Tuesday, November 20, 2012

We're getting there...

As I wander about my yard wondering how in the hell I'm going clear all of the trees out of it I keep thinking to my self an old African proverb: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time...

I found this on line and it pretty much sums up the way I have approached this monumental task.

The old saying about ‘eating an elephant’ describes an enormous or very difficult task that is all but impossible.  But it can be done – with enough time, patience and more than a little bit of strategy.  The next time you are faced with accomplishing an enormous and near impossible project, think about how you would plan to eat that elephant.  Here are ten tips – maybe you can add some others:

1. Size up the entire job.  Make sure you have a good grasp of the scope of the total project.  Just how big and complex is that job?  Walk around it.  Take a look from many different perspectives.   Make sure you have a clear idea of the whole before attacking the parts.
2. Sift through the mess.  Sort out and throw away everything that isn’t elephant.  There will be plenty of elephant parts for you to digest – don’t take on any more than is absolutely necessary.
3. Imagine eating the last bite.  Before you begin, visualize yourself eating that very last bite of elephant.  Keep that image in your mind as you get started, and stay focused on getting the job done, no matter what.
4. Design a strategy.  How long a time do you have to complete this project?  What are the steps you need to take?  What’s the best order to eat all the parts?  My computer – guru nephew coined a term to describe breaking down huge data files into workable bunches – chunkify.  An excellent description – chunkify that elephant!
5. Gather the tools you will need.  Make sure you have all the necessary equipment before you start.  What do you need to get the job done?  Chainsaws?  Meat cleavers?  Sharp knife and fork?  Tums for your tummy?  
6. Get some help.  Don’t try to do it all yourself – you need a team.  Make the job look attractive, whatever it takes – mustard, pickle relish, barbecue sauce – and you’ll have people clamoring for a chance to help you.  Hey, that technique worked for Tom Sawyer, didn’t it?
7. Decide what to eat first.  Decide which is the worst part (use your imagination here!) and plan to eat that worst part first.  Once that’s out of the way, the rest of that elephant may be quite tasty – or at least it will seem so by comparison.
8 Take a bite.  Whatever it takes, you must begin.  Then take another bite.  Then another.  Set a pace for yourself, keep going, and don’t allow yourself to quit for any reason.  How long does it take to eat an elephant?  As the old story goes – a bite at a time and a couple of years, and you’ll be done.
9. Clean up your plate.  You can do it.  How much of that elephant is left?  The excuse that you are “90 percent done” means that you’re trying to hide the other 10 percent of that elephant somewhere.  Finish the job.
10. Celebrate your success!  Congratulations!  You finished the task – all of it.  That elephant is now history, and your project is complete.  High fives all around for a job well done.  Now, what’s for dessert?
With the assistance of my wife and father, we have dispatched with the baby elephant in the front yard, 2 pine trees and related debris. Now its time to take aim at the back yard. I'm told by others I am making progress... 

Here is the Elephant in question on October 30th: 

I've since recovered half of the back yard back for the kids and canine. 

The ends of the logs you see in the middle of the photo above are at the edge of the property line. The rest of the logs extend back into the woods an additional 50- 70 feet. For now, I can now get through the gate into the woods. I'll worry about the stuff on the other side of the fence once I have the rest of my yard under control.

 I still have some work to do one the other side of the yard though...

Its hard to see, but that is the fence corner pointing skyward on the right side of the photo.

View from Far right of yard looking at the shed, the pile is over 8' in spots

At least the trees that hold the hammock are still around for a nice nap when I'm done. However, its no longer a shady spot
Some of those pine trees are well over 3' thick and at least 100' long that stretch way back into the woods. The plan is to clean the branches and small stuff as much as I can with an 18" chain saw and then call in the crane to remove the pine logs. I plan on keeping the handful of oaks/maples that are (unfortunately) on the bottom of that pile. That way I'll have another summer of cutting wood and splitting logs to look forward to... joy!


  1. I feel your pain Coop. We just finished the driveway extension. 7 1/2 yards of concrete with all the attendant digging, hauling and finishing. Oh my aching back. But it's done and I'm happy. I hated starting it but I'm glad I did because now it's


    1. ahh, but there is one important difference between your concrete project (a job well done BTW) and my fallen tree project, you chose to under take that task where this task was literally laid at my feet courtesy of Hurricane Sandy's Tree Service.

  2. That's a right good mess there.
    Well at least the solution is a chainsaw, over which you have control.
    It took us 6 months to get the insurance claim settled and the roof repaired after Ike.
    Then to add insult to injury, a short fight with the home owner's association because I didn't make the requisite submission for the shingle replacement.

    1. Makes you want punch the insurance company & homeowners association in the proverbial throat, doesn't it?