Fire in the hole!

As expected I scooped and shovelled “the proverbial” all day.  It was sunny and warmed up beautifully. I barely went inside all day. Cow manure does not smell too bad though so it was not an unpleasant task.

Later while I was Across the Way feeding the cows and pigs I saw that the neighbour was burning his ditches. The afternoon was very still. There were quite a few controlled ditch fires though I am not sure about the controls. It occurred to me that there is wild asparagus in those ditches and they have been burning the old detritus out of the waterways  for years and years yet the asparagus  grows back every year.

burning ditches

So I went home and set fire to my asparagus rows.  As you would.  There is quite a wide path between the asparagus beds and the long grass by the ditch and no flames were expected to jump that. And no flames did jump it, though I had my shovel and my husband at the ready.   Have you ever seen anyone set fire to the hairs on a man’s legs with a cigarette lighter?  I have.  A girl did it to a guy she fancied once when we were young. Needless to say she was totally OUT of the running for his affections after that, but the flames flew up his legs incredibly fast, gobbling only the hair, the fire going out at his knees – it took about a second – his skin was fine – though his composure was shattered. We all screamed.  She laughed. That girl was a shocker. One is every group.

It was the same way with the asparagus beds but less dramatic.  Each bed took less than a minute for the fire to race across it.  Only the dead matter burned the greening grass did not ignite.  It certainly is an excellent way to get rid of the old canes – these have to be cleared off the rows anyway in case of disease, so it saved me a big job. Tomorrow the beds will be covered in old compost then straw and then we will see what pops up!  It is getting warmer  by the day. Soon we will have asparagus again. Then I wondered about asparagus in the juicer but decided against it.


Isn’t spring time a fun time!?

Naomi and Difficult


It got quite warm which meant I began to shed my jacket then my jersey as the day went on. Draping them over handy fences as usual. Later I saw Alex licking my woolly jersey vigorously.  I am not sure what to think about that. Did she think it was a little sheep or a calf though it would have smelt of me and she never licks me.

Today is stock shifting day. This will be fun too!

I hope you have a lovely day.


PS An interesting thought for today. Earn more than you spend. A more positive way of looking at it. Rather than “don’t spend more than you can earn”. Which sounds quite bossy. I hate being bossed about. 

54 Comments on “Fire in the hole!

  1. “Earn more than you spend” could be a fine saying, unless you’re someone who can’t control spending! As for burning the asparagus beds, it’s a variation on what’s been going on around here for several weeks: the burning of the wildlife refuges and prairies to encourage growth and help maintain their health. It’s quite an organized project, of course — done rotationally, and planned well ahead of time — but it’s quite something to see. They burn cane fields in Louisiana, too, and with an east wind, we always know when its happening.

    • It must be awful not to control your spending. I have a sticky note on my computer saying – Do you Really Need that Today? It gets me past the dangerous urge to shop online, Online shopping is terrifyingly easy. c

  2. Water well before loading on compost and straw, or else self combustion may occur. Perhaps wear that woolly jersey for awhile around Alex it might help in making her more approachable, just a thought. We have had 200ml rain in 48 hours – poor farmers whole summer rainfall in two days now coping with floods and still can’t plant. Laura

      • This is manure it is very wet plus As I load the compost I add water into the each load in the bucket of the tractor – I have been making compost since I could walk and have never had a fire. But thank you for clarifying that for us. That rain! Pity we cannot just order it up for exactly when we need it. I have always said that farming does not have a roof! much love c

  3. I LOVE your photos today; so spring-like and hopeful. Controlled burns always make me feel edgy. But it’s true, when done well it’s only the hairs that sear off… lol
    I also LOVE the positive thinking and am determined to hit my grand daughter with that one. At 14 years old, she is a prime candidate for taking things negatively and earning more than one spends is very sage advice and so we will find a suitable situation in which to discuss this, thank you. Have a great day ~ Mame 🙂

    • Good thinking – you are right to choose your moment – especially with teenagers – a quiet one when you are having a soft discussion is always the best. 14 is such a difficult age – I started my first job at 14 and it made such a difference to my way of looking at money. c

  4. Another thing, besides piles of compost, that we lust after is a tractor! Hopefully someday! It’s so weird to see garden beds without high fences around them! Here, we must have fences or the deer and all other wild creatures will happily feast on our crops! I wish I knew of a good way to rid our asparagus bed of weeds. I pull and tug and rip up bermuda grass and johnson grass every year, seemingly constantly! I feel like I’m losing the battle!!! Any suggestions? 🙂

    • Those grasses will grow through anything so even heavy compost will not help. How about you pretend it is wild asparagus and mow it every now and then. But asparagus hates competition I fight thistles – they are terrible down there. Maybe you can prepare a raised weed free bed and shift a few plants each year, then you will have a continuous supply but get them out of the grass – check the crowns for grass too, so you do not transplant the problem.. c

  5. I’m terrified of fires like that, I think because I’m always such a disaster that deliberately setting a fire seems like inviting the apocalypse. Although people have been doing it for 1000s of years in agriculture. And its quite effective.
    Apparently before the white settlers arrived in the Americas the natives burned the fields and even the woods regularly to keep the underbrush under control. It made for less dense forests. When the settlers arrived they spoke about how beautiful the terrain was – and it was because it wasn’t just wild, it was carefully tended by the natives and the wildness kept under control with regular fires.

