June 13th, 2009

Kevin and Lisa

Burning Down the H/o/u/s/e/ Coop

The pieces of the old chicken coop and sheds that are full of nails should not be put in the "Coal Seam," which is for organic debris only, but instead need to be burned and the nails and other metal retrieved from the ashes later. If I hadn't been so busy with work this week, we probably would have been doing burning every afternoon; however, on Friday, we did manage to make some progress. We also made the grey-and-white cat very unhappy, because its proto-nest was right where some of the debris had been piled. This was not obvious from the photos on account of grass had grown over the piles where the Good Old Boys had tossed the debris without caring much. Lisa and I hauled cart loads of stuff over to the burn barrel, and after getting out the hose and sprayer, we set off the barrel.

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In case you're curious, I also took a video of Lisa tending the fire. She was properly kitted up with heavy denim jacket and gloves. I had gloves, but had forgotten to bring my denim shirt, so was in a t-shirt with short sleeves, which is not really a good way to be tending a fire of this sort. You'll see Lisa waving her arms as she moved away from the fire. That's because we did get it burning quite hot, and a 3-meter radius of the barrel was not a good place to be.

We made several trips with the hand cart back to the larger debris pile to bring more nail-studded boards for disposal. At one point, Lisa went back to the old house while I hauled boards. Looking back across the field at the barrel, I saw that a medium-sized chunk had fallen out sooner than I expected, and was starting to try to set the dry grass around the barrel alight. I ran back across the field and grabbed the hose, but there was no real problem. In fact, I let it burn for as long as it wanted -- not long -- on the idea that a controlled burn of the dry area around the barrel would make a later uncontrolled burn less likely.

We have a lot of work planned for today as well, it being my last full day up here on this trip, if the weather permits.
Kreegah Bundalo

Burnt Up

Let's see, what did we get done today?

1. Drove up to Mill City (about ten miles east of Mehama) and bought 16 2" x 10" x 10' boards that will eventually be fitted into the frame of the utility trailer. Took two of the boards back and traded them for 2" x 12" x 10' boards when we realized that it would make the floor of the trailer fit better.

2. Replaced the lower radiator hose on the Little Orange Pickup.

3. Cut about half of the old telephone pole on the property into roughly 75 cm-long pieces and hauled them to the "coal seam."

4. Dug out the ash from under the burn barrel, sifted out the metal, and disposed of the ash in the "coal seam."

5. Burned another couple cart loads of burnable stuff. Because we cleared out the old ash, there was a wonderfully efficient draft in the barrel, and it burned quite nicely. Our only concern was that it was going to melt the barrel, which was glowing cherry red at the bottom.

We ran out of energy before running out of jobs. The lumber will have to stay stacked up on the frame of the utility trailer and dry out a bit before Lisa can start painting it with wood preservative after cutting it to size.

I have pictures of some of our work today, but am too tired to post them. Maybe I'll have some spare time at PDX before my flight back to California tomorrow.