Thursday, August 15, 2013

Oh Mercy! He's Got the Gas Can!!

This summer we had to have an extremely large Bradford pear tree cut down.  Over the past year, portions of the tree had split off and crashed to the ground until only a quarter of the tree was left standing.  With even the lightest breath of wind, the foreboding and alarming sound of the tree trunk cracking alerted us that it was getting ready to separate yet again.

fallen tree, broken tree

We contracted a tree company who safely brought down what was left of the tree.  In order to save money, we had them cut the stump down to the ground level instead of having the stump ground up.  Once the job was complete, the Arborist gave my husband 2 ways to kill the tree's roots.  One was for us to use a pre-packaged root rot solution which not only kills the tree's roots, but causes them to disintegrate.  The other was to douse the tree in gasoline and set it ablaze.

If you haven't read about my husband's previous experience with gasoline and fire, you'll want to read about that escapade here.  Given my husband's history and the fact that our current house doesn't have a concrete culvert behind it which can handle an exploding gas can, I immediately drove (as fast as I dared) to our local home improvement store and purchased the Arborist's recommended poison for my husband to apply on the tree's roots. 

The next evening my husband went to work drilling holes into what was left of the tree stump and any roots that were above ground, just as he'd been advised.  While he was busy drilling holes, I left to take our kids to my parent's house to swim in their pool.  Something inside of me said I shouldn't leave until he had finished drilling those holes and applied the poison, but with 2 kids whining incessantly about wanting to go swimming and my parents already expecting us, I had to go.

Upon my return several hours later, my husband was sitting in the garage waiting with the "Ummm...... honey?" half-hearted smile on his face.  Before I could so much as groan, both kids saw his face and said in unison "Oh geez! What's Dad done now?!".

Well, after my husband drilled all the holes in the tree stump and roots, he read the directions on the package of tree root poison.  The directions stated that you can pour the poison in the drilled holes and let it sit and over the course of 6 months to a year, it would slowly kill all of the roots; OR for a quicker method, you can pour the poison in the drilled holes, douse the top of the stump with the poison and then set it on fireOh.Dear.Lord.!!!  I should have read the instructions before purchasing the solution!

If there is any chance to play with fire (my husband is drawn like a moth to the flame) he's going to take that chance.  He poured the solution into all of the holes he'd drilled and poured it over the top of the tree stump to ensure the perfect ignition. He located our lighter from where I'd hidden it (Why yes!  Yes, I hid it!  But I obviously need to work on that skill a bit more.) and lit the solution on fire.

Within a few minutes, the fire extinguished itself without having deteriorated the tree's stump or roots one tiny bit.  My husband said it went out so fast, he didn't even have time to get excited about it being lit........ which probably means he didn't get to do some man-dance around the stump.  Well, that was deflating and entirely no fun, so my husband made the executive decision the solution needed a stronger accelerant.  What's the best and strongest accelerant we have at our house?  The gasoline for the lawnmower.

Out he trots with the (new) gas can which he'd just filled with gasoline.  It took a few minutes to fill all of the holes and douse the top of the tree stump with the gasoline.  Remembering his last escapade with the gas can, he was extra cautious not to leave a trail of gas from the tree stump to the can, and even went so far as to move the can far, far away from the stump.

He did have a passing thought that our wrought iron fence sits right next to the tree stump and it could melt if the fire got too hot.  But, throwing caution to the wind, he went ahead and executed his plan.  With a giant "WOOSH" the gasoline ignited.  That tree stump and roots burned for a good 30 minutes.  He was having so much fun with it that he got some marshmellows and roasted a few over the fire.  Much quicker than expected, the fire died down and burned itself out.  Once the fire started dying down, it went out so quickly he hadn't had enough time make an ooey-gooey s'more.

When we arrived home he was so downtrodden, he looked like somebody had just shot his dog. Apparently, because the tree had just been cut down the day before, the stump and roots were still so full of moisture it kept extinguishing the fire.  So despite my husband's best efforts to kill something using fire, the mound still stands and he didn't get to do a man-dance around the fire, he only got 2 roasted marshmellows, and his s'more idea was thwarted.  And, as with the fire ant mound, the tree stump is flourishing since being set ablaze.  Unfortunately, since "Plan A" was an epic fail, stayed tuned because "Plan B" is now in the works.......... I'm hoping his need to make fire like a caveman is now a distant memory........ but I doubt it.

by: Christie Bielss

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