Saturday, July 25, 2009

Nursery Visit

On the 4th of July weekend, I drove up to Michael's for a long weekend. Pictured here is his front yard meadow. He's done a ton of gardening to bring back the gardens from a couple years of neglect.

I took these snaps from inside his living room in the early morning choosing to stay dry in the drizzle.

One of the weekend tasks was to clear this downed tree from a trail on his property. Thanks to my small chainsaw this was quick work.After the work was done we ventured deep into the forest toward the now abandoned beaver pond. All around were trees perfectly chewed in the indisputable hourglass shape that only a beaver can do. Locals say they chew almost through, then wait for a wind to blow them down so they don't get smashed by the falling tree. Smart critters if it's true.

Along the way we came across this abandoned tractor brought in by a nearby property owner who apparently never used it for its intended use... logging? farming? The forest is so thick here that my camera actually flashed.

So then we were off to a local nursery to check out more plants.
Lots of the usual flower plants on offer.......
And some varieties like this blueberry bush that only grow well here.

Here's another example of a dry-stack stone wall I find so attractive. There is no mortar used in building these walls, but if the wall is high it needs a concrete retaining wall behind it to keep the earth from pushing the wall over.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Walk in My Neighborhood

My neighborhood is a grand mix of old Victorians of various styles. The "West End" as it is called escaped the last fire (there have been three) on July 4th, 1866 when escaped fireworks raised most of the town.

On the left is the condo I live in. It has been broken down into eight 2-bedroom units from what was once a duplex.

The 3-story brick on the right is directly across the street and and has remained a townhouse duplex. Sometimes it is difficult to tell what the original configurations were because builders are pretty good at disguising original features, yet retaining the period appearance.

This stone house is a couple blocks away from me and shows some of the charm of early American construction. Brick, stone, and slate were the building materials of the day.

Granite is used here for building also as you can see by these entrance steps. All the curbs and most foundations are of granite. There is a definite early American feel here as one wanders the brick sidewalks of residential streets lined with linden trees. We have stone yards here where one can buy all sorts of landscaping stone and cut granite. I especially like lightpost pillars of granite and dry-stack stone walls like this one.

Since people don't need such large houses anymore, most have been remodeled into either condos or apartments.

This is the porch and front garden of friends newly arrived from San Francisco, Eric and Fernando. This elegant old Victorian Lady has a beautiful wrap-around porch, three stories, and finished basement where the original kitchen is evidenced by the slate sink, and finished cupboards.

So come to Portland and we'll take a stroll.