Farm Beginnings: Bacchanalian Burn Bonanza

The hickory tree on the left is perhaps 55 feet tall.

Join us for a Bacchanalian Burn Bonanza!

Bacchus is not a controllable god (as you may remember from your Euripides in school) - and neither, it turns out, is fire. My lesson from burning a pile of wood 25 feet wide and 15 feet tall is this - don’t have any guests nearby but do have an excavator.

The moat of dug earth preventing the fire from spreading to the tall grass.

Don’t have any guests nearby because it is hard enough to watch the large fire catch the grass on fire without having witnesses join you in trepidation. Also, it felt better to have a smaller more sober crowd for when the fire marshall showed up to make sure we had everything under control. It is only because of the excavator that we were anywhere near under control.

The excavator is necessary because as the grass scorches along the ground outward from the fire, the excavator can dig a moat around the area. Helpless, I watched sparks fly into the tall grass. The excavator quickly would rotate on the treads, tamp those out with the bucket, and turn back quickly towards the the line of fire. “Behind you!,” I wanted to shout, “the grass is burning towards the tall grass behind you and on the left, and on the right and did you see it on the other side? The other side is moving fast and...”

and then it was over.

Still smoking the next morning.

45 minutes after the flames were reaching 30-40 feet into the air, the intense heat pulled the dry wood down upon itself and the focal point of our Bacchanalian Burn Bonanza celebration turned into Mordor.

But I am learning that even Mordor can be put to good use, our neighbors with the horse farm will take the ash and spread it on their pastures for the potash and the lime.

Cheering to sharing with neighbors.

(Here is a video of the fire starting, a haybale was drenched in diesel fuel and lit on fire...)

Farm Beginnings is the chronicle of a city girl starting to farm. Last installment Corinna spoke of growing what the deer won’t eat. Today she gives an update on the land.