Some Unscientific Observations: Make of Them What You Will

 

I live in Arizona.

Some twenty summers ago, while taking out my trash, I noticed it was particularly hot on the west side of my property. Not just AZ midsummer hot, but more like Death-Valley-on-the-summer-solstice-would-cook-an-egg hot. I keep the trash can there, behind the RV gate. The surrounding concrete pad, stucco (my house and my neighbor’s some ten feet away) and block wall have nearly all day to absorb, consolidate, and radiate solar energy. I put up a thermometer. It immediately pegged its limit, past 130 degrees, and stayed there 24-7.

My solution? I planted three Sisso trees on the property line in the narrow space between the RV pad and the block wall. The trees were mere sticks, a genus imported from India and suitable for AZ weather, semi-deciduous. Green and beautiful all year! They didn’t mention that they were neither evergreen nor truly deciduous; that is, they shed leaves all the time. Not a problem for the first ten years when they were small. But now that the trees are taller than my massive two-story structure, I have to clean up around them three or four times a year, nasty business as these leaves decompose quickly.

I’m now on my third or fourth leaf vacuum and it’s struggling, about ready for replacement.

And I learned, about a decade ago, that you can’t suck up Sisso leaves without wearing a respiratory mask. If you don’t wear a mask you get what is called “farmer’s lung.” Farmer’s lung is no fun. It comes with a fever, swollen glands, and a deep cough that won’t stop. It can last for weeks. And in Arizona, in the worst situations, it can lead to Valley Fever, a dangerous fungal infection of the lung, a pest that persists in our cement-like soil. I learned this all the hard way. The first time, I was sick for a month.

So now, I always wear a mask during Sisso detritus clean-up, a task I once again recently tackled. Since the N-95 masks at my local home improvement store were sold out, I used a Covid mask, a good one, double thickness, good coverage, from old Navy, the most popular mask we have in my house.

And guess what? Yes, I became sick, farmer’s lung again, wheezing, swollen glands, general malaise, persistent hacking cough, fever. The main malady only lasted a few days, but then, it was a rather minor clean-up, took only a couple of hours. The big clean-up happens in late fall, just after Thanksgiving, when all the other truly deciduous trees lose their leaves.

Make of it what you will, but the mask was pretty much useless. Two weeks have now passed and I’m still hacking. I thought the mask would help, but it didn’t.

I can report, however, that the Sisso trees worked. That old thermometer next to my trash bin rarely registers higher than 100 degrees now, even on the hottest days in July. Perhaps I stumbled on something?

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  1. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Doug Kimball: Make of it what you will, but the mask was pretty much useless. Two weeks have now passed and I’m still hacking. I thought the mask would help, but it didn’t.

    Well der furher Fauci did once say that the masks weren’t for ourselves, but for others.

    Sorry you are sick, I hope you get well soon.

    • #1
  2. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Maybe there is something to the double mask.  Of course that means all those virtue signaling prigs from the last year were not so virtuous after all.  

    • #2
  3. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been so sick. 

    You sent me off to Google images to see more pictures of these trees. They are beautiful. I love the leaves. 

     

    • #3
  4. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Hire someone else to do the cleanup.

    (I did get the point)

    • #4
  5. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    The only reason to wear a cloth mask is to keep from transmitting the disease to others and avoid direct mouth contact with droplets.  No one treating patients with COVID is going to wear that kind of mask.

    @dougkimball – I’d recommend shopping at an industrial supply company like Grainger or Airgas.  3M has some nice P100 filters and reusable masks that are easier to breathe through.  I can help you find a good option – I literally did this professionally for people handling hazardous materials.  P100 filters are in less demand and can be used more often – they are also good against lead paint, asbestos, and other toxic dust.

    • #5
  6. Maguffin Inactive
    Maguffin
    @Maguffin

    The solution is to cut them down and replace them every 10 years.  You could bury them in the desert like a mafia snitch for carbon sequestration purposes.

