Yard Projects 2015

Home Up

YARD PROJECTS 2015

With my retirement rapidly moving along as does life in general or so it seems to me anyway, I have marked several items off my bucket list that I formulated in March 2012, however there are plenty still remaining.

I have to keep reminding myself that I am no longer a spring chicken and physical demanding things that I once did with great ease decades ago, or heck;  even a year ago are much harder to accomplish today!  However, I am not letting that slow me down but so much and have learned when I reach the threshold of getting tired, take a good break and consume plenty of water to stay hydrated!

My current project wasn't on my bucket list and I will try and explain.  Since we purchased our home in 1989, we tried without success to acquire the adjacent lots.  In fact, when I talked to the Ellen Lipe, owner of said property in the early 1990s, she didn't realize she owned the property, whereas her estate was paying the property taxes on it since they sold the home in 1965 and moved to High Point, NC.  I think I called her another time or two but she never got back to me and she passed away in 2001 according to Don Scarborough of Plank Road Realty.  The current heirs of the estate,  a son and two nephews of which the nephews lived in California and desired to sell the property, whereby contacting Plank Road Realty and glad they decided to sell.  When Don Scarborough of Plank Road Realty placed his For Sale sign on the property, I immediately called him and signed a contract ASAP to purchase the lots and there was a parcel down below us that was also owned by the same folks and they were selling both parcels as a package deal.  I did not haggle over the asking price which I believe was below the listed tax value as my bride and myself were extremely anxious to own those lots to prevent someone from building a home right beside us.  To make a long story short, the sale finally went through on September 29, 2014 with all the back and forth document transfers to two different locations in California plus one here in NC and getting things notarized correctly from all parties was a little bit slow process.  In the mean time, our neighbors on the other side of the property for the past 15 years had their home up for sale of which it was sold after we purchased the lots.  Those neighbors had trimmed back the upper corner of lot 13 shown on Original Liberty Hill Plat located in Plat Book 4 Page 131 dated March 10, 1952 we just purchased some each year and had opened up a sizeable piece of it adjacent the road to increase their front yard frontage facade which was only 100 feet in width.  They also "homesteaded" a small vacant lot on the other side of them that is owned by Frances Pritchard and heirs residing in Greensboro, NC to further their front yard facade.  They also planted trees adjacent to the road to help shield the view of their above ground pool from the road or to shield a small "red neck looking place" on the corner of Pecan and Burlington Street who think they live in the country with goats, ducks, chickens, rabbits, etc. at various times.  I am guessing they expanded their yard at least 30 feet or more onto lot 13 we just purchased removing trees and undergrowth.  They also left a wooden structure that was used during the Christmas Holidays as a life size manger nativity scene and it has been slowly rotting away the past 10 years without being used and looked like a "rat turd in a flour sack", sore to the eyes for sure.....grin if you must!   Below is an archived pix from 2005 showing the structure with the full life size figures before the wood frame was more or less abandoned:

Below is what the wooden structure looks like after demolition with Gardenia and Holly branches on top of it, ready for natural decomposition:

Within a couple days, the adjacent property owner took it upon himself to use the area just occupied by the old nativity wood structure as a parking space for his truck without ascertaining who owned the property.  Apparently, Carol Anderson Reality and the former owners did not show the new owners the property boundaries.  There was no evidence of a survey done prior to the sale of the adjacent property either since no survey stakes and ribbons were seen.

I had all three parcels surveyed by James R. Harrington Surveying and had them do a combination survey plat for tax purposes and will receive only one tax bill instead of two or three, plus I wanted to know exactly where the three (3) unknown boundary stakes were located.  The original land on Burlington Street was called Liberty Hill located in Plat Book 4 Page 131 at The Anson County Register of Deeds Office and dated March 10, 1952.

