Sunday, December 9, 2012

Burning Buddies

The past few weeks were burning season here on our corner of the North Dakota prairie.  Many farmers, including ourselves, use the time after harvest to clean up the fields.  Sometimes this consists of pushing down trees (aka shelter belts), burning them, and burying the remains.

During the Dust Bowl, there was a major push for soil conservation.  Shelter belts are planted as a part of the continued effort to keep the wind from blowing all of the topsoil away.

However, eventually those trees start to die, and many farmers hate driving around the old trees in their field, so they remove them.  There are mixed feelings as to whether this is a good practice, but the one fortunate thing is that we are using other advanced methods like no-till planting to aid in conserving our soil.

And keeping some of the trees.

Last Monday the boys and I headed outside to watch Travis burn some of the tree piles that were created a couple weeks prior using the Cat bulldozer.

Travis covered the tree piles in straw (acquired from our neighbor) to help them burn.

These piles had been burned one time prior, and they get smaller after each burning as the wood is broken down.

It only takes a little flame to get things going…

Anyone up for a bonfire?  Travis's clothes have smelled like one on and off for weeks.

Only the trees burn and eventually what remains is primarily the soil, because soil doesn't burn.  Sometime next year Travis and his dad will tackle was is left from these burned tree piles.

The burning buddies took one last ride in the tractor for the year. It is time to put the equipment away and settle in for the winter. 

We received a couple of inches of snow over the past week and expect to get more this evening.  Winter has definitely arrived and burning season is over.  If only we had a fireplace to keep the fire going throughout the winter.


P.S.  After being surrounded by burning tree piles for the past few weeks, it is best not to tell your preschooler that you are going to "burn" one of his DVD's in the computer - choose the word "copy" instead.  Otherwise you will have a huge meltdown on your hands.

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