    • #6
  7. Poindexter Inactive
    Poindexter
    @Poindexter

    Replace the trees with banks of solar panels. They’ll block the sun without killing you, and you get electricity to boot.

    • #7
  8. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Maguffin (View Comment):

    The solution is to cut them down and replace them every 10 years. You could bury them in the desert like a mafia snitch for carbon sequestration purposes.

    I think another problem with these trees is that they behave like Tree of Heaven, constantly sprouting from the roots after they have been cut down.  Like Bradford Pears (brittle, weak branch structures and tremendously stinky flowers…but no fruit to make a mess), they were probably introduced to the trade and widely planted before anyone had the time to see just what they would do after they had been growing for 10 years.

    • #8
  9. Doug Kimball Thatcher
    Doug Kimball
    @DougKimball

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    Hire someone else to do the cleanup.

    (I did get the point)

    Can’t do it.  I’m a displaced Yankee and we would never pay someone to do something we ca just as well do ourselves.  I am the only man on my street who mows his own lawn.  Frugality is a virtue, as is hard work. (Two birds with one stone.)

    • #9
  10. Doug Kimball Thatcher
    Doug Kimball
    @DougKimball

    Maguffin (View Comment):

    The solution is to cut them down and replace them every 10 years. You could bury them in the desert like a mafia snitch for carbon sequestration purposes.

    I’m taking this under consideration…

    • #10
  11. Doug Kimball Thatcher
    Doug Kimball
    @DougKimball

    Poindexter (View Comment):

    Replace the trees with banks of solar panels. They’ll block the sun without killing you, and you get electricity to boot.

    The HOA would never allow it and I refuse to prepay for my electricity.

    • #11
  12. Doug Kimball Thatcher
    Doug Kimball
    @DougKimball

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Maguffin (View Comment):

    The solution is to cut them down and replace them every 10 years. You could bury them in the desert like a mafia snitch for carbon sequestration purposes.

    I think another problem with these trees is that they behave like Tree of Heaven, constantly sprouting from the roots after they have been cut down. Like Bradford Pears (brittle, weak branch structures and tremendously stinky flowers…but no fruit to make a mess), they were probably introduced to the trade and widely planted before anyone had the time to see just what they would do after they had been growing for 10 years.

    You are exactly right!  This tree is now considered a pest for its thirsty, wandering, shallow roots, muck like the Willow.  They heave up walls, walks and foundations.  But ten years ago, the tree specialists couldn’t recommend them enough.  It happened with Ficus (can’t take a frost), Eucalyptus (downed with monsoon winds), Pines (succomb to high heat), an on and on.  Paleverdi and Mesquite are the only trees worth planting here.  They are native. 

    • #12
  13. Stubbs Member
    Stubbs
    @Stubbs

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    The only reason to wear a cloth mask is to keep from transmitting the disease to others and avoid direct mouth contact with droplets. No one treating patients with COVID is going to wear that kind of mask.

    @ dougkimball – I’d recommend shopping at an industrial supply company like Grainger or Airgas. 3M has some nice P100 filters and reusable masks that are easier to breathe through. I can help you find a good option – I literally did this professionally for people handling hazardous materials. P100 filters are in less demand and can be used more often – they are also good against lead paint, asbestos, and other toxic dust.

    This is great info @OmegaPaladin, thank you. I work in construction and it has been very difficult to find adequate dust protection locally. 

     

    • #13
  14. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The
    @RyanM

    Useless for any purpose beyond social manipulation and virtue signaling.

     

    • #14
  15. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Doug Kimball (View Comment):
    Paleverdi and Mesquite are the only trees worth planting here. They are native. 

    I’ve had to go native with trees because they don’t succumb to disease and the deer don’t find them quite so tasty.

    Palo Verde trees are amazing.  Bark that photosynthesizes and it’s amazing in bloom.  Of course, not a shade tree as its leaves are, well, desert-adapted.

    • #15
  16. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Doug Kimball (View Comment):
    Paleverdi and Mesquite are the only trees worth planting here. They are native.

