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My house currently smells like a campfire, and I am very, very okay with that. <3
If you caught the post on Friday (which if you haven’t entered the giveaway yet, go on and do that and then come back… I’ll wait.), the back yard has pretty much been filled in, leveled (as much as an unskilled DIYer can), and is ready for next steps. And believe me, there are a number of plans in the works! I’ve been sketching ideas to my heart’s content, and I’ll share some of those plans with you later this week.
But before I can really get started on some of this, I needed to do some more clearing. Namely, I needed to address the overhanging branches that were coming over from the rear fence and work on the remaining stumps that couldn’t be ripped out using the backhoe.
For clearing out yard debris, I mainly rely on (and recommend, so these are affiliate links) the following tools:
- A battery-powered reciprocating saw (for the big branches) with a serrated blade (usually it says on the packaging that it’s good for pruning)
- Large loppers for overhanging branches
- Small pruning shears (for clipping the larger stuff down to manageable sizes for the fire)
Now that it’s October, we’ve finally entered an allowable burning season in my county. So, I’ve been getting rid of all of my yard debris in a fun way with a temporary burn area. Since most of the yard is still bare dirt, it seemed like good, safe timing to take care of all of the things I ripped out from the backhoe project without a lot of risk to neighboring yards (though just to be safe-ish though, I did create a perimeter with lots of that leftover scalloped edging you know I hate). I’ll admit, I’m not the poster child for fire safety (though I am more careful than seasons past when my ex lived here! — and wow, would you look at the difference in pine straw now that those trees are gone?), but I’m also working outside while all of this goes on, so nothing is left unattended.
This burn spot is helping get rid of the stump I mentioned in the last post — try as I might on that backhoe, the root system on this particular set of trees was just too thick and extensive. Even though the tree removal guys did a decent job of grinding down stumps, I still had plenty more under the dirt once I started leveling things out. I could rent a stump grinder (and will if this ultimately doesn’t work), but I have heard about burning a stump and thought it might be fun to experiment.
My neighbor was the one who recommended that I try to burn it out, which is basically win-win for me since I have plenty of things to burn (and I offered to him to just throw extra debris from his yard onto the pile as well, since he’s always such a help for my projects). I’ve been watching a few Youtube videos for tips, and here’s what I’ve been applying thus far:
- Use a hammer drill to bore holes a couple of inches apart along the stump and roots. You’ll want to use a spade bit or similar and go as deep as you can, but since I didn’t have an extender for my bit, I am just boring deeper after each fire (which is a lot easier to drill into once burned)
- I’m using cheap, regular vegetable oil to pour into each hole and let it soak (I love it when regular items can be used in DIY!). This oil has been in the back of my cupboard for way too long anyway, so I’m getting rid of something I needed to chuck to begin with. This helps the burn, though for faster results, it’s recommended to let it soak for a lot longer (a month or so) than I’ve been doing.
- After the first burn, I bought an inexpensive bag of charcoal and just let that burn on top of the stump.
So far, things are going really well, though I don’t have high expectations that this will be quick. I’ll have an update for you guys after the first few burns and report back. But, it’s also not expensive and gets rid of lots of my yard debris, small pieces of scrap wood, etc. in the process without a lot of extra work, so I’m enjoying it quite a bit. If only every project would go this pleasantly, right?