May 19, 2011

Dead Snake. Live Tree Planting.

Problem: You have a mondo sized pile of dirt in your yard.

Issue: That dirt needs to level out a lot of yard square footage.

Final pickle: The task would break your back and cause a certain wife named me to stop talking to her husband after about hour 10 if done by hand with shovels and wheelbarrows. Potential for quite from jabber mouth wife- almost worth the sore muscles.

Solution: Ask brother in law if he would mind lending you his tractor for the job.


This all how we ended up with a kick ass tractor for a week to help us with getting the fill dirt spread to grade the land around the garage. All in all, the tractor was heavenly! It was such a workhorse and I think I'm in love. Not even kidding, I broached the topic of starting our search for one about two hours into using the borrow tractor. The thing just rocks. Buying one is not in the cards now, but maybe in the future, once we actually live in the Wee house, we'll be parking a tractor in our ginormous garage.

We also took advantage of the tractor by using to help us plant our long talked about willow tree. One of our long term landscaping goals was also to grow a weeping willow tree in the back of the back yard by the stream. The area is the perfect spot for planting a willow, they love being near a water source, lots of sun and should be kept father from structures with foundations since the root system can be extensive.

So why did we decide to go for the willow tree now? Time! Simply put, time is on our side with the house. When we do move into the house, in about a decade..., the tree will have had the necessary time to get established a little bit. In our personal experience with planting trees it takes about two years for the tree to get over the shock of transplanting and start to flourish. We did splurge for one older bigger tree at a nursery, and then trimmed the budget a bit by grabbing the glorified twig version from a big box store for much cheaper.

The older tree weighed a damn ton! Never under estimate how much a balled tree weighs people! It may look manageable, but I can assure they are quite the load. We learned that the hard way with our first married Christmas tree, a balled blue spruce that now is thriving in the Wee house yard. It just about killed our arm muscles to make that happen for a not quite four foot tree.

Using the tractor we were about to get the two willow trees and all of the necessary tree planting equipment- plus my super pale self - into the back yard with ease. Other tree planting equipment is a rake, shovel and brick of peat moss.

Funny thing about pictures is that while I look calm and smiley, the inside of me was gagging and trying not to look at the dead snake that Pete just beheaded which is just outside the frame of the shot.

As we rode the tractor to the backyard I had to hop off to grab my camera, right after I dismounted I saw the snake slithering away from the old shed. holymolyomg. I don't do slithery things. Screaming, and you better believe this former teeny bopper from jersey has a set of lungs on her, I ran back to the tractor and stood on top of it while freaking out. I grabbed the shovel, thrust it towards Pete screaming KILL IT. Poor guy didn't really have much choice in the matter what with his wife acting like a lunatic and all, he went ahead with beheading the snake.

Could we have let the snake live, yes. It wasn't going to do much to me besides give me a few (more) gray hairs if I ran into it again but I was freaked out and I don't respond well in situations like that andplusalso I flipping hate snakes. Afterwards I kept calling Pete Neville, which he didn't get at all because Deathly Hallows Pt.2 hasn't gotten released yet and he's never read the books. (Anyone else super excited for that scene? It's one of my favorites)

After the snake was dead we went on to the back yard to plant the trees. Planting trees in our yard is super easy since we don't have any bedrock laying just under our top soil. First you dig a big ass hole. We always aim for a hole twice the size of the root ball, and for the bigger tree the tractor did most of the digging. Then, you back fill the hole with a bit of the dirt and add some peat moss. Eyeball the amount to be even and enough that when you put the tree in the hole, it won't be completely buried. Trees are not tomatoes and should not be deeply buried when planting. We aim to get the root ball even or just above the ground.

Once the tree is in at the right level, put the rest of the leftover soil back. Water the crap out of the tree for a long time and don't be surprised if you don't see any growth or improvement right away. Trees take time to get established and over the shock of transplanting. At this point you stand back and admire the tree.


  1. In my opinion, willow trees are the most beautiful trees. Good choice! Once the inside of our house gets closer to finished, we're going to do some research into a tree to spend some money on to put in our backyard. I hope yours survives the transplant without issue!

  2. My brother has that same tractor (its name is Homer) and I LOVE to drive it! Yay for heavy machinery!

  3. Did you not attempt Parseltongue?

    Love from M.O.M.