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Stump Grinding

I had two large stumps that needed to be removed to make way for the eventual deck expansion and for expanding the small parking area in the side/back yard around the side of the shed so I'd have a perfectly sized place to put the 1967 Ghia we're holding onto until we have to to restore it.

I needed to buy a chainsaw to hack off the top sections so they could be hauled away (I gave away a few nice chunks of well-dried old-growth cedar last summer) and then rent a stump grinder to turn the rest into mulch. Renting the grinder was the most expensive piece of this by far - it was about $180 for a single day - so I knew I wanted to get both stumps cleared at the same time. If you've never used a stump grinder before, think of it like a Godzilla-sized chainsaw on a hydraulic arm that can chew through just about anything all day long and not care. This thing was self propelled, scary as hell to run for the first time, loud, obnoxious, deadly to anything the blade came into contact with, and after you got over the noise - it was a blast to operate. It satisfied a very basic male destructive urge in a hurry. :-)

I don't think I got any pictures of the grinder itself in operation, just me playing with the chainsaw. On the plus side, my neighbor got a ton of free cedar mulch, and I've got a new parking space for my Ghia. Total cost outlay (not including the chainsaw which gets used for other purposes now) was only about $250, and that included the crushed stone used to extend the parking area. Not bad for two days of work.

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Tree Removal by Shed

We had a lonely and very tall pine tree between our shed and the property line. It was not in a great spot, was all alone (no support from nearby pine trees), and was about to start pushing the shed as it grew. It needed to be cut down, so I took advantage of the easy access to it during the shed side fence replacement project in late summer 2007 to have it cut down. My neighbor was having a tree removed also, so I asked the tree removal folks he had there - American Tree Services - to give me an estimate. The price was good (<$1000 for cutting it down, chipping the branches and hauling them away, and cutting the trunk into manageable ~16" long sections), and they were awesome. The crew was fast, professional, and the crew leader (the one who climbed the trees) was very good at what he does. In about 3 hours flat they had both trees down and mine cleaned up. My neighbor decided to clean his up separately to save some money, I opted to spend the extra cash to get it done faster. The crew leader was doing a perfect job of getting the cut trunk sections to fall exactly where he wanted them - not only did he ensure each one rotated just right when falling so that it hit the ground laying down instead of on end (so they wouldn't bounce all over the place), they were also all lined up in a perfect row when it was done. Cool! Now I just had to do it get rid of all those ~16" long sections of the trunk - and all I have to say is that Craigslist is a wonderful thing at times like this. I posted an add saying "free wood" and within 24 hours nearly all of the wood was gone and I had just a few rounds left to get rid of. Very cool, and it went to someone who could use it.

The second shot below with the tree section just starting to fall is the best of the bunch, and it was taken by my neighbor, Lee - it's his yard that the tree bits are falling into. Lee, thanks for sending that picture over so I could post it, and congrats on being accurate on the shutter. My shot of the same event is the third one below - it was taken a split second later and the falling tree section is hard to make out in front of the other trees.

The final two pictures below show the dent that the falling trunk sections put in my neighbor's lawn - wow! Part of the deal for letting me drop the tree onto his lawn was that I cleaned up the mess and filled in any dents when I was done. A bit of dirt and some quality time with the rake and his lawn will be as good as new. It's a small price to pay compared to how much it would have cost to have taken the tree down and kept it all inside my yard, and I'm very thankful to Lee for letting me do this - he's a great neighbor.

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Maple Tree Removal

This tree was at the back of the property and was encroaching on the rear fence line - it was actually pushing the fence into the neighbor's yard slightly. The tree was also leaning into the neighbor's yard slightly and it was infected with some fungal growth that caused it to get a little more sickly each year. Removing it was on my list of "things to do", so when a tree service came by in November 2007 to give free estimate on tree removals "before the winter storms hit" I talked to them. They were willing to deal with the neighbor's ivy on their tree (unlike the folks doing the pine tree removal by the shed, see above) so I got an estimate, and it was an OK price, and I had the tree cut down. Other than all of the climbing around in the tree to get the top sections cut off, it was a pretty straightforward process and the the whole thing took about 2 hours start to finish. This leaves just two trees on the property - both out front. One small pine which is still growing vigorously, and one small plum which is slowly dying. Neither is a concern at this time, so I'm done with tree services and tree removal for a while.

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Page last updated 01/02/2009 01:51:39 PM