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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:

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?

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  1. I love watching/seeing your yard transformation!! Wonderful job girlfriend!!
    I learned about veg oil from one of my yard waste pickup guys. I just tried it on a stump for a hideous invasive tree. Wish me luck. I’ll try the spade bit trick too. No burning here (jealous of you!). Also, I feel you on the pines. :( I still have a host of palmettos which are the bane of Florida living.
    Keep up the great work, thanks for the chance to win the power equipment rental and I look forward to seeing more!

  2. Good job on the yard Sarah. I have those stupid scallop things too. I think I am going to bury the scallop part.

    1. I like to change it out with the seasons! Been meaning to get the new one for Halloween up for weeks, but better late than never!

  3. There’s no place like home with more realestate to enjoy and you had so much fun making it. On the left side of my driveway off the road and really just inside the corner of the fenced farm field which abuts my property with a woven-wire fence with two strands of barbed wire on top there were small trees and bushes over grown with invasive tree killing Bittersweet Vines. The fence and corner post was basically down from years of neglect causing it to be a total eye-sore in plain site at the entrance of my drive-way. I felt it would be a great outdoor yard clean up start. new it would be a big project & I’d have to continually go back in and clean out the weeds n Bittersweet, but also new the outcome would be so worth it. I talked to my neighbor who is super people / I did the work and he provided me with some new red brand woven wire and barbed wire – corner post that was rotted out and down and I replaced the post, restrung all the wire and cut, dug and pulled trees out with a chain & my Ranger 4X4 PU in a fairly large area of his farm field corner which is raised about 8 – 10 ft. higher than my driveway on the south side of my property. In the corner I planted a couple Willows and one of my favorites, a beautiful blooming RedBud tree. I will maintain the corner and have to chop out the Bittersweet ( very fitting name for the killer vines ) because it’s near impossible to eradicate completely but if you keep on top of it you can keep it from smothering and taking over and killing your trees. It’s something – oil or whatever, but balls of the rolled up vine ( with thorns – leather gloves required ) will burn well – creating 10 – 20 ft. flames. evan while green – had to use caution and always kept charged water hose at hand. It’s been a chore but I’ve been doing pretty good against the killer vines in the almost 5 yrs. I’ve been here.
    I’ve heard of folks doing what you’re doing to get rid of your stump drilling deep as they could soaking with used motor oil for a time then when they have the time to spend tending it pour some gas on letting that soak in and burn it with charcoal. You will indeed have great fun designing and creating an awesome increased living area you have created Sarah. Excited to see what you come up with. Close off the house a nice area with a hot tub always relaxes, refreashes and invigorates after a hard day at work…..just one of many ideas – have fun!

    1. Haha! Free lighter fluid, basically. It was expired and didn’t seem to do any harm, recommended by one of the videos I saw. I had my doubts until I tried it and poof – it burned quickly.