Several weeks ago, we had three successive days of lashing rain and high winds. Great for the lawn, which looks like a hayfield, but not so good for the ancient Manitoba maple at the back of our property. One meter in circumference, it had always leaned to the east. In fact, one huge branch had already subsided onto the lawn. The grandchildren have practiced their tagging skills on the giant trunk for years.

One morning we came down for breakfast and a gigantic canopy of green was covering a corner of the lawn.

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We didn’t hear it – I wish I had, just for the experience. It must have fallen in the night, so swollen with moisture and weakened by age and disease, it could no longer stand. The trunk is actually on the vacant lot next door, but since the property owner doesn’t even bother to have the shoulder-high weeds cut even when ordered by the Town, we had no hope of him being willing to go halfsies.

We got quotes from our regular tree guy – $1800 – to cut the trunks into manageable lengths. Yikes. That’s a one week stay in a luxury all-inclusive resort. The second quote from The Stump Doctor was for half that. Mike, the owner, lives around the corner. I’ve seen his equipment when I’ve been out on my evening perambulations around the neighbourhood. He’s a firefighter and his grown son is his assistant. They did great work. Now Hub – Chainsaw Swede – is on a mission to get all the smaller branches cut and the greenery hauled away so we can revitalize the lawn, which has been smothered by layers of dead leaves and tiny wood flotsam. The hares and other garden-eating animals inhabiting the brush will be happy.

As I heave the clean-sawed lengths of stumps upright, I’m alternately cursing the work and the clouds of voracious mosquitoes, trying to go easy on my aching muscles and visualizing some sort of sculpture garden. Perhaps an avenue of funky birdhouses? Painted Elvis heads?  Maybe I’ll set up a stand at the end of the driveway and sell the wood. Ha!

Just what I needed, another project.