Friday, March 23, 2012

Burning our Field {In which we did NOT burn down the entire neighborhood this year}

Tuesday night was the perfect night for one thing: BURNING OUR FIELD!!

You might remember last year when we leveled the town burned our field. Go here to read that post and find out how quickly fire can get out of hand. Phew. We weren’t sure if our nerves could handle this again, but I’m here to report no harm done this time! (Well, except for the field burned. But that was supposed to happen.)

This is what our front yard looks like:

Beyond our lovely plow truck you can tell that the lawn changes to field - in the summertime, the lawn part is kept mowed, but the field part is, well, a field. A field full of rats and ticks that like to find their way into our house. Fun, huh? That is just one reason to burn this baby - everyone says that it helps keep the tick population down (and we have them in abundance here - thankfully not the lymes-disease-carrying ones, but I don’t them, nonetheless.) Another reason is that it helps keep the grasses in the field cleaned up and encourages good growth...but more on that in a bit.

I also should mention that in our area, this is the time of year our county is “allowed” to do this, legally. (You know you live in hick-town when….) I am not 100% sure of the exact dates, but I know the last couple weeks of March are included in the timeframe. It is a good idea to check with your city/county officials and find out when is the best and safest time to attempt a project like this. If you want to be all legal and safe, that is.

Here is how it all went down:

First we gathered buckets. Loooootsa buckets. That was one error we made last year, we didn’t have enough implements to fight the fire handy. There is a ditch that runs straight through the middle of the field, so we just assembled our pile of buckets near that water so we could scoop and run if necessary.

Dad found a nice pile of dry grass and just lit it with a good ol’ fashioned match. Then we just used metal rakes to encourage the fire to spread. Just keeping the grass fluffed up (as opposed to packed down and matted from winter weather) helps the fire to move along, consuming the grass as it goes.

As usual, we had lots of helpers!

The fire burned very slowly this year, thankfully. The weather was pretty much perfect. There were a few gusts of a breeze, but nothing too bad, and the breeze kept shifting as opposed to blowing our fire straight (and fast) in one direction. Instead, it seemed to send the smoke straight to our eyes no matter where we went! We were burning later in the evening, so things were starting to get damp with dew, which helped (as opposed to middle of the day hotness).

We didn’t get the entire thing done, but a good bulk of it. We’ll finish ‘er up on the next good, clear night.

Now, observe the difference it makes. In the following picture, just before the truck, you’ll notice a definite difference in the lawn...there is almost a clear line separating two parts of the lawn (and beyond the truck the field starts):

That different-looking strip of grass (where the truck is sitting) was part of the field last year. Observe:

It may be hard to tell, but look at the distance from our awkwardly-placed fire ring to the blackened field….

As opposed to this shot from the same angle…..


Can you tell? The lawn is bigger. Just trust me. Burning the field last year allowed us to mow a bigger section and make our lawn larger, providing more places for play and hosting parties outdoors. This year, the lawn will probably get bigger yet! Eventually we hope to get it at least to the ditch or even beyond. (How cool would a small softball field be for church family softball games? Or sand volleyball? Oooh, possibilities are endless!)

I am glad to report 100% safety and success with this years field-burning project. Hopefully this post has answered any questions you might have about this hick-town practice, but if you have any questions feel free to ask! If you have an area that would benefit from this, why not adding it to your spring cleaning list for this year?

Have you ever burned a field before? How about any other “exciting” burning experiences like ours?


  1. Always did this at the Hawk, but it was to help the blueberries produce a better crop. One time the fire got dangerously close to our house.

    1. I can see how it will be beneficial to blueberry bushes! It is amazing how fast it gets out of control, isn't it?


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