Saturday, February 23, 2013

Smoke And Fire

On occasion wisdom comes with age.  Getting the most out of tackling a task follows matching the natural conditions to the job.  Recent snow cover offers complete protection from starting a wildfire with a small outdoor burn.  Most of the brush cut here ends up on a pile at the edge of the gravel bank.  Wood ashes are a great soil amendment so some of the wood is burned.  Rising smoke marks the location of our campfire site near the picnic table.

The snow covered ground seen in the picture is ours.  The ridge in the background is part of our neighbor's farm.  We get to see his ridge daily and it is one of our best views.  He cuts his firewood there.  Ours is the better deal as his ridge creates a wilderness aspect for our home every day.

In our second year here, we discovered blueberries growing in great numbers on part of the gravel bank hill.  Young trees were removed to allow light to reach  the blueberries.  Cut trunks were trimmed and placed around a larger tree in the style of Scott Nearing.  Cured firewood for a wood stove was the goal but the wood stove never materialized.  Now this wood is being converted to wood ashes.  Wood ashes soaked in water are the original source of the term  potash.

Our treasured arbutus are at the base of the smaller white pine tree in the background.  When the mess around this ancient wood pile is cleaned up, a clear path to the arbutus will follow.  That makes today's effort a two fer.

New York State has made all outdoor burning contrary to law with certain exceptions.  So that I do not do a Kevorkian, publicly admit to an illegal act, the exemption in play for this fire is a farmer burning a diseased plant.  Our onions are still hanging in the basement awaiting their time in the stew pot.  Some of the onions have spoiled.  Composting bad onions is not sound practice so we have from time to time a fire to destroy the black mold.  That makes this job a three fer.  We get wood ashes to add to the garden soil.  We safely destroy a future crop threatening mold and the little boy that sometimes is still seen here gets to have a campfire.  He came inside happy with the old familiar smokey campfire aroma clinging to his clothes.

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