In case you are wondering, that’s Greek for victory. It is what Pheidippides cried when he reached Athens after the battle of Marathon, whereupon he died from exhaustion. I didn’t die from exhaustion (or I wouldn’t be writing this) but I was wiped out by the exertion.

I have managed to defeat the evil stump by the edge of the driveway. Took me two days. Twenty years ago it would have taken two hours. Thirty years ago, maybe 20 minutes. Ageing sucks.

It was difficult to even get the shovel in the ground, almost as hard as the pavement adjacent to it. As soon as I got a ditch around the stump that would hold water, I filled it up and let that soak in. Dig and repeat. As I encountered roots, I sawed them off. After a time I had a deep enough hole that I was able to use my 8-ton bottle jack for the heavy lifting.

Raise the stump. Prop it up. Cut off roots. Raise the stump some more. At last, it was high enough I could start digging hydraulically with the garden hose. Soon I had the main root exposed and I attacked it in a frenzy with my saw.

Snap – crackle – pop! The root yielded and the stump slumped up in defeat. Now it is off to the trash bin and to heal the scar that remains. (Not just the hole in the ground but also the gash on the back of my hand from when the saw slipped.)

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