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Your Homestead Tell and show others with words and pictures how you built or are building your homestead and how you keep things going day-to-day. One thread per member, please.

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  #1  
Old 07-09-2012, 06:51 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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Default the Buzzard's Roost Tick Farm

A short history of the Buzzard's Roost Tick Farm (named by my youngest daughter complete with a 'warning' sign)
We spent a couple years looking for just the right place to build a retirement home on. The end plan was to retire, grow a garden, raise a few food critters along with their feed, relax and do a little fishing and hunting. Ten to twenty acres on a lake or river, wooded, with easy access… Then it was ‘some property, wooded, buildable, with few restrictions’. After that we were just looking for someplace not in a gully, less than 45 degree slopes and not a bare retired bean field. Price might have had something to do with what we were looking at too?
Finally, while going out to look at yet another glowing description of prime woodlands with multiple building sites we made a side trip to look at what was described as 'rugged hunting land’. We followed the United Country directions on the flyer and found what we were looking for – 40 acres of fairly flat woods with a seasonal (spring rains) creek two miles from a COE lake. Of course we stopped at the sign, looked around and decided we were at the wrong place. There wasn’t much rugged about it, just overgrown, tangled and thick. After a call to the realtor and walking the property we decided our search was over.
We discovered that it had been a working subsistence farm back in the ‘30s. The original house was built around 1900 – 1910. The family grew, the children got married and moved away, the gentleman died, leaving the lady to maintain the area around the house as she grew older. Finally she moved to a nursing home and the place was abandoned about 1960. The local relatives used it as a hunting area and it slowly went back to wilderness.
Fast forward to 2000. The inheriting daughter needed some cash and decided to have it logged off. Her son came in, cut all the accessible saleable timber 24” in diameter and larger, limbed them out and drug the logs to the edge of the property to be picked up by the timber company. Ten years later she decided to sell the property and that’s where we came in.
The house was falling in, the root cellar full of water with a wall caved in and no sign of a driveway we could find. The son pulled a post in the fence fronting the County Road and made a hillbilly gate (make a section of fence with short unset posts laying on the ground, stand it in the opening, wire one end to a post and take a length of chain around the other post to hook the foot of the other gate fence section and a stick to wire to the top of the gatepost to hold the top of the gate fence post upright) and called it good. That was April first, 2010.
It took two weekends to make a clearing large enough to get the truck on the property and off the county road. It rained on the third weekend and we had to find somebody to pull us the 2 truck lengths onto the County Road. Dropping a tire between two stumps cut off at ground level makes really good wheel blocks when you sink 4” into the mud, while going down to the frame with a front tire as you drive into a unpacked hole from a dug up stump…
After we made a reliable parking spot we cut a path back into the property. We cleared out an area for a tent and campfire and packed in wood to build the outhouse. It took almost a year to cut trees, clear brush and burn rotted tree tops to the point we could have gravel delivered to make it a little more certain that we would get back out from the campsite after driving into the homestead. Our first goal was to develop it to the point that we could stay and work year around; a cabin, a driveway back to where we will build the house, a water supply and enough cleared ground that we could put in a garden for the critters to raid while we are gone.
Fast forward to today and we have a great weekend place; a deluxe outhouse, a nearly completed 12x20 foot 2 room cottage with a wood burning stove, an 8x12 shed, an empty campground for all those people that claimed they would be out to help and to camp on the weekends, a few hundred feet of driveway that doesn’t seem to go anywhere in particular and lots of critters that take great delight in coming by to see if we have left anything out that they can get into.
Most of our work is invisible; trees (with stumps) and brushpiles evaporate, leaving no sign that they ever existed. “What? You didn’t have a driveway when you bought the place? If that wasn’t cleared how did you know where to put the Cottage? Why does that section of driveway go through the fence next to the gate?” But in two years of weekend work we have made progress to the point that we could move in and stay if we had to.
For those that plan on doing things like we are keep in mind that you will be doing productive (?) work one day a week. Driving down on Friday after work gives you time to unload and look around at what changed since you left last Sunday. You go to work bright and early on Saturday and work until it gets too hot for heavy labor – or tending a bonfire. Supper goes into the “Camper’s Crockpot” (dutch oven), covered in coals from the morning bonfire, and off to the Lake we go to wash off and cool down. Back to the Tick Farm for supper and then maybe a little light work and cleanup in the evening. An hour or so just sitting around and enjoying the peace & quiet (that’s why we are there after all!) and its bedtime. We can always tell cuz the local whippoorwill comes around with his cry of “Go to Bed!, Go to Bed!” as the deer come down to drink from the plastic pond and the raccoon makes her rounds to see if we left anything out that might be good, or at least eatable. Sunday morning is spent cleaning up, finishing off the odds & ends that weren’t completed yesterday and then it’s time to load up and head back to town.
My only complaint is that we really need an air conditioner. There is something wrong with the air – it makes me tired every time we go down there. I’m sure the air needs conditioned somehow…
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  #2  
Old 07-09-2012, 07:28 PM
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Txanne Female Txanne is offline
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LOL Yes the fresh air will do that to you!!!

