Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Labor Day weekend was chock full of spectacular weather here in Mathews: low humidity, loads of sunshine and cool, crisp air. Sunday night it was brisk enough to don a sweatshirt and build a little bonfire in my back yard.

So I did.

When Chesapeake Bay Woman makes a fire, the first thing she does is give the fire department advance notice fill a bucket with pine cones, pine needles and sticks from the yard. Really, that's all you need besides a fire extinguisher a match unless you want to toss in some scrap paper, aka trash.

(Remember when we used to burn trash in a barrel in the back yard?)

Next, I carefully layer everything in the fire pit. Pine needles and trash paper go first, then twigs, then bigger branches then the phone call to 911.

It's important that all the sticks, limbs and branches fit properly over the fire pit, and that everything is balanced otherwise the fire department will be coming much sooner than anticipated to prevent any unfortunate mishaps.

Below is an example of what not to do. This is a limb off the locust tree, and it weighs four thousand pounds. In addition, it's loaded with thorns.

Note: When an improperly placed locust branch all of a sudden threatens to cause a fire outside of the official fire pit area, be sure you're wearing a suit of armor before you attempt to grab the limb and reposition it on the pit. Not only are those thorns sharp, but also? They're on fire.

Below is a closer shot of an impending mishap the fire pit, which clearly shows missing tiles from instances when CBW did not properly balance the branches , and the fire crept over the edge and cracked the tiles in two.

Just like it's getting ready to on those last remaining tiles.

After a few more of these brush fires CBW-style fires, there will be no need for a fire pit because it will have disintegrated. Fire pits were designed for suburbanites and were intended to hold one (1) of those fake ez-start logs over which the screened lid is placed.

Can you believe there is actually a screened lid for this thing? Can you believe I have never used it because it does not fit on top my fires?

Bonfires--enormous bonfires--are very popular around here, particularly with the teenagers. It's only a matter of time before Chesapeake Bay Son asks me to host one here, and rest assured there will be no fire pit used. This will be the mother of all fires.

I can't wait.

Note: Due to last Friday's rain which helped saturate the ground, nothing disastrous came of the events captured above, although there were a few close calls that reminded CBW why it's always good to have another person around when building fires. One person can run get the water hose while the other dials 911.

Have you ever made a fire in your back yard? Have you ever been to a bonfire? Have you ever caught your yard on fire?


BayBrowder said...

Might be a good idea for CBW to have the hose ready before igniting bon fires.....also, a little work with a bow saw has the amazing ability to turn unwieldly (sp?) locust limbs into kindling.....said work would be good upper-body cross-training exercise for a thin young distance runner.
Go Mathews High School Cross Country!!!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

BB-Not a bad idea about the bow saw, except the locust limbs are downright ornery. It's like trying to cut steel.

MHS Cross Country has a meet tonight at 5 at Beaverdam Park in Gloucester. I'll be stopping in on my way home from the paying job, although I won't be wearing my crab hat to this event. CB Son might disown me, and it's too early in the school year for that.

Have a great Wednesday.

Ann Marie said...

no.. no fire in yard because I am SCARED of fire.. however I have near set my house on fire by setting a bush on fire in front of it cause I am
A blond and
B scared of fire.

Will have to tell you the story..
I can't tell it without laughing.. a lot.

deborah said...

cool fire! We have a fire pit in our tiny backyard and I like to build a big fire too! I collect driftwood from the river banks for mine.
Go MHS cross country team!!

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Oh, we LOVE fire! In fact, on the eve of Blogfest '09, there was a neighborhood bonfire in honor of our friends who were moving the next day, and Foolery got to experience it!

We have one of those bonfire bowls too, but I think what we are going to do instead is something my cousin did at my aunt's cabin: He dug a nice-sized hole down a foot, maybe? And then lined the rim with a few layers of rock. But not shale, he says - when they fall in, they pop. So something else, then. I think such a pit would be a fine addition to your back yard.

Also? My in-laws STILL have a burn barrel in their back yard.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Sorry, had to add this because it's funny - after I posted, the next WV that came up was


CBW is a pyro(p)!

Deltaville Jamie said...

Have I ever been/had/started a bonfire? Do bears you-know-what in the woods? I am a pyromaniac. I am exceptionally skilled at starting campfires. I think it's because my dad was in the fire department. Anywho, we should have sent smoke signals... we had a fire this weekend too.

big hair envy said...

Um, we STILL burn trash in a barrel in our back yard...;)

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

I see the wine glass had it's place at the bon fire ;)

Daryl said...

No backyard .. but once I had a bon fire in a trash can in my bedroom which totally freaked out my parents ...

I thought that was an old coffee table ... I had no idea a fire pit looked like that ...

WV sargy ... its a term of endearment for a rank in the US Armed Forces or the nickname of the French president ...

foolery said...

We keep a yard waste pile south of the house, feed it with branches and Christmas trees and leaves all year, then set fire to it about twice a year. Not fun to stand around with our constantly switching breeze, unless you like looking like a coal miner and smelling like a barbecue.

Country Girl said...

We used to do fires all the time when I lived on the horse farm. Here, we haven't had one single fire. Maybe I will have to remedy this situation. I miss it.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Kate, you should, but not now, it's tinder-dry out there! One little spark and POOOOOF.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

1. I loved the Waltons. Loved it.

2. My name in French class was Marguerite, which I hated because it was kinda hard to say in French. But Chris in the front row got Chantal (which I swear I totally wanted, too) and I ended up going for whatever was closest to Margaret, which nobody really calls me anyway. Le sigh.

3. Wishin' I was comin' to the "barn dance."