Friday, November 27, 2009

Old Rose

Old Rose was a Rosebud Tree that stood tall and mighty. She displayed her best colors in the Springtime for 44 years in Old Dave's backyard. A few years ago she became home for a dreaded carpenter ant colony. She tried her best to hold up her arms toward the heavens and continue to be the best Rosebud tree she could be. Those pesky ants finally caused a limb to succumb to the continuous gnawing.

Then another branch bit the dust as Old Rose started showing her age. Most Rosebud trees live to a ripe old age of 25 so in Rosebud tree years she was well over 100. Most Rosebud trees don't get much taller that 25 feet, but old Rose towered up to 40 feet.

It became obvious last year that old Rose was suffering and needed to be cut down. With Mighty Moe, the little electric chain saw that thought he could, the process of cutting down Old Rose began. When the last branch was to be hewn down, a little help from friends made the task easier and quicker.

After the last branch came down the task of removing the stump began. A good friend took on the task of stump removal and over the course of several months, he dug, sawed, and chopped on the root system of Old Rose. Finally we called up Big Burtha, the newly aquired Stihl 460 Magnum chain saw, off the bench to dice up the last parts of Old Rose's stump.

Go Big Burtha

In a matter of less that an hour the last of the stump was removed and we celebrated with fried rice, wantons, peanut butter chicken, and other Chinese delicacies at the Hong Hing restaurant.

My stump removing friend

Old Rose will live on in the memories of those that enjoyed her beauty and those that helped to bring her down. All that's left is a hole of victory where she once stood in royal grandeur for so many years. Thoughts have been given about what will become of the space where she lived and those thoughts have been leaning toward a memorial fire pit to warm the hearts of those that sit around the cracking fire telling stories which may just be about the glory days of Old Rose and how she lasted so long.

Long live the memories of Old Rose

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cove Baptist Church August brought the opportunity to be a part of a team that headed for Orange, Texas to help with the wiring of a church. The church had three and a half feet of water in the Sanctuary from hurricane Ike. Since all the wiring below the water line had to be replaced and the church was over 50 years old a total rewiring to bring it up to code was in order. The team staid in Vidor and ate morning and evening meal there.
Noon meal was at the fellowship hall of Cove church which was on higher ground and didn't get any water damage. Snacks at 10:30am and 3:30pm were top notch as well as the noon meal. I always come back from a trip with at least 5 pounds more than I what I left with. But that Southern food just tastes sooo good. I expect it sends my cholesterol up a point or two but I'll deal with it when I get back home.

My job this time was to put rectangle holes in the walls for the alarm system monitor and emergency lights to be mounted. It required up and down ladders all day long. Texas in August is hot hot hot and extremely humid. So working up on the ceiling in a building with no power which meant no airconditioning and only a few fans to keep the air moving was pretty exhausting by the end of the day. A good high cholesterol meal and nice shower really hit the spot.

Mounting electrical boxes for the exit signs was another ceiling job. You would have thought that I'd have sweat off a few pounds, but every two hours the church people wanted to feed us. I didn't have heart to say no. :) Between this trip and the next trip in September that I didn't go on we rolled out about 6,000 feet of metal clad electrical wire.

My Cousin's Patio
The next project of the summer all started with a phone call from my cousin. "What ya doin'" was the question coming from phone on my ear. My response to that question is almost always, "I don't know what am I doing?" She says with an excited voice,"I am going to build a patio in my front yard and need dirt. I was driving down the road and found a sign that says, 'FREE DIRT.' Can you believe it. Free dirt." Well that lead into loading, hauling, and unloading FREE DIRT.
The project expanded into a two week project of hauling, rocks, sand, gravel, and flagstone. I'd never laid a flagstone patio before so it was definitely a learning experience for both of us. We planned and talked and planned and talked then we would dig and shape and talk and plan some more. The two of us together almost made a half a landscaper. But with a little time and wisdom we made it through the building of the patio.
We learned a lot about leveling the patio. It only took a couple days to figure out how to raise up one end to make the patio level with the sidewalk.

Steps and plants finished off the patio. It will take the rest of the summer before the yard damage around the patio fills back in with grass, but by next year it should look as if it has been there for years. My cousin went on to a couple more big projects, but I didn't get to help with those as I had other commitments.

Helping out a friend
The next project of the summer was to help out a friend. She wanted to sell her house and this area was a mud eye sore for sure. She saw my poor man's patio and wanted to know if I could build her a small retaining wall to eliminate the eye sore in front of her house. Well, you know me. I accepted the challenge and obtained the details of how she wanted it to look and set out to aquire the materials. In about three days the project came together and really turned out great. Hopefully the next owner will enjoy the wall for many years to come.

Working at my Sister Pam's house

Las Vegas Work Crew
Everyone knows by now that my sister's husband, Ewald, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in January of this year and lost the battle here on earth in May but now dances with Jesus in heaven. Ewald's sister, Rosie, came to spend many weeks with her brother during his last days. Her husband, Steve, started the task of repairing a kitchen floor but soon it bloomed into an extreme home makeover both inside and out. Weeks extended into months as the project just expanded daily. Family and friends came to help from all parts of the country. Projects that had been in progress for a decade were being completed in a systematic way under the supervision of Ewald's brother-in-law, Steve.
The two sheds beside Pam's house were completely filled side to side front to back were sorted through with save, throw, and give away piles mounting up. Upon completion of emptying these two sheds, one was torn down and taken to the scrap heap and the other was moved to a new location. Pam bought a new tough shed which replaced those two sheds.
New windows around, with trim, and caulking were installed. Amost everything was either replaced or fixed to work properly by time of Ewald's service.

This is a sample of the group that came to help with the refurbishing of Pam's house and yard. We would all decend on the Casino every morning to eat breakfast. By the time everything was finished, we had our special place in the dining area for our group. We just figured they wanted to keep us away from the rest of the paying customers as we heckled each other and the waitresses as well. All was in good fun and they excepted it as just that. This picture was taken close to the last day and was really kind of a sad day as things began to wind down.