Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Let the Burning Begin . . . If I'm Lucky

Yesterday marked the beginning of leaf raking and, therefore, burning. We can burn the leaves in our driveway, see, because we live in an area zoned agricultural. This basically means, "Do what you want on your land and your neighbors will have to deal with it."

Luckily, we don't have close neighbors, and the ones we do have are used to our woodchuck ways.


I meant to just rake the leaves off the patio on the south side so they wouldn't turn into a slippery walking hazard during the forecasted five days of rain we have coming up. But then I had to rake the patio leaves onto the lawn, so I thought I might as well rake the leaves on the lawn into the driveway. And then, since it was relatively dry and sunny, I thought I might as well burn the two resulting piles right away. 

I am always surprised, however, by how damn hard it is to get the leaves to light. 

I KNOW. They're dead leaves! Isn't that the very definition of a fire hazard?

Not in upstate New York. It's wet here. Even if it's not actively raining or snowing, there is always a heavy dew on the ground in the morning. The leaves are always damp. They are always hard to get going with matches. In very wet falls, I have resorted to using a little old motor oil or gas to get the piles started. Yesterday it took me about six matches per pile before they got going.

At least the risk of accidental fires is low.

The children, of course, love leaf burning time*. Not only are there nice big piles of leaves to leap around in, but the lighting of the leaves means they can play firemen.

What's going on back there with Cubby and Charlie?

Cubby is helping Charlie put on his fireman's mask to keep out the smoke. Obviously.

Luckily for me, we were out of water at this particular moment, which made it pretty easy to stop a determined Fireman Cubby from bringing over the hose to put out the fire.

I say "luckily," although my pregnant back did not think I was so lucky when I was hauling the five-gallon gas can down to the beach to start the water pump. Then coming back up to get a screwdriver to fix the pump before actually starting it. With both children in tow.

But that's a story for another day.

* I'm sure someone out there is thinking it's irresponsible to burn leaves right out there in the open with small children running around. All I can say to that is that these particular children are well-schooled in the facts of fire, have been around it all their lives, and know to treat it with respect. That said, I don't leave them unsupervised outside while the leaves are burning. End disclaimer.


MichiganMuffin said...

We amaze people on a daily basis on the "dangerous" things that we let our children do...like drive the tractor (or the truck - my 10yo DD drives better than most people on the road!), deal with sick/dying farm animals, practice with bow/arrows, use the stove and sharp knives, etc. We just smile and nod. If children are raised to understand that safety ALWAYS comes first - and you give your children credit for not being complete idiots - it is amazing what they can do. Of course, appropriate supervision is always a must. I fear for this "china doll" generation of children who are never allowed to get hurt, dirty, learn life skills, etc.

Sister’s Sailor said...

It could always be "better"....you could have been teaching them how to syphon gas out of the car to put on the leaves to start the fire!

Joellen said...

It is a shame that you had to put a disclaimer. People are too quick to judge other people's choices in child rearing. I think that the life you and A are providing for your boys is wonderful. It is a rural life. You are just doing things that have been done for generations. I imagine you will have more well rounded and adjusted boys than those "helicopter parents".

sheila said...

Composting the leaves here. Can't burn them so I'm layering them with horse manure and going to get a hot compost pile started. I bet they will be rotted down by spring.

Lindsey @ Half Dime Homestead said...

Are there just a ridiculous amount of leaves or what??
You don't use them to compost on garden beds? But now that I think about it, you do have lot's of sheep straw and probably not enough energy or will power during gestation to spread the obscene amount of leaves it would take to cover your beds...
Burn away! And go grad some marshmallows while you're at it....

Kristin @ Going Country said...

Lindsey: Yes, there are just too many leaves--old trees make a lot of leaves, and all our trees are old.

Some do get used as compost, but that requires transporting them some distance. The driveway is closest and the burning is easiest. Two important considerations considering the volume, and yes, the special physical circumstances this year.