Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Anticipation and a little destruction

It's been interesting to see how much of my settling in to living in Oregon has had to do with anticipation.  After the first difficult winter I planned lots of traveling for the second winter so I was anticipating those trips for months.  The first fall in our home I planted lots of tulips.  One of my friends made a comment about not liking tulips because they don't last very long, but as I planted the bulbs I was so excited about what I was going to see in a few months that I decided it really didn't matter to me that much to me if the flowers didn't last very long.


The first spring in our house I was more than a little disconcerted to see what looked like ears of corn growing in the arborvitae next to the driveway.  When I realized it was bamboo invading from the neighbor's yard I was annoyed and had Josh and Tyler tear it out.

In between that spring and the next spring, though, my feelings about the bamboo changed.  Our backyard has been such a source of delight to me in this house.  We looked at many (MANY) homes where all you could see in the backyard was the house behind you.  Sometimes it felt like there was no privacy at all.  The lot behind 75% of our yard is an old lot of several acres, and just behind our yard there are mostly woods.

During the summer after Josh tore out the bamboo the neighbor behind the remaining 25% of our yard put an addition on his house.  He cut down several trees in his yard and then put on a huge (at least 20 foot) addition, pushing his house much closer to his back fence (and therefore our yard) than it had been before.  I HATE it.  HATE.  IT.

I started looking at the bamboo growing by our back fence in a different way.  Look how tall it was!  Look how thick it was!!  Look how evergreen it was!!!  I already knew from talking to my bamboo neighbor that a decent sized pot of bamboo was $50 at the local nursery, but then I had a thought.  I could wait until the next spring when the rouge bamboo came up by my driveway again, dig it up, and plant it in my backyard.  What a great idea!

Last spring 2 bamboo plants sprouted.  We watched them grow and grow--sometimes it seemed almost a foot in a day, and then dug them up as carefully as possible and transferred them to a pot. Despite our care we could only get a little bit of one of the rhizomes (the big root thing that the cane grows out of) and after a couple of months in the pot that bamboo cane died.  The other cane survived, though, and this year has put out a couple of small new shoots.  Last month we dug a big trench around the area where we want to plant the bamboo and put in a 30" barrier that should keep the bamboo we plant from escaping anywhere else. When this year's bamboo sprouts are all done growing & leafing out, we can transplant our bamboo into it's new home.

In the meantime, I was waiting and watching for new bamboo to come up by the driveway.  Waiting.  Watching.  Waiting.  Watching....

I just went back and reread the post about Josh and Tyler taking out the bamboo.  If I had know then what I know now I wouldn't have had them do such a thorough job of it.  This year we don't have any shoots, just some small grassy plants.  I am bummed about that.

In what was a very unexpected turn of events, though, one day I was sitting in the chair in my room and I happened to look just right out the french doors and saw this.

Just in case you need to see that up close, here you go.

I was so annoyed!  No bamboo in the driveway, and bamboo here getting ready to wreck my fence again!  I was going to break it off (which will stop it from growing) but just didn't get around to it by the time I looked again...

And yet I still didn't knock them down.  I was busy with things to do, you know.  Maybe in the back of my mind I had the idea that I would figure out a way to be able to take advantage of these bamboo canes.  So they grew and grew and grew.
One day I noticed something new--not only my 2 canes growing up between the deck and the fence, but the tip of a cane poking between the 1st and second deck board.

That's when I started thinking differently...I started thinking about deconstructing the deck.  I looked at it carefully, noticed that it was put together with screws, and rationalized that what is screwed together can also be un-screwed!

Friday evening when I was done using the drill in the attic (another story) I brought it outside along with several different drill bits.  I then proceeded to loosen as many of the screws in these two boards with a regular screwdriver, then take the screws out with the drill.  I ended up having to drill several screws out and that wasn't pretty, but being the end boards I figured they didn't have to be too pretty.  When Russ got home from work I was just starting to try to pry one of the boards up.

(Does he get home from work and think wow, she's at it again?!?)

He helped me get out the last stripped screws and provided the strength I needed to pry up the two boards.  Let's just say that being rained on and sunned on for the last 3+ years, they were on there tight!  When we finally pulled them up it was dusk and it took us a minute to figure out for sure what we were seeing.

This is a picture I took a few days later.  You can see that without the boards in it's way, the new bamboo to the left took off.  But can you also see what surprised us--on the right, two other little bamboos that were entirely under the deck boards that look like they've grown a few inches since we took them off!  On the far right are two others, but they look so stunted already that we're thinking they must have been from earlier this spring or even from last year.

The sad thing about the deck removal was that I hadn't counted on the deck frame (non-technical term) underneath.  So those two big canes are pinched between the frame and the fence.  I'm still hoping that when the time comes (we can't do anything until they have their full growth) we'll be able to get at the rhizomes via the space we've just opened up and then pull them out.  Crossing my fingers on that one.

So there you have it.  Our bamboo story as it unfolds.  A story of anticipation with just a little bit of destruction.  I can't wait to see how it ends!

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