My fire

Over the weekend, I strapped the baby into a stroller, put him where he could see me, and then got a huge pair of clippers and began clearing brush.

Our lot is over an acre, but only a third of an acre is usable because the rest is overgrown. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a Brooklyn gurl at heart so I like living in the woods. This feels like the middle of nowhere even though really, it’s only ten miles away from nowhere.

A neighbor showed me how he’d cleared brush, and how he’d built a fire pit in his back yard to burn the leftover branches and brush. A call to the fire department revealed that it’s not “burn time” yet. It’s far too unsafe to burn things outside the house…so I’d have to burn branches inside.

Yeah, don’t ask me to make sense of it all.

I went ahead and cleared brush out. It’s amazing how much dead wood my trees are carrying, but more than that, it’s the vines. We’ll have to talk more about the vines tomorrow. For today, it’s just the dead wood still on the trees. The fallen trees. The trees that are dead but haven’t fallen yet. And man, they’re all over the place.

I cleared for three hours over two days trying to get a dent in it. And yeah, it’s a dent. Barely. What’s cleared out looks really nice because you can walk around in it. While clearing, I found last year’s Christmas wreath (thanks, ex-owners!) and a huge pile of half-bricks.

I broke out a number of sticks, and then I got our fireplace set up. Fire terrifies me, ever since I saw a fire down the block when I was eight and a kid my age died of smoke. The old house had a wood stove. This place just has a hole in the wall with a chimney above it. I’d have to be insane to use that, right?

Well, I went out, bought an andiron and a fire screen, and right now as I type, I’m burning old branches. Not the ones that were crumbling in my hands, since I figure they’d explode. And not the nice green things I pruned. But the ones I could snap easy, the ones that shouldn’t still have been upright or attached to their respective trees.¬†

I made this fire myself. I cut the wood, bought the equipment, started it and tended it. It’s lame, yeah, but I made it myself and I’m proud of it.


  1. Capt Cardor

    It may be just a hole in the wall with a chimney above, but it needs to be cleaned by a chimney sweep before you do any serious fires in your fireplace.

    We’re all proud of you, too.

    I got my fill of fireplaces in Vermont and when I built my new house I deliberately left out the fireplace. I found out they are romantic until you have to clean them and have to move the wood into the house, complete with all the yucky bugs.

  2. philangelus

    They cleaned it in June. That was part of what we asked for after the home inspection.

    So far, no bugs, but the wood’s been staying out on the front porch!

  3. pamcee

    Starting fires? Next thing we know you’ll be hunting and skinning things too! JK, but Yay You!

  4. Pingback: vines « Seven angels, four kids, one family

  5. Cricket

    He Cheque-Earner. You Jane!

    Be sure to have a window in the room open, so all the smoke goes up the chimney.

    If you can cut it small enough to burn inside, what about your yard waste collection days? Or hiring a big bin to take it away?