Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Burning O'the Hills

Spring brings with it an annual ritual on a ranch...the burning of pastures. I have fond memories of this ritual growing up on a ranch in the heart of the Flint Hills. The smell of burning pastures is one of my all-time favorite smells. Lawman thinks I'm nuts. I'm sure it's because I have a memory connection with that scent. It takes me back to a comfortable place.

Yesterday after Lawman and I finished painting our bedroom, we dressed in our work clothes and headed south of town. Our friend, Dane, had told us that his family would be burning at their farm and we didn't want to miss this.
See that smoke? That's where we're going.

It was a beautiful day for burning. The sun was shining, the temps were in the 50's and the wind was almost non-existent. Near perfect conditions.

Things have changed since I was involved in pasture burning. In my day our tools consisted of rakes, hoes, wet gunny sacks, matches and a pickup truck with a water tank on it. Oh, and your feet. We walked the pastures. The ranchers have turned it up a notch. Now they've got fancy starter sticks, gators and 4-wheelers with water tanks. Makes it much easier for them to keep the fire under control.

This is my taxi and driver, Lawman.

Here's a look from the top of one of the hills. This is beautiful to me. I love the land. That would be the country girl in me speaking.

See how the smoke lingers? Sort of creates a sense of mystic, don't you think?

Lawman and I still haven't located our friend, Dane so we're on a mission. We're headed up to the flames. We think that's where we'll find Dane.

This is Byron, owner of this land. We met him on our way up the hill. I'd call him an old-timer. No 4-wheeler for him.

Now we're talkin'. We're in front of the fire and we think Dane must be on the backside.

This is Scott. We met him at the top of the hill. He comes home each year to help with the burning. And he brings his son, Zane (below).
Finally, we found Dane. He and Zane were fixing fence. Seems there was a bit of an emergency situation earlier in the day. The wind shifted and the fire got away from them. Word has it that Zand did very well as the driver during this little adventure. Especially when you consider he drove with his eyes closed because of all the smoke. Good job Zane!

Here's the old farmstead from the top of the hill.
Pasture burning is by no means the cleanest job on the ranch. I was purely an observer today and I got pretty dirty. That is soot on my face....I do not have sideburns.

1 comment:

kimj said...

Good pics, Blonde 1! You did get a bit hairy - I mean sooty - out there! Byron's picture cracks me up... "Grumpy Old Timer" would be a fitting title!