This weed was large. It was, in fact, a pine bush: almost 4 feet tall and 5 feet around, bushy, verdant, vibrant. Happy and healthy. And growing where it did not belong - at the foot of our driveway, where it constantly threatened to blind us to oncoming pedestrians, reach out over the sidewalk and snag some passerby, and shade the roses out of existence.
A plant growing where you don't want it is a weed. Any plant. No, really. Grass on the lawn is great - grass in the garden is a weed.
At first, I thought, "let's just prune it up a little." A snip here, a cut there, just to let some more light through and improve the shape. But the more I cut, the better I felt. And the worse the bush looked. I've done this before, so it's not that I'm bad at it, it's just that this particular bush needed to be full and lush to look its best. The Kid, watching this from the grass strip nearby, suggested that we just cut it down.
Cut it down?
Cut it DOWN!
With a saws-all, cutting it down was the easy part. I spent quite a while trying to shove fragrant piney-smelling branches into the yard waste bin, avoiding the sight of the giant stump left behind. Then it started to rain, and we called it a day. Of course, the next morning, there it was. Staring me down. Taunting me.
I went for the saws-all again, taking it easy at first, cutting off feeder roots, and then using my mattock to scrape away the dirt around the base of the stump. After an hour and a half, my husband offered to go to the hardware store and buy a chainsaw as an early birthday present. Oh HELL to the no - this thing was NOT going to make a mockery of my masculinity. Err, well, you know what I mean.
In gardening, as in almost everything else, there are times when you have to admit that you simply cannot do a job well without the proper tools. You can improvise, you can push and pull and hack and strain, and sometimes it just doesn't get you anywhere until you step back and bring in the big guns.
This was not one of those times.
After cutting its ties to the biggest root, I pulled that sucker straight out of the ground. Just me and my muscles.
Sometimes, when you want something badly enough, you just need to go for it.