One of the trees that came with the house is dead. Has been dead since we arrived. My guess is that it was a fruit tree that never really made it. You can see it there in the back corner:
It has just been there, slowly shedding branches over the years. Which never really bothered me until the fence dropped:
Suddenly anything putting weight on that fence becomes an issue.
I had not really intended to make a project out of it. I just went out there to pull down some of the branches. I removed all that I could - literally broke off with a little pressure - and then I was committed to pulling the stump out of the ground.
(Of course, these things always seem to just roll in without the benefit of a camera).
Removing the upper part of the trunk was the first part. Fortunately, the diameter - maybe 8" at the most - could be cut with a hand saw. Not at all at once, of course - I had to to saw my way around in two or three different areas until the trunk cracked off.
Now for the stump. Fortunately, I am armed with a pick and know how to use it:
Dig in a circle around the trunk. When you hit a root, either chop through with the end of the pick or try to get under it with the edge of the pick and lever it out. Rescue earthworms that are distressed and move them to the garden. Whack the truck with the pick to see if moves at all. If it does not, keep digging around the trunk, looking for the roots that are a little deeper. Chop or pry with the pick. Save more earthworms. Bang it again with the pick - aha! It is moving. Keep digging and prying.
It took about twenty minutes:
I will put something else back there close to that spot, both because it gets total sun as well as the fact that we eventually have neighbors that will be back there and I am not keen on just looking into the yard.
I will state for the record I have never pulled a stump before. But with a little effort, some tools, and some careful thought, it is amazing the things that one can accomplish.