Saturday, July 13, 2013

Friday Firesmith Fail.

There was already a good start to stuff in the firepit when I took down two smallish trees and added them. But trees grow once they get on the ground and these were no exception. What I mean by this is that when a tree is standing tall and healthy it doesn’t look as large as it does when it hits the ground. Out of the two trees I got four pieces that were over ten feet apiece and a lot of smaller sections as well. But that’s not a problem, really.

The problem came when a fully healthy limb fell and I had to add it to the pile. Suddenly there was a lot of green stuff in the firepit and not a whole lot of the little dry stuff that is like baby formula for fires. I despise using accelerants on fires. Gasoline is a sign of desperation or outright stupidity.  If a man cannot coax a fire out of one matchstick he has no business tending to a fire to begin with.

So! Time to eat those words because this fire simply was not going to start. Nope, nuh-uh. Not at all, actually.

But let’s make it even more interesting by having it rain an inch every single day of the week and instead of burning the green stuff in the pile began to rot. This meant the fire that had been hard to start was going to be a lot harder to start the longer I waited. I dragged the propane torch out and gathered some small sticks in a pile and let her burn. An hour later after more work than most people put into building a house I had a very small fire burning independent of the torch.

Clouds gathered.

Now, the way things usually work in a fire is that the smaller stuff will burn more quickly and go first and the larger stuff will catch on and then the fire really gets cranked up. But in this large pile of brush there was some larger stuff underneath the bramble that caught on and all the green skinny stuff on top of the pile petulantly refused to burn. This made it impossible for me to feed the fire because it was trapped, trapped mind you, under stuff that would not burn at all.

Does this seem right to you?

So there I am, hand feeding, damn near spoon feeding, tiny twigs into this fire trying to get it up far enough to break the bramble barrier and suddenly Lillith goes into torpedo mode. Of all the dogs I have ever loved, Lillith loves fire the most. No matter how warm it is outside she likes to be by a fire. When she takes off like she’s fired out of a cannon I notice. Up through the ponds and lakes that inhabit my driveway these days is the FedEx truck,  Lillith and the two male dog now decide to declare war on FedEx. I already have. Since the rains began they’ve delivered every package to my neighbor’s house because it’s closer and easier than going all the way to my house.  Finally, they’ve decided to make the trip in, but at the worst moment. I call Lillith back and just like I want her to do she comes back and sits at my feet, looking back at the truck with bad intent.
Now, I am going to be friendly with the truck driver but he’s got a reason for being here past delivery. I can see my box but he’s making a show looking for it. All the while he’s asking me who owns all the land around here and if we let anyone hunt out here and what’s all that past the gate while we’re talking about it?

I tell him it’s none of my business what goes on past that gate because it isn’t my property. He looks around as if he has just noticed there isn’t anyone else alive anywhere near where we’re standing. That’s my box, the one over there on top of the others, like if you were going to deliver it next that is where you’d put it.

Let’s move on, shall we? Kthxbye.

The fire has missed me. It’s grown weaker and small since I left and I try to coax it into being something that can been seen from ten feet away. It grows but grows very slowly and I realize I’ll be out of small fuel stuff very soon. The fire catches just enough to give me hope. The sky grows dark. The fire begins to get bigger and bigger. And just as I am about to give up, it roars into life and burns through the bramble.

Yay me!

For a full hour I have fire. The fire leaps up into the sky, devours all the green stuff and I am down to nothing but the big stuff then, which is blowing with orange fire, quite nicely, if I do say so myself. The heaven open up and rain comes down like it is falling off the side of a mountain during a hurricane, an earthquake, and the Texas Republicans thinking it’s a woman.  Not just hard rain, but rain that can drive nails into granite rocks. Not just rain but rain that can wash away anvils chained to Wal-Mart scooter riders. Not just rain, but fire killing, frog drowning, tree uprooting, thundering and lightning, and all hell breaking loose rain.
The fire sputters and it dies.

So here it is Saturday morning and I finally got the fire going again. There are seven really large pieces of wood left and the skies are clouding up again. At this point, I’m ready to start selling these pieces of wood as rain generating hardwood.

Any takers?

Take an umbrella,



  1. Ah, the sucky soggy summer of ’13, when occasionally the sun comes out to turn those puddles into air I can’t breath, and give the mosquitoes a chance to get airborne.

    Anyway, you might have to put up an open wall corrugated steel hogan to ever get that pile burned. Or cover it with dirt, plant flowers, and tell the fedex dude that’s where you buried the last nosey interloper.

    1. I really have never seen it as wet as it has been this Summer, Bruce.

      It's as weird as anything I have ever heard of, too. I mean, every damn day...

  2. In June the total at Philly Airport was about 10 inches. But in the daily reports, the numbers were higher all over the surrounding counties by sometimes twice or more. And Delaware has been often getting four or five times as much as Philly.

    July has been about the same with the Delaware shore getting like six inches Friday afternoon. With that kind of wet, the crops drown, the bees can't buzz, and we lose our toys in the mud.

    1. Oh, the power of the internet! People from all parts of the country can now come together and as one, complain about the weather.