Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fairwell to Sister Sycamore...hello Green Goddess!

Yesterday was stressful. Today I woke up with a fever blister and a vague memory of the noise and sickening feeling I had dealt with the previous day...throbbing in my lip. We had 2 trees, Redbuds, the stars of my yard in February/March taken out. They have been slowly dieing for years, but while removing the very last stand of Nandina in my yard, we found massive ant damage, that explained what was going on. Both trees leaned dangerously near the house, garage and power lines and had dead wood that creaked when the wind was time.

I posted this photo of one of the Redbud bases....Jacob made several new stumps for the imaginary tea party.

Look how old they are! I've found two saplings and put cages around them so their next generation can live on.

Toadstool tea anyone? I'll let these babies dry out before turning them into Amanita Muscaria.

This is the now bare site of the Redbud that had the worst ant damage, hidden by a 3 ft. tall stand of Nandina that stretched 9 ft. long. Jacob is carefully removing a nest with baby doves.

He was very quiet, and gentle and they were amazingly calm.

He offered to relocate them, but got busy with the other trees. Should you find baby birds out of their nest, do not touch them, or offer them food. If the parents are around, they will usher the little one into a safe area and within a few days, teach them to fly from taking off of the ground. If no one is around, you can try to relocate them (with gloves) to a bushy area, and make sure to keep all pets indoors until rescue plans are made. Austin Animal Rescue is a volunteer run and donation based organization that does not receive any government funding.
5401 East Martin Luther King Blvd. Austin, TX 78721(512) 472-9453

This nest was inside the Sycamore tree, and had two entrances!

Here are the upper and lower holes leading to what appears to be an over 1 foot hollow home. The tree, was pretty hollow, and also had ants throughout.

I hope the ants will stay in the woodpile, a safe distance from the house!
And now for a few shots of the ant damage...warning, these are horrifying when you consider they were looming some 30 feet above my home!

and more....

more!!! They just kept coming!

Here's Salvador's truck with mulcher. What didn't remain as sculpture or firewood, now resides at the base of the other trees for a nice thick, nitrogen enriched (considering all the fresh's nearly green!) mulch!
View from my porch looking up at the dead Sycamore branches.

You can see a little bird at the top. There were two huge dead limbs, that strangely enough, through all the wind, stayed put. It was the huge leaf covered, lower limbs that dropped. It makes me sad to take these limbs down because I've counted up to 17 birds in the upper branches at one time. It must be a fantastic perch for viewing.

And, they're gone.
Check out the woodpecker hole! This side of the limb was hit by lightning several years ago and just missed crashing through the pergola. The limb was huge and heavy but dropped, or rather slid down the tree at an angle and took out a few lower limbs. It was then that I saw the sculpture potential in this beautiful tree!

Can you see her form yet?

Here she is. I've been planing plantings of vines and a circular pattern at her base, which is a secret...if I committed to my ideas, someone might hold me to them!'ll just have to wait. Planting will begin this fall, and there are plans for the face/space between the V shaped top. I need to find a welder (I no longer have the equipment!) She will be a kinetic Green Goddess! Right now she's been called a few unsavory names..."upside down stick-person, unfinished...uh...what?" But you have to be patient...This is only Phase I.

When I stepped outside this morning, the Goddess had two birds on her, circling and surveying the neighborhood. There was a lot of activity, chirping, chip notes and what sounded like alarm calling. I wish I spoke bird...the noise was amazing.
Well, that's it. I'm glad it's over...of course tree work is non-stop, but so worth it! I love, love the sound of the birds in my yard...which is one of the reasons I became a wildlife habitat. If you have an organic yard and provide, water, native plants for nectar, food and shelter check into becoming certified at
And, they are currently seeking funds and volunteers to help with the oil spill!
Get Involved
Happy Gardening!
Also..shout out to Salvador's team of tree-monkeys, they were very professional!
Austin Tree & Lawn Service


Caroline said...

Love the Green Goddess and the tree stump tea party furniture. In my experience, doves do not make the smartest choices when choosing a spot for a nest. You did good work!

Cheryl said...

Thanks Caroline, they've both left the nest now...I don't think they were ready, but I haven't seen them around...I hope the parents ushered them to safety!

Lancashire rose said...

Love the tree party. We may have need of the tree monkeys one day as I certainly don't want you know who taking down any of our trees. We have ne that is dying a slow death. Did you have to get permission to take the trees down? Friends of ours in WestLake had to have permission. We also have to have permission to take out anything larger than 8" caliper. So gardening will be a little different from now on. Hope the birdies survived. That looked like a good spot for a nest. Our doves build sad nests of a few sticks which tend to fall apart in a wind.

ConsciousGardener said...

These trees were dieing a slow death due to the carpenter ants. The ordinance states 8" or 18" diameter on "OTHER than single family lots" which is what I no, I didn't get permission. Thanks for asking though!

The Curious Holts said...

LOVE the green goddess!!! I hope babies are back with mama and doing fine. Fingers crossed. I hate tree work, but then am so happy when it's all over.

Meredith said...

What an ordeal, but so glad you've made the best out of it. Sculptures, toad stools, and a green goddess! Excellent. I know what you mean about keeping some ideas secret. I do the same thing, in case people wonder why it still hasn't arrived after talking about it years ago...