Below is a pix with the SE corner survey wooden and metal stake (bolt) and you can see the area to the far right rear that I have flagged to plant some trees:

The property line goes straight away in the above pix to the left side of the utility/power pole with all adjoining properties taking the shape similar to a parallelogram to the right and you can see there has been a sizeable chunk of the corner property that was cleared and "homesteaded."  I talked with our new and current neighbors (a very nice young couple) and explained to them what my goal for this property is and planned to plant some trees and bushes to get the corner a little more squared up with the property line, however I wasn't placing them actually parallel to the property line, otherwise they would not have any side yard facade at all below their driveway as evidenced by the temporary flag placed, of which I removed the wood stake and flag after showing them the property boundary line.  I only asked they do not remove anymore trees or undergrowth off the property further opening up the lot and continue cutting the grass if they so desired but do not park and travel on that area as the other home owners did.  I reiterated, that I enjoyed the privacy offered as it was originally in the past until it was constantly being opened up by the prior neighbors and hope to eventually get it closed back in some.  That talk didn't last a week since he parked his truck and a car on the land purchased and maybe still wasn't clear where the boundary line was at or apparently didn't care.

Below is what the corner property looked like in January 2000 during our Blizzard 2000:

Below is what the property looked like in 2005 from a satellite view screen captured from the Anson County GIS maps:

To get a proper perspective of the boundary grid lines, you have to visualize them as if looking straight down from above and not at an angle.  As evidenced by the aerial image, there has been a good amount of small trees and undergrowth removed from the corner.  The boundary line to the NE corner of the utility building is only 7' 2" measured with a tape.  Added above image on 09-04-16.

I knew where the boundary stakes were for all the parcels except three and using what information I had on the deeds, did an informal survey myself pulling a 100 meter tape and referenced off known boundary markers and got within a foot of two of the unknowns which isn't too bad considering there is a large elevation drop in the property and our home is between the lots we purchased on either side of us.  We are the last home at the end of the Dead End Street which is really nice since we are surrounded on all sides by woods.  We were annexed into the City limits in 2003 and got a street light, free garbage pick up twice a week which is now once a week and cost 15 bucks per month and of course Police protection (grin if you must) for the high tax dollars!  Nevertheless, it is still like being out in the country and my Bride and I have been extremely happy and content here.  

The property to our rear and adjacent to part of the lower lots just purchased was owned by the W. B. Moore Estate who founded B.C. Moore & Sons in 1923 and was sold to Cliff Martin upon Ms. Moore's death along with property on the west side of Anson High School Road and White Store Road.  Last year, the 134 acre track bordering the East of Anson High School Road adjoining our property was purchased by Alan Baucom Enterprises and/or land development, LLC, a large farming co-op and don't think it will ever be developed but utilized for farming or at least we hope so in our lifetime.  The wooded property directly in front of our home was part of the Gloriah Cameron estate that has their home on the far side on Moores Drive (named after the B.C. Moore & Sons founders) of whom had a large estate home on 27 acres toward town, whereas the Cameron estate is some High Dollar property comprising 5.4 acres and don't think that parcel will ever be divided either, although recently sold by the Cameron heirs residing in Leesburg, Virginia.  In the past and currently, Doctors, Lawyers and a Judge also owned property on Moores Drive with some very upscale large estate type homes.  The Harry Hodges 14 acre Estate can be seen to the Northwest in the aerial photograph below and above him (out of view) is the Janet Edwards 13.69 acre estate and there is a small creek Culpepper Creek which has a couple tributaries and runs parallel with his property and the Ole Moore Estate boundary and the creek eventually crosses Anson High School Road and then flows into Gould's Fork which empties into Brown Creek.  A couple hundred feet of Culpepper Creek flows through our property meandering along making a very beautiful, tranquil and scenic view with the North to North East corner bordering the Hodges, Cameron and ole W. B. Moore Estate properties.  Hopefully, we should continue to maintain our privacy, The Lord willing of course.  Moore's Drive for many, many decades was and is occupied by several of the "Who's Who in Wadesboro" aka deep pockets if you get my drift and later the trend was to build in the Ole Town Estates, Lennox Drive, Beaver Dam Estates off Country Club Road and/or relocate to Lake Tillery, Norwood, NC......grin if you must! 

