One of the perks of living in the country is that we’re not limited by city regulations. This includes burning trash and debris on our property.
We’re old pros at it. We’ve been burning brush on our property since 1986. Our burn piles have gotten smaller since getting goats and using our fireplace and smoker more often.
We tend to burn only soft woods now, after they’ve been stripped of leaves by the goats. Hardwoods are held back for the fireplace and for Greg’s smoker.
Other food for the fire are things like old bills, or documents with sensitive information. Cardboard boxes that no longer hold up are also fed to the fire. Dead leaves, broken and unusable wood furniture are also fair game.
On our current property, we have two burn piles. I keep a smaller one where only natural materials are burned. I use the ashes for my compost and garden.
The other, larger burn pile is for items that I don’t want mixing with my garden and don’t want to dump in a landfill. This includes plastics and rubber. We don’t have too much of this since we reuse things until they fall apart, but it’s enough that I don’t want it back into the soil I’m trying to improve. These ashes go out into the deep woods.
There are several tricks to a good burn pile. These are the things we do.
- Pack your wood densely with the smaller, more easily combustible material in the center. I usually make a nest of leaves, twigs, hay, and dryer lint as my kindling.
- Let it sit for a while. We burn maybe 3-4 times a year. We let the wood dry for at least three months before we light it. It’ll burn faster if the wood has aged.
- Make a fire break around the burn pile. I usually rake a bald patch around the pile so it can’t ignite any nearby leaves.
- Charge your water hose and make sure it’ll reach all around the burn pile.
- Make some noise and rattle the branches before you burn to scare off any small animals that might’ve hidden there overnight.
- Never burn when it’s windy.
- Man your burn pile while it’s burning. Even though we have a dead area, we don’t leave it unattended.
- Before you go in for the day, hose it down.
- Don’t move it or use it for at least a week after the fire. Interior embers could still be hot and able to reignite.
We’ve had burn piles burn down to ashes in under two hours, and others that will take all day. It all depends how big the logs are.
In our big pile, we’ve had to drag our sick red photinias for burning. There was a lot of debris already there, but the photinias will keep us particularly busy. If we’ve dried them enough, it should settle down to a smoldering fire within the hour, but the big logs underneath will keep it burning the rest of the day.
What are the regulations about burn piles in your area? Are you allowed to burn on your property?
Out of curiosity, with the holidays coming up, are you allowed to blow firecrackers? I hate firecracker season. My poor Iko suffers tremendously.
If you’d like to follow along with the #self reliance challenge, here is a list of other bloggers who live our grand life. Click on their blogs and check them out!
AnnMarie – 15 Acre Homestead
Nancy – Nancy On The Homefront
Kathi – Oak Hill Homestead
Robin – A Life in the Wild
Candy – Candy’s Farm House Pantry
Farmgal – Just another Day on the Farm
Ashley – Practical Self Reliance
ShawnaLee – Homegrown Self Reliance
Frank – My Green Terra
Lisa Lynn, our Host – The Self Sufficient HomeAcre