Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fire fire burning bright...

This tall stand of trees rises up behind our chook house and old wood shed. The trees are very old. More than 50 years. The trouble with them is that in strong winds the long straight branches known as 'sailors' come crashing down. We've had a few fall on the chook shed roof already. Another problem is that the pine needles collect around the base of the trees creating a fire danger. A grass fire if it came from the neighbour's side, would find fuel under the trees and send flames up into the branches. That would NOT be good. So Frans has been cleaning up under the trees. It's been a huge task. Long days of chopping, sawing, carrying and stacking. We don't want to chop down the trees as they create a very effective wind break. Our rain and cold weather comes mostly from the South East. In other words, the cold Southern Ocean! We need all the protection we can get.
The chook shed and wood shelter.

This is the line under the trees that had to be cleaned up. You can see the raw cuts on the tree trunks where Frans has cut the stray branches. The area to the left of the fence is our neighbour Graham's land. Ours to the right. Some of the tall branches fell down in the last storm and landed in his paddock. Frans and Graham pulled them out of the trees with the tractor. (previous blog).
Frans used Graham's tractor to shift the big branches onto a big wood pile in Graham's paddock. Farmer Frans indeed.

Learing to use the old tractor was tricky.... But he did the job.

Some branches were too cumbersome and had to shifted by hand.

Then came the fun bit. Lighting the stack! Frans and Graham striking the match. With a bit of help from a can of diesel!

And it's burning. At this point the the cows are not too fussed at the activity going on around them. Yet...

It does not take long for the flames to crackle...
And finally the cows have got the message!

That was Fire Lesson 1. Take Two was last night in our own paddock. Besides Frans clearing the debris under the cyprus pines, he also has been clearing the fallen down trees along the road side. He's created a number of wood piles that will be burned over the next week or so. Last night was the first one. This fire burning event was celebrated. Wine, music and conversation. Our friend John came around with a bottle of red. Frans set the chairs out in the paddock and turned the car stereo on. We enjoyed the late afternoon whilst watching the flames and listening to some vigouous classical music. The 1812 in particular! Nothing like a few canons to accentuate the bon fire explosions!

The wind was blowing in the right direction.

Life is pretty good!

This is to give perspective. Fire, chairs, music, cows.

Nala enjoyed the spectacle too.

John and I watching from the side lines...enjoying the cool autumn evening. Oh, what's that smell?! Cows.. methane...


This pile burned all night. There were still flames this morning!

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