After finishing with the digging, I’ve been doing more basic landscape work in the back yard.
It started with gathering all the unearthed roots & rocks from the digging, and continued with fallen sticks & other rocks from the yard. The roots & sticks ended up on top of our (very, very wet) leaf pile. On the second day of this, when I was getting closer to being done for the day, I took an empty toilet paper tube, filled it with dryer lint & used that as a starter to get a fire going. I was using an axe to dig up stumps from our round of clearcutting last summer, and after knocking the dirt off of them, threw them on the fire too.
I also pulled down dead branches that were still attached to the trees or had been caught in the fence. Adding to the fire as I worked kept it going pretty evenly at a fairly small size. When the top layer of leaves dried out, I also moved them toward the center so they would burn (just a few handfuls at a time to avoid excessive smoking). The fire was just a small bed of coals when I called it a night & headed inside.
Obligatory fire safety note – I did check on it a few more times before going to bed- when I went to sleep all I saw was some smoke coming off & just the faintest glow of a couple remaining coals. I wasn’t worried about it because we don’t get crazy wind, there’s been so much rain and stuff the past few weeks with such low temperatures that the ground never dried out, and the leaves under it were absolutely soaked – if you shoveled them up, water would actually drip out. On top of that, most of the surrounding area was bare dirt, thanks to the digging project. Despite all that, I kept a full 5 gallon bucket of water near it, along with a shovel, and there’s a hose connection right at that part of the house too.
This morning, the area still had a couple wisps of smoke coming off of it. I didn’t think much of it, other than being a little impressed that a collection of sticks & roots, mostly about the thickness of a pencil, had made that many coals. I went outside to work on the yard more during James’ nap, and that’s when I noticed how hot the mound still was. Sure enough, just tossing a small handful of sticks on the pile ignited them and I was able to work through more of the yard. Once i burned through today’s progress & was ready to go in, I spread the coals out, doused them with water, then combined them back up and put more water on them. The fire was already out, but I didn’t want it to smoke all night, and I don’t plan on doing anything with the yard tomorrow, so I just wanted to make sure it was out.
There are still several stumps at this point (larger, hard to miss ones), but I have most of the tiny ones that people could trip on. I’ve also gotten the vast majority of dead branches down, and we can start to see what condition our yard is actually in & plan what we’re going to do with it.
I’ve been going ring-less the past few days due to the number of blisters on & around that finger from this yard work. There’s 2 blood blisters and a regular blister immediately above where my ring sits, and then a series of smaller blisters below the ring on my palm. I’m probably going going to take tomorrow a little easy & heal a bit (everything hurts).