Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hunka Hunka Burnin' Dung

Yeah, you heard that right....

With spring upon us and the garden calling our names, Dude went out to clear the "yard debris." Not exactly "yard," since it's actually an old garden, but our state has ridiculous rules about what can be burned so we have to evaluate the definitions of what we intend to set on fire. Yard debris it may be, no matter where it's located.

So we had piles of debris out there. Piles of dead branches from the garden, from Clarence. Clumps of dead saltgrass amongst the dead raspberry canes. Collections of ancient bits of wood kept for no apparent reason, at least that we can discern.

And amongst it all, piles of llama dung.

Some was put there on purpose, with the intent of ploughing it all under. Some was put there by the intent of the llamas themselves, they being somewhat clean creatures and very suggestible in their location for bodily habits. Once the last two llamas were moved into more confined spaces, we just assumed it would "compost" into the ground and we'd have a lovely garden.

Dude burned off the debris pile by pile. It was a lovely day, perfect for a controlled burn. Coats were removed in the pleasant conditions and hung in the orchard trees. And promptly forgotten.

The next day, Munchkin went out to get the forgotten coat, and discovered smoke rising from the dirt. Odd, considering the fires were out and Dude is very meticulous with the safety precautions. Upon closer inspection, Munchkin discovered it was the llama dung smoking. Who knew?

We made the historical connection to old-timers burning cowpies. Questions ensued. What was it that made the first cattle farmer burn a cowpie for warmth? Why would that same first cattle farmer ever want to do it again? Would burning dung change the smell of any food cooked over it? Furthermore, would it change the taste? And how long does dung burn? Is it dependent on the relative size of the dung piece? It was all beginning to smell like a science project.

We think the smoke is gone now. We smelled smoke again today, but neighbors are burning fields too and the winds were a little higher than earlier this week. Maybe we should check on the garden yet again....

So is burnt llama dung better for the garden than regular llama dung? Sounds like another science project...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Photo--2014 Buttercups

We've had wildflowers out here for at least a week now. Thought I better get out before the buttercups, the first flowers of the season, were gone.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The West Virginia Connection

A member of our family took the time to trace our lineage from 1616 France. We know that for a time most of the family was settled in Tunnelton, West Virginia before D.O. struck out for the west. In cleaning out the adjacent house here of all paper before the ravages of time and nature took their toll, I found this gem. It's the earliest piece of paper I have yet found out here.

A family trip a few years ago to Tunnelton did not reveal the bank, nor where the family specifically lived. We did find the family church and cemetery, along with the headstone of the one child of D.O. and Hattie that died as a child before they moved west.

Saturday, March 1, 2014