Fire in the Pit…

Last year we decided not to burn our brush and branches in the pit.  It doesn’t take long to fill with ash, especially with the amount of trees we husband on our property and when Hubs gets started with a contained fire he can keep a burn going for days accumulating ash rapidly.

Which I have to shovel out…

and wheel barrel into the woods…

and spread along the edges.

I only have a clean, empty pit for a few months at a time…

then… since Footlights is home to tens of dozens of trees,


limbs fall,

in goes Hubs with the tractor to clear the woodland pathways, and the pile begins again.

Vines grow up into the trees,

I pull them out and the mounds of brambles beg to be gathered.

Branches need to be trimmed for safe mowing,

more wood for the fire.

Before we know it there’s a wood-pile waiting to be burned.

A never ending job.

“Instead of piling it all in one place,” I suggested one day, “why don’t we try dragging the fallen boughs to the fence-line and letting it rot?”

“Try,” he said.

As I hefted some of the boughs I soon realised I wasn’t going to be able to drag them very far…and we all know rotting takes a long, long time…

so I reluctantly admitted that burning was by far the quickest, most efficient way to tidy up the land.

We had a chipper once but it was only designed for small gardens and residential hedge and rose bush trimmings…not much use to us.

For a couple of seasons we built a huge bonfire at the bottom of the back forty, close to the creek and within distance of a standpipe to which we attached a 300′ length of hose that we kept trickling to keep the volunteer fire department happy.

Spring passed and the bonfire continued to grow awfully wide and awfully high and when the weather was too hot and dry we came under a burn-ban.

Then it rained for a day or two and Hubs leapt into action and lit up watching carefully, hose at the ready, as the flames leapt into the sky and teased the surrounding trees; the last thing we wanted was to start a forest fire…

We decided to give up the perilous open space burns and go back to our pit where the fire could be contained.

The other morning it was frosty and bitterly cold,


“A perfect day to get rid of all our fallen wood,” Hubs said as he donned his layers and tramped out to the pavilion with me in hot pursuit.

There was a lot of wood and we happily piled it into the large pit where it burned fast and we were forced to stand back so as not to get singed as the dry wood and dead leaves popped and sparked.  Soon it grew so hot we had to slow down otherwise we ran the risk of roasting ourselves!

Some hours later the flames stopped leaping and settled into a red hot smolder.

We sat down and allowed ourselves to come under the spell of the glowing embers that kept glimmering late into the afternoon.


“Quite a lovely way to spend a day,” I commented.

“It’s a shame the wild hog aren’t running,” Hubs said remembering the herd that had dashed across our land earlier in the year, “One would look perfect on a spit right now…”

“And smell delicious,” I added, my stomach growling reminding me we hadn’t eaten yet.

I suppose in the next month or so I’ll be shoveling ash out the pit, carting it into the woods and spreading it around the perimeter.

A never ending job indeed!

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2019-12-27 21:18:55 Reply

At least it was us as a team! As it should be!

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