Tag Archives: fire break

Fire Break and Leftover Weeds to Kill

I’m feeling much safer from the threat of wild-fire now. Not that we can actually control when one breaks out, how bad it will be, how the wind will factor in, etc., but I’m feeling more proactive – we’ve acknowledged the threat, and have done what is possible to do to not lose everything if we have one.

Foy Brown did a wonderful job for us. I feel good that he’s willing to come back and redo this area twice a year now. As well as making us safer, he opened up our view of the valley below for us. We love watching the seasons change.

Things are about 98% +  better than they were. Molly and I surveyed the areas that need the weed killer when the time is right.  You can see more weed trees to the left of the picture behind the bird bath. I’ll spray those, and some other weedy type greenery.

 

As you can see, Foy got rid of a bunch. I’ll spray behind the telephone pole and to the other side of this picture, where the brush was in the rocks.

 

 

The weeds were above my head all around the metal flower when we started. Now there are just a few areas needing to be sprayed.  Rain is forecast for tonight-into-tomorrow, with temperatures still high (it IS summer) but humidity a lot lower this weekend and into next week. Maybe I’ll get a good day to finish this project!

 

 

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Filed under Gardening, Housekeeping - Maintenance

Foy is Still Working

This is Foy Brown driving the tractor up and over the edge of the civilized part of our back yard yesterday. He told us he would be back this morning, and my husband said he would help him air up a low tire on the tractor before starting. He’s out there working in the hot as I type, trying to finish up our fire break today.

Up on top of a ridge line, we don’t have to worry about floods – flash or otherwise. We don’t have hurricanes here, or storm surges from the ocean. We do have to worry about lightning, tornadoes, high wind, and wild fires.

We do all we can to protect ourselves from lightning strikes. One year we lost our whole entertainment center plus a couple of appliances due to a lightning strike nearby. We’ve since built in some better protection.

Wild fires are the next most likely threat. About 7 years ago we hired a nice man to run his bulldozer over things to create a break. He died, and we hadn’t been able to find anyone who had equipment or interest in helping us redo the break until now.

Our view will be opened up, which is a truly enjoyable thing. The peace of mind that we’ve lowered our risks a bit in the event of a wild fire is beyond price.  When Foy is finished, I’ll follow up his good efforts with the weed killer we got recently. It’s a concentrate, and we have a good 3 gallon sprayer to use. Foy did mention he saw a copperhead in the rocks – so I’ll be sure to wear boots and pay attention.

Amber has been upset that she lost her good, high grass for taking care of business; but with 8 acres, we think she can probably find several other good spots…

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Filed under Arkansas, Greenwood, Mother Nature

Progress on the Fire Break?

Our good “man-for-all-sorts-of-difficult-jobs” Foy Brown came over at 8:30 this morning, tractor part in hand. He had to order it from Kansas City and it took all week for it to arrive.

His tractor looks similar to this one. It also has an 8 foot wide brush hog attachment on the back.

At the beginning of last week he brush hogged our side yard, around the greenhouse and over the place we need to construct the ham radio tower. He started brush hogging a fire break for us in the back, but broke a hydraulic part. He and my husband went all over Greenwood, and then Fort Smith, trying to find a replacement, but were unable to. So Foy ordered it.

He’s out in the back now, trying to install the part and get the tractor going.

His wife, Judy, was sitting in the car when I came out. I invited her in for coffee, but she had her little dog, the newspaper, and seemed quite content. She said she would stay until she heard the tractor going – after making sure Foy has his bottle of water, hat, etc.

Hopefully he can get the tractor going and get the fire break done today. It’s too hot to be spending days outside around here. We’ll watch to make sure he takes breaks and is all right.

Fingers crossed he can get the tractor going!

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Filed under Arkansas, Greenwood, Lewis projects

The Miracle of Brush Hogging

Our man-for-all-next-to-impossible-chores, Foy Brown, spent most of the afternoon here yesterday, brush hogging. He has a really nice looking Kubota tractor with a front end loader on the front and an 8 foot wide brush hog attachment on the back.

We needed to have the easement cleared where my greenhouse is – and the ham radio tower WILL be. The grass, blackberry briars, and other assorted weeds were my chest high, and sometimes higher. We need to be able to lay the pieces of the tower down on the ground in order, run two kinds of cables through it, test the system, and then put it together and haul it up.

 

 

After Foy finished brush hogging to the east side of the house, you can clearly see the greenhouse!  If you’ll strain your eyes a bit, you can see the wooden edge of the form for the base of the ham radio tower to the right of the greenhouse.

 

This is the view to the north of the greenhouse.

