Grassing up the back yard

When we bought our house, we inherited a mess of a back yard. A third of it was overgrown with periwinkle, a fifth had neglected St. Augustine grass, and the rest was just trashy, weedy grass. The flower beds were almost bare and compacted by constant beating of 3 dogs, there are metal parts everywhere (from a nutty guy who lived here for a few decades), the yard was full of trash trees, dirt was piling up against the bricks, and so on.

This Saturday we are correcting the grass problems: we are sodding 3000 sq ft of the former periwinkle and trash grass areas of our back yard.

To prepare, a few weeks ago we killed off the periwinkle with Ortho glyphosate, and this Sunday I shaved the trash grass with my mower’s lowest setting.

There are two variants of St. Augustine grass commonly sold in the Dallas area: Raleigh and Palmetto. Both varieties are resistant to St. Augustine decline virus. The Palmetto variety has several superior characteristics to the Raleigh, one of which is possible enhanced drought tolerance because of an apparently deeper root system. It also has a better appearance and is more cold and damage resistant. Since it’s only 10% more expensive, we chose the Palmetto variety. We are using Miller Grass, a local sod supplier.

Last night we got 320 lbs of topsoil from our local Lowe’s, and today we got another 800 lbs. We are using this to raise a depressed area of the back yard and enhance water flow away from the house.

After you lay the sod, you have to keep it thoroughly wet for at least two weeks. Dallas has an ordinance restricting watering between 10 AM and 6 PM from June 1 through Sept. 30. I filed for a variance from Dallas’s water regulations today; hopefully they will respond quickly!

Amazing Variance in Tree Service Cost

A June storm forced our hand on our trash trees. We had to remove one large hackberry tree, we chose to remove another hackberry (was choked off with vines), and we elected to remove 9 other small hackberrys before they get out of hand and a Carolina cherry laurel that was growing too close to the house.

We got four estimates before we had the tree work done:

Name Job & Insurance Coverage Cost (tax not included)
Dallas Tree Surgeons
703 Valencia St.
Dallas, TX 75223
Everything. Web site says “insured for your protection.” $3400
Sam Hill Tree Care
PO BOX 170304
Irving, TX 75017-0304
Everything. Carries liability & workman’s comp. $2000
Herbst Tree Services
1600 Stonecrest Trail
Wylie, TX 75098
Everything except haul off trees. Carries liability but not workman’s comp. $1925
Preservation Tree Services
660 Preston Forest Center, #137
Dallas, TX 75230
Everything except stump grinding. Web site says “fully insured.” $3850

The variance in these prices is astounding. The company we ended up choosing, Sam Hill Tree Care, is properly insured and accredited and came in as almost the lowest price. The most expensive company was nearly twice as much! When you’re talking thousands of dollars, that is a huge difference, bordering on exorbitance.

It pays to shop around!

The Rest of the World Hates Us . . . is nothing new!

The rest of the world has hated us for most of the 20th century. Even the countries that we bail out end up hating us. French disdain for the US, for example, is nothing new.

I think that hate of the US is largely due to jealousy. So far the US has managed to do nearly everything better than any other country in the world, ever. Wouldn’t you get resentful of a coworker who through ingenuity, strength, or natural assets always beats you?

Many compare today’s foreign relations to the relations right after 9-11-2001. That international sympathetic outpouring was an aberration, not normalcy. Since then the world has returned to its normal state of affairs with one exception: others are being more open about their true anti-Americanism.

The only thing that the Bush Administration did was to force other countries to be more open with their decades-long, hateful views.

It’s no surprise that this “let’s beat up on the Americans” mentality has carried through several Olympics, including the 2004 Summer Olympics:

eDrop Fraud Continues

From: ebay []
Sent: Friday, August 27, 2004 1:26 PM
To: ‘Nova SS’
Cc:; Jennifer Baysinger
Subject: RE: ’75 Nova




Thank you for your email.


No, the Nova doesn’t have any rust! It is really in excellent shape, with the exception of the tear on the driver’s seat.


Thank you for your interest in an eDrop auction. We are devoted to serving you, the bidder quickly.



From: Nova SS []
Sent: Friday, August 27, 2004 1:13 PM
Subject: ’75 Nova

Hello. Does that ’75 Nova have any rust?




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