And let me tell you, it SUCKED.
A refresher: the tree is (was?) a Japanese Maple. It will never ever ever grow to be big and tall and out-of-the-way. It was harboring weeds and bunnies underneath. It snagged my lawn mower and just generally pissed me off. This is what it looked like in the Spring:
This is how it looked as of last Saturday morning:
The weather was gorgeous (ie, upper 50s in mid-Feb.). I was feeling cooped up and needed to let off some energy, so it seemed like the perfect day to chop up some shit.
I came up with a plan, a vision for my backyard. You see, the City of St. Louis just put this new lovely recycling dumpster in the alley behind my house. A nice wonderful thing to have now, yes, but an eyesore. So. My landscaping priorities are to chop down the tree, grow grass back over it, and then plant bushes or something in that little alcove in front of the dumpster. That part will come later.
To start, I was able to pull off its branches without any tools. I cut the crap out of my hands and arms, however, and was incredibly stupid for not wearing gloves. Lesson learned.
Next came the grueling task of cutting down the trunk. With only a hand-held serrated landscaping knife, this took FOR-EV-ER.
Even Kevin got in on it:
Next, I knew we would need to hack into the stump and try to remove as much of the roots as possible, so that we could throw dirt over the top in the hopes of re-growing grass in this general area.
The tree did not like this plan. I even went to Lowe's and purchased a freaking HATCHET. Although the hatchet + serrated tree knife DID do some damage, it quickly became clear that the stump would need to be removed by one of these other methods:
a) a couple sticks of dynamite
b) a tank yanking it out of the ground with heavy chains
c) a mega chain saw
Seeing as how we did not have access to any of the above, Kevin instead used what we DID have..... FIRE:
I am pretty sure my husband just wanted to play with lighter fluid and fire, and oh did he play. He added charcoal, dried sticks as kindling, etc. His vision was to dry out the stump then easily hack it away.
My husband was crazy enough to try chopping at it AS it was on fire. MEN.
It took so much energy and so we put out the fire and resolved to resume the project another day.
So, alas, here is how the pathetic tree stump looks as of today:
This is far from over. As soon as the blisters and cuts heal on our hands.... as soon as we re-gather our energy.. and as soon as we catch another warm weather weekend.... this stump is toast.