Tag Archives: drought

A Tree Tale: The End

Our long, dramatic encounter with the bark beetle has come to an end. At last.

It’s been well over a year now since the beetles came, conquered, and left destruction in their wake in our Sierra Nevada mountain home. We’re lucky, of course; compared to communities farther south, we barely suffered. Still, we’ve spent the last 18 months on a torturous homeowner odyssey: learning the telltale signs of a beetle strike, working with multiple forestry agencies to fell over a dozen 100-foot+ ponderosa pines, spending late nights online reading up on logging regulations and permit processes, dealing with the gargantuan mess left behind (through the record-setting winter of 2016-17, no less), facing off with shitty neighbors, growing closer to good ones…

And really learning a lot about trees in the process.

Now that it’s over (knock on wood), it’s kind of amazing to look back on it all, so I’m going to do that (some day when I’m feeling particularly ineffective, this is gonna be a great confidence booster)… Continue reading

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Bark Beetle: The Final Chapter

At least we HOPE it’s the final chapter, seeing as we technically have no more pine trees… It better be.

Some time in mid-November, we were notified by our neighbor up in Arnold, Nick, that Mario’s Tree Service had come and cut all the trees on our property struck by bark beetle this summer.

“It doesn’t look bad at all,” said Nick.

OHHH Nick. Thanks for that, you sweet guy.

But when we arrived late this past Thursday after six weeks away – HA.

Let’s just say, there was some furious late-night raking over dirt and asphalt, and a little amateur masonry by flashlight, too.

The next morning, Nick himself had to come out and chuckle sheepishly at the remaining tree mayhem and admit…

“Yeah, it’s very un-Lisa.”

View of three giant Ponderosas, left exactly where they fell on the back of our property. Oy vey.

View of three giant Ponderosas, left exactly where they fell on the back of our property. Oy vey.

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Bark Beetle: Still Going

Our trees have begun to fall.

Not the big ones – yet – but when we arrived at Mustang Ranch late last week, we discovered that our neighbor Nick had rallied for us all. He went to the tree mortality meeting down in Avery, and came back armed with the knowledge that all the trees lining Mustang Road in front of our properties aren’t actually any of our concern (ta da!). They belong to Calaveras County.

And so, fired up (I love mountain-living next door to Nick), he got the county crew to come cut everything on the easement that PG&E hadn’t already tagged for removal: in front of BOTH our houses. When we arrived, it was all neatly GONE; they chipped all the wood up into nothingness and made it all disappear. All the small (as in, 16 feet-ish) straggler trees, that had been nearly dead from drought a year ago when we bought the house.

Remains of the row of small dead ponderosa pines along the road in front of our house.

Remains of the row of small dead ponderosa pines along the road in front of our house.

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Yard Update: September

It’s been a while since we made a good old update on the yard at 3675, but don’t worry – we haven’t forgotten our first born and our favorite labor of love. We’ve been a little busy with 2381 lately (which doesn’t even have a yard, really – just a lot of really big trees), but 3675’s landscape continues to evolve, in spite of our record-breaking drought, even (thank you, rain barrel system!).

And this week, we began our front-yard transformation to native, drought-tolerant plantings!

BONUS: we dug out a ton of mulch that had been layered up over the years and was basically serving as a red carpet for termites, should the rain ever decide to return…

BEFORE: The front of our house was ringed with multiple levels of planter beds, FULL of a foot+ of mulch apiece. Buh-bye!

BEFORE: The front of our house was ringed with multiple levels of planter beds, FULL of a foot+ of mulch apiece. Buh-bye!

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Recharge

I spent this past weekend in Yosemite National Park, on a much needed “recharge.”

View from our balcony over the Merced outside the entrance to Yosemite, 3.14.

View from our balcony over the Merced outside the entrance to Yosemite, 3.14.

Like the early spring Merced River, filling back up with water after the thaw and blasting over the park’s granite cliffs, I’ve been in desperate need of a fresh supply of my life-giving essentials to move me into the next phase of my existence. Those essentials are basically sleep, beer, nature, and friends. And I got a whole lot of them this weekend. Continue reading

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