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Cleaning up

November 3rd, 2011

This spring I mentioned that we had a few tress taken down and we started clearing the new lot next door. Not too long after that we started working on our little camper for our trip, and we neglected all the piles of brush laying around the gardens. It’s been a bit of an eyesore since spring and it’s been driving me crazy because they’re kind of in the way. When I hang laundry I have to step around a big pile of cherry branches. When I walk to the compost I have to weave through a few piles of oak logs.

We used a rather large amount of this brush to build a dead hedge across the back of the property. Basically it’s a neatly stacked brush pile that acts as a fence or hedge. It provides wildlife habitat and gives us something to do with all that brush. We still have a ton left though and needed to do something with it. Rent a chipper is on our list, but we haven’t gotten around to it. Yesterday I started burning some of it to clear off the area I want to plant my tulips (which was piled high with branches).

One of the benefits to burning the brush is that it gets rid of a lot of it rather quickly and you end up with a nice bit of ash. The ash will be added to soil to sweeten it a little, it’s very valuable for our highly acidic soils. The entire batch of ash I made yesterday will be returned to the hillside where the brush was and it will be worked into the soil when I plant the tulip bulbs.

Just a quick word of caution – when burning in early spring, fall, or other dry seasons, always keep a full watering can handy just in case you have a spark that gets away from you. No need to be running to get a hose or watering can since you’ll have it right there where you need it! I’m certainly glad we don’t have rules about campfires here, it was nice to warm myself during the cooler parts of the day. We even cooked our supper over the fire last night!

There’s something so great about fires, I don’t know what it is. It was very cleansing to spend some time cleaning some of the brush out of the garden and burning it. Time spent tending the fire was a much needed bit of relaxation even though I was working! We certainly should make it a point to have a few more campfires this fall and spend some time sitting by the fireside!

Have you ever built brush piles in your garden for wildlife habitat? Do you enjoy sitting around a fire?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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