Burning and Planting

May 28 – For weeks Chris and I had been saying that we need to start burning some of the numerous brush piles in our pastures. The grass there is getting tall and one of these days the Reynolds mowers will be out there with their tractors and mowers, getting food for their cattle and making large bales of hay. So early last week we donned our old clothes and gathered matches and old newspapers and rakes and gloves and got to work. No worries about any fires spreading, as the grass is too green and damp for that.

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[ Lighting the fire ]

We set fire to the first brush pile and kept busy pushing the sticks together with our rakes to keep the fire burning. Something seemed to be wrong with the wind. On whichever side of the brush pile we stood, the wind blew the smoke into our faces. We kept busy running around the pile, holding our breaths and absorbing a smoky odor.

The first pile was fairly small, so we were soon at the much larger second pile, lighting matches and setting fire to several wads of newspaper here and there. This pile contained a lot of old and thorny rose brush which we were glad to see burning up. Finally the brush pile was nearly consumed when I remembered that there was a lot of wood from a big fallen tree just down the way, waiting to be carried to the brush pile, so we were off and dragging and carrying all the cut sections to the fire. There were some fairly large pieces, so we had to wait around some more as they burned. That tree had died and eventually fell onto our fence and into the road. Some unknown person had cut off the offending section and apparently carted it away, maybe for firewood. Grandson Robbie had repaired the damaged portion of fence without ever saying a word to us about it.

Originally I had intended to just burn two brush piles but now decided to burn more. We ended up burning three of them! Sadly, in one of them, Chris discovered an ornate box turtle that had been unable to escape and had been killed. In one of the piles I had put our old printer that son David had replaced with a great new one, and all the plastic section had burned, leaving the metal portion which I carted off to add to grandson Robbie’s scrap metal collection.

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Our good old Troy-Bilt

After this Chris went in to do computer work and a little reading, and I, after doing a little resting, got out the rototiller and tilled a strip along the east garden fence, in preparation for planting cucumber seeds in June. That soil was sure hard and full of weeds, and the tiller had difficulty turning up the soil. I had to keep encouraging it by pushing the handlebars forward, or it would just sit there and go nowhere. The two v-belts must be worn and don’t have enough friction between them and the pulleys.

After five runs over that strip I put the tiller to rest and got out a hoe and dug out the worst clumps of weeds and grass. In a week or two I shall go over the area again and maybe things will go a little better. We definitely have to have cucumbers in our garden. And green beans, so there goes some more tilling in the weedy part of the garden. The bean plants may end up being eaten by rabbits, but I haven’t seen many around this year.

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Heavenly Blues

Along a section of fencing by the road out front we plan to have a row of Heavenly Blue morning glories. Last year we never could get around to planting the usual row, so the old row was fairly filled in with grass and weeds and we had to get busy with shovel and hoe and weeding forks and clean it out. When the weather has warmed a little more, I will soak the seeds overnight and put them out in the row and then wait impatiently for weeks and weeks until the glorious blue blossoms appear.

While I was working on the cucumber strip, Chris went out with the lawnmower to cut the grass in a patch on our south border that hasn’t been mowed since last year. She must have spent two hours on that project, and came back pretty weary – and annoyed with the mower for running out of gas just as she was cutting a small piece of lawn on her way to the barn. Of course, she was already tired when we began the work on the morning glory strip, and she chose to weed on the other side of the fence and definitely did not like that job but kept at it until we were done. – DALE

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