Helen's Garden Renovation Project

Sunday 3 May 2009

No longer stumped

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 1:16 pm

Yesterday I managed to dig up and remove the tree stump, at last. I am very pleased. I did it by cutting through all the side roots and digging out the soil from under the stump with a trowel. It was then possible to push the stump over, and any remaining roots were so rotten that they just broke under the force of gravity. I am now much better at chopping through wood with a mattock. It feels quite easy, but I can tell it’s hard work because I seem to need a lot of oxygen to do it. After I had pushed the tree stump over, I sat down for a breather and took this photograph. You can’t see the tape measure markings, but at least the width of the tape gives a sense of scale.

Tree stump after I dug it out

Tree stump after I dug it out

I then had to get the tree stump out of the hole. The weight of it is right on the limit of what I can lift, so I couldn’t just lift it out of the hole. Fortunately, since the hole was quite big, it was quite easy to get the stump out. I rolled the stump to one side, and then added some soil to the other side of the hole. I rolled the stump slightly uphill to the other side, and then added some soil to the side of the hole that had just been vacated. I carried on doing this until the stump was near enough to the surface around the hole for me to roll it out. I rolled it over to the other side of the garden and put it next to the bay tree, out of the way. I could carry on smashing it up with the mattock, but I think I will put some stuff on it that accelerates the rotting of tree stumps, and then try to pick it up in a year’s time, and see if it falls apart in my hands.

While removing the stump, I found a new complication. Some bees have made a nest in my excavations. When I finish filling in the hole, it will block their nest, which they will not be very pleased about. Killing bees is a bad thing to do, but delaying projects is also bad. I tried to get them to pose for a photograph, but as you would expect of bees, they were very busy. This was the best I could do.

Bees in nest made in wall of excavations

Bees in nest made in wall of excavations

I then went indoors and looked the bees up on the Internet. They are most likely to be miner bees, which can’t sting people because their stings don’t penetrate the skin. And best of all, they will buzz off some time towards the end of May. If I block up their nest, then their babies might have difficulty getting out, but perhaps I can move the babies, if I can find them. So I am going to carry on working and try to avoid the nest for now.


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