Once you leave Moores Drive heading South via the below picture orientation in our direction (which is actually west), you are no longer in the "Aristocratic" life style section........another grin is in order!  Below is an aerial photograph I took way back when with Bill Escott the pilot and our home has the brown colored roof and is near the center to the right surrounded by woods and easy to see why it is like living in the country.  A good portion of the property was clear cut and replanted in pines after our Blizzard 2000 and especially when the W. B. Moore Estate (sans the Original Moore's home 27 acre estate) was sold to Cliff Martin, whereas when Cliff Martin and his wife died, his son (Cliffy as his mother referred to him) went crazy clear cutting his and his sister's land inheritance.  The property has grown back very thick but I miss the large hardwood trees and saw timber pines that was originally on the W. B. Moore Estate land but we live in a very dynamic and ever changing world.  Prior to Ms. Moore's death, the 500 plus or minus acre W. B. Moore Estate was managed by Maynard Johnson and then Paul J. Kiker III, Kiker Forestry & Realty, Inc., who never allowed clear cutting timber, only selective saw timber was removed in a manner that didn't scar the beautiful landscape!

Below is an aerial view taken in 2004

I definitely got side tracked there on the adjacent land history but that is my own personal MOO (mode of operation).  I decided to put some Leyland Cypress trees in the corner because they are fast growing and will offer a good privacy hedge in a few years from our limited view down the street but they do have some disease related problems and can reach excessive heights but will see how they do.  Click on below thumbnail pixs for a larger screen view:

I started around 0730 and finished getting the six Leyland Cypress trees planted sometime after 11:15 AM and between the shovel, ax and mattock; I was totally drained of energy.  The weather was overcast with a light misty rain from time to time and there was not a dry thread on me except maybe my socks and all this wetness wasn't from the misty rain but perspiration!

I used about 1 small bag (1 cubic foot) of Miracle Gro garden soil in each hole that I dug and mixed it with some of the existing soil.  After getting all six trees planted, I dragged the water hose uphill from our high pressure water outlet which is about 150 feet from the trees planted and gave them a good soaking, however we got a rain shower later in the afternoon.  The frontage on this lot is 134 feet and goes a little over 202 feet deep offering a good woodsy atmosphere which has some large pine trees and hardwoods offering a good buffer zone between our neighbors and no one will be able to build a home "right on top of us" either.  Back during our Blizzard 2000, a couple of the larger pine trees lost most of their limbs and later died and fell to the ground and one got hung up in the crotch of another tree which was a safety hazard and unsightly.  Since purchasing the lot, I got the ole Husqvarna farm model chain saw out and made it look much prettier.  Deer use the lower edge of the property to make their frequent rounds through the area trying to remain concealed as much as possible and do travel through our yard heading in the direction of Moores Drive.  There are a couple of old rusted out 55 gallon steel barrels that was used in the past to burn trash and some other junk metal items are located in the thicker part of the lot that I plan to get out of there in the future and transport to the local landfill.    

A few days ago, I removed two holly bushes and a gardenia bush adjacent our carport and planted a couple Judge Solomon Azalea bushes and three Golden Euonymus since I dug up three small baby ones from those planted at the front of the home.  I had to use the chain saw and axe to get rid of those bushes and already sore from the extra physical activity.  It will take a few years to get a balanced look to the end of the carport, whereas the Gardenia bush was killed when the house trim painters used Clorox in their pressure washer to prepare the wooden surfaces for paint.  That was the only plant lost and the painters did an excellent job.  I never plan to plant another Holly type bush due to the hypodermic needle type pointed leaves which will grab hold of you even when the leaves are dead.  

Click on the below thumbnail pixs for a larger screen view:

The below picture has special meaning to my Bride and I because when we purchased our home, they were three small plants (two to three inches in height) which she watered daily and I would scold her because I thought they were nothing but weeds and said she was wasting water.....grin if you must!  Below is a pix of what those three weeds look like today:

My bride reminds often how those weeds have really grown and we both crack a grin for sure!  You can see how sparse the undergrowth is in the upper left corner of the above pix of which I want to rectify that......I guess I must be peculiar or something because I do enjoy much privacy and love it when Spring arrives and everything closes back up!  Must be faulty DNA.  