I just love your post and beginnings----

All (those) people will be out to (help) when you
get it all comfy---been there done that--How I envy you--

A gentle wind at your back--a shade tree in front of you.

annie
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Last edited by Txanne; 07-09-2012 at 07:31 PM. Reason: add
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  #3  
Old 07-09-2012, 08:48 PM
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Congrats,
Sounds like your dream is comming true and that you have peace at your place. Yea the fresh air tends to do that. lol
Welcome loved your post & look forward to more.
sissy
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  #4  
Old 07-09-2012, 09:47 PM
bookwormom bookwormom is offline
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Love your post tick farmer. You done great. And now I know what the whipporwhill is calling. My neighbour Walter said it wanted to go to West Berlin. Now what would it do there.
How old are the youngens?
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  #5  
Old 07-10-2012, 01:24 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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Somehow my kids got old. Not sure how that happened...
The youngest one is 37, the oldest 42.

By the way, the Farmerette corrected me. The whipporwill is saying "Time for bed!", not Go to Bed, like I claimed.
A couple weekends ago we were out in the latest spot we were clearing and he showed up, yelling, calling and getting pretty excited. I told him we were going and not to get his feathers all aruffled. He followed us back to the Cottage and kept up until we finished washing up and went inside. I guess that made him happy cuz he wandered off to yell at somebody else. (But he came back to check on us and make sure we stayed inside)

Last edited by TickFarmer; 07-11-2012 at 01:30 PM.
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  #6  
Old 07-10-2012, 11:26 PM
macgeoghagen macgeoghagen is offline
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You're off to a good start.
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  #7  
Old 07-16-2012, 01:27 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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This past weekend we got the cabinets installed in the Cottage and decided that we needed to bring the countertop back to town to modify for the drop-in propane stove top that will be installed next weekend. Who knew that you needed a clothes iron to put the endcaps on the countertop? It will be easier to cut out the hole using a powered saw, so it might not be a total loss of time.

So in out "free" time, instead of installing the countertop, we braved the 100 degree heat and dug some more on the big stump. Sure wish the stump digging Fairies would notice our efforts and chip through that concrete hard clay and knaw through the roots during the night. I’m beginning to wonder if I should figure out how to poke a deep hole or three down in the ground around that stump and drop some fox lure down them. Think they would try to dig out that smell?

We are in a drought. The plastic pond (a kiddie wading pool that blew into the yard in town that nobody claimed for a week) was down to about a gallon of water. We cleaned it out and refilled it with 35 gallons of fresh water. That’s how much the wild critters drank and had evaporated over the past week…
Until we set that little bit of water out we had no wildlife at all. Now we have a few squirrels and a family of rabbits to feed the hawks and owls that hang around. Weekend before last we had a Mama deer and twin fawns stop by for a drink while we were there. The bees and wasps like it and even the birds prefer landing on the big rock in the middle of the plastic pond to get a drink.

The wild plums are ripening and we have a fair crop of persimmons that should be dried up by the time it frosts. They should be turning here in a week or so.

Not sure if it is the heat, lack of water or if somebody is stealing our stock, but only found two ticks last weekend. None of the neighbors admitted noticing a tick herd being driven off the place, but maybe I should put a trail camera up near the gate. They sure were (suspiciously) smiling when I asked…

Y’all have a good day!
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  #8  
Old 07-16-2012, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TickFarmer View Post
So in out "free" time, instead of installing the countertop, we braved the 100 degree heat and dug some more on the big stump. Sure wish the stump digging Fairies would notice our efforts and chip through that concrete hard clay and knaw through the roots during the night. I’m beginning to wonder if I should figure out how to poke a deep hole or three down in the ground around that stump and drop some fox lure down them. Think they would try to dig out that smell?
I can tell you that for me a half dozen small pigs have done an admirable job exposing stump roots in just two weeks. Enough that I can clip a couple of the bigger ones with the chain saw now and easily pull the stump with the tractor.

