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ReClaiming the Homestead

February 9th, 2009 · No Comments

Today was a warm winter day with temperatures in the upper 60s.  Unusual for mid February but a welcome relief after the single digits of January.  Somehow Randy and I ended up outside burning brush.  It started as a small project to reclaim a fence line in the backyard and ended up as a multiple day project.

We cut down all of the larger bushes and some small trees and piled them up.  We set fire to them at about noon and as I write this at 8:35 tonight, it is still burning.  We cleaned up about 1/4 acre of what was old buildings that had fallen down, trees that were mostly dead and some old clothes out of one of the sheds.

We were doing pretty well until one old hollow tree that was close to the fires, caught on fire on the inside.  This was easily a 100 ft tall tree.  It turns out that it is mostly dead on the inside and so we will have to take it down but that is going to be a project all on it’s own.  If it falls the wrong way, it could take out several sheds and fences and possibly reach the house.

When we saw smoke coming out of one of the knot holes about 20 ft up, we knew we were in trouble.  I ran to the barn and got the hoses, while Randy threw buckets of water on it.  Randy and his son Kevin put it out with the hoses but it certainly did have us all running for a few minutes.  We know it needs to come down but really didn’t want to take it down in a hurry while it was burning.

Once the tree was put out, we have been letting the fires burn out.  I expect they will smolder most of the night and we will be checking on them regularly for safety sake.   Burning is an age old way of clearing but it does require diligence.  We cleared fire breaks before setting any fires and we watched closely to make sure that it didn’t jump them.

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Tags: Farm Life

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