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Burn The Brush Pile: Take 3

July 30, 2014

Dale had pushed the brush pile earlier in the week, but because of urgent appointments on my calendar I was unable to get down to the property to finish the burning job.

DH & I headed down early Saturday morning, with the plan to finish by noon & head back home since I had Carole’s birthday cake to bake & we were going to a concert at Evermore Farm that evening. (That’s not a good site; the best one is on Facebook. Evermore Farm is in Lyles, Tn. & they have gospel music concerts.)

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What’s this? The power poles are in & the power lines strung! With the brush pile directly under the brand new power lines. Uh oh! Hey, who cut down that Black Walnut Tree?

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Well, the lines are up & that was the big hurry for burning. Maybe we could just leave this & let it rot until winter then burn it away. So we worked on top of the hill pulling the 1000 feet of water hoses back up the hill, erected a cover for the tractor to protect it from the weather & did some burning & bush-hogging. Tired, sweaty & ready for some lunch, it was already noon, we locked the barn & headed for the Prius.

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Up the hill drove Dale the digger. “Hey, fire bugs, y’all ready to burn that brush? I can push it off the right-of-way & I have my chainsaw.” “Sure!” I hope I sounded more enthusiastic than I felt.


Do you know the best way to start a brush fire? Duraflame logs! The only trick is finding the silly things in the summertime! DH ordered some from Home Depot online – they said they were in stock. Well, a week later someone finally found them & texted me to fetch them. Boy oh boy am I glad I did!

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We stuffed 2 logs on either end of the small pile while Dale began to push the big pile. He made it look easy.

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With the flames beginning to rise, Dale drove the bulldozer right into the fire shoving the logs around until he & the dozer disappeared in flames & smoke.

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When nothing else wanted to move Dale parked the dozer aside & got his chainsaw out of his pickup.

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DH met Darrell the Electrician who happened to be driving by.

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I watched Dale carefully, especially when he started climbing on top of the pile to cut some limbs that were keeping the whole pile from moving. A log shifted, pinning his chainsaw. Using a wedge & a 5-lb hammer he was able to dislodge it. This happened more than once & I had to toss his wedge & hammer up to him.

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Finally clear of the power lines it was time to start burning the back end of the brush pile. Dale held the pile in place while DH lit 3 Duraflame logs & set them in the center.

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If this had been January, it would have been a lovely, warm fire on a crisp day. Instead, it was a stinking HOT fire on a July day with temperatures in the 90’s! But I am so grateful for Dale & his expertise, chainsaw & bulldozer!

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I do have a question – Dale is in his 70’s. When we finished working for the day, why was I so exhausted & Dale chipper headed to his farm to bale hay? I work out. I’m in really great physical shape, but I cannot hold a candle to this former member of the Forestry Service when it comes to doing physical labor on a farm!

DH & I went home to shower, cook some hamburgers & battle leg cramps. We’ll catch the next concert at Evermore Farm & Carole’s cake had to wait!

Burn The Brush Pile: Take 2

July 29, 2014

Dear husband joined me for the 2nd attempt at burning the towering pile of tree waste left when the large trees were harvested.


Gasoline, matches, cardboard boxes – yep, they burn, but the brush is stacked high & not consolidated enough to get any real heat going not to mention “green.”

Lucy with us, we worked for about 4 hours before DH decided to bush-hog a while & Lu went for a walk up the road to visit a neighbor. She received a stern talking-to when she finally returned!


Hot, sweaty, covered in dirt & ashes, thirsty – I looked a glorious sight when Dale the digger drove past, backed up & walked down to the small fire I had successfully maintained.

“You’re wasting your time. It’ll never burn unless it’s compacted down & the larger logs are cut to size. Do you have a chainsaw?” “Yes, but it’s electric.” “Let me get the bulldozer over here & push it a bit & we’ll fix it so it’ll burn.”

Tired, frustrated, we gratefully accepted. Loaded Lu into the Prius & drove home. We’ll finish this next time…I hope.

Not-So-Mute Monday: Goldfinches

July 28, 2014

The potted Black-eyed Susan outside the apartment window was dancing as though being blown by a stiff wind.

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Wait a minute – there is no wind today!

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Then I saw them!

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A Goldfinch couple had discovered the seed-bearing Rudbeckia hirta which I had brought from our old house to plant on the new property when I decided where.

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They are difficult to see in the photos because I was trying not to scare them away so I left the blinds the way they were.

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Burn The Brush Pile: Take 1

July 23, 2014

The brush pile left by the removal of trees was unexpectedly large.
If I had realized how big this was going to be I would have worked a better deal with Jesse!

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Duck River Electric says they will not install the power poles and electricity lines until the brush pile is removed. Burning seems the best & most efficient way to accomplish this task…or so I thought!

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Before I start a fire, I must get a water source nearby. All of our old hoses were connected to the new water faucet at the future building site. I added 300 feet of new hoses & still didn’t get down the hill.
Time for a WalMart run to purchase 400 more feet of hose.
I am very grateful for the weights, pulleys, bands & workouts Greg, our marvelous trainer has had me do over the past two years! Just try to untangle garden hoses with weak arms & back muscles!

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I started the fire in 2 places, running back & forth continuing to feed the flames. Praise the Lord the temperatures were below normal & the humidity significantly reduced due to the lovely Canadian air.

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I worked for 6 hours & barely made a dent in the pile. Too much air space to build up enough heat for the fire to feed itself.
Now the leg cramps begin. I drank a full gallon of water while working, but the leg cramps make it almost impossible to walk back to the tractor for the bumpy ride uphill.

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A better plan next time. More water, too!


July 22, 2014

Blocked by a chert berm!

More rain has shown a weakness in the driveway near the road.
Dale is placing another culvert, 12 inches x 30 feet, in a wash area hoping it will stop another Grand Canyon from forming.

The good news – since I can’t get to the top of the hill (I refuse to walk!), I have some free time on my hands. No bush-hogging today!

Removing Trees To Bring In Electricity, #2

July 16, 2014

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Eleven trees made 21 8-foot logs large enough to cut lumber & a brush pile so big I’m going to ask the local fire department if they would like to use it for a training exercise.

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Black Walnut Trees are all over the property…just 2 were removed.

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This was a Red Elm, the largest Jesse had ever seen.

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Lots of unusable limbs were left…gonna make a great fire!

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DH wanted to check out the brush pile.

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I was getting a closer view of the Red Elm.

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Removing Trees To Bring In Electricity, #1

July 15, 2014

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The representative of Duck River Electric Co-op says we have to remove trees so utility poles can be placed & electrical lines run.

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But these are seriously old trees, some with trunks over 2 feet thick. Doesn’t matter. A 40-foot corridor is required.

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“Sure we can do it. $4500 & I’ll get to it sometime around the end of July. That’s going to take a lot of chipping.”
“Can’t you use the trees for something? It seems such a waste.”
“Nope, but they’ll make a ton of mulch.”

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“Well, I can get over here Thursday, but it will cost about $200 to move the equipment.”
So how much total?”
“$200. I will use the trees for lumber, at least the trunks that are at least 12 inches across.”
Stewardship of the land & our bank account! When we get ready to build a pond & need to remove trees, guess who I’m calling?

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His dad operated the backhoe that had a heavy-duty chain. The trees were not “felled” – they were brought down in a controlled fall using the backhoe. If they had been allowed to fall, the trunks would have split making them worthless for lumber.

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Just 2 men, a backhoe & a chainsaw.

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