This Northern cardinal is enjoying his vantage point.
I frequently see birds flying from our bird bath to this pile.
I was excited to realize that brush piles are beneficial. They aren't unsightly, but serve as homes to birds, snakes, rabbits, mice, etc. This was a tectonic shift for a girl who grew up in towns where brush piles were signs of a lazy homeowner. It’s all in the perspective, isn’t it?
Boy, do we have brush piles. Everywhere. We have burned lots of brush in our seven years on the hill. But frequently the county issues burn bans due to dry conditions, and the brush starts accumulating in . . . well, piles.
|Forgive the photo quality; this was taken on my cell phone.|
It burned large, but under control (barely). After the main pile burned, we threw on the newly-cut brush. It was an all-day burn extravaganza. I kept expecting fire department trucks to come wheeling in, sirens wailing, either after calls from nervous neighbors or after a panicked call from us.
We resolved NEVER to pile brush like that again. From now on, we would collect brush in small piles and, if needed, drag branches to a central location a little at a time for burning or chipping.
When I go out to clear small areas, I look for a hidden spot, preferably on a drainage of some sort, to pile brush. I address another issue with this strategy – slowing down the flow of run-off in the next flood event (that’s how we roll here – drought followed by flood). These piles can stay.
Recently we have been creating new brush piles. After watching wildfires scorch Texas this year, we decided to push the brush line away from our house (see Snow White and me). We plan to rent a chipper and make mulch. Meanwhile, the piles shelter birds and other critters. All is good in Pickens Land.
In the interests of protecting our house, I have exchanged one danger for another. Oh brush, I’m so confused! What should I do?
Sorry little critters. You’ll need to move along to smaller digs before too long.
Favorite spot in the garden: