A difficult decision, but we have taken down a couple of trees close to the barns. One was a sycamore that was only 40 years old but was absolutely huge. They can live over 200 years and are attracted to water sources such as drains. Not a good place to have a sycamore when it will be within 10 metres of a new sewer system. The other was a flowering cherry, which had already been subjected to extreme hacking to allow the farm vehicles access to the fields. A couple of days of back breaking work and the worst of it is done. We attracted a lot of attention from the local dog walkers, most of whom were sensitive to the problems we would face if the trees remained. We've had problems before with drains collapsed by parkland trees in a suburban setting so were anxious to try prevention rather than cure. We will plant some more trees in time, but not whoppers and not next to the barns.
It's all going to be far too much for a bonfire and it made sense to salvage wood for the log burners. It will all be nicely seasoned by the time we are ready to burn it in a log burner. However, there is the problem of how to get rid of the smaller branches as well as the conifers recently knocked down during the canopy demolition, so have decided to hire a monster wood chipper. We are planning to use the chippings as a mulch to keep down weeds in the garden and anywhere else that will be newly exposed to the sunlight, so that deals with the chip mountain problem. In our last house we had two gi-normous maple trees taken down and I rather foolishly suggested that we keep all the chips to compost them. There was an enormous pile, which we then had to move into a specially made holding pen. As the trees were in full leaf, the chippings started to compost almost immediately so when we moved them it was a steaming pile of chippings and almost too warm to grab in armfuls. It then took about 2 years for all the chips to compost down to use on the garden. I'm keen to avoid this problem this time around!