Friday, May 31, 2013

Getting the Stump Out

 Just three days ago, Bruce Cunningham and crew were here to take down a dying blue spruce (click here to read that post). This morning, very early (7:30 am), I heard a truck pull into our driveway and machinery rattle as it was driven into place. Bruce was back with his stump grinder.

 On Tuesday, when the three-man crew left, all that was left was a stump with a red-X on it.

 Bruce said he'd call to have the utilities checked to make sure he wouldn't be disrupting any service while taking the stump out. On Wednesday, when Mom and I returned home from a chore, we found this painted on our lawn.

 It says: TWC Phone OK. While we don't have cable TV (TWC stands for Time Warner Cable), we do have DirecTV but I know where that line goes since I helped bury it myself. I wasn't worried about the phone line either as the junction box is directly across the street. Surely the line takes the shortest path and goes across our front lawn.
 The power, however, was of concern to me. The power pole that supplies our service is at the end of Sam's lane. You might draw a line between our power box and that pole and find it passes almost directly under this pine. Cunningham said Dayton Power & Light lines are buried about two feet down but it's nothing he'd want to mess with. Whoever checked for our buried lines checked all three utilities at once. All clear.

 Cunningham set up three plywood sheets (the grinder is standing on one in the driveway) to prevent the wood chips from flying all over the place. It saved a lot of clean-up. Here he's beginning to grind the stump with a hand-held wireless remote control. It allows him to stand back a safe distance. "This is my toy," he smiled.

 Here's a close-up shot of that remote control. It certainly looks heavy duty. In fact, as the grinder worked away, it reminded me of the Curiosity lander on Mars.

 This project is almost finished. Cunningham has only to drive the stump grinder back onto this flatbed.

 ... and I have only to shovel three wheelbarrow loads of excess topsoil and wood chips to the garden. I've left it mounded a bit thinking it will settle with tonight's rain. Later I'll scratch it up again, add grass seed and place straw atop the area and keep it well-watered this summer.
 Cunningham left me with a tip for speeding up the germination of grass seed. "Place the bag of seed in your freezer at least overnight. It'll sprout in three days if you do that."

Saturday, June 1 : Yesterday I took four wheelbarrow loads of wood chips and dirt to the garden, making the area where the tree stood only a little mounded. I figure it will settle quite a bit with rain. Today I cleaned up more wood chips (it rained yesterday exposing yet more), hauled them to the garden (where I now have two nice paths) and I began preparing the soil for grass seed. Now, late in the day, the seed is planted and straw spread across the spot.

June 1

Tuesday, June 11: It's just been eleven days since the stump was removed. We've had ample rainfall with warm, sunny days interspersed and the grass seed has grown vigorously. In many places, rather than thread its way through the straw, it lifted it. I redistributed the straw as necessary. From Sam's driveway, here's how the spot looks now.

June 11

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