the not so fast burner

We got the news that our barn will be going up sooner then later. Yay!! It won't be long and we will have a building on our property. Before the barn shell can go up, we had to do something with a nearby ginormous pile of cleared wood.

our barn isn't going to look
like this much longer
You may recall we were originally thinking the wood pile would be perfect for a bonfire party. However, the temperature was very cold. In the single digits. Not exactly outdoor party weather, even with a warming fire. Getting rid of the pile had to be put on the fast burner, so Brad & I were it. 

With the necessary fire permit in hand, things were about to heat up. Brad was like a kid in a candy store. He has always been a bit of a redneck pyro maniac. Not the crazy unsafe kind. We quickly figured out the pile wasn't going anywhere fast. It would have to be reduced, one burn day at a time...

there is a fire in there somewhere
There were a lot of stumps in the pile, a recipe for a smokey stinky messy fire. It was hard to enjoy. I am SO glad we didn't invite anyone else. The smoke kept changing directions & was so thick it was tough getting close. We had pictured a nice big fire with flames going straight up. We may try for a group bonfire later, with a different brush pile that has more dried timber. It is in a field corner out of the way, so no rush.

Brad shifted the brush pile around for days. Moving stumps on, moving stumps off, dumping snow here, dumping snow there. Every move was based on what the fire was doing, and when he could be there. Brad reassured me (like 100 times) the fire was safely contained at all times.

The first day, when the fire was at it's peak, was a looong day...

finally some decent flames
the core
barn foundation is behind the fire (on right)
restarting the fire with a blow torch
guess he's not much for rubbing sticks together
thankfully our house of hay didn't catch on fire

I left for a while to take care of the dogs and bring food for Brad. It was dark by the time I got back. The first thing I noticed, was our colorful tree. It still lights up :)) It is the tree above, under the red arrow. 

a welcome sight
The fire was really going now, there was no way I was leaving Brad at the land alone. It was raging, so I kept myself amused by taking photos...

After the flames died down, Brad started messing with the fire again. I was afraid he was going to catch the bobcat on fire! 

I thought he was completely nuts for getting so close!! Just look at what he was doing...

At a distance it looked like he was on top of the fire, and was pretty darn close. Note: Brad has spent endless hours running a bobcat for years, and is a very skilled operator. He knows the machines capabilities, and knew what he was doing. 

I know I am totally weird, but I was in awe with the "fire eating grappler"!! It was sooo cool the way the smoke was backlit, and swirling! The light patterns were constantly changing, now I was like a kid in a candy store!! It was a night to remember...

To this day, the fire continues smoldering off/on with a little help...

eight days later, the pile is almost gone
I don't think I'll ever get another opportunity to photograph something so wicked awesome emerging from the smoke...maybe at an event/show. I've seen rodeo's use smoke at the preshow, but not remotely to the same degree. I certainly hope to never photograph an out of control fire, they are so dangerous and sad. Maybe at the next bonfire? Who knows.

My camera & truck smelled like smoke for days, but it was worth it. Now, we are ready. Let the barn building begin.

the grappler


Shirley said...

Great photos! That last one does look like something from a sci-fi movie.
We have a big pile to burn too, but with over a foot of snow on it I think we need to wait a month or two. Also, we have a pond close to it that we can use to pump water for fire control but it's frozen over at the moment.

Linda said...

Oh my goodness, that is awesome! ! It does look like the bobcat is right on top!! We never have fires like that at our place. Glad you photographed it!!

C-ingspots said...

Awesome! I love burning big piles and cleaning up. My hubby does things that make me nervous with equipment at times too...guess it's a guy thing. And that blow torch is exactly what my husband uses too. I have such an appreciation for equipment!

aurora said...

Thanks guys, glad you liked the photos!

I wish we had a foot or two of snow Shirley! Nothing but ice here, and now rain. Can't wait to see pics of your pond :) love water reflections!!

We don't usually have bonfires either Linda, until now. Some of the wooded strips were clear cut before we bought the land, what burned was the leftover mess and a few stumps from the house site we cleared.

I agree, must be a guy thing Lorie. I don't recall seeing Brad use a blow torch to start fires before, but this stuff wasn't completely dry. Having access to equipment sure makes life easier.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Love the photos, especially the night time ones. The bobcat looks like it's in the middle of it, I would have been slightly nervous watching. Your property is coming along quickly. I can't wait to see the barn go up, it's very exciting.

aurora said...

Even tho I totally trust Brad, I was nervous Arlene. The smoke definitely made things look more dramatic. Building the barn may be a little anti-climatic, the fun stuff won't happen until later - but you gotta start somewhere!!