Forest Patch and Fire Pits - Understanding Eli

Monday, January 14, 2019

Forest Patch and Fire Pits

If I were to create a list of things I love about this homestead, one thing that would be close to the top, is the little forest patch we have. It's not massive by any means, but it's big enough to keep me more than satisfied. I have long been fond of being in the woods - hiking, camping, foraging, hunting, whatever it may be - and having my own petite patch to play in is something precious to me. We are smack dab in the middle of large fields, and our property is pretty open except for that forest line. From the historical aerial photographs I've been looking at lately, that patch has been there for quite a while too, obviously kept there for a reason. It's about 3/4's of an acre I would guess, perhaps more, stretched mostly along one side; the north side. This is extremely helpful in blocking that cold north wind in the winters, and likely the main reason it hasn't been totally cleared - nor will it be while I'm still alive. The area is filled with a mix of trees and other vegetation, some of which are producing edibles, like apple and nut trees, with berry bushes on the edges. There are a couple of other surprises hidden in there as well, but for now I want to focus on just the vegetation.

I've already spent a considerable amount of time cleaning up dead debris to help free pinned down tress and shrubs, and encourage other growth. I have created piles of broken trees and limbs scattered throughout. They'll be temporary habitats for creatures until I get a chance to gather and burn it all. Several of the trees are at the end of their cycle now, and are toppled over, or about to be. We lost 3 rather large ones since we've been owners actually, falling during a couple of bad wind storms we experienced in the fall. It was sad to see them go, but I know it's all part of the process, and there is a lot of growth in there, lots to develop. I am doing my part to help that along, with that cleanup I mentioned. We are also going to transplant some trees to different areas, and plant new ones to fill it out even more. Its just one more section of the homestead where I have many projects planned in my head. One in particular I want to develop, and have started to, is a little winding trail through the trees which will connect to the full perimeter path - already carved and maintained when we arrived, mostly by way of a ride on mower - that surrounds the entire property. I have been picking at that trail each time I stroll through the trees, something I do nearly every day, but it will be a work in progress for quite a long time methinks.

The forest also helps satisfy another love of mine. I'm a bit of fire-bug you see, but not in a malicious way. I just love fires: campfires. bonfires, shed-stove fires; all of it. It probably comes from my childhood, a time I remember enjoying many a fire. Whether it be during my time with the Boy Scouts, or be it on Guy Fawkes night, or all those times at the family cabin that we spent most weekends, or some other random location that my family went for a boil-up. Later in life, I enjoyed fires mainly while camping, or perhaps in the shed back at my parents place around the bay, and sometimes just randomly with some buddies in the woods somewhere outside of St. John's, weather and season permitting of course. But now, now its super easy for me to satisfy that love of stoking fires and feeling the heat of it. There's a bonfire pit, and a cooking pit, already developed on the property, both of which I've used several times in the few months we've been here. The bonfire pit was stacked on a couple of occasions, mostly from the chokecherry trees we cut down. The smaller pit I've been using on the weekends mostly, as I begin to burn the long dead debris I've been cleaning up. I like to have the fire going while I play in the yard, or clean up in the workshop, chicken coop, or barn. The place is still new to us and we have a lot to sort through and many projects planned, something we continuously poke at. The fire is just nice to have going while I do any of that, and the kettle is always close by, for when I want a boil-up. Everything tastes better over an open fire, even just a cup of tea, and its super nice to have a easy way for me to enjoy that.

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