Tuesday, November 20, 2007

pyro girls

Some things just aren't meant to go together:

Belly rolls and crop tops.

Chocolate fudge and brown mustard.

Britney Spears and parenthood.

And my latest discovery:

Californians and leaf burning.

My folk's lake house was practically buried in leaves, so we decided to take care of them in the local way and burn them. It isn't uncommon there at all to pass huge piles of smoldering leaves in front yards with no one even keeping an eye on them. So the kids and I raked and piled and swept for a long time (clearing one not huge area) and filled the fire pit with the leaves.

Enter my mother, fireplace lighter in hand. First she told me I had too many leaves piled in the fire pit, so she took some out. (I thought it was fine, but what do I know?) Then she tried to light the leaves and couldn't. Tried again. Nope. Third time. Negatory on that, good buddy. She looked up at me in disgust and said

One kid with one match in California can burn down 1200 houses and I can't light a pile of dry leaves with a lighter?

She finally got it going and as soon as the flames had barely gotten started we both panicked. I ran to get the hose ready in case we needed it and we both circled nervously the whole time our little leaf pile was actually burning. My mom actually sat for a long time after and watched it work its way down to nothing. I guess a lifetime in a perpetual fire zone will do that to you. There just seems to be something so wrong about deliberately setting anything on fire.

It was a small pile of leaves surrounded by a stone fire pit with a lake on one side and two crazed women with a hose on the other. From our reaction, you would have thought we were burning Rome. This is a close-up of the conflagration. Scary, isn't it?

And for a little perspective, here it is from the dock. (The fire is that itty bitty speck of smoke in the bottom right hand corner)...

Here my mom and kids are planning their getaway for when the Feds catch up to them. The kids were willing to go along with anything as long as they didn't have to leave their toasted marshmallows behind.

Later, the next door neighbor listened patiently as we confessed about our pyromaniac ways. Then he said

Come on over later. I can show you how it's really done if you want to see a big pile of burning leaves. I'll fill the whole front yard for you.

And damn if we weren't too scared to do that, too.


laurie said...

but oh man i bet it smelled great.

Corey~living and loving said...

LOL what a great post. :) too funny, but with recent events in California, I am not surprised you were a little weary.

What a beautiful lake house. WOW!

ped crossing said...

I guess you could just compost them. But it is not nearly as interesting to watch.

And there is nothing wrong with having a hose ready.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Don't burn the leaves. Bag them up, leave them in a corner for 19 months, and you'll have some fantastic compost.

PixelPi said...

What wake up said. We mulch them in the corners of our garden and just leave 'em. In about 18 months, free mulch and compost. We leave them open so small mammals have a snuggle place in the winter. Your mom is beautiful and her house looks absolutely marvelous. Does she need a live-in companion? Please send details!!

Diana said...

Fabulous! I'd be the same way. My husband would be running for the lighter fluid.

This is why I stay in the house and don't watch when he burns stuff. I don't trust fires. I suspect they really just want to run free and will do any devious trick to try to do this. What's one paltry hose and a lake going to do against that?

(And Yippee! Glimpses of the RC family!)

Flowerpot said...

Good to see some pictures of you RC!

Kaycie said...

What an absolutely gorgeous home your mother has, right on the lake and all. I'm glad you didn't burn it down.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Brilliant post - I am still chuckling away dear girl.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

I also made a comment on your previous post - fabulous laugh you naughty girl.

Akelamalu said...

You burn leaves? We put them in the compost bin. :)

Altaglow said...

We also compost in California. Unfortunately the leaves were two + feet deep over this entire property--much deeper in places. We simply couldn't figure out what to do with such an enormous quantity other than try to burn them.

Thalia's Child said...


About a month ago, I decided to try to burn some of our leaves. In an enclosed burner.

Our municipality forbids anything but 'recreational' burning, so I took out a bag of marshmallows and a weener stick so I at least looked the part. And then I totally panicked and doused the leaves before they were even close to finished burning.

I understand the nerves!

Kimberly said...

This gave me such a giggle.

Willowtree said...

Californians are definitely a breed apart! You'd think with all their wild fires and carping about the environment (which they seem to do more than anyone else) they'd consider composting.

Debi said...

Funny post!

I agree with the composting, but that's because I come from a desert where organic matter for mulching is at a premium. In your picture I was overcome with the desire to stamp out that fire and save the leaves!

A firefighter friend of mine told me a safer way to burn piles (after I had a scary burn session much like yours): don't set fire to a big pile. Rather burn a small pile, slowly raking in stuff from your big pile. Um, he didn't say it, but I'm guessing the piles shouldn't be real, real close together either.

Mya said...

I just leave them on the ground - but I'm lazy.

Mya x

my two cents said...

The lake house is gorgeous. Now I understand why they want to retire and move there...

Jo Beaufoix said...

I love burning stuff.
Is that bad?
We have a little bald bit in our garden where we regularly burn bits of bush we've hacked away.
I can understand you being a little more concerned what with being in the woods with a wooden house, but still, that was funny RC. And can I have your mum's house. I love it.