Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Should I trim my trees in the fall or winter?

Thanks go out to Matt Johnson for the content of this article and Arbor Scape Services for the excellent information and services they provide.Visit Arbor Scape Services at http://www.arborscapeservices.com/ or call them at 303-795-2381.

Reasons NOT to trim in fall or winter

The cons of trimming a tree in the fall or winter include:
  1. Not being able to visually identify dead vs. live growth. This can be especially disorienting if you have a tree service doing the trimming. However, properly trained tree trimmers recognize live growth even when trees are bare by gauging the flexibility of branches and assessing growth marks on the bark. 
  2. Different tree species especially in the Maple family will create lots of sap if trimmed to close to dormancy. Unfortunately this nuisance will not be readily apparent until the spring. 
  3. Take into consideration that a wintering tree is living off of stored energy reserves. So any wood taken out may effect the overall reserves of the tree. By knowing the internal, systemic processes of the tree we can prune it without hurting the energy production mechanism.
Reasons TO trim in fall and winter

 The pros to pruning in fall and winter:
  1. Cheaper pricing.
  2. A dormant tree has less chance of spreading airborne fungi or other tree disease. For example, crabapple trees must be trimmed after all the leaves fall or you risk spreading fireblight to other branches or trees. 
  3. Trees may also experience less of a shock to the system. In summer we recommend combining a trim with a fertilization treatment to minimize temporary loss of leaves. This is not a factor in winter. 
  4. Tree trimming n winter also eliminates any temporary loss of shade and lush foliage. You may not realize, especially with your first arborist-led tree trim, how much wood may have to be taken out of a tree, especially if its been neglected. Since trees are already bare in winter, a trim is less noticeable so by the time summer rolls around, the tree will have had time to grow into its new trim.
For  information and classes on other fall and winter home maintenance tasks visit my website at http://www.workshopforwomen.com or give Judy Browne a call at 303-284-6354.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Some cool and interesting products

As I've stated here many times before one of my favorite magazines is "The Family Handyman".  In the August issue there were a few new products, at least new to me, that I thought I'd share with you.

Future-proof dimmer switch - If you've taken my electrical basics class you know that you must buy
special CFL, halogen or LED bulbs for dimming.  In many cases you must also buy a special dimmer switch.  Lutron has a special dimmer switch that has a dial behind the cover plate that you can adjust to make the dimmer work with whatever light bulb you are using now or in the future, this should eliminate the flickering, lack of adjustment at low settings and other problems you may be encountering. Drilling large holes in tile - If you have ever tried to drill holes in ceramic, granite or marble tile you probably know how difficult, if not impossible, it can be.  This handy drill with a guide and water delivery method for cooling may be the answer to your problem.  They are apparently available at home depot so give a try and let me know what you think.  Brutus tile hole sawTurn anything into a flashlight - It's a miniature flashlight that can be attached to just about  anything, you can turn it off and on easily with just your thumb and it has a replaceable battery, unlike some of the other types on the market.  Put it wherever you need a little extra light, for those of us over 40 that's just about everywhere:) Thumb Lite

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pictures just for fun...

Here are some pictures that are just for fun.  Some of these are pictures I've taken as I walk around my neighborhood, others are from home inspections and one from the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.
I never cease to be amazed by what I see.
I hope you enjoy these.

Oops...don't think this will work

A very unique swamp cooler installation
Knob and tube wiring, in use, at the Stanley Hotel
I think it is time for a new roof, don't you?
DIY at it's Best
Do you think the owner is a hair dresser?
A totem pole in the neighborhood

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

He deserves the man cave!

As I mentioned in my previous post, Family Room or Man Cave?, we are beginning the remodel of our family room.  No where near as ambitious as Kellee's kitchen remodel but we'll tackle our kitchen at a later date.
Brick Hearth Before
No Brick Hearth!
We spent 4 hours and 3 trips to Home Depot just removing the ugly brick hearth and brick step.  I cannot tell you how happy I am to see them gone.  Now all we need to do is cover up what is left and they will be a faint and distant memory where is exactly where they belong.
First let me start off with this fact...removing brick is VERY HARD WORK!
I did some internet research on the best way to remove brick and the only suggestion I saw on the DIY websites I tend to peruse was the use of an air hammer.  Now, I had only heard of these for use in heavy duty construction or for mechanics.  I looked on line and found an air hammer at Home Depot for $16, definitely in my price range.  Of course I should have been suspicious by the low price but I headed off to Home Depot to check it out.  I found what I was looking for but was very confused by the instructions and tried to get some help from the clerks there.  I won't spend a lot of time detailing what a waste of time that was but suffice to say the first guy who helped me would have let me leave with a tool that would not have worked AT ALL. The 2nd guy only managed to confirm what I was reading on the label which essentially said I needed a $1000 compressor to run the air hammer.  I then went off to the rental section to see what they might have that I could use.  The clerk there was much more helpful and recommended a demolition tool but it seemed like more than I would be able to handle and I didn't want my husband to have to do all the work.  That trip left us no better off than we were to start with.  The thought of trying to remove all that brick with a hammer and chisel was way more than either of us cold imagine so back to Home Depot. We left with a smaller demolition hammer that looked like something I could handle but it was actually worse than the hammer and chisel idea.  Back to Home Depot and ended up with the one we should have gotten the first time. It was basically a hand held version of a jack hammer.  It was a lot of work and we were both exhausted by the time we finished but it's all done!
Today we (really my husband did most of the work) loaded all the brick in the back of the pickup truck and took it over to the Englwood Transfer Station (otherwise known as a dump).  I know, I know you're all cringing and thinking that we should have recycled the brick.  Well, first there is NO way we were going to be able to remove the brick without damaging the majority of it.  The few bricks that made it through unbroken had so much mortar on them it was not worth the effort to remove it to reuse.  That's my story (excuse) and I'm sticking with it.
So why does my husband deserve the man cave?  First and foremost it is because he hasn't filed for divorce after having to remove all of that brick.  He would have been perfectly happy with finding a way to either cover it up or to just work with it.   But because he is the wonderful man that he is, he allowed me to have my way even though this is supposed to be his room.  Now that is one wonderful (and smart) man.