Below some Azaleas planted in late fall last year:

Also, the large stump you see in the foreground of the three (weeds) was a Mimosa tree that was damaged and had to cut it down.  The Mimosa tree took seven (7) years before it produced the first bloom and the second year it bloomed was totally awesome.  I have fond memories of those Mimosa trees that was at my Grandmas home place near the front porch and also in the back yield and they were absolutely beautiful.   Below is an archived pix taken of our Mimosa blooms on June 3, 2012:

With the Leyland Cypress trees planted, it will be time to run the aerator plug cutter over the yard and get some Fescue 31 grass seed broadcast along with some fertilizer toward the end of the week since the weather prophets are forecasting rain for the balance of this week, off an on and the hard packed red clay lawn will be much easier to aerate the soil. 

I still have to remove the Mimosa stump and think about what if any I want to plant but since it is fairly close to the carport; will level it up and just plant some grass seed no doubt.  Also, the elevated flower bed with the crosstie timber frame in the front yard is to be removed since the pink dogwood that had been there a couple decades gave up the ghost and the deer eat all the bulbs, tulips, etc. out many years ago.  The deer population will not allow those type bulbs to grow around here and my bride doesn't mind the harvest of deer since they eat several hundred of her bulbs that once lined the driveway. 

I have plenty of manual labor work to get done but taking it one project at a time.  My hunting buddies cannot believe that I decided not to go Turkey hunting this season but rather work on these Yard Projects!  Don't think they haven't reminded me of how domesticated I have become.  On a positive note, I still have some frozen wild turkey breast halves left from last years turkey hunting season.

I will add additional 2015 projects to this page when they manifest themselves.

Web published by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 04-14-15 and updated on 04-17-15.

ELEVATED FLOWER BED REMOVAL

For some reason, I just can't seem to get enough of using a shovel, wheel barrow, mattock and axe since retirement and it might be a good time to get a professional psychological tune up!  The weather wasn't too hot today although the humidity was a little high and got started on removing the elevated flower bed.  I didn't take any sequence pixs like I am prone to do at times but took a few more or less after the fact.  There is a pix of the elevated flower bed several paragraphs above in the pix of the home and yard facade.

The first order of business was to remove the heavy creosote railroad crossties weighting around 190 pounds each and in each inside corner was a metal right angle bracket which had four large nails securing the crossties together and had to use a crow bar to pry them loose.  There was a King Snake sunning itself adjacent the creosote timbers and relocated him to the Azalea bushes but he wasn't going for it and made a few strikes from a coiled position but got him moved without harming him.  Normally a King Snake is not aggressive and can easily be handled.  That is one of the good snakes and I don't harm them.  I pulled the little red Ford Ranger truck close to the crosstie timbers and lifted one end of each crosstie and placed it on the tailgate and then went to the other end and lifted it and pushed it onto the bed of the truck.  That is a job for a young man, not a senior citizen but I got it done anyway.  I hauled them to a gulley on the other side of our lower drive way adjacent the woods where I put things there to decompose; wood, tree limbs, stumps, etc.  Those creosote timbers will outlive yours truly before their decomposition unless I live far past 100 which is a very long shot for sure!

The raised flower bed was a good 6 to 8 inches above ground level and it took six (6) fully loaded wheel barrow loads of dirt removal to get the bed fairly level.  I deposited the dirt in front of the Azalea bushes and will taper it out since there is a low place in front of from parallel to the house where I installed a new gutter drain line system last year and the dirt has settled several inches or more.  I will do a final leveling after I chain saw the dead dogwood stump below ground level which is still hard as a rock after being dead three years.  It will then be time to run the plug cutter over the yard and get some grass seed broadcast along with some fertilizer and hopefully kill back some of the clover that has taken over where the grass is sparse.

Following are a few pixs taken.  Click on the thumbnails for a larger screen view:

It doesn't take but a few minutes with a shovel in motion to open up every sweat pore and hopefully will be able to get some serious sleep in tonight.

