Burning Stumps from the Inside Out

Ever since we came to Crumbleton Manor I have been itching to remove a row of large tree stumps at the front of our house. They are remnants of a windbreak which was planted last century, at least fifty years ago. Native to California, these Macropcarpa Cypress trees have flourished on Australian and New Zealand farms as wind breaks and have been favoured for wood crafts. They can grow to 133 feet tall and 8 feet in diameter, so are firmly rooted and have immense strength. Thus the task has eluded us to date. There is evidence of a previous unsuccessful attempt to burn them out.

Below is a short video, showing the stumps and our magnificent view over the valley.


I was counting on neighbour Rob's massive big earth mover to do the job but decided to give fire a go.

From the inside.

I discovered it works! But the key is to treat it like any other fire - keep loading fuel onto it. Once the inside shell has burned out it needs fuel to continue to burn. Then we used our tractor to push the sides together. Even so, it was late at night and we had to leave it, so the next day there was still some left. Since then we've had too much rain to finish off the job. But progress is sweet! I can envisage already my long flower bed with lavender and other perennials.

In case you're wondering why there's a dirty big rock in the loader, its to provide ballast, or counterweight, to the tractor. (Hubby's idea. Not sure who it works. It's a physics thing). I have to say it was quite frustrating watching the tractor clumsily do the job, due to the fact that Hubby couldn't see what he was doing from the tractor cab. He just had to guess. Argh! I tried to give directions in sign language (He can't hear above the noise and with the doors shut). Kind of like a Tonka toy being driven by an enthusiastic three year old. Hee hee!

To other news, I was delighted to see my friend Sue Whiting, children's author, was visiting Northern Tasmania, so contacted her about a catch-up. With distance and a very busy schedule to contend with the only time and place was at the airport, the morning she left. But it was lovely! We had an hour and a half to ourselves to chat about stories we're writing, family stories & genealogy and life in general. We discussed my recent decision to have a break from writing my novel sequel as the pressure of completing it, along with the huge changes I've been through this year was making me depressed. Sue understood completely. Most writers need a break to recharge. We don't want out passion to become a burden or something we dread. I have gone back to Art, my first love. Sue told me of an Artist friend of hers who turned to writing as a distraction and found it easy and liberating. Interesting opposite! I've been colouring-in, which is something I have loved since childhood.

my latest colouring-in

I was able to tell Sue about the various groups I have joined since we moved down here, mostly writing and gardening groups. These have given me new friends and new experiences which are helping me to adjust to our new life.

Alas, eventually, Sue had to board her flight to Melbourne. But it was a lovely visit we both enjoyed so well worth the effort. These days we rely so much on social media to keep contact. Being able to sit together and chat one to one is still the best way to interact. 

Next week I am flying to Perth to visit family. So the blog posts might be a little different!