Monday, April 7, 2008

Yet another new homesteading experience ...

Yesterday we had yet another new homesteading or "country living" experience.  DH set our yard on fire.  On purpose, of course.  A large portion of our land had not been mowed for years.  Only the area right around the house was mowed regularly.  Last year, a family friend brush-hogged the overgrown areas for us.  But, there are too many bush stumps and such mixed in with the grass.  It's difficult to mow, and even worse to walk through. 

So, Steve set two areas close to the house on fire.  They were areas where pampas grass and peonies were planted.  We hadn't been mowing it, to protect the peony bushes.  But, it was overgrown with other weeds and bushes, too.  As the brush burned, and the new peony shoots appeared in the ashes, we watered those specific areas to protect the peony bushes.  Hopefully the pampas grass will also return.  We need to use Tordon to kill the bushes that have intruded, and we intend to try to fill in the beds with more peonies (transplanted from various places in the yard.) 

Then we burned the bigger area that was never mowed until it was brush-hogged last year.  Now that we can see those bush stalk/stumps we intend to get rid of them, too.  We don't expect to turn it into an immaculate lawn, but we would like to be able to walk through it without tripping constantly, and mow it without ruining the mower.

The children were not comfortable with this process.  They've seen us burn brush in the burn pit, and they've seen us burn trash in the burn barrels.  But those are contained, and they don't mind it.  They were not used to us setting a fire, and letting it spread. 

They didn't worry too much about the two small areas.  We didn't want that to spread far, so we stood by with water and it dwindled fairly quickly.  But we let the larger area spread, and we just stood back and watched it.  We put out one front as it approached the lawn and the house, but we let the rest burn longer.

Our children were nervous, and kept wondering if we should call the fire department.  I admit that I was nervous at first, also.  When my family was here for Easter weekend, they'd seen a fire truck heading to a field fire that had become a problem.  I feared we'd have a repeat of that situation, but with stronger consequences since this is our home, not just our field.  But, Steve assured me it was under control, and working well, so I chose to trust him and reassure the children.   That took some effort, because some of the children moved from asking if we should call the fire department, to threatening to make the call themselves.  At which point, I told them that if this fire got out of hand, I would come get them out of the house and call the fire department, but they had better NOT touch the phones.

I helped Steve play fire fighter, as we stood guard over it, and then finally made the choice to put out the edges of the fire, after dark.  It had moved as far as we wanted it to, so we put it out.  I manned the hose, and he fought to move it to the areas I needed to reach.  It kept snagging on those bush stumps and he'd have to go unhook it.  Fighting the HOSE was harder than fighting the fire, at that point. 

We came in covered in black soot.  Our white tennis shoes may never be the same.  And we found out that boys should not be allowed in the burned area.  They run instead of walking, so when they trip over bush stubble, they fall into the soot, and cover their clothes with it.  Then they come inside and track it everywhere.  Yikes!  I'm going to have to rewash some laundry my four year old stepped on in his sooty boots.  I had to tell him NEVER to step on Mom's clean laundry, but especially NOT when all SOOTY.

As Steve said last night, "Now that's something you never did when we lived in town!"  No, it isn't.  But, it's one more country living experience under my belt.

Trusting in Him,
April

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