Six on Saturday – April 7, 2018

We’ve been having some beautiful sunrises. This was last week over my neighbors house. I love the lace of the unleafed trees against the sky.

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Our lot has six huge old silver maples on it. They are considered weedy trees, but they give us shade and are one of the reasons we bought this house. I wanted mature trees.  A previous owner planted daffodils, fragrant hostas and sedum between two of the trees.  The deer like those hostas, too. You can see the as yet uncollected piles of debris I pulled off the Autumn Joy sedums. Collecting yard trash was on my to do list yesterday but we had an unexpected dinner guest which was much more fun. That required picking up debris inside the house.

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As much as I love these silver maples, they require yard upkeep. They produce seeds that turn into helicopters which then float down and cover the yard. The worst part is that the helicopters insert themselves into the spaces between the boards on our back deck. Removing them requires a hands and knees effort. The baby seeds are already on the trees. When they are large and dried out, they fly and really do twist and turn like helicopters. I’ll look at this photo every once in a while to remind myself how beautiful they are as babies.

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Finally some tulips. Many more in bud. I keep spraying with Deer Away and so far so good. The deer like the blooms. One day you have a bed full of tulips and the next morning every single bloom is gone.

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These daffodils quickly make huge clumps that must be divided. I don’t know where they came from, but I keep dividing them and they are now in many places around the house. There are even a few coming up in the grass where the squirrels must have planted them.

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And finally some eye candy. A bloom on an early magnolia spotted on an early morning walk in my neighborhood . The pale pink on the interior of the bloom is divine. I wouldn’t have gotten this photo without the macro lens. Thanks again, Fred.

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These are my Six on Saturday. See The Propogator for the ground rules if you’d like to join in the fun.

Helicopter Wars

We have beautiful old silver maples on our property – seven of them spaced around the house. Many people consider them junk trees, but I am quite fond on them. We had an old silver maple in Harford Country. It was the tree our children’s tree swing was in and it shaded our 200 year old stone house. That tree was probably 100 years old when it was felled in a storm. We replaced it with another large caliper silver maple. We hoped the family who bought our house would install a swing for their children.

That’s the romantic side of the silver maple story. The downside is that they have a gazillion helicoptered seeds (called samaras) in the spring.

As I look out my office window, the trees look as though they are leafing out. There are tiny leaves coming, but those cursed helicopters are getting ready to be blown into the quarter inch spaces between the boards on my deck. They float down gracefully, spinning one way and then become sidewinder missiles on a mission.

It takes weeks for all the helicopters to come off the trees. Once we think they’re down, it takes us days to dig them out of the deck. Usually on our hands and knees with lots of cursing. So this year we decided to try and get ahead in the war on helicopters so we covered the deck with tarps!

Then the wind began to blow and we scurried to find more bricks. The deck always has to be cleaned with deck cleaner once the helicopters are removed, so we are hopeful that the tarp solution will work. I am a little concerned, however, that we may grow an impressive crop of mold underneath the tarps. Enough air seems to be getting under the tarps that maybe that won’t be a problem.

The helicopters are also a problem in my garden. I am amazed that the whole East Coast has not been covered in silver maples. I blow them out of the garden and into drifts on the driveway. I pull them out as they sprout. Those seeds are tenacious. I am already finding tiny maple trees in my garden beds and the helicopters have barely begun to spin. They must be from last year’s seeds.  I can’t cover my garden beds with tarps, but I’m hoping they help on the deck.

On Google I learned that you can eat maple seeds. Not the wings, but the seed is apparently quite good roasted. Who knew? Sounds like a lot of work to me (I buy my pistachio nuts and peanuts shelled), but if I’m in a survival situation I’m all set.