Monday, March 23, 2009

The life cycle of a tree

For this Catalpa Tree, life was a thing to remember. Already about 140 years old, with rot seeping in, last year we knew it had to go.

Chopping day. Thanks to this wild eyed-hillbilly and a chainsaw, it was pretty quick coming down.

It hovered over the house by about 25+ feet, and we're pretty sure that if we hadn't taken it down when we did, when the remnants of Hurricane Ike came through, it would have taken a chunk of the house down with it.

3/4 of the tree is cut, this last teeny bit left.
(Zach is doing his best king-of-the-hill stance.)

When the day was over, we had a yard full of firewood, a pile of sticks about 9' high and this stump which became our fire pit for almost a year. Thanks to Zach, we've had the fire department show more than a passing interest once or twice. :-)

But darn it if hasn't been keeping us from putting up our fence.

After a year as a fire pit, this was all that was left...... above ground.

But I had absolutely NO IDEA that catalpa trees are a lot like icebergs. After digging around the outside, we realized there was a WHOLE LOT MORE underneath.

The pictures do not do justice.

There was at least 85% more root under the visible stump.

It had been a monster tree, and now it was a monster stump.

Here it is about half gone already, about 3' below ground level. Between the stump and the 4x4 in the picture below, is a section of one of the roots. It was at least 12" in diameter. And that was just a root.

This crater is about eight feet in diameter.

And we definitely need to give credit where credit is due.

I posted an ad on Craigslist and this guy did a hell of a lot of work for $150. His name is Joey Casey and works for Casey's Construction in Ft. Mitchell, KY. Call him if you need someone with a chainsaw and a good head on his shoulders. (859) 757-6132.

I think his family company also does mason's work. Concrete slabs, walkways, patios and the like. A very conscientious worker. Highly recommended.

It took him the better part of six hours working alone on this bad boy, non-stop. And when he was done, over 600 lbs of stump had been excavated, chopped, sawed, heaved and chucked aside.

The next morning, the birds were chirping (mostly because there were a LOT of worms unsettled and the robins were having a breakfast feast) and the sun was shining, and the stump was 12" below ground level.

After 2 quick cups of coffee, I was out there with a shovel and every brick, chunk of concrete and speck of dirt I could find. I thought I'd need a truck load of fill dirt to fill the gaping hole left in the yard where the wood came out.

Seriously, it looked like a bomb had exploded in the yard and left a crater.

The neighbors should be happy to note that a majority of their concrete crap pile is now gone.

It's been buried alive.

While in the process of filling the crater back up, we realized that if we were going to put a 4x4 fence post in the crater, we were going to have to skip the 8 footer and spring for the 10 footer, if only to make sure the base of the pressure treated 4x4 was in settled, compacted dirt.

So while standing in the crater, I used the fence post digger to dig down another 2 feet.

And then we poured the concrete.

I can't believe I finally have a fence.

Kinda funny how the tree becomes a stump becomes pressure treated lumber.

It's that whole cycle of life stuff from the Lion King, no?

Oh well, that's what I'm telling the neighbor kid, anyway.

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