We used to have three small trees in the yard here at Stately Rice Manor: short things, dark red leaves, trunks & branches that grew in any direction but vertical. I have no idea what species they were.

The years were not kind to them. (Neither were the Japanese beetles.) We’ve been trimming dead limbs for a few years now; last year, tree #1 had to come down. This year, trees #2 and #3 were done in by the drought.

Removing them has been on the household to-do list for a while. Today turned out to be tree-chopping day.

Sam and I collected our gear – the pruners, a saw and a yard-waste bag – and headed out. Our technique: saw off a limb, prune the smaller twigs into one pile, cut the larger branches into short lengths (in a second pile); then, later, bag it all up.

Later, Jennifer & Jake joined in. It was a family bonding moment (if one ignored the grumbling from Jake, who didn’t want to join in).

After all the sawing and pruning, we had two trunks remaining: about four inches in diameter, two or three feet tall. They were too big for our saws, so Jennifer & I decided we needed something bigger.

A chain saw.

It’s an electric model – but not cordless; those are for professionals, or chumps – and fairly small. But it made short work of the two stumps. Jennifer and I took turns lopping off pieces of wood, but managed to avoid lopping off pieces of ourselves.

Now there’s a big pile of wood waiting for Wednesday’s yard-waste pickup.

(We have two more dead and/or dying trees in the back yard, but dealing with those can wait until spring.)