Out with the old . . . . taking the dead trees down

The Fourth of July was coming up, and that meant that we needed to be able to cook outside.  En plein air, as God intended. I had purchased some “Hodge Podge” brats from my butcher and I couldn’t wait to roast those delicacies over our backyard fire pit, surrounded by as much of the fam as I could coax to our remote (though charming) and out-of-the-way location.

But I had one problem:  actually, four problems.  In last year’s drought, four of our large Colorado Blue Spruce trees had died. Well, to be more precise, large portions of the four trees had died, and months of hopeful waiting hadn’t resulted in new growth on the dead portions, no, nor some arboreal miracle where suddenly the old trees turned from brown to green, overnight. We had finally come to the conclusion that the old trees weren’t going to rejuvenate and come back to life.  It has taken us a good nine months to swallow this painful fact.

Well, come on–don’t laugh. Good husband I have planted over 400 trees in the 12 years that we’ve lived here out on the prairie.  It really goes against everything we believe in to cut some of them down.  But eventually, even we have to come to grips with reality.

The trees were dead.

The trees weren’t coming back to life.

The trees were a horrid danger to us all.  The trees (bless them) had to go.

Besides, we couldn’t have our Fourth of July fire and festivities (nay, not even shoot off fireworks) until those massive fire-starters were cut down and hauled a safe distance away from our merry-making site, the back yard. Not to mention our big, flammable house.

The following pictures show you how we (finally!) accomplished this unhappy job.

These poor old trees. Snif.

These poor old trees. Snif.

Bryan takes the first one down . . .

Bryan takes the first one down . . . TIMBERRRR!


Here the second old tree bites the dust. Ouch.


Dead stumps tell no tales.


Now #3 is down. Boo-hoo.


Our skyline has really changed, with all four trees down.

With all four dead trees down, it’s time to call the troops to help haul them all away.

The youngest Troop, little Mack, decides that he can help best by staying out of the way and posing Babes in unconventional places.  Here she is in a little tree.

The youngest Troop, little Mack, decides that he can help best by staying out of the way and posing Babes in unconventional places. Here she is in a little tree.

"What do you mean I can't ride on the tree as Dad drags it with his tractor??"

“What do you mean I can’t ride on the tree as Dad drags it with his tractor??”



Here is Babes posed in one of the dead trees. She’s a good model.


You can see that little Mack’s work gloves look quite new, still. Hmm.


We got smart and realized that we couldn’t drag the dead trees away by sheer muscle power alone. It took Bryan on the Ford Tractor several trips to move them to an out-of-the-way spot.

While Bryan used the tractor to haul away the big pieces, the kids and I used our muscles to drag off the smaller branches and brush. Ouch. I wish I would have remembered to put on jeans, instead of shorts. My lower legs will never look the same.

Neither will the back yard.  But we’ll work on that.  Good-bye, old friends.

only the stumps are left



12 thoughts on “Out with the old . . . . taking the dead trees down

  1. Jeff Mere

    What a sad day! I can totally relate. I live in Northern Colorado and the infamous pine beetle did its damage. Coming from the south originally we had fallen in love, with as the kids call them, Christmas Trees growing everywhere! 🙂 to see even one bite the dust is tough. But you guys did the write thing! Great article and LOVED the pics!

  2. Chef William

    always so sad to fall one of your own trees. In Wisconsin we have only had to remove one in all the years, but I am worried that the blue spruce is not looking as chipper as years past. It will be here when I depart for the new home and I hope to see it when I come back for a visit. For you, four in a row is a lot to loose. Sad, but you can replant and watch the new growth???

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      My thoughts exactly. I’m having fun daydreaming about what we’ll plant in those trees’ places. It won’t be empty and forlorn for long.

  3. Alana (@RamblinGarden)

    So, you have given chicken tractors a new definition. Chickens who help haul dead trees away-who would have thought…but seriously, when I visited Brooklyn last week I saw too many dead evergreens – these were from too much water – salt water, to be more exact. Either way, drought or salt water – sad. May you recover from your scratches soon. Me, I’m still laughing over the thought of little Mack posing the chickens while he watched others do all the hard work!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Haha! The work was pretty intense for little Mack, and he has found that holding a chicken is a way to look busy without having to get covered with scratches from the brush! 😉

  4. Francene Stanley

    When a tree dies, it cuts me too. Your pictures sent them away with a proper burial, via the tractor. I pass the skeleton of my little bay tree every day and sigh anew. Maybe one day the dead trunk will crumble. Until then, it reminds me that life is tenuous.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Francene, we haven’t decided yet what we’ll put in the place of those trees. But we’ll replant in their places, and some day we won’t miss them so badly.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      It’s a shame but all those dead trees have to be reckoned with, somehow! Thanks Sophie for your comment!

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