One tree in our front yard has been looking ill for a while. The bark sloughs off in sheets, and last year leaves withered on half the upper branches. Based on symptoms I tried to figure out what was wrong with it, my final best guess was some type of fungal canker. We knew for sure the tree was dead when this year it did not produce any foliage. The tree-removal crews have been cruising our neighborhood and kept stopping at our house to offer quotes. My husband had always shrugged them off, but this friday he spontaneously decided to have it taken down when another crew stopped on our curb, and within an hour the tree was in pieces on the ground.
Guess how long it takes one person (me) to haul the broken mass of an entire tree around the house to the backyard, break up the smaller branches, and cut the bigger ones into arm-length chunks with a handsaw? Three days. I had to roll the biggest segments of trunk down the hill, couldn't lift them. C. then carried them over to put under the deck. My ten-year-old helped fill a few wheelbarrow loads of sticks off the yard. There's still a stump to deal with later. I thought I would miss the tree, but after two years of looking at a dead arrangement of limbs poking at the sky, the empty spot is an improvement. I plan to put a crepe myrtle in its place, after we get the stump taken out.
And now there is several years' worth of firewood under the deck.
Now I'm tired. It's satisfying kind of work, though.