I'm enjoying your thread. Keep up the good work and the good postings!
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  #9  
Old 07-22-2012, 12:00 AM
Mike LI Male Mike LI is offline
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Sounds a lot like my place only advantage I had was a driveway,cowpath. So I to could get my truck stuck in the mud just like you. It was a lot of old cow pasture that has been overgrown for a " few years". Last guy planted in the mud so I have a lot of ruts kinda dangerous as his tractor was bigger then mine so I could easily flip it. TIpped it the other day to a 35 degree angle or so. I find myself mowing backwards as it is safer even though I walk every inch of what I mow. I got a bunch clear now and I'm planing for next year.

It's nice to cool off at the lake but sometimes I just like to let the breeze dry what I call my "Sweat equity" then I hit my field shower. Water cans left in the field all day to heat up

We're on the way.
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  #10  
Old 07-22-2012, 01:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TickFarmer View Post
This past weekend we got the cabinets installed in the Cottage and decided that we needed to bring the countertop back to town to modify for the drop-in propane stove top that will be installed next weekend. Who knew that you needed a clothes iron to put the endcaps on the countertop? It will be easier to cut out the hole using a powered saw, so it might not be a total loss of time.

So in out "free" time, instead of installing the countertop, we braved the 100 degree heat and dug some more on the big stump. Sure wish the stump digging Fairies would notice our efforts and chip through that concrete hard clay and knaw through the roots during the night. I’m beginning to wonder if I should figure out how to poke a deep hole or three down in the ground around that stump and drop some fox lure down them. Think they would try to dig out that smell?

We are in a drought. The plastic pond (a kiddie wading pool that blew into the yard in town that nobody claimed for a week) was down to about a gallon of water. We cleaned it out and refilled it with 35 gallons of fresh water. That’s how much the wild critters drank and had evaporated over the past week…
Until we set that little bit of water out we had no wildlife at all. Now we have a few squirrels and a family of rabbits to feed the hawks and owls that hang around. Weekend before last we had a Mama deer and twin fawns stop by for a drink while we were there. The bees and wasps like it and even the birds prefer landing on the big rock in the middle of the plastic pond to get a drink.

The wild plums are ripening and we have a fair crop of persimmons that should be dried up by the time it frosts. They should be turning here in a week or so.

Not sure if it is the heat, lack of water or if somebody is stealing our stock, but only found two ticks last weekend. None of the neighbors admitted noticing a tick herd being driven off the place, but maybe I should put a trail camera up near the gate. They sure were (suspiciously) smiling when I asked…

Y’all have a good day!


Its a sad day when a family cant even leave without some thief taking advantage
of the absence---I dont know whats on the law books about tick theft.

Please accept my condoleneces---I am saddened by your lost.
I can send you a new crop of squitors to replace them--try a different crop of critters.

annie---walking off --giggleing
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  #11  
Old 07-24-2012, 12:49 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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Glad to know you are enjoying our 'progress' at the Tick Farm. I figure, if nothing else, it will give others an idea of how not to do it...

Last weekend we took the modified countertop back. It dropped in place just fine, as did the stovetop. Except we forgot to take the drawer fronts… The base cabinet for the stovetop is a regular base cabinet instead of a sink cabinet. It was $30 cheaper, and in stock. All I had to do was remove the drawers (and hardware), disassemble them and later stick the drawer fronts on. So it will get glued & screwed next weekend.
We actually had visitors. A friend & his son came out Friday night to camp over the weekend. I thought it was interesting that they unknowingly picked a spot next to the sunshower instead of the Family Campground near the Cottage & Outhouse to set up a tent. Saturday morning the Mama deer & twin fawns wandered down the half built roadbed and discovered their tent. Mama snorted and they crashed off into the brush. Ron wasn’t sure what kind of man eating beast was attacking but waited until they were long gone before venturing out of his tent.
After coffee we dug on the big stump some more. They watched and even helped a little. That got boring (and hot) quickly so they went to play in the lake and explore the surrounding area. After another hour or so the sun started hitting that area so we moved over to where last weekend we had snaked a few logs into the beginnings of a clearing where we plan to build a pole barn/tractor shed. A couple of the logs will become firewood, the half rotted ones are just being cut into manageable lengths to toss into the bonfire at our Anniversary Party & campout next Labor Day Weekend. Y’all are invited! Bring gloves… and saws, shovels, bulldozers, backhoes, road compactors…
When the saw ran out of gas we decided it was our turn to go play in the Lake. After we washed off, played in the water & filled our water drums to refill the plastic pond & washwater barrel we returned to find our visitors packing up to go home. I guess 105 degrees is a little warm for camping?

I noticed that some of the wild plums are turning into wild prunes right there on the trees. Just how nice is that? Just makes my job storing them easier and easier!

