Friday, April 1, 2016

My Dad's Next Adventure

For 25 long years since my parents immigrated in America, they've been working hard to establish a life and financially secure our family in their adopted country. They petitioned us, their children to come and join them. Unfortunately, it was only me who was able to join them since my brother got married and lost his interest of coming to America. I joined my parents in the year 2000 and ever since tried to carve a piece of American life. During the course of our American adventure, the three of us experienced both ups and downs along the way. Both of my parents were already retired from their government positions back in the Philippines, but were still working hard when they arrived here. Fortunately here in America, one can still work a full-time job beyond your legal retirement age. My mom was the first to reully retire because of her failing knees. My dad kept on working until March 31, 2016.

Today is his first day of a new chapter of his life. He already just started his retirement years today. What he did on his first day out of work? Sleep, sleep and sleep. I guess it came new to him that he will never set up his alarm clock to wake him up early in the morning to start work. For me, it would be a welcome treat.  Congratulations on your overdue and well deserved retirement. Good luck on your new adventures. They are now ready to go back home to the Philippines to be with my younger brother and the rest of their siblings anytime they want. Now, I'm actually jealous.


Saturday, March 5, 2016

Sign Of Life

From my previous blog post about the disaster in our backyard when our tree was destroyed due to high winds during a winter storm, I can say and this is 100% sure, that this tree actually will survive. It's not just a glimmer of hope, it's a sign of life. As I checked our backyard yesterday, I saw small branches sprouting out from the affected branch that was split from the main trunk.
 



I think in a couple of months, we can do the permanent fix to the broken branch once and for all. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

First Attempt

IPart of getting ready our backyard for Spring season is to start pruning our rose bushes to promote new healthy growth. This is also an opportunity for me to try to  grow roses from cuttings. Since this is my first time ever to do it, I did some research on the proper way to do it. It's just a simple process but you need some materials like the pruning shears to cut the stems, gloves to protect your hands from thorns, some potting soil, some small plastic planters and a bottle of root hormone. I did everything from the instruction guide I found through Google and hopefully in a couple of months I can see good results. The guide said that it would   take about nine months for these cuttings to be fully rooted. By then I can replant them somewhere in our front yard. 


I only prepared four cuttings from our red, white & pink varieties. Crossing my fingers that they will flourish to beautiful rose bushes. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Getting Ready For Spring

Spring season comes early in Las Vegas. Temperatures are steadily rising and you'll just be surprised that the numbers start hitting three (3) digits. It's high time to prepare the yard and the plants for new growth and new blooms. 
I started working on our lantana plants in our front yard. I pruned the vines on the first week of February, and they looked like this:

After cleaning it's surroundings and fixed the water drip system, I put some fertilizers to soften the trauma of pruning. 
As of this writing, I noticed a small green sprouting out. 

I can't wait to see our lantanas bloom again come spring. 
photo courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

photo courtesy of ohmyyard.com

Once thay start growing new vines and  full of flowers, they will look beautiful and covering part of our front yard. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Glimmer of Hope

One stormy weather sometime November 2015, a disaster came to our backyard brought about by the strong winds. A tree that we planted over two (2) years ago was damaged by the storm. A major branch was split from the main trunk but fortunately with the help of its thick foliage, it was kept hanging to its dear life.

Our tree is an African Sumac (Rhus lancea) and its characteristics are its lush and long, thinnish, hairless, dark-green, trifoliate leaves with smooth margins. The tree can reach up to 8 meters in height and about 5 meters spread on its branches. it's slightly thinner trunk has a graceful, weeping form and dark, fissured bark. I would say that I was a major contributor of this accident because I never realized that its lush leaves and branches is much heavier than it's trunk could carry. I neglected it for a long time of not trimming the branches down.

In order to save the tree I have to reattach the split branch in some ways. I trimmed down all its branches to a minimum so that binding together the branches is much easier. I went online to get some ideas how to save trees with broken or split branches caused by storms and found some ideas that might be applicable to our tree. The most common is to attach back the branches together with a washer, bolt and a screw. This will make the tree look more cyborg. I also asked our gardener who gave us the tree and helped us plant it and he also suggested the same process. At first we bound the branches together and he said that if this branch would propagate some growth after like 6 months, then we can go ahead and permanently join the branches with a washer, bolt and screw.

This is how our tree looks like after binding the branches back together.

Overall, this is how our tree looks like right now.

It actually survived the Las Vegas winter (no snow so far) and the leaves on the fallen branch were still green. Looking closely on the affected branch, I noticed some buds coming out. I told myself then that this tree will survive.
Here are some growth that I saw this morning:



You can actually see the small sprouts that came out from the branches. If this will continue to grow like this then probably in a couple of months, I will permanently attach the damaged branch to its main trunk.
If we'll be lucky enough, the tree would look like this after attaching the bolt and screw:


I'm learning some new interesting things about trees and plants. Just like humans, if you break a limb, you bind it back with braces. Crossing my fingers that we will have a cyborg African Sumac tree in our backyard. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Two Main Events in New York City

In actuality, this is my second visit to New York City. The first one was in 2003 (if I'm not mistaken). I did visited the Ground Zero of the World Trade Center and they already started cleaning up of what remained of the ruins of the Twin Towers. I also went up to the Observation Deck of the Empire State Building.

On this second visit, I booked for a walking tour of the New World Trade Center including the 9/11 Memorial for all the victims on that fateful day including those who died on the 1993 WTC bombing. All the names of the nearly 3000 who perished were inscribed in bronze around the perimeters of the two pools. These two pools were actually the footprints or the exact locations of the North and South Towers who collapsed on that day. The new Tower 1 of the New World Trade Center is almost finished and is now the tallest building in the United States at 1776 feet.


The next tour that I booked myself in was for the Empire State Building. The difference this time was, I went up to take a breathtaking view of New York City at night.

I spent this day going to these tours by myself using the subway system. I have to admit though that I got lost a couple of times, mostly I took the wrong direction of the same train number. Fortunately I just got off on the next stop and went to the platform going the opposite direction.

Overall, this was quite a long day for me and my legs and feet were hurting. I need a very long sleep.

Traversing the NYC Subway System

Fortunately, my good friend Alain Ramos showed me how to use the subway of New York City. Its kind of a crash course for me. At the LaGuardia Airport, I purchased a 7-day Unlimited Metro Card that I could use for the subway trains as well as the public buses. Next he showed me how to read and interpret the subway map. I have read some tips online for first time NYC visitors and it said that bringing a subway map around really made you look a dumb tourist since in every station there are huge maps posted around as well as inside the trains. I actually downloaded the subway map app for me to use. The trick is to read and re-read the signs so that you will now where you're going. Of course its given that you know your destination. My "guide" went with me through the system and brought me from my hotel in mid Manhattan all the way down to Brooklyn where he lives. After having dinner in his house I went back to my hotel alone. He told me that I would never be a real New Yorker if I dont get lost in the subway system. That's a big NO for me. I dont want to get lost on the subway and end up in a dangerous place of the city, if there's such a place.