Yesterday marked the beginning of leaf raking and, therefore, burning. We can burn the leaves in our driveway, see, because we live in an area zoned agricultural. This basically means, "Do what you want on your land and your neighbors will have to deal with it."
Luckily, we don't have close neighbors, and the ones we do have are used to our woodchuck ways.
I meant to just rake the leaves off the patio on the south side so they wouldn't turn into a slippery walking hazard during the forecasted five days of rain we have coming up. But then I had to rake the patio leaves onto the lawn, so I thought I might as well rake the leaves on the lawn into the driveway. And then, since it was relatively dry and sunny, I thought I might as well burn the two resulting piles right away.
I am always surprised, however, by how damn hard it is to get the leaves to light.
I KNOW. They're dead leaves! Isn't that the very definition of a fire hazard?
Not in upstate New York. It's wet here. Even if it's not actively raining or snowing, there is always a heavy dew on the ground in the morning. The leaves are always damp. They are always hard to get going with matches. In very wet falls, I have resorted to using a little old motor oil or gas to get the piles started. Yesterday it took me about six matches per pile before they got going.
At least the risk of accidental fires is low.
The children, of course, love leaf burning time*. Not only are there nice big piles of leaves to leap around in, but the lighting of the leaves means they can play firemen.
What's going on back there with Cubby and Charlie?
Cubby is helping Charlie put on his fireman's mask to keep out the smoke. Obviously.
Luckily for me, we were out of water at this particular moment, which made it pretty easy to stop a determined Fireman Cubby from bringing over the hose to put out the fire.
I say "luckily," although my pregnant back did not think I was so lucky when I was hauling the five-gallon gas can down to the beach to start the water pump. Then coming back up to get a screwdriver to fix the pump before actually starting it. With both children in tow.
But that's a story for another day.