Last edited by TickFarmer; 07-24-2012 at 01:37 PM.
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  #12  
Old 07-24-2012, 01:41 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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In case you wanted to inspect the stump. After that one there are more...
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  #13  
Old 07-24-2012, 03:22 PM
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How about a little dynamite?
Beats all that sweating and sore muscles.

Txanne
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  #14  
Old 08-08-2012, 02:30 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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July was hot and dry at the Tick Farm. What little rain was in the area managed to miss us. The past couple weekends found us pretty much just trying to avoid getting heatstroke. It did, however, make us seriously start thinking about an underground house, or at least an earth-contact one. On or off grid, any free cooling is better than none!
The counter got installed, along with drawer fronts and stovetop. All that’s left is the piping and a tank and that will be operation. Or will be when it gets wet, windy and cold… The outdoor kitchen works much better right now.
We finished up the attic vents installation and spent the afternoon refilling the various critter water tanks and watering the transplanted shrubs & bushes we have planted. Strangely enough the deer are leaving them alone. I know they hang out right beside the Cottage cuz we kick them up on a regular basis and they show up every morning & evening to get a drink. We have a Mama deer with twin fawns that think we exist just to refill the plastic pond. The fawns think we are going to do something interesting one of these days and come to watch us. Mama deer comes to drag them off on a regular basis.

August is predicted to be cooler than July was, so we will be back to digging stumps and working on the driveway. If it ever rains we might even go back to clearing where we plan on putting the pole barn for storing the tractor & equipment. I don’t know what the fire danger level is but there have been fires along the road to the Lake, about ¾ mile from us. Looks like one was started in/near a row of round baled hay and the floating embers caught a few other places in the area. Looks like 30-40 bales of hay and 3 to 5 acres burnt from what I have seen.
But it brought up another question. We have a volunteer fire department in the county. Any fire on our place will have an hour response time, at best. What firefighting precautions do you have in place at your homestead? Do you test/exercise your system on a regular basis?
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Old 08-08-2012, 05:04 PM
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Ackk...I need a magnifying glass for that font!
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  #16  
Old 08-10-2012, 10:57 AM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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Default Same thing - different font

July was hot and dry at the Tick Farm. What little rain was in the area managed to miss us. The past couple weekends found us pretty much just trying to avoid getting heatstroke. It did, however, make us seriously start thinking about an underground house, or at least an earth-contact one. On or off grid, any free cooling is better than none!
The counter got installed, along with drawer fronts and stovetop. All that’s left is the piping and a tank and that will be operation. Or will be when it gets wet, windy and cold… The outdoor kitchen works much better right now.
We finished up the attic vents installation and spent the afternoon refilling the various critter water tanks and watering the transplanted shrubs & bushes we have planted. Strangely enough the deer are leaving them alone. I know they hang out right beside the Cottage cuz we kick them up on a regular basis and they show up every morning & evening to get a drink. We have a Mama deer with twin fawns that think we exist just to refill the plastic pond. The fawns think we are going to do something interesting one of these days and come to watch us. Mama deer comes to drag them off on a regular basis.

http://www.backwoodshome.com/forum/v...&pictureid=630

August is predicted to be cooler than July was, so we will be back to digging stumps and working on the driveway. If it ever rains we might even go back to clearing where we plan on putting the pole barn for storing the tractor & equipment. I don’t know what the fire danger level is but there have been fires along the road to the Lake, about ¾ mile from us. Looks like one was started in/near a row of round baled hay and the floating embers caught a few other places in the area. Looks like 30-40 bales of hay and 3 to 5 acres burnt from what I have seen.

But it brought up another question. We have a volunteer fire department in the county. Any fire on our place will have an hour response time, at best. What firefighting precautions do you have in place at your homestead? Do you test/exercise your system on a regular basis?
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Old 08-11-2012, 02:15 PM
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S2man S2man is offline
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Karen, in Firefox I can hit Ctrl + and Ctrl - keys to enlarge or shrink the text size.

TF, we just have two fire extinguishers. One near, but not in, the kitchen. The other at the bottom of the stairs, between the woodstove and the kitchen. Locations (and extinguishers) were provided my our neighbor/friend who does extinguishers for a living. You don't want the ext right next to the potential fire area; you want it where you can pick it up while running toward the fire.

After the ext's are used up, I guess we grab a hose. We are only 4 miles from the firehouse, but they are volunteer, also. I'm not sure how long it would take them to get here.

The house in front of us is burned down, a stark reminder of the potential.

