In the back corner of the yard, there used to be a bush: a big thing with white flowers all over it. It looked nice.
Next to it was some kind of weed tree. (A cottonwood?) It grew; we lopped it off at ground level. It grew back. This happened several times, over the years. We almost killed it once, by lopping it & covering the stump with an empty kool-whip bowl; but after a while the bowl got dislodged and the tree grew back.
The flower bush wasn’t happy with its parasitic twin, and every year it looked a little worse. This year, we decided it had to go: we pruned, sawed, lopped, & hacked until there was nothing left but a pair of stumps.
Today, I dug out the stumps. This was harder than I expected.
There’s no dirt back there. It’s clay. Wet, heavy, sticky clay. It gummed up the shovel. It stuck to the soles of my shoes. (I was an inch taller by the time I was done.)
The bush had a very wide root system. I hacked through the larger roots with the shovel (a hatchet might have been more effective; alas, we don’t have one), and managed to lift the thing out more or less intact.
The tree? I dug down twelve or eighteen inches, and the root just kept on going. Rather than tunnel all the way to China, I resorted to violence: I sawed off the top foot or so of the root, put another kool-whip bowl over what was left, and then buried it under as much clay as I could.
I told Jennifer that if it grows back again, we’ll have to move: it will be a sign that the yard belongs not to us, but to the Demon Tree.