  6. Timing is everything. I was literally reading this while walking out to my asparagus patch for hours of clearing. I think I will play with fire instead.

    • Gulp. I don’t want to encourage you to play with fire but i was amazed at the speed of it. Wear fire roof gloves. Dip the tip (only the tip) of a little stick in diesel, then take the wet stick to the end of your patch, light the stick then drop it into the dry weeds. Have a shovel and loose soil handy and wear big boots to keep your fire under control. Hopefully you have a good wide green fire break around your patch. c

      • Speaking of boots, did you remember to get gumboots? Much love, Gayle

      • One note, if you wear your Muck boots and there are sparks you will have holes melted in them. Spoken from experience!

  7. I am going to celebrate Easter in my little village in Germany. The young men of the village build a huge stack of old rotten wood and on Easter evening the villagers gather around the fire eating apples for good health , drinking beer and eating sausages . This is an old ritual to celebrate new beginnings .

  8. we have burn piles here- all the detritus from cutting out dead trees , trimming trees, pulling invasive Manzanita and grasses. Soon we will burn-when it isn’t windy! Today it’s snowy with 35 mph winds. A good day to be inside baking bread and sewing on a quilt. Not having livestock like you means we don’t have to necessarily have to go outside except to gather wood for the fire! Enjoy your day! I know you will!

  9. Excellent advice to ‘Earn more than you spend’. My husband and I always did just that… but I don’t think that wisdom is being followed as much anymore.. The daffodils and tulips are coming up here in Western Mass. due to this unusually warm weather … it was 79 the other day. That’s insane!!! ; o )

  10. Some how I can’t believe that spring is here already? SO very happy about it though, but where did winter go? 😀

  11. We’ve had asparagus for over a month now. Very little ag burning is allowed in our area, I think the farmers keep their asparagus rows manageable by tilling between the mounds. I’ll have to pay more attention.

  12. Sounds like a fun day on the farm! I like my asparagus on the grill. Yum!

  13. Sounds like a productive day on the farm. I love asparagus on the grill with some Parmesan. Yum!

  14. When my husband was stationed in Iceland many many moons ago, they were not allowed off base, so the boys had to entertain themselves. They’d light their back door “emissions” to see who could produce the most impressive fire.

  15. My brother in law learned that one could ignite “back door emissions” and got out of bed one night and did so. He was nude. Burned his butt. Meanwhile, my sister laughted her fool head off! Love, Gayle

  16. Oh, and about juicing asparagus…don’t do it. Raw asparagus is delicious, but I learned the hard way that too much raw asparagus has a bowel-loosening effect. Much love, Gayle

  17. And both my posts here had to do with poop and farts. Only the best from meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Lots of love, Gayle

  18. Through spring and summer here we have what we call “Caldera Snow” except it’s black……..when the sugar cane fields are burnt prior to cutting. While the resulting large chunks of cane ash are a nuisance…..the word spreads quickly if there’s about to be a burn, so we can grab washing in, move animal water so it doesn’t end up black and nasty, and close windows…’s a beautiful sight if they burn early evening, best to find a high spot and then enjoy the glow and crackle of the fire either off in the distance, or just across the road. And the smell is lovely, sweet and heavy, like molasses. And the predator birds come from miles around and have a great feast, as rodents race out of the cane to safety!? Then of course there’s the clean-up, to sweep and wash a deep layer of black ash off every surface….until the next field is set alight. Our Australian Aborigines also did controlled burns traditionally, to clear the undergrowth to allow some plants to re-grow strongly and for others to germinate seeds.

    • They burn the cane only rarely any more up here. It is beautiful, and those who know how to do it, do it well and in a controlled fashion, but with so many hundreds of thousands of acres of cane in this part of the world given over to cane, the contribution to global warming every year was significant – not to mention the soot you talk about. These days the Queensland sugar mills will take in green cane – the new harvesters are better at separating out the green trash and mulching it straight back onto the fields. There’s really only one downside to not burning, and that is that the fire used to keep down the vermin – not just rats, but also cane toads and snakes. These days, there are loads more of all of them!

    • Sounds wonderful – sitting up on the ridge – watching the burn.. fire is very important to regrowth.. though of course hard on the environment when used on a huge space – so elemental fire is.. c

  19. Am smiling at your note re Internet shopping! Living where I do 90% of my ‘shopping’ be it food, clothes, books, music, supplements or whatever is on the Net! Actually works brilliantly for me after all these years, but . . . oh yes, I have had somewhat embarrassing conversations with some of the firms the day after to
    ‘cancel, please’! Am the most honest person on the planet but I have to admit to a few ‘white lies’ as to why I really, simply, honestly, truly no longer want a certain good 😀 !!

  20. Our travels are showing us the true value of money and work… a means to an end, save some and spend some on having a good time. Real incentive to not spend our lives working and buying stuff 🙂

  21. Your ‘ps’ is a bit like Dickens Mr Micawber philosophy. I also like a good burn up, but it has to be clean as I have a neighbour who complains about tiny bits of ash landing in his garden!

  22. Spring is, indeed, a wonderful time. I’m just about to go down the road – hoping to hear the spring peepers. Hopefully, no fires in the holes. 🙂

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