After refusing to cook dinner until Tom allowed me to drag him around the yard and show him exactly where I wanted our future pond to go, and also pointing out specific rocks that would require transport to the pond site, I made mention of the fact that I thought I'd rake out the flower gardens this weekend. This usually results in ten or more wheelbarrows full of brush and dead leaves to be hauled out back and dumped in the ravine. (And, yeah, I know that you're technically supposed to tidy and "winterize" your gardens BEFORE winter, but I once read this article that vaguely suggested that leaving the dead plants and leaves in situ actually insulated the perennial roots during the cold months. That's all it took for me to totally ignore the gardens once they die in the first frost until spring when I actually feel like gardening again).
So I was talking about raking the flowerbeds, when Tom said thoughtfully, "I don't know why you don't just rake all the brush into a pile in the center of each bed and burn it."
I rattled off a long list of reasons why this was the most ridiculous idea I'd ever heard of and would likely kill all the dormant perennials, but mostly I was making it all up because I hadn't thought of it myself. I tend to prefer innovative, labor-saving ideas when I come up with them.
So midway through raking all the dead stems and leaves, it occurred to me that I was next going to have to haul this all out back in a wheelbarrow, which makes my back hurt. And just burning it seemed like a great idea.
I hollered to Bug (Slightly Overzealous Assistant Fire-Watcher and Hose Holder), raked the brush into a pile in the center island bed, and torched it. It was highly satisfying, and the wheelbarrow stayed untouched in the back shed.
I'm pretty sure I read somewhere once that ashes are good for garden soil.