After these yard projects are finished, I plan to replace or have replaced the carpet on the front porch and/or steps,  replace the plastic chairs with a wrought iron and wooden bench and table, etc., and on the list for this year is to have the shingles on the roof replaced........home owner stuff never ends!

Web published updates by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 04-18-15.

YARD WORK CONTINUES

I got the shovel, mattock, axe, rake and chain saw out and tackled the dogwood stump in the ole flower bed.  As I stated earlier, that stump was dead for three years and still "hard as a rock."  After digging around it where I could cut it off several inches below ground level, it took some serious work with the shovel and mattock to access it with the chain saw.  The chain was dull and "milked" it for this project but it does need sharpening from cutting part of the Mimosa stump from the ground last year.  I will definitely sharpen the chain saw chain before the next usage.  Once the stump was removed and the ground leveled up, mixed some Miracle Gro garden soil in there with the rake and then planted some Fescue 31 grass seeds. 

I then hooked up the plug cutter aerator to the lawn tractor, added some heavy cement blocks and made a pass over the entire front and back yard.  With the ground still being damp from last weeks continuous and soaking rain for about a day, it was easy to remove 3/4 inch diameter by 3 inch length plugs of dirt from the yard.  It looked like where some giant geese had deposited their droppings over the yard.....grin if you must! 

Next was to tackle the dirt that I had removed from the bed and piled in front of the Azalea bushes to help level up the area where I installed a new gutter drain line system last year of which the dirt had settled a few inches, etc.  Once that was leveled out, I packed it with the lawn tractor and then raked in some grass seed, watered and covered with wheat straw.  A few thumbnail pixs below:

On today's list will be doing some weed trimming to the rear of the yard where there is an ole milky quartz retaining wall my bride installed by herself using only a wheel barrow to transport the rock from a pile about 40 yards or more away.  Twenty years ago my bride aka Pistol Packing Momma was tough as a lightered knot for sure and loved to do yard work of which it wasn't my passion.

Web published updates by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 04-22-15.

GRASS UPDATE ON 05-04-15

Below a few pixs of the grass that was planted above on 04-22-15 and it is coming along pretty good.

As soon as the planted Fescue grass works it way through the wheat straw and high enough to mow a couple times, I plan to broadcast some Scott's Turf Builder with weed control since the lawn is really needing some nitrogen and other minerals.  The white clover about took over the yard this season in several places due to the poor soil and the clover competes with the existing grass which is not good.  With more available time on my hands with retirement,  I have the time to start getting the lawn in better shape and this hard packed red clay base has been a real challenge but getting there little by little.

Web published updates by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 05-04-15.

I NEED A DNA CHECK 05-07-15

The past couple days, got a chance to work in the yard some more and was kidding one of my friends Robert Webster in Hamlet, NC about getting our DNA checked as both have been working pretty regular for retired folks and manual labor is something neither of us did much of while working 30 plus years with the NCDOC/NCDPS.

Yesterday, I got the lawn tractor out and hooked up the plug aerator, loaded some heavy cement blocks on the weight tray and "disked" the upper red clay hillside pretty good with it.  I then broadcast some Fescue 31 Tall grass seeds, raked the seeds in and covered with wheat straw and saturated the wheat straw with water from the sprinkler.  I ran out of wheat straw of which our local landscape supplier sold the last he had in stock right before I made the call....that is the way "luck of the draw" runs some times......grin if you must!  Below a pix:

This morning, I planned to remove a small patch of ragged looking pampas grass that never did take hold in the compacted red clay dirt and replace it with a Golden Euonymus plant, but this time I used about 2 cubic feet of good garden soil to help enrich the poor red clay dirt.  Pix before the removal:

As evidenced by the pix, the soil will barely grow weeds and little by little I plan to get the soil in much better shape.  When cutting, trimming or removing pampas grass, you need to wear protective gloves because the blades of grass will cut you like a razor!  Below a couple thumbnail pixs taken and I got a good work out with the ole shovel and wheel barrow:

  

Below pix after the new planting and it sure does look much better with the pampas grass removed

 

I turned the sprinkler on and let the plant get a good soaking.  Later, I will add a good layer of pine straw around the plant to help hold the moisture in the ground and inhibit weeds from growing.