 

 

He then went across the edge of the civilized part of our back yard, where I’ve been trying to lop down and throw weed trees.  He did a wonderful job. We still have weed trees, but they’re growing in extremely rocky ground, between rocks just shoved down the side of the hill when our house was built 30 years ago. You can’t tackle this area with any kind of riding equipment. I’ll lop what I can of the remaining trees.

 

You can see where I’ll need to do a bit of clean up, and then a LOT of spraying with the nice weed killer that is on its way to us.

 

We showed Foy where he could go down past the pile up of rocks and get to the area we would like to have cleared to renew our fire break. He did a lot of work yesterday, but then a part of the hydraulic line broke. He’ll need to get a new part to repair the tractor – now in the back off the edge of our world, ready for him to climb down and repair it. He said he’ll be back before Saturday to finish up what he can do back there.

Between the help drilling the hole we needed for the radio tower and the brush hogging, Foy is worth his weight in gold.

The next step on the ham radio tower is getting 16 bags of sac-crete. Our friend Dave has a concrete mixer!  He’s going to bring it and help us mix and pour the concrete, we think tomorrow. Hooray!

 

 

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Filed under Friendship, Lewis projects

2 Hand-Held, 1 Push Weed Whacker, and a Fire

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My husband is finishing running the mower and the push weed whacker out of gas so that we can store them until next spring. Essentially, I’ve been out in the yard the whole day trying to cut down what remained between what we affectionately call the ‘civilized’ part of our back yard and the hill below, mostly left wild.

 

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Since we’re getting a little long in the tooth these days, we hired a young, strong highly recommended guy to cut down stuff to open our view back up and also create a fire break in the case of wildfire. He worked as he could on the weekends, holding a full-time job with the city and also taking care of the lawns of about 20 people.

 

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I used one hand-held weed whacker which lost its cap for the cord about a third of the way through the job. My husband found a replacement cap and ordered it on the net. Meanwhile, I used the second hand-held weed whacker. It worked for a time and then I had to stop to pull out more cord, since what I was cutting was really too much for the little thing. After this happened for the fourth time, I stopped and came in to rest.

 

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My husband got out our push weed whacker that looks much like a small lawn mower, saying it would make quick work of the remaining stuff. We couldn’t get it started, though. We decided that there was condensation in the gas and had to work with it for a LONG time to finally get it running. I used it and was able to do quite a bit more, but the land slopes pretty violently down across the yard and I didn’t want to end up on my head half way down the hill with various parts cut off. We also had stuff sticking up here and there that was too much for even the push around whacker.

 

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Since the breeze was coming UP the hill, my husband took lighter fluid and a lighter down past where Shane had cut and lit it up while I stood ready with the garden hose with a sprayer attached.

 

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The fire made quick work of the remaining stuff, and there were only a couple of small spots that were up in the yard portion.

 

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My husband kept trying to get me to react more slowly to the fire, but to no avail. I did NOT want the thing to get out of control and burn the house down after we had spent all this money and time trying to prevent just that!

 

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There’s still some neatening up we can do, plus more burning we can do if we get a really good rain, but the main part of the clean up is done now. We can again see the valley from anywhere in the back yard, and we have a reasonable fire break, making me feel a lot safer.

 

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I had planned to do a lot more in the yard today, but I feel good that we at least finished one of the things on our to-do list.

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Money Well Spent

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When we were looking for land on which to build our home over 30 years ago, we wanted a lake, a nice creek, or a great view. We found that we couldn’t have all of them, so when we found this piece of land on top of a ridge line in Greenwood with a great view to the south, we jumped on it. When we were sitting on our porch several months ago, we were dismayed that we could no longer see down the hill into the valley due to a huge surge in growth of what we call, “weed trees.” They come up like a rocket and grow no matter what. They’ve particularly enjoyed the wet spring we had and the fairly mild summer.

We were also upset that we had lost our ‘fire break’ that might protect our home in the case of wild-fire.

We hired a man who works in Greenwood, handles several people’s lawns on the weekends, and agreed to take on the project of cutting our weed trees down. We agreed that he would come when he could and would pay him by the hour until the job was done.

He finished today and we’re delighted. This is our view taken while I’m sitting in a chair on the porch.

 

 

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Here’s another shot from another chair on the porch.

 

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Here’s a pic taken while sitting on the deck.

 

 

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This one was taken standing in the yard.

 

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And another. You can see that I still need to use the weed whacker to clean up the edges between the ‘civilized’ part of the back yard and the hill, but that won’t be too large a job.

 

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We’re delighted to have our view back, plus we now feel safer that we could protect our home in case of a wild-fire.

 

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Money well spent, indeed!  THANK YOU, Shane.

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Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, Mother Nature