Sunday, March 22, 2009


When you wake up in the morning on a farm, you just never know what kind of adventure you're going to have. The title for this blog post changed so many times I've lost count. First, it was just going to be, "A Day in the Garden," about pulling out dead plants and starting our first seeds of the season (spinach, onions, etc). Then it became, "Not My Best Idea" when I got the bright idea to burn the grass and dead plants in the garden, and the fire got out of control briefly. Then the new title was, "Not Such a Bad Idea" when we got the fire under control and patted ourselves on the back for deciding to burn everything.

We went back to work planting, and about 20 minutes later Mike asked, "What's that noise?" Jonathan and I didn't hear anything, but Mike was insistent. Then he pointed to the big old, dead, hollow oak tree next to the garden and said, "That's it." We looked over there and saw flames shooting out the holes where there used to be limbs. We paniced and ran around getting buckets of water until we realized that there was nothing we could do. The tree is easily 20 feet high and five feet in diameter. Then we calmed down, and I ran into the house to get a camera.

After snapping a few pictures, I saw a tractor coming down the road with our hay. Great timing! The hay guys just stared at the tree. As one took the hay to the sheep, I said to the other, "It wasn't on purpose. We were just burning grass, and we didn't realize the fire went into the middle of that tree. It's hollow." He just nodded. Finally he said, "You'll probably be here all night watching it."

Since the only fire I've ever seen is on television, I was expecting the tree to come crashing down within minutes of discovering the fire, but that's not happening. I'm afraid the hay guys are right. Margaret and Katherine were in town, so we called them and asked them to bring home sub sandwiches, since no one has the time or inclination to cook right now. It's going to be a long night.


J. M. Strother said...

Our hill used to burn fairly regularly. Considering we're in suburban St. Louis, that was not a good thing. Idiots tossing cigarettes out their car windows. Grr. Hasn't happened in years.

Be careful. The embers can burn for days, so keep an eye on it. And not to worry you or anything, but some fires continue burning underground, but usually only in peaty soil. Just be sure it is really out when all is said and done.
ticspea - that has got to be one of the funniest CAPTCHAs I've ever seen.

Deborah said...

After burning the grass today, I can see how easily dry grass catches on fire! It really surprised me, but now I understand how those tossed cigarettes have managed to cause so much havoc.

Thanks for the tips. This is my first fire. :) I'm hoping it will be my last. All our neighbors burn grass in the spring. It's taken us seven years to get the nerve to do it, and THIS happens! Not sure if we'll do it again next year.

pedalpower said...

We burned a stump of an old cottonwood and it took many weekends of having fires around it to get it totally gone. That was at the lake maybe water content was high in that stump.

TourPro said...

There's a famous tree in Oaxaca that is super old. It caught on fire last year and burned for a couple days. Still alive!

melanie said...

So was the big chunk of tree on the ground BEFORE the fire, or did it fall from the burning?


Related Posts with Thumbnails