Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Monday, March 19, 2007

Burn Baby, Burn


Seriously, you would never have known just how hard it was to get dead grass and hay to burn! Now that things have dried out, we decided we should get caught up with the burning this weekend. Normally we target this for February, but that just wasn't going to happen this year. We also want to step up on the amount of area that we do burn, because we've found it is a quite effective start to the weed management program.

Why burn? Because it incinerates the dead weeds. Duuh. But what that means is that we don't have to carry the weeds away. Ideally, you would only have to light a section and have it burn clean. This should also kill any dormant weed seeds that are on the stalks - where as carting them to the dump really only spreads the weeds around the county.

Unfortunately we had only a very few areas that worked ideally. Mostly the stuff we had to burn was already on the ground and wouldn't just burn on its own. Which means -- we did a hell of a lot of raking this weekend. Our highest priority was to clear the east boarder outside of the horse pasture. This is where we stack hay every week so we don't have to move bales daily, it's also just across the fence from where we feed the horses. Given the prevailing winds tend to blow loose hay out... we have a couple years worth of hay just stacking up along there. It was getting unsightly. Patrick our neighbor boy came over -- some how David expected that if we told him we were burning that he'd be sure to show up. LOL, Dave was right.

We spent 1 1/2 long days at it. Lots of raking and shoveling. Cleaning up the fermenting hay mats that develop in amongst the pallets that we stack the hay on every week. And of course it's dirty, smokey work.

Oh, one of the cool things was where we were burning actual green grass, once the flame was gone it looked just like grass painted black. But when you took a rake to it, it all disintegrated into ash. That was weird.

But for the most part, after it was raked up, the grass was either just too dense, or too mixed with dirt, or too damp.. so that even piled up it would not burn. We were forever turning it and fluffing it to keep enough oxygen flowing to keep burning. It was all just very labor intensive.

But we got all along the pasture cleaned up, as well as the hillside and most of the open areas between the barn and the pasture done. Next we have the hillside surrounding the arena to do, and both sides of the driveway. That will have to wait for another weekend, however.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously Monica, every time I read your blog I get tired. I just don't know how you do it and how you manage to volunteer your time doing so many other things.

That is exactly what it looks like when they burn here in IL. I never realized you had to rake when you were finished. I've never seen anyone raking, just burning.


3/20/07, 5:41 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home