You'd be surprised how many pine needles a pine tree sheds in the course of a year. A lot. And when you have a lot of pine trees, that means lots and lots of cleaning up pine needles. Digging gooey pine needles out of the gutters, picking them out of the shrubs, sweeping them off the decks and sidewalks and raking them out of the garden. Gary being the safety conscious guy he is, I also have the pleasure of making sure the 'fire load' is kept under control. Which means keeping the pine needles raked on the property. I know we only have a couple of acres but keeping those pine needles under control seems to take up a large part of my time in the spring, summer and fall.
While Gary was on the coast last fall I diligently raked up all the pine needles. With all the landscaping work we had done we didn't really leave a spot close by, but away from the trees, to burn the needles. Lazy me decided to pile them on the garden (that was resting) instead of wheel barrowing them to the extreme far end of the property. What I did not realize was how big that pile of needles was going to get. Let's just say that it was 'one heck of a pile'.
The other thing you have to realize is that we seem to have to move things at least twice. Lumber, logs, siding, dirt, rocks, you name it, we move it once, twice sometimes three times or more, here and there around the property. So it seems only natural that we move this humongous pile of semi frozen pine needles too. Which also meant moving the lumber, again, and those freshly peeled logs, again, so that we could use the trailer to move those pine needles. Old Betsy, the tractor, was going to have get all chained up. That is a whole other blog....
Today was moving day, pine needle moving day that is. After a few 'special' words Gary was able to get Betsy and the trailer over to the pile of needles. We still have a fair bit of snow on the ground which made it tough for the old girl. Betsy, not me. I did just fine thank you very much. It took a bit of 'forking' and a comment from this old girl that 'this was crazy', but we got several loads of pine needles over to our new fire pit. We pushed, pulled and dragged those pine needles off the back of the trailer. Out comes the tiger torch, no little matches for this firefighter, and presto, instant smoke.
Of course, before lighting the fire Gary didn't move the trailer away from the needles. It was still snuggled up to the newly relocated pile of now burning, well smoking, pine needles. Gary goes to start Betsy again but wouldn't you know it, the old girl (Betsy, not me) has decided she's dead tired. So while Gary retrieved the tractor CPR kit (combustion and power remedy) I tried to move the pine needles away from the trailer and slow the fire down a bit. After a fill up, a boost off of another battery and a few more 'special' words, Betsy decides to move away from the warmth of the fire. After that we both spent the afternoon poking and prodding the fire while trying to evade the smoke.
Bull River was a little smokey today, but is was still a beautiful day. The sun was still visible through the clouds of smoke. And once again we finished the day covered in dirt and smelling like smoke. I think all that smoke had Gary reminiscing about the good old days at the firehall.