Saturday, November 26, 2016

Bonfire Dilemmas

Before the old shed was demolished, yielding a lot of rotten timber and tarry-toosh, which cannot be recycled except by burning, there was anyway a heap of broken polystyrene fish-boxes, perennial weeds (mostly dock, nettle and ground elder), and of course scraps of wood.

At the very bottom of that is the remains of the previous bonfire held there: what I learned from that was, if you want to get rid of all your old wood, you need to hang around until it's almost all burned, raking in the fragments from the periphery to the centre. Don't do that, and one ends up with circle of charred bits of wood, stranded when the bonfire retreats to its centre.

On top of all of this I've piled up most of the remains of the old shed.

Really, I should pull the whole structure apart and pile it all up again in a more bonfire-like way. This might also give any hibernating wildlife in there a chance to find another winter home, though in reality they'd probably encounter a fox or an owl as they stumbled sleepily through the plot.

Last year, I finished a series of bonfires at the end of October, so it was unlikely any frogs or hedgehogs had moved in. Now in late November 2016, there's the dilemma: do I get rid of this 7ft heap of inflammable crap now, and risk roasting a frog or two, or wait until Spring and leave the frogs to hop off and make tadpoles?

Another issue: if I rebuilt the bonfire, I could probably get it started with just the heap of Metros herself has been bringing home from her commute on the bus each day. Whereas, to simply torch it where it stands is going to take a gallon of petrol or diesel.

All of which highlights the two-sided nature of the allotmenteer: am I a nice, green, organic, eco-friendly character, or a slightly thuggish redneck? Or maybe as usual there's no need to frame it as a binary characterisation: we are simultaneously green-fingered and red-necked.