Ashes to ashes

We have a number of dead American Ash trees that we have been having cut down over this summer. The Ash tree is on the IUCN Red List — Critically Endangered — due to the Emerald Ash Borer. As a result, we have a number of ready-and-waiting bonfire piles. We also added some Leyland Cypress branches left over from recent electric company trimming. Last night — the first evening in some time that was not breezy — we had a friend visiting so did a twofer with two piles that were about 40 feet apart.

These were well-constructed piles, so all it took was one sheet of newspaper, a small bit of cardboard, and one match to start each pile. In the lower left you can see our two fire-poking sticks leaning against an Ash stump.

They fully conflagrated quickly — within 15 minutes each 12-foot diameter pile was shooting flames 20-25 feet into the unseasonably warm early October sky.

They were so hot that we could get close to them for 45 minutes. Spent the next hour using our poking sticks to consolidate the outlying branches — short bursts, they were still mighty hot! A scant 2 hours later we had turned our Ashes to ashes. And embers. Hot embers. The BEST embers.

And, for those of you who can’t do bonfires where you live, we have an audio-visual tasty tidbit for you.

Twelfth Night

Every year we end the Christmas holiday season with a roaring bonfire on or about the twelfth day of Christmas, upon which we, um, reduce our Christmas tree to its more elemental components. This year’s event was held on January 6th, and this year’s tree was a pleasing ‘Charlie Brown’ pine we cut ourselves.

Big Bonfire

After several days of unseasonably warm, breezy days and with rain in the overnight forecast, Eric decided yesterday to try yet again to burn the large brush pile left over from last spring’s pasture clearing project. This time he was eminently successful. The sheep seemed to enjoy the show, too. Behind the fire you can see our 5-foot diameter mill stone, brought to this property, we surmize, from Hooks Mill ¼-mile upstream from us by the 1936 flood that wiped out the mill.

Roast Duck?

No, just our magpie duck flock slurping up the mineral soup left by the earlier phase of the bonfire. This area is so wet that the ashes were drowned and cool within a hour as the fire died back; so wet, in fact, that there were actually rivulets of water running under the fire.

Another Snowy Day

We got fresh bales of hay rolled into the pasture for the sheep just as today’s snow was starting. It was too wet yesterday for our annual Twelfth Night bonfire — couldn’t get the fire to stay lit.