Necessary Evils

Yesterday the weather and I finally synched up and I was able to start burning. Now, for folks that don’t farm in certain areas, the idea of setting fire to your own property may seem like a weird thing to do. Here, as in many farming areas, it is a necessary evil. Yes, it adds smoke to the air quality. But for a lot of farmers it is the only economical way of dealing with field stubble. Unfortunately, last summer my finances and body did not cooperate, and a lot of the property did not get mowed nearly as much as it should have. The grass and weeds are all dried out and need to be dealt with before spring comes and things start growing again.

I am a firm believer in control burns, heavy emphasis on the “control” part. Since I am working alone and slowly, I want to make sure that the burn doesn’t get away from me and cause damage. I have lost things because the evil neighbor on one side sets his burns and lets them get going to a point where he cannot control the flames. I need to make major repairs to one of my animal sheds because of him. I move slowly and protect things as much as possible. Around trees and structures I will light and snuff out several times, clearing areas so that I can then move farther away and set fires that can burn up to the cleared areas more quickly.

It is interesting how some things burn quickly and fiercely as soon as flame is applied, and some only burn as long as the flame is directly on them. A lot of what grows here is very much appreciated by the beasties when it is young and actively growing, but as it matures they turn their noses up at the same vegetation. So burn it must.

My back didn’t hold out as long as I’d hoped, but I got a start. The front part of the driveway got done. I’ve got a long way to go, since I’ve got 5 acres and about 80% of it needs this treatment. I’d like to think I got about 1/4 acre done, but I may be overly optimistic. Oh well, baby steps in all things.

When I came in from playing pyromaniac, I spent quite a bit of time sending pictures from my phone to the computer and then organizing them on the ‘puter. It took some time, but again, was necessary in the long run. It was fun to clean things up and get them so I can find them again.

I’ve been spending some time thinking about one other necessary evil – money. Can’t get by without it. Food for me and the beasties, utilities, insurances, it all adds up. I’ve got my Etsy shop, and while I appreciate the folks that “like” my stuff, I still haven’t made any sales there and that is discouraging to say the least. I’ve got a couple of shows that I do where I do make sales, but I would very much like for the animals to at least pay their own way. I’d love it if they made enough for me to not have to work off the farm. I’ve made a Facebook page for the farm (Majora Acres, if you want to check it out), and I’m considering the logistics of setting up a fiber CSA.  Anyone want to adopt a sheep?

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3 Responses to “Necessary Evils”

  1. justthreadtwiddling Says:

    We only have 2 acres and there are two of us. Our only livestock is two Border Collie pups. It is still too much for me to do much of the work, and hub works full time in town. When he is home he has about 20 hours a week in his machine shop. When we bought this place 20 years ago, we had such lofty goals…

    • majorasue Says:

      Yeah, we bought our place about 15 years ago, and had huge plans. I’ve put up some fences and built some small shelters for the flock. My sweetie was a willing worker, but totally inept and didn’t take direction well. He and his dad did a couple of things, including building a goat shed with 1/4″ plywood (the goats had a grand time punching holes in it until it came down!)

      It’s a lot of work by myself, and none of the neighbors seem to have noticed that I could use a hand. Unfortunately, I have a genetic defect that makes it impossible for me to ask for help. Still, wouldn’t want to give it all up…

  2. Leigh Says:

    Very interesting post Sue. I can commiserate about the necessity for money, also about poor Etsy sales. I tried that for a long while and finally gave up. Field and pasture maintenance is another issue I can relate to. Our place was neglected for years, so we are concerned about our goats. My DH is willing and able, but over the road a lot. I know he feels frustrated and not being able to do more, but it’s just the way things are. I’m here 24/7, but much more limited in what I can do. A fiber CSA sounds like an excellent idea.

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