A number of readers have suggested that we skip the daily sojourn into economics and instead put up an “all Elaine” website.

Not a bad idea, but she’s very self conscious.  Except she did permit me to take one snap of her “Daisy-Mae” look while she was working on the garden…

Now that we have the centerfold out of the way, the real story is about using a weed burning torch to clean up the garden.

Just to the right of Elaine’s shovel  on the far side of the fence, you can see the neat “fire line” I laid out around the garden this year.

There’s one little yaw-sawg to it…where it takes a detour around the prickly pear cactus.  Otherwise, it looks mostly like this:

The idea is that if you burn out a foot, or two, then when you mow, there’s no having to go back with the weedeater which is a PITA because the nylon string gets all twisted up in the wire mesh and it’s gruesome rewinding the infernal string trimmer.

I did want to mention there are plenty of things to get one of these $20 marvels and keep it with its own 20-pound dedicated propane tank.

When needed, our tank is bungied onto the hand truck (another must have survival tool regardless of home size) and it’s ready for action.

Whether it’s because of a “fire department family” or that time when “the major” and I about set a church yard on fire with a runaway campfire, or maybe it’s because there’s a little pyromaniac in all of us…this is a he-man, heap-o-fun tool.

It also makes turning a fallow garden into a new home for the greenhouse refugees (who have threatened a lawsuit if we didn’t get them into the outside ground) a matter of child’s play.

The steps are simple:

Find a morning a day or three after a good rain when applying the torch to a test patch doesn’t burn up the whole forest.  This is done carefully in  the summer.

Many rural counties – like ours – have burn bans on in the summertime – but it’s worth reading the fine print.

In our county rumor has it that the “burn ban” is directed at rural people who still burn their trash.  There seem to be exceptions for “cooking fires” and “agricultural fires” even when burn bans are on.

I don’t know how a jury would think of burning fence lines, but it’s a much safer environmental approach that glysophate.

And speaking of burning things:  As a result of doing LOTS of work on the homestead this year, we have some pretty decent little burn piles going.

The two closest to the house are reasonable – we don’t expect anything higher than a five-foot flame off them.

But on the back 12 there are (let me count…) four or five cut up tall pines which I dug a burning ditch for.  They could be pretty interesting this fall, but right now they are still too wet to burn.

There’s never a shortage of stuff to burn in the Outback.  A couple of weeks back, neighbor Coy up the road had a “mini tornado” come through that wrecked their guest cabin.  So we haven’t seen hide not hair of them for a while.

We have a large oak that’s down – and while it’s fun to go out and play with a chain saw when you’re in the 20-50 age group, something happens around age 55.  Using a chainsaw being something approaching work, not play.

By the time you start closing in on age 69, it’s just another damn irritation to be dealt with.

Starting a good rural “agricultural fire” is pretty simple and you only need three ingredients to burn most anything:

  • A Bic lighter.
  • A fresh 20-pound jug of propane hooked up to your burner.
  • And a 5-gallon jug of diesel which is liberally applied to whatever might be damp, need a helping hand, or you just was to see what the pyromaniacs get so excited about.

Trust me, having come close to a runaway fire or two, there’s nothing to the pyro nut’s point of view.  As you are scraping dirt down for all you’re worth to get a line around a burning patch of grass, about the only thing going through your head is “Was the burn ban on?” and “Oh, shit, what does out homeowners policy cover if I’ve screwed the pooch on this burn…

Eventually, it all works out in the end…only question was whose end it would be.

Next trip into town, I will put the burner bottle in the truck and reload.  There’s nothing quite so much fund and mastering the proper use of fire because for some things (like welding) there are no substitutes.

Easter Dinner

We hope you and your family had a fine time.

The plan was to cook a big a store-bought big corned beef.

But the reality of the “sell by date”” dictated chicken instead.  So I spent some time figuring up how to make a curried chicken for a change and it was pretty good over ride with some raisins in it and such..

As Life would have it,  my lube, oil, and filter at the doctor’s comes up this week.

And that corned beef – with extra pickling spices and a boatload of additional cloves and garlic…well, just the kind of prep I need.

Ever try leftover corned beef cubed up with a couple of Yukon Gold’s and two eggs over easy on top with ketchup?  Yum.  Glass of whole milk?  Sure!  Then diet for 24 hours and see if the veins have been sold off for drilling rights…

Just the thing to have the day before the blood draw…  I know the Doc’s gonna keep steering me toward statins.  I tell him thanks, but let’s keep it natural till knife time.  So far, that’s been a good policy:  Meds for extremes of pain or infections, snake bite, or whatever.  Otherwise, the daily baby aspirin and HZTZ for blood pressure…fair trade-off that so I can stick with high octane coffee….

See how conflicted we’ve all become on this medical stuff?

Write when you get rich,


Easter Monday: The Dyngus Amongus
Disappearing Investment Choices