Invariably, excuses for not burning the piles stack up like the branches and twigs that fill them: it's either too hot, or too cold, too windy, or blowing in the wrong direction, too dry to burn safely, or too wet to bother. Creative Procrastination 101 rules here.
We've got three burn piles, and one of them was so overgrown, there were Manitoba maples growing around the edges that were starting to get a bit out of hand. We took it to task this spring, and although we still have to scrape the remnants of the pile together with the backhoe, it's not out of control any more. We should be able to completely eradicate it with a bit of effort by the end of the summer. I'll breathe a sigh of relief when I see grass growing on this spot instead of weeds.
That's how we came to create this lovely fire pit, unfortunately situated right when you turn into our driveway. We strive to make good first impressions! Driven partly by practicality, the fire pit was close enough to the house so we could keep an eye on it, yet far enough away from outbuildings to pose a fire-risk. We always had the hose nearby, and burned only when conditions were right, which was never too often.
We had some old red bricks piled up against the wood shed, and we'd never use them to make a path, for instance, but they served admirably as the border for the fire pit. With time, weeds encroached, and our fire pit became a blight. The other day, I'd had enough. It was time to bring in the front loader:removed tons and tons of buried concrete already, so we don't want to add to the misery.
Because we've burned a lot of old, unpainted wood in this pile, it's full of metal hinges, screws, and Eric's nemesis: the nail. With tractor tires costing the equivalent of a mortgage payment, we like to take the extra time and pick out any nails. An ounce of prevention, (or gram, in our case)...is worth a pound, (or kilo), of cure. (One of those is a better deal, but I'll let you figure it out for yourself).
Using an old mesh screen, I started to sift the well-rotted ashes into the wheelbarrow. Next concern was where to actually dump said wheelbarrow. We've decided to spread it onto a small, newly plowed field on the south side of our barn. I was hoping Eric would return with an empty front-loader, of course, because screening the ashes would be so much easier directly into the front loader, as opposed to the wheelbarrow, but that didn't pan out like we planned, did it now?
So, we've put our feelers out for someone, anyone, who'd like to come pick-up a these lovely, lovely red bricks and find a permanent vocation for them.
And the next time someone accuses us of being a few bricks short of a full load, I can prove them otherwise.