Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Rites Of Spring


That was a large sort of weekend.

Spring has arrived, right? First of September, all that shit. Also, an anniversary for Natalie and I. Not wedding, but just getting together: nineteen years. Fuck, eh? Who knew?

By chance, the weekend was clear. And we had a three-year-old pile of deadfall timber, tree branches, old furniture, leftover timber from renovations, etc. Huuuuge forkin' pile of flammable stuff.

Not at all by chance, I had completed the basic work on the new fire-pit, near the playground. It's nice. Low, curved brick wall backed with earth, for sitting on. Gravelled surround. Nice, deep, gravel-lined pit, walled with fieldstone, lined with concrete pavers to protect the stone.

As you can see, the Ducks Were Lined Up.

Therefore, I brought out the Shotgun of Merriment, and shot the bastards down.

It wasn't really an organised thing. Just one of those neighbourly events, with added kids. (Total kid-count: eleven.) We started a nice little fire in the new pit, and toasted marshmallows and wieners. When the fire burned down appropriately, I slid a makeshift grill over the top, and cooked a mass of mushrooms and chicken and fish and chops and pork and sausages. Meanwhile, I took advantage of those concrete bricks (now thoroughly hot) and wrapped a very large number of vegetables in foil. Potatoes, pumpkin, sweet potato, and sweet corn. The vegetables roasted nicely between the coals and the hot bricks, while up above, the grill-specific comestibles toasted nicely, with plenty of smoky flavour. Yum!

In the background, there were kids. Kids with waterguns. Kids with nerfguns. Kids climbing shit. Kids with balloons. Kids chasing each other. Kids wrestling. There was also plenty of beer (a carton of Boag's St George) and cider, and wine brought by various neighbourly sorts.

Sometime around dark, I went down to the Gigantic Burnable Heap, and applied twenty litres of accelerant. For those who need to know: a fifty-fifty mix of diesel and petrol is recommended by those professionals I know who have to light backburn fires safely. I'm happy to say it worked very well. Your Mileage May Vary. I am Not Responsible for Any Stupidity You May Enact. Bear in mind that I live in Tasmania, and we've had a long, wet winter. There was zero chance of starting any unwanted fires... and despite that, we still had a nice quorum of sober, adult observers.

Natalie wasn't altogether impressed with my twenty-litre effort, mind you. She thought it was overkill. Heh. I did mention a long, wet, winter, didn't I? The fire burned down, and smouldered through the night, though we had a brief thunderstorm at 0500. It burned out sometime the next night, when yet another lot of rain arrived... and it turns out that maybe half the heap has burned. But all around the edges, where I put the accelerant to start it... nope. Still a hell of a lot of fuel there. I'm either going to have to repeat the process, or even hop on the tractor and see if I can scrape it together.

Either way: that was a very fine Spring Bonfire night. Here's hoping the rest of the season is as pleasant.


  1. 19 eh! wicked, fkn good effort I say because one thing I KNOW is for sure, this shit does not happen without bucket loads of thought and what not from both parties. GOOD JOB...FKN GOOD JOB!

    Jesus, remind me also to NEVER start a fire in front of Nat, I would have done NO FKN DIFFERENT..well, maybe 25 ltrs of both!

  2. To be fair, Natalie's job is essentially risk management in other people. Admittedly it's all about health, but the habit kicks in. And she's had to treat plenty of burns.

    The problem is that all she sees in her surgery are the failures, so she her idea of the risk involved is a fair bit greater than the reality. And just as unfortunately, you can't simply place that logical, rational argument on the table and expect it to work.

    You're right: a fifty-litre total would probably have been a better idea. But I didn't have the carrying capacity in terms of drums, etc. In any case, I'm pretty sure that even Nat is a bit more relaxed about the stuff now...

  3. And to be honest, Natalie is at the pointy end. Mrs H has an elder brother with extensive burns from waist to tip, so its no surprise she rather hates people putting any form of fuel onto fires. Cringing when she sees this is the norm, vocalising her displeasure also par as well.