Monday, September 5, 2011


Just the other day, we burned a brush pile at the south end of our field where we will soon till the land.

The garden, pre-burn in March
Our 2011 season started with a major burn. With a HUGE pile of cleared brush right smack in the middle of our garden-site, we had "BURN" on our first outdoor task list. If you were in the area this past winter, you'll remember that there were feet of snow on the ground until early March, and then a bout of warm weather that melted the ice and snow and flooded many areas with the thaw. So the first day we could get outside, we did. That day was March 15th. We will always remember this because it also happens to be the last day before the burning of brush piles is banned in Putnam County for two months. Nick called the County to advise them of our plan to burn that day, and he got word that we better finish all we could in the next 12 hours because burns were banned from March 15-May 15, a new policy effective in 2011, to prevent uncontrolled fires that could arise from the abundance of dry leaves and leafless, lifeless trees (although if you were walking in our fields at that time, you would have realized there was nothing dry out there).

So, we set to work on a pile that was 50 feet wide by 50 feet long by 8 feet high, full of fallen branches, cut-down thorn bushes, rotten logs, old wooden fence posts, brambles from behind the garden area and an occasional wooden door. I've never worked harder this entire season. We fed the fire for 10 hours straight, desperately trying to turn into wood-ash this huge pile that was potentially standing in our way of digging until mid-May.

But you can see the results in these photos. The pile was as good as gone. And our garden grew.

So this recent burn was a piece of cake compared to our first one. We started mid-afternoon and were finished by sunset. We even managed to save a few cubic feet of wood-ash, to feed our hungry soil with potash.
The garden in July 2011
August burn

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