Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Burn Pile

When we acquired this house, we also acquired the previous occupant's last 10 year's worth of detritus. The yards was full of that peculiar mix of stuff that rural people tend to store in piles all over their property when space isn't an issue. So there were a couple of hundred Keystone Light cans under the porch, an eight foot high pile of dirt laced with household trash, metal objects and concrete blocks everywhere...and there's the burn pile.

I've made it part of my daily ritual to walk around and gather up the yard crap. I make ever widening circles from the house, and most of it's cleared away at this point. I'm not afraid to dive into the grass with my beloved mower anymore.

But the burn pile has been daunting. It is, no lie, a half acre around and 15 feet high. There are logs in there that I couldn't wrap my arms around. I can't even figure out how he even managed to pile it up so high. Is there a crane or a forklift buried somewhere in all this tall grass??

I started burning around the edges so I could get an idea of what I'm dealing with in the dark interior. The entire thing is wound up in the razor grasses and kudzu and poison ivy, and I wasn't anxious to wade in. Oh, yeah...and snakes. It's FULL of snakes.

So Rob and I burned off the grass and sticks around the edge a few weeks ago, and that gave me a look at the interior which looks something like the Amazon Rainforest after a clearcut, but before the skidders arrive to haul it off.

Yesterday I gathered as much of the light stuff as I could, mixed it all in with the heavy stuff, added 10 pounds of paper and empty boxes, sprinkled it with two gallons of gas, and WHOOSH!

It's still smoldering today, but I can see that about a third of it is burned up now...enough to find oddities like the metal flashing from the last reroofing job, a set of brake drums and calipers, some rebar, more Keystone cans, old Mason jars, and much, much more.

It's sort of fascinating...somewhere between a city dump and a time capsule. This morning I pushed all the loose, partially burned stuff back into the middle and raked out some of the garbage. It's still too hot to move, but after it cools down some I'm going to haul the trash away and burn some more. My ultimate goal is to somehow reclaim that patch and get grass to grow on it.

Then I'll tackle the next one.


Carrie said...

Don't burn the snakes!

Kwach said...

Are you sure you don't want to change your answer? Remember whose house is closest to the burn pile.


Anonymous said...

The Earth is never going to be the same again. Do you realize just what you did to the Ozone?? How many centuries will it take something to grow again in that spot? LOL...lord knows you have enough trucks on hand, take that crap to the dump next time...

Ev said...

You must be a town girl.

Take firewood to the dump? Are you nuts? Why would anyone pay for the privilege of adding more crap into the already overful county dump? Particularly in light of the fact that garbage dumps are notorious time capsules...throw it away today and it'll still be recognizeable in 10,000 years.

Nah. I'd much prefer to burn the stuff that's lying there and let the young trees all over the property grow. That'll help restore the ozone AND cut down on the garbage dump crowding.

Carrie said...

I can deal with snakes near the house. I just hate bugs.

Remember, snakes eat bugs. I think.


I thought you were pretty countrified, but I realize that you are not purely countriefied. My family would get a backhoe, dig a big hole, and then shove it all in there and cover it up. I once saw a cousin of mine clean his whole back yard, out buildings and everything in one afternoon. Come to think of it, I thought he had 3 kids at one time and not 2.