Sunday, October 16, 2011


Man, I love Sundays. Especially ones like today. Today was absolutely perfect, you just couldn't get any better.
Morning started out cool; great for snuggling in my warm covers and sleeping in.
It warmed up pretty quick, but never did get really hot, and the sky was clear and blue, sun shining, no humidity, barely any wind; perfect day for working outside in the yard.

Although working outside in the yard was not my original intent. J was home today and I intended to take full advantage of that fact and getting some home repairs that's been needed doing done.
One thing that's been needed doing is changing the wax rings under the toilets. They both just started leaking for no apparent reason.
Also, there's supposed to be a cold front moving in this week and I wanted to test the furnaces and make sure they're in working order. Before we run them, though, I needed him to disconnect/close off a couple of upstairs vents so we aren't heating outdoors. They are in that front room that was originally a porch, that previous owners enclosed to make a bedroom, that I used as a storage room, until this summer I cleaned it out to open it back up as a porch (haven't got that done yet). Anyway, the ceiling is out of the room, so any heat blowing out there goes up into the attic and out the roof vents. Can't afford to heat the outdoors!

J was up there duck-taping closed the vent-ducts while I was putting some stew meat and brown gravy in the crock pot for supper, Steak Tips over Rice. First time we've had this, it was very good. And very cheap! I had gotten the stew meat on clearance for less than $2 bucks, and had gotten the envelope of brown gravy free with coupon at some point.
It was another Southern Plate recipe - my favorite recipe site!

Click Image for Recipe

Then I decided it was a perfect day outside to do some burning.
Not leaf burning. We used to rake up and burn leaves because that's how we were raised, it was the Fall sport, and to this day I love the smell of burning leaves in the neighborhood.  Now, though, J sucks up some leaves with the vac-system on his lawnmower and puts them in the compost pile, and then the last thing he does before putting the mower away for Winter, after the trees are empty, he drives over them and chops them up with mulching blades and leaves them to mulch the yard.

What we needed to burn was sticks and stumps.  We are *blessed* with lots of really old, really large trees in our yard.
(Ignore the building, it has walls and a roof now.)
The trees are gorgeous in the Spring/Summer, and the shade helps cut down on the cooling costs, but they are constantly shedding sticks and branches like a kitty sheds fur.
And, as will invariably happen here in the South, we get Spring storms that sometimes takes part of the trees out.  This past Spring seemed particularly bad for it.

Due to the damage, we ended up having to take four entire trees all the way down. J sawed up the large pieces and a friend of R's came and loaded it up for firewood (we don't have a fireplace), and then the limbs and branches we loaded up and carried to the convenience center. They have a truck that comes out every so often and grinds limbs and brush up into a pile of chips, then residents can go and get loads of free mulch. I love that idea.

So over the rest of the Summer the trees shed the usual amount of sticks and branches, and we pick them up and put them in a pile to burn later, after September 30th, when the Burn Ban is lifted. We usually relocate the pile to the garden area and burn it there because supposedly ash is good for garden areas. I haven't read about that myself, so don't know for sure. But this year we're trying to grow collards and cabbage in a Fall garden, so no burning in the garden.

Instead, we piled the brush around one of the stumps left from one of the trees we had to cut down. Burning out stumps is the way my great-grandpa used to do it, before the days of stump-grinding machines. After we burn them down to ground level, we chop and dig at the remaining stump to get it below ground level and cover it with dirt. Not a complete removal like yanking it completely out of the ground, but good enough. Maybe a tree will even grow back there one day, who knows.

Me and R started out out there doing the burning, then J ended up out there with us, and I kinda completely forgot the furnace and toilet projects.
I ended up raking the entire front yard, leaves and all, because there was just so many little twigs and sticks it was just easier to rake it all up than bend and pick, bend and pick. I was raking the stuff into piles, and J was - supposed to be - coming behind me and loading the piles into the wagon to carry to the fire.  But then his partner texted and asked if he wanted to go deerhunting, so I told him to go on.  He works three jobs, of course I'm not going to make him stay home and rake freaking leaves if he has a chance to go hunting, which he loves, loves, loves to do.

I got up the rest of the piles myself, so that task is done, but it's hard to be proud of the accomplishment when it wasn't a task that was planned or even really needed doing as much as the furnaces and toilets did.

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