I didn’t feel like bundling up so I could strip down as I dragged fire through the cold, but it was the right thing to do because I live on this farm. Also, Ken drove me 2.5 hours each way to a reading last night as a favor, and so I kept my whining thoughts to myself.
Burning a prairie entails setting a back fire on one edge, and then another fire, which will run to toward the back fire, on the other.
Dragging fire is a lot like winding spaghetti while running a marathon and dancing the fox trot.. You fork up a bunch of dried grass, wrap it around the pitchfork, and move fast enough to leave a steady trail of drops of fire. Only the pitchfork was broken, and some of the ground I was on was still damp, so I had to stoop down and zigzag as I made the back fire. It didn’t help when Ken took my pitchfork to give to Forest, who was dragging on the eastern edge.
Ken told me to do it his way: grab a big bunch of tall grass, light the edges, and then run, kindling grasses as I went. But I wasn’t so good at this, which required
Within an hour, it was time to stop, most of the field burned or on fire, and night falling (when it’s illegal to burn prairies, an unfortunate law). We stopped, watched the circles of flames, took each other’s pictures, and slowly made our way, ashes behind us, toward the house.
And now, as befits any reluctant fire-starter, the enchilada. As some Kenyans I met liked to say, “God is good.”