Credit where credit is due

This post is dedicated to my hard-working husband, my partner in decluttering, care taking and the maintenance of sane living spaces.

From May to October, our region is subject to wildfires.

So each spring, homeowners are required to clear from around our homes a thirty-foot radius of all yard debris: pine needles and cones, fallen branches, and of late all the flotsam and jetsam left by the felling and chain sawing of hundreds of drought-killed trees in our village alone.  At first the debris is damp, but by June any mess that remains is parched tinder itching to be ignited by the smallest spark.

They start inspections in May giving out informative warnings. In the first week of July they begin their second rounds to issue citations to homeowners who have not complied.

So, from the last week of May through the third week of June, five mornings a week, before the heat of the day set in my husband hauled three wheelbarrows of debris a day up a sixty degree incline to the roadside.  During the last week of June he trimmed back branches and took out two saplings.

My photo does not do justice to his trophies: the two impressive heaps he amassed on our parking pad.  Please!   Admire them anyway…

But the best part….

I arrived home the other day to find our parking pad swept clean as a whistle.  Our Man With a Truck had come and my husband watched as his piles required TWO trips to be hauled away.

Even better than knowing he is my hero, is being able to be his own hero.



Here’s a picture to celebrate the very hard work my husband has been doing to haul this year’s crop of fallen pine needles up from the lowest reaches of our mountain property to the road side.

Once the fire inspectors are satisfied we are prepared for fire season, we’ll hire someone to haul out the debris.

Dodging Fires: Decluttering the Grounds

The yard cleaning crew is here!

My husband estimates it’s been six years since pine needles and debris have been removed from the grounds.

Up here we need to clear up anything that might encourage a disaster during Fire Season.  We’ll be inspected by the fire marshals sooner or later.  But that’s a cover to avoid thinking about the true danger of losing the very things we work so hard to keep!

Wildfires are a new concern for this newly remarried new retiree.  Our part of the continent is enduring drought conditions and the “Butte fire” started just months after I arrived.  The fire burned from September 9 to October 1, expanded in all directions from its origin,  burned 70,868 acres, destroyed 475 homes and 343 outbuildings.  Two people were killed.  The rivers are low enough that we feared the fire could jump easily into our county and then…

Oh, I had talked about how other parts of the country have tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, blizzards, rattlesnakes, Lyme disease, economic depression, and rabies plagues, so what’s the big deal about wildfires…  The big deal is that I haven’t weathered drought and blazes before.  “God gave Noah the rainbow sign.  No more water; it’s fire next time.”

So I was determined to make clearing our grounds of flammables a high priority, time sensitive decluttering goal before the start of the next fire season.

I estimate the grade of our mountainside lot to be steeper than a seventy-one percent grade (equivalent to a forty-five degree angle) over most of the terrain.  A couple of weeks ago I found rake and manure fork, scrambled down a bit of the slope and over two days, cleared pine needles from the front yard and down the easier access side of the house.  Maybe a tenth of the whole story.

Then, behind the house, I discovered the substantial pile my husband raked up in years past.

I was overwhelmed by the size of the area to be cleared.  I was outright frightened by the extent of the debris burn — legal, outside of fire season —  it would take to dispose of it all.

My husband was equally disinclined to tackle a job of that magnitude and duration.  So we contracted yard workers.  They have elected to rake up and haul off the debris rather than burn it — which makes me happy.  By sundown we should be able to give thanks for a major yard declutteration.

I couldn’t be more pleased.