Progress in Paradise... The brush pile is gone! The whole darned thing is burned up, and only a small pile of char is left.
The stacking that I did yesterday worked a treat – picking it up with the tractor's fork was easy. I dumped two fork loads onto the ashes of my last burn, and then lit it. Well, more exactly, I tried to light it. I used the cardboard from five boxes as “kindling”, but never got a sustainable fire going. I called Debbie and had her bring me some more cardboard, and after using a total of nine boxes worth of cardboard, I finally got the darned thing going. The problem was that this bunch of brush was all green wood (as opposed to the dead willow wood I'd burned previously). With all that water in the wood, I had to heat it for quite a while to boil it all off. Once I got a sustainable blaze going, though, it burned hot and fast.
Over the next few hours, I dumped load after load of brush onto the same spot, where the fire was burning. The pile of glowing embers got taller and taller, and ever hotter. At the peak, I couldn't stand within about 10 feet of the fire – it was just too hot. After a total of 22 fork loads, I had it all on the pile. Then I just had to wait for a couple hours while all those glowing embers burned off. I kept stirring the pile with my tractor's fork (that's a very handy tool, that pallet fork!) to keep oxygen flowing to it. Finally when it was down far enough I wet it all down until it stopped steaming. Done with the brush!
As I worked today, locals who knew me honked and waved as they drove by. My burn pile was just 30 feet or so off the road, so I was in view almost all day. Two people stopped to see if I needed help (I didn't), and one of those sent their kid back with a mason jar full of ice water for me. That sure tasted good! A neighbor pulled over in her car and shouted to me that I was doing a good job. I think she's really happy to see all the dead wood taken down and burned off.
Now the only remaining work after the Mormon horde's service project is a bunch of logs I set aside as firewood. I need to saw them up into lengths of 18" at most (that's what my stove will accept), and then haul them back to a wood pile that I've got going. I have a wood splitter on the way, and once it arrives I'll split those logs up and pile the wood up in the shed's second floor, in the storage section. There it should dry out over the summer very nicely, and give me a great supply of firewood for heating my office next winter.
Debbie and I had ourselves a homey dinner at Angie's. We both had the special: a half dozen fried shrimp, potatoes, homemade dinner rolls, and iced tea. We were way too full for dessert :)