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May 13, 2017

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We're facing that with our country home, which is 25 miles from stores. It's the cattle and sheep for us and it gets harder to keep that going. Trying to find hired help to help with the tougher jobs is also difficult where many work in the woods, commute to bigger towns, or aren't up to the sometimes dangerous work around big animals. My husband turns 74 this year and the whole thing becomes more of an issue each year. On the other hand, real work does also build muscles and keep someone strong-- like tossing branches onto a fire.

Ah, beware the "pyro" lurking in the recesses of every rural psyche. It starts innocently. You start to enjoy, slowly begin to relish, then can't live without that "fire'y" satisfaction of seeing flames lick higher and higher. It stirs something primitive - the joy that comes of warmth; or maybe it's buried memories of group hunts and cooking wild boar; or sleeping well knowing beasties won't jump you in the night. Or yule logs and pagan rites. Or de-cluttering. Or vanquishing darkness....

I watched it work on a neighbor who burned occasionally, then regularly, once a week. Shifting winds choked me with smoke... even though he was acres away. Sometimes pleasant odors but increasingly acrid... the smell of something industrial. I could never catch what it was... even with powerful binoculars. She/he had an advanced case.

Now, I admit almost succumbing to the devilish ways of "pyromania" for a few seasons. Then angst over global warming and flying embers and a possible runaway fire started to poison my joy. The final straw: a neighbor came each time to ask if he could add his own debris since "I already had one going". How could I really enjoy guilty pleasures if I was enabling others to go down this dark path...

Then, it came to me.. I had three acres... and several groves of trees. Branches, trimmings, the odd piece of furniture, a bit of construction debris could all be broken down. Most just composted under the trees. It blends in nicely, near invisibly, in three treed acres. Above ground it becomes "yard art".

Once in a while it needed to be broken down and buried like my old porcelain toilet that needed a good "dirt nap". Yep, I admit that too - now there are "buried bodies" all over my property. Out of sight but it's the natural order of things after all. And no global warming..

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