When I returned home last night, there was...nearly nothing. One neat pile of chips where the stump was. A few more chips mixed with soil where the poor dead tree once stood.
What make this all the more amazing is how things went the previous evening: Jim, the arborist, had started staging his equipment about two hours before sunset and it went more quickly than he had anticipated. Stump grinder, knuckle-boom, spare gas,
Tam watched all this, and went inside to get me to help with the gas refill. By the time I was outside, Jim had rigged a rope, rappelled down and was refilling the tank himself. "I'll just switch the controls over to 'local,' and..."
Nothing. He'd brushed against the kill switch when he got out of the bucket. The knuckle-boom has electric backup, so he asked me to run an extension cord. "Okay," I said, "But is it an 'engine kill' switch or a 'safety' switch?"
He wasn't sure.
We ran the cords and.... Nothing. Yes, it was a safety switch.
"No problem," said Jim, "It's pretty dark and I have plenty of cleaning-up to do; I'll just clear away the dropped branches and be back in the morning."
It sounded like a good idea to me. I went inside and did some housework before readying for bed. The sun was well down by then and the last thing I did before heading back to put on my nightgown was to shut off the living room lights. I proceeded bedroomwards but was stopped by a quiet tapping at the front door.
It was Jim, sporting a sheepish grin and asking, "May I make a call?"
I brought out a telephone (and a bottle of water, because he looked pretty dry), and he thanked me, chuckling. I gave him a quizzical look.
"I've got to laugh," he said. "I got in my truck to leave and when I pulled out, it didn't feel right. Sure enough, the left front tire was flat. So I reached for my celphone to call home and--" He pointed upward, "I left it in the bucket. So I've got to laugh."
He made his call ("Wife, you're not gonna believe this...."), handed back the phone and we parted company for the night, leaving power equipment, tarps, rappelling rope and a few tree limbs in the front yard.
Thus the idyllic, empty peace of the next evening's view of the front yard was even more a contrast than you might've thunk.