Saturday, April 26, 2014
Slash and Burn
After attending the geography department graduation luncheon on Thursday (four of my geography colleagues and Shannyn Palmer--one of my students and TAs and a new member of the Tabernacle Choir). I decided to head home to do some yard work. It was a delightfully sunny day and rain was in the forecast for Saturday so I decided it was past time for our annual bonfire.
For more than a decade I have decided that a good way to reduce our contribution to land fills and to enhance the fertility of our garden soil was to burn all of our garden prunings. Beginning with some cuttings in the fall and then with more in the spring, I slowly pile up in our garden plot whatever I have "slashed". Annual additions included grape, apple, apricot, plum and peach prunings. Then, depending up on the need, other cuttings might include branches from whatever trees and bushes in our yard need trimming. This year the piles included walnut, filbert, pyracantha, lilac, currant, forsythia, Russian sage, agastache, chestnut, mountain ash, aspen, chokecherry, curl leaf mountain mahogany and a whole sky rocket juniper. As usual I procured the proper burn permit from the Springville fire department.
Not wanting him to miss out on any of the fun, Marie picked Will up early from school. He helped me start the fire. For over two hours I, and sometimes the boys, slowly added more and more branches to the fire.
In between, Joel and Will enjoyed some backyard baseball with neighbor boys.When errant balls and boys break raspberry canes (growing on the far terraces) I try my best to keep quiet and remind myself that raising boys is more important than growing raspberries.
One of the most anticipated rituals of the bonfire is to throw last years gourds into the fire and waiting for them to explode open with a loud bang.
Perhaps most exciting is the burning of the Christmas trees. This year we had three, ours and two from our neighbors. Dried evergreens really burn up fast and high.
The recently cut, and still fairly green, sky-rocket juniper didn't burn quite as high or as fast.
Yum. We even delivered some to our elderly neighbors to the west who had to bring in their laundry before it would have been infiltrated with the smell of smoke.
All that remains. These ashes will soon be tilled into the soil before the vegetables are planted. Maybe in the next life, I'll be a slash and burn agriculturalist in the rainforests of Borneo.