Stumped!

Last year, I went on a rampage, cutting down several trees in our front yard….they were sick or diseased and really did need to be taken down. I had mixed emotions taking those trees down, knowing it was the right thing to do, but also knowing that part of our shade canopy would be missing in the summer and would take some time to fill back in again.

When I cut the trees down, Mark told me to leave about three feet of stump so we could have an excavator come and “pluck” them from the ground.  Thus, we were left with this….

and this over further towards the west.

This was a source of contention, although I never voiced my opinion!  The thought of an excavator coming into the yard and tearing up everything in its way just really rattled my cage.  Raking and shaping soil is NOT something I enjoy doing.  Not at all!

Apparently Mark decided that perhaps an excavator might be a little too invasive, so he began “greasing the skids”  a couple of weeks ago.  Yes, he told me he was pretty sure the kids and I could do the stump removal ourselves. 

As I took the photos of the stumps this morning,  I was elated to see tiny little leaves beginning to sprout on the maple trees!

I came in the house and told Mark I was ready to begin the tedious task of stump removal.  WHAT was I thinking?

Mark said before working, everyone needed a good breakfast.  So, I made a good breakfast!

My family loves homefries.  I have tried to make them for years, but they never seemed great.  Well, after all those trial and errors, I have found a sure-fire way that rivals the restaurant homefries!  Here’s what I do.

First,  I bake several potatoes. (the last batch was 18 potatoes, to be exact!)  After they have cooled, I store them in the fridge so they are ready at any given time.  Next,  I take out a few potatoes and cut them into small cubes…about 1/2 inch square.  I place them in a large bowl and drizzle just a little olive oil over them, then add salt, pepper, and paprika to taste.  I toss them in the oil and spices until they are thoroughly coated.  I then spread them out on a cookie sheet and bake at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes, turning them midway.

Ben and Mark thought this was a good breakfast….scrambled eggs, toast, and homefries!

Michelle and I opted for chicken salad sandwiches on whole wheat bread! ( I am so not a fan of breakfast food)

While they ate,  I went outside and took a couple of photos. Just look at my side garden! The tulips are blooming and the Bleeding Heart is as well!

Excuse the ugly landscape paper showing through. Mark has been “theatening” to raise the grade between the house and garage for a couple of years now.  Somehow, I think this might be the year, so I am not about to mulch around my plants, only to have them dug up in a couple of months!

Oh, and speaking of digging things up….Ben had dug a little around those first two tree stumps out front.  He did such a great job, my work with the saw was going to be easy! (or not…)

I finally began cutting at about 10 this morning.  I had to cut a section off the top, then cut as low as possible without running the bar and chain into the dirt and stones.  That sounds easy enough, but trust me, it is hard.  I wound up muscling the saw, trying to get a good and safe cut.

As I worked, the temperature began to rise once again. The sun came out and I worked for short spurts, taking breaks in between.  I was able to get the stump cut fairly low.

After cutting, Mark had me carefully cut a “checkerboard” pattern in the top of the remaining stump.

Ben then used a maul, hammer, and hatchet to break off the little “squares” left.  We spent about 2 1/2 hours working out in the yard.  As I worked, I could feel myself getting hotter and hotter and several times, Mark insisted I go sit in the shade as my face was getting far too red. 

I left the work area at about noon and went in the house to soak in a tub of cold water.  It felt so good to finally get my core temperature down! 

About an hour after we quit working, a cold front suddenly moved in and the temperature dropped down about 20 degrees. (Fahenheit…from 80 to 60!)  Mark said it was too bad we worked early in the day, but such is life!

I had planned to remove the two stumps that were together, but now, I feel fortunate to have the one done! It took a great deal of work to eradicate that thing!  Hopefully, tomorrow I will level the one behind it and we can rake the soil over both of them, never to see them again!

3 Responses

  1. When I cut down our Leylandii hedge at the front, I cut the stumps to ground level and then filled over them with a good layer of composted bark – I’m sure the roots will rot though I’ll probably be long dead by then!

    Well done you and the kids (and the master planner of course).

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