Friday, June 27, 2008

Split and Burn... going, going, almost gone

The last time I wrote about the tree, this is how it looked… and it looked just that way for two weeks. (I mowed the lawn around it several times.)

Then last weekend (June 21) Jay rented a wood splitter for 4 hours, a "half-day", thinking he'd finish splitting up the rest of the tree. He hoped, but didn't know for sure, that he'd have help from Amon and or Nathan. As it worked out, they were both there to help…. As it didn't work out, it took much longer than the four hours that Jay had planned. (Although that is not unusual, it is quite "usual" that almost everything takes longer than Jay thinks it will.)

They (Jay and the boys) started around 10 am and called it quits around 9 pm. In the afternoon, Roger (Rinnah's boyfriend) joined the crew. Roger had already spent the earlier part of the day helping Rinnah work on my wall while I supervised and provided verbal support. (see "Wall Magic" below)

Rinnah and Roger were on their way up our driveway and on to the hotel to take a shower and a nap. They planned to go to the "Fulton Street Fair" that evening, so when Roger stopped his car at the tree splitting party, his willing volunteerism was pretty heroic.

It took all four of them at times to muscle those big chunks into position before Nathan could lower the lever or whatever you call it that does the actual splitting. Usually you can just put a stump under that thing, lower it and it will split right down the middle… BUT there was nothing very "usual" about this. The stumps were so large and apparently gnarled inside, that they had to split little pie shapes all the way around, gradually reducing the diameter until it was more workable. After each split, the four of them would have to turn and push it back into position for the next split. I was totally useless except to take pictures so I didn't hang around much. They were even too focused and/or exhausted that cheering them on was pointless. I guess I have to admit that I was glad that neither my services or even my presence was required.

Amon uses a 2 x 4 as a lever to help position the stump:

The following pictures were taken the next morning. Only one partial stump and the root mass/base remained. My contribution would be to tow the splitter back to the equipment rental place on Monday morning.

Jay takes a break after splitting the final chunk:

We are left with two new wood piles "up there" in addition to the three or four trailer loads that the guys hauled and stacked here at the house. Our wood piling area here at home is FULL so those new stacks will just have to stay where they are until we need them.

A few days later…

You may remember that I had been faithfully hosing down the under parts of the tree stump (giving it a daily enema) to try to get as much dirt off the roots as possible. It still had a lot of dirt packed in, but it was the best I could do. Jay soaked it down with kerosene a couple times and then the day came to "light 'er up" I'm nervous about fire, but thankfully it was one of those windless days. I made sure the hose was connected… and put on my Fire Marshall hat. Heaven knows someone has to wear it.

A bit of cardboard and some dead branches easily got the fire going. Once it was going, Jay kept it going all day by continually adding more of those dried branches we stacked on the edge of Amon's lawn. The stump itself didn't exactly "burn up" quickly, but it did burn… and actually smoldered for several days later until it finally rained and put it out completely.

The fire is out, but it's still smoldering… This, of course is the under part. The tree is beyond being embarrassed now. I think it actually enjoys having it's picture taken, even in this unseemly position.

The picture below (taken from the front, not the underside) was taken after it rained a few days later. Until then, I went up to visit it every day… it was still smoldering and that hole in the middle got larger and larger. I will spare you my daily photograph record.

So… the story of this tree is almost over, but not quite… One of these days when Jay has nothing better to do, I'm sure we'll have another root-burn. OR, we could plant IVY on and around it… which is what I suggested in the first place. I think it's rather artistic and (with a bit of ivy) might make a lovely yard ornament.

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