Burning Down the Farm
As we typically do every late winter, we helped burn some of the ground on the farm to help establish more healthy plants and ecosystems. The fire kills weeds and invading trees and fosters the growth of soil nourishing prairie grasses. On this particular time, my wife asked to take over my job of running the drip torch to light the fires. I took over her job and drove around in a utility vehicle to mop up any fire that threatened to go where we didn't want it too and to haul people and tools to various points around the farm so that they could minimize that amount of time walking. It was definitely the easier of the two jobs but it was nice to have a change or perspective.
Burning is an art and requires one to balance geography, weather conditions and skills such as backfiring. But we've been doing this since I was a teenager and so we do pretty well these days. This day was one day of sun between very windy days full of precipitation. It was probably going to be the only day to do the prescribed burns we had to do this year so it worked out though the fires when we started certainly didn't burn as hot as they did by the time we quit in late afternoon. The most important part was that is was completed safely.
After we completed a patch, all that should be left behind are blackened ashes and anthills. These were tiny compared to another plot that we burn every so many years but they are still big enough to pay attention to when driving around in the utility vehicle.
Occasionally we find other things like this spike buck I ran into. Due to the trampled nature of the grass due to those that ate his flesh, the fire just burned around his final resting spot.
It was a nice day to be outside and my wife was really tuckered out by the time we got home. I have a feeling that next year I will be back on drip torch duty.
It looks like a taxing event, but you two seem pretty hardy.ReplyDelete
It certainly gets old by the end of a long day.Delete
Ed, at The Ranch we are entering the burn season of not too much moisture, but not dry either.ReplyDelete
Here we have a brief window between the melting of the winter snow and before the spring rains start.Delete
I've helped with my share of chores, but I've never been turned loose with the drip torch.ReplyDelete
It is one of those tools that has made life much easier. I still remember those first years when we tried to do the same thing but with BIC lighters, rakes and no back fires. It was much harder work and a lot more scarier.Delete
Farm work is hard work. I am glad to just have my little garden plot to care for because even though it is little, I still manage to forget about it and weeds have taken over.ReplyDelete
It can be at times.Delete
Now that requires some skill. Well done.ReplyDelete
It does. Just yesterday on the news, someone else in the county south of here tried the same thing and it got away and burnt up a bunch of acres.Delete
Dealing with fires sounds really, really scary...ReplyDelete
Where we burnt this time, the consequences of an escaped fire were relatively minor as the patches were surrounded by either roads or worked fields. If it had gotten away, it couldn't have turned into a destructive wildfire like what you see out west. Despite this, we practice good practices and it didn't escape at all.Delete
That's an enjoyable and productive way to spend a pretty day. I mowed my front lawn and that was about it.ReplyDelete
Way too early for that here. I did work on getting my lawnmower ready and snowblower "summerized" though.Delete
I am fascinated with your controlled burns and wish I could do it on our pastures once a year. I think it would not only stimulate forage growth, but also help control parasite problems.ReplyDelete
I have only used it for prairie grasses which thrive on the process. My neighbor down the road does it in his woods every couple years to control undergrowth and buildup there. In both cases, it works well. But I don't know about pasture grasses.Delete
I need to do our wild flower area again but like you said it must be just the right wind conditions and weather:)ReplyDelete