Clean up progress; west yard trees

Today, I went back to around the west side of the maple grove to continue cleaning up.  This time, however, I focused on the area nearest the fire pit and gate.  This area seemed to have been mostly spruces, though only a few have survived.

Let’s look at the before pictures.


This spruce tree is right behind one of our piles of wood for the fire pit.  It’s doing rather well, though as with most spruces, the lowest branches on the trunk were dead and hidden by the ones above.


Right at the wood pile is an elm tree that we thought was dead, but after we finally got some decent rain, suddenly shot out some green.  It is still mostly dead, but we’ll be leaving it for now.

Most of the spruces behind it are completely dead.  Only two are still alive, plus one scrawny little thing that I’m hoping will survive now that I’ve cleared away the dead stuff.

I went further under the trees for these next photos.


Going through here, looking at all the dead wood, all I could think of was “that’s a fire hazard, that’s a fire hazard, that’s a fire hazard…”

I started by pruning the spruce in the top photo and working my way in a bit, then went to taking down the two bigger dead spruces.  These ones have been making a mess of my nerves, every time we used the fire pit and a breeze blew towards them!

I took the bigger one down first, because it was easier to get at.


When it finally started to drop, it got hung up on the trees on the other side of the gate.  The cut part also just stayed on the trunk.  I finally grabbed a piece of wood from the log pile and swung it like a baseball bat against the trunk.


It still just dropped straight down, being held up by the other trees.

I finally got it to fall, though!


After this, I cut the tree up into small sections so I could move it and work on the next one.


Which also got stuck and needed whacking.


It, too, was being held up by the trees on the other side of the gate.


My older daughter happened to come out to ask me something, so she got to do the whacking…


And also got it down from the other trees.

After this, I took down the two smaller dead spruces.

Then I realized I had completely blocked the gate, so the smaller stuff I would have taken to the pile outside the yard with a wheel barrow had to wait.

Here are the after pictures.


In the foreground is the spruce from the top photo.  As I cleaned up after taking down the dead spruces, including cutting back some spreading lilac and caragana, I kept finding more and more dead stuff, buried under dead leaves and grass, and especially along the fence line.


I’m leaving the stumps of the trees I took down for now.  You can see the pruned trunks of the two remaining spruces here; the skinnier one has just a few live branches at the top.  There are still dead branches I want to prune away, but for those, I’ll need the extended pruner, so it will wait for now.

There’s still lots to clear out of here but, at this point, the heat was becoming and issue and I was getting ready to head inside.


The remains of the 4 dead spruces I took down, plus some of the larger dead pieces I dragged out while cleaning up.  Lots of dead caragana and lilac hidden among the living.  It seemed every time I thought I was done, I kept finding more and more to pull out!

I was just taking these last photos when my daughters came out to haul it all out of the yard for me.

They are so awesome!

Though it’s no where near done, the difference is still pretty amazing.

The Re-Farmer

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