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Old 08-11-2012, 09:26 PM
Echoesechos Female Echoesechos is offline
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Default Fire

What is your biggest threat? Structure or wildland? Lots you can do to make your property more wildland fire safe. House too.. We have places that are dually portected, singly protected and unprotected both. I work for a wildland fire agency, and some of the places I've seen are down right scary. But mostly what people are concerned about are their neighbors. Their neighbors on the other hand are concerned about them....

If you within a wildland fire agency jurisdiction, they probably would do a free hazardous fuel inspection to give you ideas what you might do to lesson your exposure and risk.

Quite often structural agencies do the same thing. There are simple areas/ways one can reduce their risk.
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Old 08-13-2012, 07:21 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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The weekend was good at the Tick Farm this weekend. They always are! Much cooler than it has been.
We spent most of our time digging on that stump in the concrete hard ground. While we worked we discussed trying the concrete vibrator idea from another thread. I may have to check at a different rental company, though. We figure that by renting one for a weekend we should find out if it works well enough to cough up the funds to purchase one. However… I recommend you do not tell them what you plan on doing with it.
“Doing some thick flatwork this weekend?”
“No, thought we would try to vibrate some stumps out of the ground with it. Just about anything is better than trying to chip through that clay.”
“Stumps, huh? Maybe you should rent a backhoe, instead. How do you use a vibrator to get stumps out?”
“Well, I haven’t tried it yet myself, but we heard that you drill a hole the diameter of the prod, jam it in and fire her up. It vibrates the stump and the dirt just falls off the roots. Then it’s just a matter of cutting the roots and lifting it out of the hole.”
“Hummm. Never heard of such a thing. I’d guess it will have to fit pretty close in that drilled hole. How you gunna get it back out after you pull the stump?”
“I’m hoping it will just slide out. If not, a chainsaw and splitting wedges?”
“I think we will have to double the deposit and make a note to check the thing when you bring it back. That’s $65 rental for the weekend and a $250 deposit. That is, if you pick it up on Saturday. We are closed on Sunday, so it won’t be due back until Monday. If you pick it up on Friday I can give you the 3 day rate, but that would include Sunday. Only $30 more. You sure you don’t want a backhoe instead?”
Instead, we dug. And dug. I think we are beginning to get a rice odor out of that hole…
But it wasn’t all hard work. Mama deer’s boyfriend showed up at the plastic pond. A young forkhorn, pranced around and showed off for a little while, until he discovered us standing there watching him. He got embarrassed and slid off into the woods.
Sunday morning as we were drinking coffee and discussing who needed to fix breakfast a squirrel went over to the plastic pond for a drink. He over centered trying to balance on the edge and fell in. We laughed and he cussed. A lot. Not sure he actually got his drink, but he told the world about his wet fur and might even have accused somebody of pushing him when he wasn’t paying attention.
As we were packing up to leave it started raining. Don’t know how much it ended up, but the ground was wet when we left. Maybe the drought has broken?

He got an update on the local fire. It was started by a truck pulling a boat that was coming from the Lake. The hitch wasn’t locked and the ball jumped off the hitch and skidded on the pavement. The sparks started the fire and it wasn’t noticed until it was too much for the guy to contain. Seems he was much more interested in the boat sliding halfway off the trailer.
We were told it burned 300 bales of hay with the flying embers starting fires in 3 different locations, burning a total of 60 acres.
I guess I’m not real worried about a cabin fire, but there is no way I could fight a woods fire, even if we were there at the time. We have cleaned out a lot of the underbrush & down/dead wood around the cabin, but not all. Another thing to put on the ‘to-do’ list.
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Old 08-14-2012, 03:15 AM
Echoesechos Female Echoesechos is offline
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Also clean your perimeter back. Thinning of the trees keeps the fire on the ground and easier for control measurers to be taken. Cover wood piles during summer months, screen under deck/porches. You might have seen news footage in CA where embers are seen swirling down the streets, it's where they might end ou thats the concern. If they land in a wood pile think of the heat generation that would produce.

We have a structure/wildfire going on right now that started with a loud explosion. I heard and felt it 10 miles away. 3 hours later ammo stored in the buildings are still going off. This gentleman had some visits from the ATF a few years ago. So far no one has sustained any injuries but many homes with cracked and blown out windows, doors blown off/open, neighbors with glass all over their homes, materials strung out about 2 miles..... Multiple spot fires but our crews caught them and no one elses properties have any fire damage, just blast damage. Had a propane tank venting inside the fire area, thankfully it was venting, it's when it stops that you have a concern. The live ammo added some complexity we could do without. I'm always afraid for our crews when they come upon that kind of scene.
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