Yesterday’s post carries a picture of the holly stump I decided to remove today. The promised rain fell overnight but kept off today, so I didn’t get my break.
Jackie drove us to Milford Supplies where I bought a long, heavy, tree feller’s axe, a smaller hand one, an iron shovel, and, for good measure, a fork handle. I felt somewhat like a Mafia hit man as I arrayed my purchases in the boot of the car.
I spent the rest of the morning extracting the stump. This feat was achieved by swinging the heavy axe and bringing it down on the stubborn remnant enough times to split it a bit and chip off some residual branches; by digging out soil around it until reaching roots; by chopping or lopping out those lifelines for the tree; and eventually kicking the object to dislodge it enough to cut out the tap root. It is harder to do this than to write about it. As I wielded my long macho weapon I identified with Van Heflin’s homesteader in ‘Shane’, and kept an eye out for Alan Ladd. He didn’t show up, so I had to finish the job unaided.
The last holly I cut down was about 30 feet high in Newark almost thirty years ago. I sawed off sections of the trunk first, until reaching a manageable stump. This is the method I employed after lunch with a tree only about ten feet tall. Having added all the branches to my ever increasing pile of stuff too tough for compost, I tackled the stump in the same way as the earlier one. I was able to leave a useful length to aid me in the kicking process.
Today’s location is at the far end of yesterday’s path. It widens out beyond a decking area which is approached by stepping stones through the gravel. The condition of that terrain can be seen from the stump picture. With the two hollies out of the way I thought I just had to weed, rake, and sweep the gravel and I would be finished. No such luck. The few sprigs of copper beech piercing the elderly weed protection lining in front of the platform would just pop out with a little gentle persuasion, I thought. Not so. They were actually suckers sprouting from a root of the mature tree nearby. So I chopped out a section of that root and completed the job.
In this photograph the keys to the location are the blue clematis and the red rose. The holly stump was situated close to the central two stepping stones.
The disturbed area to the right of this second image was occupied by the other tree.
The wooden arch leading into the front garden now supports a rose of deeper pink than the first that bloomed.
Yesterday’s roast pork and red cabbage meal was beautifully reprised. The crackling was even better. With it, Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Bishop’s Finger beer.