Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Upside Down Fire, New Fences

In my cruising around the internet, being and armchair homesteader, I found a link, or a pintrest post, or maybe it came across my facebook, for a fire built upside down. There really is no telling where I saw it. Somedays I've got seventeen different tabs open on my computer and I'm nine subjects away from what I started looking at. I thought for sure that I had posted a pic of the upside down fire I built out in the fire pit in the front yard over the summer, but I have no idea where I stuck it. Honestly, the pics are probably still on Scott's phone because I never figured out how to use the damned thing and send them to my phone.

But back to the upside down fire. When I was taught how to build a fire it was most likely the same way every one else was taught. A little tinder, paper, or something else easy to catch fire, then your little sticks in a teepee around the paper. Some larger sticks, then some small split wood, then light and hope like hell to starts burning. You baby sit that for a little while, slowly adding bigger pieces of wood until you have a rip roaring fire. What really happens is you sit there and blow on it, trying to get the twigs to catch. Ten minutes later you're kicking yourself in the ass for forgetting to add larger sticks, and now the whole damned thing has gone out, and you have to start it again. Or you forgot to add the big logs and it's burned to ash and you're hoping there is enough little coals to get the effing thing going again while you sit there and your butt cheeks freeze to the ground.

Forget all that. Chuck that whole thinking out the damned window that is probably still open from when you opened them since it was such a nice day out, but now it's 64 degrees in your house and you're dreading trying to get a fire built in the fire place.

I stacked this totally bassackwards. Two split logs on the bottom. Crumpled the pages out of an old phone book (See, I'm recycling, reusing...) and stuffed it down in between the spaces between the logs and the walls of the wood stove, and crammed even more in between the logs. Stacked my larger kindling cross way on top of that, and then my little kindling back the same way as the logs. I lit the paper, and walked off and forgot about it. Seriously. I came back ten minutes later to shut the door I had left cracked open because it was putting off too much heat already. The center of the fire had already turned the logs into a nice coal bed. Stacking the kindling on top of the logs leave plenty of room for air to get drawn in and let that sucker start burning.

I was so impressed with myself I took it upon myself to share with any one who would listen. Even people who didn't really look like they wanted to listen. Heck, now I'm even putting it out there in that thare interweb thang so people can share with their friends, or just random people walking down the street. Everyone needs to know about this. I should win an award for helping mankind or something.

The damned cows are finally back out on the pasture again. I wrote last month here about them tearing through the fence and having to be up in the round pen. We thought we were going to pull out the old tee posts, dig a few holes, make a sturdy corner brace and string some nice tight wire with a ground. No problems, a weekend project. NOT!!! What a pain in the ass, and not even my ass. It was miserable hard work for the guys. Basically I bought a $50,000 rock pile when I bought the land here.

The acreage sits on a lava rift that goes clear to Jerome and almost to Fairfield. Little fingers of it branch off and just manage to snag the corner of my property, and then pop up again in the back half. Right where I wanted to build the house originally, and right where I needed to put in those three corner poles in the front.

It took Scott and his friends Larry and Pat, six hours with a 90 pound jack hammer to dig the holes deep enough to concrete in the poles. Six hours of them breaking rock into gravel and dust, then Connie and I used a plastic cup to scoop out the powdery crap. Grind, scoop, grind, scoop... Then we had to give the concrete three days to cure before we could start stringing fence. That turned into the next time Scott had two days off a week later. The holes for the new gate went in no problem. Tractor with a fence pole auger, and zip zip.

The ground up in the front corner never gets irrigated so it's all sand. No conductivity from the fence through the animal to ground. Scott sunk some rods into the ground and connected it to the middle wire on the fence. Now when the cows try and push through they hit both wires and get lit up. The fence meter reads 8k and all the pretty red lights are lit up. They don't try the fence anymore. Every one is getting fat and happy on all the grass out in the front pasture. 


  1. Hahahaha!!!! "Armchair homesteader"!! Love it!! Never heard of an upside down fire....pretty nifty :)

  2. The upside down fire has been working like a dream. I don't have to keep adding more sticks to get a good fire going. It puts off more heat in a shorter time. It burns longer before needing more wood as well.



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