Thursday, February 26, 2009


I've always thought of burning as a Fall activity. This makes a lot of sense, at least to me, because that is when you have just ripped-out the garden and pruned shrubs. In our town the season is Jan 15th till the end of April.

I was interested in burning because last December we had a big ice storm and piles of branches fell in our yard. We still have snow cover and have had since then, but the relative thaw was allowing the branches to show. They are not particually ugly, but they intrude on my peace of mind--they will have to be dealt-with at some point in time. Why not today?

Our town requires a $10 to burn and they justify this by pointing out that in getting the permit, you will be forced to read the rules and this will be good for safety. Thanks! So, if I hadn't worried about the permit, I wouldn't know I needed one and could have saved a sawbuck.

At any rate, I got the permit and wanted to put it to use right away. The problem is that nobody wants to age tree branches for a couple of years before burning them, but they really don't like to burn when they are green. I had to find some old twigs and branches to get the fire going. It took about 30 minutes of scrambling around to get a blaze going. Once you hit a critical mass though you can throw on the wettest, most snow clogged branch and it will burn.

From Noon till about 3:30, I continuously dragged branches to the blaze and flung them on top. There is a science to burning. I would throw on a few loads of light springy stuff and then follow this with some weighty branches to compress it all down. Generally, I would throw things on teepee style, so that as the fire burned, the outside material would fall to the middle. Long, tree trunks would go so that equal amounts stuck-out both sides of the fire. Then when the flames burned through the middle I could throw the two ends in.

There is a lot more to go, but I made a pretty good dent in the project. Back at the time of the ice storm I had already cut-up all of the reasonable sized hardwood branches for firewood. This probably accounted for half the mass of the debris to be gotten rid of.

No comments: