I have a new nemesis.
It is not an evil villain type of nemsis or even a human nemesis: it is a tree stump nemesis.
When we bought our home 15 years ago it had five crab apple trees, which, in my opinion, are the most worthless trees in the world because you can't eat the fruit. I guess you an make jam out of it, but who wants to?
And those millions of tiny little apples mean the tree has to be sprayed as if it were a real fruit tree, which is a pain in the posterior.
It also pains me to spend good money on something as worthless as a crap, er, I mean crab tree.
So within the first year, three of the infernal wooded growths fell to the chainsaw, but the other two I left in.
I spent years pruning the one in the backyard to grow along our fence line so it will block out the school that is directly behind my house and I am happy to say I succeeded quite well.
It is still a stupid crab tree, but at least it serves a purpose.
Sitting in the front yard of my humble home was another crab apple tree. True, it looked beautiful when in full bloom, but that only last a couple weeks and then it is just a useless, growing lawn ornament.
I left it in for all these years because my kids and their friends liked to clumb on it and who am I to deny a youngster the age-old thrill of climbing a tree.
However, the kids are older now and have no interest in climbing the tree, so I finally had the chance to convert it into firewood.
That left a stump in the yard from what was once a 30-year-old apple tree.
No problem, I have pulled many stumps in the past. Growing up, my parents had two acres with lots of trees and I can remember spending the better part of a summer digging out five poplar trees that were at least 50 years old.
That meant they had massive roots, so I spent hours digging with a shovel and chopping with an axe. Digging, chopping, digging, chopping...
My dad always warned me to wear leather boots for such work, but one day (when he was not home) I decided running shoes would do just fine. I took a mighty swing with the axe only to have it bounce off the root and sink into my foot.
I froze and waited for the pain. I waited...and waited but no pain came. I pulled out the axe and realized the blade had gone perfectly between my toes and embedded into the sole of my shoe.
After that, I always wore my work boots.
Anyway, the stump I am dealing with now is just as evil, with roots the size of an elephants leg. Well, maybe not quite that big, but those are some very large roots.
Junior needed gas money (what teen doesn't) so I traded him some money for a bit of time hacking away at the stump.
He quickly learned digging out a stump sucks.
He worked hard on it for a couple of hours, but the stump would not even wobble let alone fall over.
It is good for a young lad to do some old-fashioned physical labour and it is even better for dad to let him do it.
Having earned his gas money, he vacated the job mumbling something about a chainsaw and couple sticks of dynamite, which meant it was once again my turn to tackle the stump from hell.
A lot of hacking, digging and the occasional bad word has gone into removing this stump, but so far it refuses to release its grip on Mother Earth.
But I am stubborn and will not stop until the stump and its evil root system are vanquished.
It is me or the stump and the yard ain't big enough for both of us.
Copyright 2015, Darren Handschuh