Sunday, September 21, 2008

Life Fact #214: Burning Stuff Is FUN

For about two years now, we've been chucking all manner of fallen branches, rosebush trimmings, and whole young trees we've cut down into a brush pile out back. We intended to burn them last summer, but it never happened, and subsequently the pile continued to grow. I began to feel that the pile was in danger of going from genteel brush pile to white trash crap pile, so yesterday Daddy Shortbread obligingly fetched a burn permit.
He was, however, NOT very receptive to my ideas that we haul the brush out into the middle of the old vegetable garden and really torch the sucker. He had very stodgy ideas about burning it a little at a time, with garden hose at the ready, and not moving the pile from the edge of the grass where it sat. The kids and I went out to watch anyway, though it didn't sound like it would be the dramatic bonfire I had envisioned.
None of us had really considered the fact that this brush has been sitting for two years. It was, shall we say, tinder dry? My back was turned when Daddy Shortbread touched a match to it, but it was with delight that I heard the unmistakable WHOOOOMP of conflagration. Delight that turned to holy-crap-what-have-we-done? when I turned and saw this:
Let's just say that in the first ten minutes or so, that garden hose came in darn handy. Also, that we FRIED the leaves on the branches unlucky enough to be above the fire site. Not to worry, we kept it under control, and it quickly became a manageable size once the smaller pieces of brush burnt off.
The peanut gallery was impressed. And by impressed I mean that Bear squeaked and ran to hide in the playhouse, while Bug whooped it up from the safety of the picnic blanket.
And in the time-honored tradition of children everywhere, they eventually started the chucking of everything they could find into the fire. Grass clumps: not so exciting. Fallen apples: satisfactory high-pitched whining, followed by a pop when they explode.
When that was no longer fun, they began dragging chunks of oak out of the woods, left there last fall by the tree-cutters.
Once the sun went down, the air quickly became chilly and Daddy Shortbread selfishly curtailed the further adding of fuel to the fire, saying he didn't want to be tending it until 11:00.
We hauled the picnic table out back and ate dinner by the glow of the fire as it burned down.

(Followed by showers all around, since we REEKED of woodsmoke).


Nana said...

Well, that was quite a bonfire you had going there! No roasting hot dogs and marshmallows on long sticks? I used to love to let my marshmallows get almost black before I ate them. That's just one of my many peculiarities which we won't discuss any further for now, thank you very much.

#1quiltinggrandma said...

HOLY SMOKES! That is what I call a control burn, which are conducted in our forest by professionals :-) Plus, there is one going on toward Crown King as we speak. Where was Smokey the Bear? Another wonderful memory for the girls. Life is great.