    I’ve had to go native with trees because they don’t succumb to disease and the deer don’t find them quite so tasty.

    Palo Verde trees are amazing. Bark that photosynthesizes and it’s amazing in bloom. Of course, not a shade tree as its leaves are, well, desert-adapted.

    Yeah, and those flowers drop all over the yard and fly through the air in the wind. I didn’t have allergies before I moved to Arizona.

    • #16
  17. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Doug Kimball (View Comment):
    Paleverdi and Mesquite are the only trees worth planting here. They are native.

    I’ve had to go native with trees because they don’t succumb to disease and the deer don’t find them quite so tasty.

    Palo Verde trees are amazing. Bark that photosynthesizes and it’s amazing in bloom. Of course, not a shade tree as its leaves are, well, desert-adapted.

    Yeah, and those flowers drop all over the yard and fly through the air in the wind. I didn’t have allergies before I moved to Arizona.

    Funny thing about people.  90 and 100 years ago people with asthma and other respiratory conditions were given doctors’ advice to move to Arizona because the air was so pure.  Within 40 years so many people had beautified Arizona with flowers and trees from their hometowns all over the United States that Arizona’s air caused asthma and other respiratory conditions.

    • #17
  18. Anglo-Feline Thatcher
    Anglo-Feline
    @AngloFeline

    After living in a confined urban neighborhood next to a variety of trees, I am convinced that trees do not want to live near us and do whatever they can to make us go somewhere else.  They want to be in a forest with their friends and relatives.  Now that I know they cause diseases when we clean up their debris, I am more convinced.  The trees in my neighborhood not only drop seeds in the spring and huge amounts of leaves in the fall, they also drop acorns which are like handgrenades, shrapnel and all, and then green leaves and twigs all summer long.  Our cars all have dents from the acorns.  No one I know has been struck in the head but you never know.  Then the roots invade the sewage pipes and crack the paved areas including the basement floors.  William Penn was wrong to wish my city to be a green country town.  The trees want to live far away from people.

    • #18
  19. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Anglo-Feline (View Comment):

    After living in a confined urban neighborhood next to a variety of trees, I am convinced that trees do not want to live near us and do whatever they can to make us go somewhere else. They want to be in a forest with their friends and relatives. Now that I know they cause diseases when we clean up their debris, I am more convinced. The trees in my neighborhood not only drop seeds in the spring and huge amounts of leaves in the fall, they also drop acorns which are like handgrenades, shrapnel and all, and then green leaves and twigs all summer long. Our cars all have dents from the acorns. No one I know has been struck in the head but you never know. Then the roots invade the sewage pipes and crack the paved areas including the basement floors. William Penn was wrong to wish my city to be a green country town. The trees want to live far away from people.

    I’ll put you down as “questionable” for membership in the tree-hugger fraternity. 

    • #19
  20. Anglo-Feline Thatcher
    Anglo-Feline
    @AngloFeline

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Anglo-Feline (View Comment):

    After living in a confined urban neighborhood next to a variety of trees, I am convinced that trees do not want to live near us and do whatever they can to make us go somewhere else. They want to be in a forest with their friends and relatives. Now that I know they cause diseases when we clean up their debris, I am more convinced. The trees in my neighborhood not only drop seeds in the spring and huge amounts of leaves in the fall, they also drop acorns which are like handgrenades, shrapnel and all, and then green leaves and twigs all summer long. Our cars all have dents from the acorns. No one I know has been struck in the head but you never know. Then the roots invade the sewage pipes and crack the paved areas including the basement floors. William Penn was wrong to wish my city to be a green country town. The trees want to live far away from people.

    I’ll put you down as “questionable” for membership in the tree-hugger fraternity.

    I respect trees and hear their wish to be in the forest and not next to paving and buildings.   Consider the damage when trees fall down on buildings and cars.  People have been killed and injured. On the other hand, wood is good for building things but I won’t burn wood in my fireplace.   So…

    • #20