Web published updates by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 05-07-15.

Finally got around to putting some pine straw around a few of the bushes recently planted, broadcast some fertilizer and sprayed some Ortho Weed killer on our healthy crop of clover which has about taken over the poor red clay soil in a few areas. 

I am letting the planted Fescue 31 grass get a good root system going before I mow it and it will look shabby for sure but will knock some of the higher stuff down with the weed trimmer.

Web published updates by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 05-14-15.

DRAINAGE DITCH DIGGING PROJECT

We have an upper drainage ditch that helps channel the water overflow which keeps it out of the side and back yard.  Our home when built in the late 1950s and apparently didn't have any serious landscaping theme in mind as evidenced by the lay of the land/yard. 

One of my earliest projects after we purchased the home in 1989 was to open up and enlarge a small upper drainage ditch to effectively drain the water that originated in the side ditch road right of way next to the adjacent lot of which we now own and water coming from the next home's driveway pipe at the crest or peak of the hill/elevation.  There was never a drainage pipe installed at the end of our driveway next to the main road which leaves the water draining from our upper yard down hill adjacent the side of the carport and through the back yard.  Before the drainage ditch was opened up, water would be standing in a low place in the back yard of which has been corrected with the improved drainage ditch.  All of this was done with a shovel, mattock, axe and wheel barrow which old school folks refer to a shovel as a Mexican backhoe.  The dirt removed from the drainage ditch was placed next to the foundation in the front of the house to help keep water away from the foundation which in turn helped keep water from leaking into the full basement. 

Every five to seven years, the above mentioned drainage ditch has to be opened up due to slowly filling in from sediment washed in, etc.,  It would take a week or two of many hours of manual labor to get it done.  The digging could be accomplished with a small mini-backhoe but I don't mind the extra physical work which is good for the body and also save a good chunk of money in the process as well.  Ok, I know I can be frugal at times.......grin if you must.   The dirt removed from the drainage ditch was placed beside the carport where I recently cut down a couple holly bushes and a Gardenia that had died.  The balance of the dirt is being placed in front of a milky quartz wall in the back yard that helped prevent back yard erosion.  Click on the below thumbnail pixs for a larger screen view:

 

My morning ritual for this ditch digging project is to get started before the sun comes over the trees to the east and get two wheel barrow loads of dirt removed from the ditch and then get my shave and shower for the day.  So far, this routine has been working pretty good.  I also enjoy a good cup of freshly brewed Donut House K-Cup regular coffee either before or right after the ditch digging!  It is also a good time to get some morning meditation in and give thanks to God through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior for his many blessings and allowing me another day on this earth that he has created for us to enjoy! 

The drainage ditch is shaped like a snake or S curve on the lower portion and the area adjacent the wheel barrow once filled in with sediment, etc., allows water to flow across the back yard with gravity doing its thing.  Also, this low area had a pile of Mimosa roots that were seeking out water and was a "dawg" to get them out even though the Mimosa tree was cut down last year and only the dead stump remains of which will either be burned or will have it ground up.

About six or seven paragraphs above, you can get a visual of how the elevation drops off pretty fast in a short distance.   More to follow.......

Web page updated by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 05-27-15.

THE MEXICAN BACKHOE IS RESTING FOR THE MOMENT

We finally got some much needed rain this week with more than an inch of rain in one afternoon/evening and several days of a soaking light drizzle which has really jump started the grass.  The shovel, wheel barrow, mattock and axe are idle at the moment but plan to get back on the ditch digging project some next week when the ground dries out a little.  With the compacted red clay we have around here, it want take long before it is hard as concrete again.

I took a few pixs of how the grass is looking after the much needed rain and it will also ease our water usage bill from the town.  Below a few pixs:

The drainage ditch I have been working on also got a good workout since we had a "gulley wash" of a rain one afternoon in the early part of the week.  Pixs below:

I should finish this ditch digging project up by the end of next week and check out the items on my bucket list and see what the next one will be.

Web published updates by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 06-05-15.

Home Up