Burning the burn pile

We finally got around to torching our burn pile. It’s been an eyesore for a good long while. Of course, having a burn pile in the back field isn’t without perks—it furnished a fort or two and provided lots of scavenging fun. But it was time it went.

The kids were stoked. They helped haul junk (and more junk) to the pile. They hovered. The fire got lit and then they hooked up the line of hoses.

(I’m not sure why that wasn’t done ahead of time. I’ll have to ask my husband.)

Sweetsie packed up a bag, grabbed her coat, and took off for the pasture down yonder where she plunked herself in the very middle of the field.

Which made me nervous because what if the fire suddenly spread and here we all were and there she was and—? and—?

Well, I just didn’t like the idea of a wall of fire separating me from any of my babies. If we’re going to have a wall of fire, I like for all of us to be on the same side of it.

Not that we had a wall of fire. But even with a puny fire, I still get a wee bit nervous.

Here one of my chairs is going up in flames.

I like to buy chairs that I think will be really nice once my husband glues, screws, or nails such-and-such. Then my husband, who does not like to fix up pieces of junk, gives me and my chairs the passive aggressive treatment—in other words, nothing happens—and all my not-quite-junk chairs end up tossed into the barn loft, otherwise known as the Chair Graveyard.

Somehow—how?—one of my chairs ended up on the burn pile. Perhaps I’ll have to upgrade from a chair graveyard to a chair urn.

My husband walked around the fire scooping up the debris around the edges and tossing it back onto the center of the pile.

Or at least he tried to.

Youch! Geez, that’s hot!

He had to inspect his arm to see if he had any arm hairs left.

Silly man.

The fire was burning happily when my husband happened upon a dead chicken in the field.

Hey, look at this! A dead chicken!

Is it really dead?

Perhaps a little CPR…


Just kidding. Let’s roast it instead.

A little later a chicken head was discovered.

What in the world? Somebody is killing my chickens! my husband roared.

Honey dear, I chided. Why do you say someBODY? Why not someTHING or some ANIMAL? Nobody cares enough about your chickens to bother sneaking onto our property to kill them. It’s so uncivilized to talk that way.

My husband was peeved. Something must be done. He turned his attention away from the raging fire, jumped on the Dixie Chopper, and set about cleaning up around the chicken pen. No more little chicken-killing rodents were going to get his little biddies if he could help it!

My daughter stopped him mid-mow.

Papa, there’s another dead chicken!

My son, hands on hips, came to investigate.

He poked it with his toe.

Sure enough. This one was dead in the pen. My son carried it off by the foot…

And launched it into the inferno.

It’s a flying chicken! Wheeeee!

(Thanks to a freshly mowed chicken yard and a once-again electrified chicken fence, it’s been over 48 hours since the last reported dead chicken. Things are looking up.)

My husband and son stayed outside later than the rest of us to tend to the fire.

The next afternoon, despite the rain, the two older kids stirred up the coals and got the fire going again.

They tried to burn a tree trunk. It kept them occupied for hours.

Which makes me think we should always have a burning burn pile on hand—you know, like a sandbox or a kiddy pool, but a bit more exciting.

This same time, years previous: strawberry cheesecake ice cream


  • dr perfection

    Mavis, I am certain that PETA has nothing to say about what one does to a dead creature.

    Having said that, I understand your reaction. My relatives are a bit proud of the earthiness of their lives, so we just have to celebrate it because we love them afterall.

    I would guess that a dead chicken smells like anything smells when it is dead.

  • Mavis

    @ Dr. Perfection… Yes… because here in fancy land we don't roast our dead chickens… we dig a hole and stuff them into bedazzled shoe boxes and pile dirt on top. Let's hope JJ doesn't have any Peta readers… or they'll soon be sneaking into her field at dusk trying to rescue Mr. Handsome's flock of birds.

    On a side note… what does a dead chicken smell like?

  • Karen

    I love it! We recently burned our brush pile too and had quite the inferno! I always love reading your posts. I think my family would fit in very well with yours!

  • the domestic fringe

    The picture of the chicken flying through the air is priceless. Uh, I have some chairs (I wouldn't call them junk). Would you like a few more, because my hubby isn't fixing mine either?

  • Zoë

    I have the same problem that you do with the chairs…only I tend to haul in strange shelves or odd benches. I'm just attracted to such things, the older the better. But older doesn't always mean better…

  • Margo

    I'm too citified to know: what killed the chickens? I was worried it was some kind of voodoo, but then you talked about keeping out rodents with electric fence.

    I was always jealous of my country cousins and their burn pile 🙂 We city kids to drag trash cans in and out every week. Not fun, not dangerous.

  • teekaroo

    I had to chuckle at the arm hair burning. I've singed my eye brows and eye lashes while tossing stuff onto the burn pile.

    I made the creamy pumpkin pasta from your blog last night. I was worried that the boy wouldn't like it. He's been so picky lately – but he ate three helpings and cleaned out the pot!

Leave a Comment