Sunday, January 29, 2012

Karen's Tree

I've been cruising Craigslist lately. Not looking for love,or concert tickets, or a new car. I've been cruising the Free Stuff listings.

A lot of people are remodeling houses, and they don't want the materials they're tearing out to end up as landfill, so they often list it on Free Stuff. We've had some good luck here: we got a replacement sink, some windows, things like that. But last week, when I was looking at Free Stuff, I saw that someone was giving away a Satsuma Plum Tree.

Most people "giving away" trees have the caveat that you have to come and dig it up. I'm a nice guy, but I really have no interest in landscaping someone else's yard to get a tree, so I have never responded to those ads.

But this one was different. The owner had gotten the tree out of the ground, and the root ball was wrapped and ready to move. The tree was heavily pruned, but healthy, and her gardner said it should survive being transplanted. So I contacted her and asked about it, and Tom went over to see it.

Karen had lovingly named the tree "Samantha", and it had indeed been heavily pruned. Karen wanted to take the tree out of her yard in Rockridge, but she had grown it from a pup, and didn't want to cut it down. She wanted to find a new home for Samantha.

So on Saturday morning, we got a City Carshare pickup, and Tom met Karen's gardner and several other guys, who loaded the tree into the truck. Then he brought it to 62nd Street, and we got it out of the truck and into the yard. Then we paid our neighbor Jamal, and his friend Mario, to help us drag it from the front of the house around to the back. Jamal dug a beautiful deep hole for the tree, and we planted it today.

Karen's tree, transplanted to 62nd Street

The tree is on the south side of the Cheney Cottage, shielded from the wind but where it should get plenty of sun. When it leafs out again, it will block the view of the apartment building to the west, and it should produce wonderful tasty Satsuma plums. It is in line with the incredibly prolific Meyer lemon tree in the side yard. The tree is out of the path of construction, so it shouldn't be damaged when the work on the Delaney House resumes.

Speaking of the Delaney House, we hope to begin the lift of the Delaney House this week. It has been sitting on cribbing, about 6 feet off the ground, for the last year and a half, since we moved it to the back of the lot. Now we're poised to have Phil Joy and his crew back one more time to raise it up another 6 feet in the air. Then Eric and his crew will dig the new foundation, and build the walls of the new first floor, and Phil will gently lower the Delaney House down onto its new structure.

Meanwhile, at the Cheney Cottage, we've been stripping paint, scrapping the woodwork, and getting the wood ready to be refinished. A lot of the woodwork is in near-final form, ready to be re-shellacked.

We also picked up the restored mantle from Tom Pedemonte. Tom is a true artist: he replaced all the missing pieces and shellacked the mantle, and it looks beautiful. The mirrors need to be reinstalled, and then the mantle will be waxed. But for now it's waiting in the basement on Parker Street for the living room to be done, and then it'll be re-installed.
The restored mantle for the Cheney Cottage

We've also been working on the front porch. The original steps only had a railing on one side, but the railing has a distinctive pattern, so we wanted to replicate it on the other side. Now the stairs have a railing on both sides, railings that match and fit well with the porch railings.

The original stair railing

The new railing on the other side of the front stairs

Eric's crew has been working on the retaining wall out front as well. Hopefully we will get that installed in the next two weeks, and then the dirt from under the Delaney House can be moved up front and become the Cheney Cottage's front yard.

Things are happening on 62nd Street!


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