Sunday, April 22, 2012

Let There Be...Shade: Homestead Challenge #2

I must confess--we did this project a few weeks ago. But it definitely qualifies for the Homestead Challenge.

Our house is surrounded by old trees that bring some pretty awesome shade. That is, except for the west side of the house. It takes in a lot of heat in the afternoons, especially in the summer. That side of the house is where the master bedroom, bathroom, and my workroom are. It was added on many years ago, and was cooled by an ancient, unreliable air conditioner that we replaced with a window unit. Even at that, it takes a lot to keep this west-facing side cool.

So we've planted a few trees to help us out. We chose 5 red maples that were under $30 each.  They were great looking, tall and leafy. We bought them from a co-op about 25 miles from home one afternoon when we were on the way to watch our son play baseball. Turns out that wasn't such a great plan on our part. What we didn't consider was the ballgame was about 30 miles past that co-op, on the highway, with that same distance to travel back home. It goes without saying that trees don't like to travel at 70 miles an hour in the back of a truck. We watched anxiously as the poor things were wind-whipped they whole entire trip. The leaves that were down in the truck bed were fine. But the ones up higher and hanging off the back were badly dried up and/or withered. This picture is a bit blurry, but it shows how the leaves looked once we got home.

Fortunately, all of the trees survived, and we spaced them out on the west side of the house. They are thriving, putting out new growth everywhere. Boy, are we lucky! We hope in the years to come, they will provide great shade and keep us cooler in the summer. And as a bonus, I'll get to see some fantastic red leaves in the fall (love me some fall foliage!).  It seems like a good investment, considering what they should save us in electricity eventually.

1 comment:

  1. Just the act of photosynthesis cools the air around the trees, not just the shade. Plus they will help filter the pollutants out of the air too......Mainly they will be beautiful though! Glad they survived the truck trip.... My brother and I used to ride on the highways in the back of a truck when we were young...I know that wind whipped feel well!