Flashback to the early 80’s. I’m eleven years old, living in a non-descript NY suburb with a simple chore; rake and bag a half acres’ worth of leaves. Nailed the raking part. The disposal, some would argue, not so much. I never was and still am not a fan of plastic bags and I have to say, a massive ten foot high pile of leaves makes for a glorious blazing spectacle. Apparently, it also freaks out the neighbors and local fire departments. You know what they say, live and learn…or just by a place in the country.

One of the joys of owning a decent size plot of land in the Catskills is that you can build as many bonfires as you like. In the picture above, I’ve taken some straw that was laid on top of new grass, the wood from a few trees that I cut down (more about that in this post) and some sticks/leaves from the prior fall. It took about nine months for the freshly cut wood to dry. In that time, I suspected that it became a habitat for all sorts of critters drawn to piles of wood so before setting it ablaze, I poked it a few times to scare off any life.  And then poof, up it went. An elementary joy.