dry out and fall over. When that happens, push the foliage to the ground and withhold water for about a week. Remove them from the soil and lay them in the sunlight to dry or in an airy, dry place protected from rain. This also toughens the skin, which improves storage.

Once cured, store them in a cool (40° to 60°F), dry, ventilated area inside a hanging mesh bag or box (no more than two deep) or as a braid. Do not store onions in a refrigerator; it is too damp. Sweet onions need slightly different care: They do not like to touch each other in storage, so slip them into an old nylon stocking, tying a knot between each onion. Then hang them in a cool, dry place.

Onion Lore

• In the Middle Ages, it was believed that onion juice could cure baldness, snakebite, and rabies.

• Early American settlers believed that a meal of bread, milk, and onions helped to maintain good health.

• A raw onion rubbed on a bee sting or insect bite will relieve the pain and itching.

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