Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's Not The Cold

It's the humidity. Or maybe the 16 missing degrees of the predicted high for the day. Whatever.

Click on the picture below and you can see that a large number of trees were marked with orange tape for removal. There are a lot of the ugly Black Locust in there. I didn't bother to tape five large ones that are out of this picture, but they are on the hit list. The Black Locust don't have very large shade producing crowns. They are attacked by the locust leafminer that skeletonizes the leaves every year and by the locust borer that creates a lot of dead wood in the tree. Even with this many trees slated to come out there will still be substantial shade. I've plotted locations for pines and cold hardy clumping bamboo in pockets of sun I hope to create.

Then it was back to some detail work on the cozy cabin. I added the lattice work to the posts of the front porch. I don't really like the lines this creates. On this slope the choices are more limited though. It will be hidden by shrubberies soon enough.

Oddly enough it is much more pleasing from underneath. It still has a slight jarring note it seems. I am going to switch the bottom or fifth 2x4 on the right side with two 2x2's and see if that helps give it a more pleasing flow.

One of these days I will get back to the upper dry stack stone wall. There is bound to be a day when it is sunny and calm but too cold to use paints, caulks, mortars and other sticky things. That would make for a good day to go fetch rocks for the wall and I can even find them now in the bare bones of winter.

The space that is the basement patio is becoming more and more complete. I have the feeling, but will wait and see until I really spend some time out here, that I may need some shade production for when the sun is setting and shines under the cabin. Will the solution be a simple awning or a vine covered pergola in one section? Umbrellas are out. They blow away in the winds up here. I can think about that next summer.


Lola said...

Is that the end of a culvert I see in the right side of pic #1? If so does much water come out of it at any time?
I'm with you on the tree elimination.
I also see what you mean by a shock of the lattice. Something is not quite right on that one. Maybe the back was more subtle because of the back stairs. The back is much more pleasing to the eye. But like you said shrubbery will hide the front.
I'm leaning more for a pergola covered with some kind of vine. The right kind would loose it vegetation in winter therefore letting in sun for added warmth to the basement patio. Blinds, unless anchored, may flap in any wind possibly causing a problem. Just trying to see in my minds eye how each would work.
Either way I know it will look beautiful if you do it.

Phrago said...

Hey Chris, I think the design choices you are making are good ones and sometimes it takes a while to see that, be comfortable with the choice and then know what comes next. Remember how different it will look when it is painted, or stained (my choice). And then the landscaping could actually be minimal around the base of the lattice, filling in the voids and accent perfectly. I can visualize a large woody vine form growing up the side of the lattice onto the porch rail, perhaps a large euonomous like Manhattan,growing up the side could be quite sculptural.
That's a lot of trees to take out, but I think you should do it, too. May I suggest that you try and leave the roots and cut the stumps flat to the ground or you might freak the other trees growing there and set up a chain reaction of decline.
Another Pine that is very pretty and sculptural is Pinus parvaflora or Japanes White Pine. It has a more delicate texture and forms balls of needles down its stems looking almost like it was pruned like a "poodle tree". The tree can be be nice when used at the edge of a view, or where something a little more exotic is needed. It produces cones early too. Your Cabin is really coming along nicely... Patrick

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Are you kidding?? A vine covered pergola. I can't wait to see it.

Christopher C. NC said...

Yes Lola that is a culvert. In the three years I have been here I have not seen any water come through. Evidence that it has in the past is there. My folks have said that when the previous owner of the propety across the street put in roads all over the mountain it forever changed the water flow. If need be that flow can be easily directed to the natural drainage through the utility valley. Yes I think thinning the trees will give me healthier and better looking trees. Plus I can add some more desireable understory ones like dogwood and witch hazel.

Patrick I won't even try to dig out the stumps except on the very small sapling trees. Locust are bad about suckering from the roots when cut down well away from the former tree. Those might be hacked out as they appear.

The eastern White Pine, Pinus Strobus grows very well here. I think it will get to tall. The Pinus parvaflora looks interesting. The Japanese Black Pine, Pinus thunbergiana and the Lacebark Pine, Pinus bungeana are also a bit smaller in mature size and more likely to hold a crown at road level when planted below.

I hope that front view of the lattice grows on me. I think the vertical lines of the porch pickets against the horizontal of the lattice is what is so jarring. I plan for substantial shrubs in front though to help anchor the cabin to the ground.

Lisa you will have to wait. I really want to spend time out there and see if I really even need such a thing. It would be very easy to do. A couple posts on the patio floor out by the lower wall, some brackets on the main girder for lintels and bam, one pergola is done.

Anonymous said...

I second Patrick on the Pinus parviflora even if it is for only ornamental value (rather than screening). There is one at one of the public gardens where I volunteer and I have often wished I had the place to grow one; the form is exceptional.


Phrago said...

Hey, Another thing you might consider is adding two thin horizontal strips just under the roof of you porch, like I had suggested for the smaller porch on the North side of the house. That would add continuity from porch to porch and dress up your eves a bit. Plus, if you are so inclined, it would offer you a place to tie Winter greens for seasonal decorations. I think you may think that this could block your view from the windows a bit, but I think you would be surprised that a little detail would actually add rather than detract. If you paint all the porch and rail trim a darker color, it will homogenize the whole structure and blend the horizontal and verticle elements together.
Another thing that I have been considering lately is less shrubbery around the foundation than would I previously would have planted. The reason is that I am trying to discourage rodents and small animals from nesting around the foundation. I am also concerned aout the returning presence of cougar in my rurial area and certainly don't want to encourage an encounter during one of my nightly strolls with my Border Collies.
Looking at your house from the front porch I can see small shrubs filling the gaps in the lattice. I am reluctant to encourage planting Barbary because it is a pruning nightmare, however, they are brutelly tolerant of the cold and some of the newer color forms are spectacular. Also, Fothergillia major or F. minor would be the right size and offer three season interest. Beautiful shrubs, but yummy to rabbits, sob...
Whatever you decide, Your cabin will be really interesting... Patrick

Anonymous said...

You will be busy, er busier, with the chainsaw. I think it is the vertical railing with the horizontal that is jarring, but plants will fix that. Have you thought about pyracantha?


Christopher C. NC said...

Bev I keep hearing about a tree farm in Canton near me. I think I need to find it, go visit and see what they have.

Patrick how about some little decorative corner detail pieces for just under the roof line that would fit into the post/lintel corners? Hmm? Nothing to frilly though.

The color plan for the porches at this point is for the bulk to be the same grey as the house with the horizontal banister and maybe the lintels accented in another color. I have plenty of time to think about that while the treated lumber dries.

Hate the barberry because of the thorns. Fothergilla is nice and will find a home in the garden somewhere. I have mice now and there is not a bush or shrub anywhere near the cabin. Actually I have not heard the mouse in the floor in a few days since I foamed up the holes. Mice here are just going to be problem no matter what. making sure the house is sealed is more important than worring about them nesting in the shrubbery. They really like my piles of lumber.

Frances I have bad childhood memories of pyracantha. I'll save you some locust logs. There will be plenty when I get to that chore. How long you want em?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Christopher. Maybe seven feet, that is about all that will fit into the car. Don't know when I will be able to get them though, since we will have to come via Kingsport from now on. I do like the new smaller boards under the porch, much better. We had over two inches of snow, quite rare so early.