Four Days, Four Tree Stumps, and 9,792 calories

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I love this new weight reduction plan where I just do anything I want to do so long as it burns calories. Or so I thought! There I was checking on my resurrected rose, which is looking so much better than it did, when I catch sight of four tree stumps from chopped down Bradford pear trees. I decided it was time for the stumps to go. I cut them down a few years back, so I was thinking this would be a not too difficult task. Well, it wasn’t, except for the fourth one. I believe it was petrified. I don’t mean like, “Oh, I’m so afraid! This big guy is coming after me with an axe!” petrified. More like “Go ahead, sharpen your axe and see if you can get a piece of me” petrified. With the first three, I used an unsharpened axe, and a solid steel pry bar. I was able to chop up the roots, poke the lever under the main trunk, and yank them out. Not easy, but doable. I did two in one morning, and I was feeling pretty smart. So accomplished, in fact, that the next morning I woke up a bit earlier than I had been, looking forward to knocking out the other two.

I had to take a small detour, though, to take a picture of what I’m thinking is Mars. I know, next time, hold the camera a little more steady. Anyway, the third stump was just as easy as the first two. I got a workout, but the stump was gone in a little over an hour. On to the fourth!

Another tree stump gone!

Whack, Whack, Whack…

That’s it? That’s all I removed after numerous whacks? You have got to be kidding me! What is this thing! It was a Bradford pear just like the other three; why is it so much harder? I used the pry bar as a spike and thrust it into the center. Thunk on the trunk! Let’s try that axe again. Whack, whack, whack. Pant, pant, pant. I keep saying it’s much easier to exercise by gardening because you can see something getting done. Really?!

I stop for a moment to catch my breath and start thinking about, really, just how difficult is it to run up and down the street. Surely that’s a much better way to exercise than this! However, once I catch my breath, my new exercise plan shows it’s genius. I’m not going to be beat by a stump. I go at it again. Whack, whack, whack. Pant, pant, pant! No, running up and down the street is looking like a better alternative. No, wait, I have an idea. Enough brawn; let’s use some brains.

It just so happens that I have a lot of wood from prior Bradford pears I cut down. Speaking of global warming, why not just plant these dang things all over the place? Carbon dioxide + Bradford pear = lots of wood, lots of leaves and lots of oxygen. Of course, if someone has to cut them down, they’ll probably burn up all that oxygen! So, back to the wood. I built a big fire, placed a metal protector around it and called it a day–or morning, if you prefer. I figured the next morning I would wake up to a hole in the ground where said Bradford pear used to be.

Good Morning Sunshine!

After all that panting the day before I didn’t get up so early, but when I did, here is what I was greeted with. I felt like doing the Rocky victory dance. (You’ll have to just hum the melody yourself because there’s yet another law about using copyrighted music. I’ll wait while you finish humming so you can get the true effect.) I’m thinking about what I’m going to fill the hole with: maybe some of my compost, maybe loam from the mulch beds, maybe just clay. I’m already thinking about what else I can do after the five minutes it will take me to fill in the hole. Maybe I’ll plant some more vegetables, or flowers, or maybe pressure wash the fence to get it ready for the paint job it so badly needs. Maybe I’ll just take a day off and run up and down the street. Whatever it is, I get to decide.

Enough gloating, let’s go look at the hole. WHAT???!!! This is the stump covered in ash. After my first shock, I just started laughing. Can you believe this? I had this covered with wood and every bit of it burned except the blasted stump! After realizing I was laughing at me and wondering what someone who might be up at this hour would think of the lunatic staring at a stump and laughing, I went back to being shocked. Another genius idea. Build houses out of these things! No more fires, except the things that did burn were Bradfords. Go figure. I’d take a cutting off this one but I’m thinking it’s a bit late for that. Although with this guy I can’t say for sure.

Whack, whack, whack. Pant, pant, pant. I wonder how that rose is looking… not too bad if I may say so myself. There is nothing to this! Do whatever and then put black compost on the plant and you’re back in business. Um… the stump.

Whack, whack, whack. After the third morning, more whacking, more fire wood, and another fire, and I’m still not done.

On the fourth day he whacked some more!

No Rocky victory dance this morning!

Whack, whack, whack. Pant, pant, pant. Finally, the last little bit breaks off. It takes thirty minutes to gather all the wood chips that have been slung all over the place. My fiberglass reinforced axe is broken, and so is my fiberglass reinforced shovel. I used a rake to cover the hole and smooth it over. Finally, after so many years, these four stumps are out of my life.

More good news. I got on the scales after all this and it looks like I have finally burned off the last of the candy and cookies I ate two weeks ago. What a setback that was! At least I’m back to where I was. The thing that seems to keep coming up is that if you figure out how many calories I burned while whacking and digging, it doesn’t add up to the weight I lost (using the 3600 calories = 1 pound rule.) I do believe it’s my metabolism. My muscles feel alive for several days after one of these grueling routines and my biceps feel like I can crack nuts with them! My youngest, who is a drummer and could beat me at arm wresling three years ago, arm wrestled me recently and lost. He may have just felt sorry for me but I’ll take the win anyway. Bottom line is… that thing about increasing your metabolism from exercising seems to be true.

My wife wants me to plant another Bradford; I’m laughing so hard I just can’t type anymore.

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