I vaguely remember a few of the projects that I have done, where things went quickly and easily without any unexpected problems, but they are rare. Normally when I start doing a project, I right away run into something that really complicates what I need to do. The latest example of this was when I was trying to mitigate the fire hazard in my yard by cutting off all of the lower branches of a spruce tree and sawing down the Russian Olive tree that died over the winter and stood beside the spruce.
Taking off the lower branches of the spruce went alright, but it was the olive tree that caused me grief. The old photo, with my good old dog Mac, has an arrow that points out the olive tree. I was just going to saw it off at ground level, but that’s where I ran into problems. Instead of the trunk going right into the ground, the olive tree had a big burl-like ball at it’s base (photo below). It was sort of sticking out above the ground so I had to dig out around it so I could saw it off.
I ended up working two days trying to extract the burl from the ground. I dug, I sawed, I tried to jerk it loose with the truck, I dug some more, I sawed some more, I used a pry-bar, and some metal wedges to try and crack it, and finally, after much frustration and sweat, I got the burl out of the ground.
It was such a relief to finally get it out and begin the landscaping phase of the project. I filled the hole where it once stood, and spread compost over the area so grass would heal the wound.
The photo below shows Kona inspecting the area where I had trimed off the lower branches of the spruce and dug out the Russian Olive tree.