We were under a burn ban in this county from last winter until just recently. We have had enough rain in the last month to lift the burn ban but not nearly enough to get us out of our year-long drought. We have been building our burn pile for a year so it's huge. We have had a lot of landscaping and brush clearing done this year so all that debris is in there. There was pruning the rose bushed last fall and this spring and again this fall. And we do clean out the stalls occasionally so there is old hay and manure in there. Add to that the Christmas boxes and a year's worth of feed sacks. It adds up to quite a pile. Most of the burn pile is very very very dry. The rain we've had recently has whetted the top layer but not nearly all the way through the pile to the ground. I expected it would go up like a rocket when we finally lit it.
Ron decided he wanted to burn today so we set up the hose running from my studio out to the burn pile. This is important since the first summer we were here I set the pasture on fire. Not a fun experience. Back then our burn pile was on the west side of the property just a hundred feet or so from our neighbor's hay field. We hadn't run water lines up to the pastures yet so Robert and I were carrying water in buckets to tend the fire. Note to self - don't ever do that again! Robert is Peggy's son - tall and thin and really strong and I'm so glad he was here that day! The fire took off and was heading straight for the neighbor's field. They had just bailed 30 acres so had round hay bales scattered as far as the eye could see. I had this horrible vision of all 30 acres, all that hay and their house going up is smoke because I hadn't been appropriately prepared to burn a small amount of tree trimmings. We called the fire department which fortunately is just 1/2 a mile down the road from me. They arrived in just a minute or two and put out the fire in about 5 minutes. The firemen were all very kind. I had been running back and forth carrying buckets of water and when they arrived I was hanging onto a fence post to keep from falling over. They found me a chair, put it in the shade, brought me water and made sure I wasn't going to collapse before they went back to the station. I'm much more careful now when it comes to burning anything!
This morning the burn pile did not go up like a rocket. It burned very happily and I only had to spray it with water a few times to keep in from making me nervous. We have tended it all day - being out there part of the time and checking on it from the studio the rest of the time. It's a lot of work to get all the debris cleaned up and burned. As it was getting dark I spent about 20 minutes watering it down so we wouldn't have any surprises over night. We will still check on it through the night but expect it to just smolder.