Burn Ban

For more than 25 years I've had to burn my own trash since I live in a rural area that does not have trash removal. When we experience drier than normal conditions, like we have this year, the county places a burn ban on outdoor fires. You know what that means. We have to let our trash pile up, and up, and up. We watch for signs of rain and no wind hoping to be able to rid ourselves of the ever-growing mound in our yard.

Once we have a significant amount of rainfall, they temporarily lift the burn ban. Sometimes it's too windy even if the burn ban has been lifted, so you still can't burn. However, we finally got over four inches of rain this week! I could finally burn trash! Of course, with weeks of accumulated trash, I knew this was going to be more like a bonfire. Time to move all of the vehicles back and make sure the water hose was hooked up and ready to go should a freak gust of wind show up or anything attempt to get out of hand.

The mesmerizing beauty of fire
The mesmerizing beauty of fire

I actually find burning trash rather relaxing. Sounds crazy I'm sure, but there is something so mesmerizing about staring at a fire. The flames dance so seductively, the colors change as different types of materials ignite. Just so we all know, an old computer keyboard creates some pretty black smoke. The copper wiring my dad used to burn the insulation off of makes the prettiest blue flames.

As I burn my trash it gives me time to think. I think about all sorts of things. I notice more around me.

Burning trash in the country
Burning trash in the country

I'm keenly aware of the fire ant beds that have popped up underneath the end of a box in the pile of rubbish. I heard an advertisement about killing them just this week that guarantees results. I need to check into it before they take over my yard.

I have noticed two small field mice scurry deeper into the pile as I move some items from the edge of the pile onto the top. Die! You little suckers! I hate mice. They're another problem that comes with not being able to burn my trash as often as I'd like.

Peach trees in full bloom
Peach trees in full bloom
The Texas State Flower-The Bluebonnet
The Texas State Flower-The Bluebonnet
June Bug-harmless but funny looking
June Bug-harmless but funny looking
Cardinal
Cardinal

I take note of smells as I stay constantly aware of the changing breezes. Different types of trash smell differently. Plastics smell funny as they burn, almost sweet. Styrofoam would probably smell if it didn't melt in a nanosecond. It's fun to watch as its white gooiness oozes. The trash bags themselves melt away so quickly revealing the array of goodies inside. I don't remember how long ago it was that we ate that. That seems embarrassingly long ago.

My peach tree is in full bloom. Pink blossoms everywhere are a good sign. That means we'll have some peach cobbler around the fourth of July, assuming we don't have a freak snowfall in April like we did two years ago. We had snow on Easter morning the year my husband arrived from the UK. We swore he brought it with him because that is almost unheard of in this part of Texas. That reminds me, I need to look up when Easter is this year. Things like that aren't as important once the kids don't care about baskets of fake grass and coloring hard-boiled eggs.

The grass sure appreciated the rain. I need to remember to call Mike, my lawn guy, later this week. By next weekend the weeds will probably be sky high. We saw our first bluebonnets yesterday and our first June bug the other night. That is a sure sign that spring has sprung. Three times in the last few weeks I've seen a flock of cardinals in my front yard. By flock, I mean 15-20 at a time. I'm always heading to work with no time to take a photo. I need to try to do that.

A Bonfire Like Mine

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Comments 32 comments

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

that must get to be a real pain if you get too many rain-free days!I love bonfires, my secret pyromaniac comes out to play....

PS - if you want to count in the hubmob, you need to add the RSS feed.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks LG....that's what I was just figuring out how to do. I had never added an RSS feed. I think I can check that one off. Now, I'm off to leaving a comment/link on the forum.

Yes, it is a pain to work around the ban, the wind, and when I have time. So glad to get it done today!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

looks as if you've mastered it.

In central London, we have 12 rubbish collections a week (-:


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

The BEST anyone has in the city areas around here would be 2 per week. My mother has trash pick-up on Tuesdays and Fridays. If those end up being holidays they will change them.


imadork profile image

imadork 7 years ago from St. Peters, MO

Your 50th hub is about burning trash? Is there something deep here that I am missing? lol


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

We have NO trash pickups.  Well, actually there is a local contractor who will take your trash away for a fee, but we have never used it.

We do have certain burn days depending upon wind and humidity and other weather conditions-- HOWever, we can only burn brush, leaves and other natural materials. Paper, plastic, styrofoam, cardboard, etc. must be hauled to a recycle center or to the landfill/dump.

We are in the foothills-- but the air conditions down in the Central Valley of California are getting bad enough that people are not even allowed to use home fireplaces  under certain conditions.

It used to be OK to burn paper or cardboard in your rural burnpiles-- but not now. I have learned to shop for things based on their (lack of) packaging, to use cloth grocery bags, to use a water-filter pitcher rather than plastic bottles, a yogurt maker rather than buying plastic cups, compost organic waste, etc.

We pay to take our refuse to the dump, so we try to make it a minimum amount. We are finding that being aware of the trash makes a difference for us. 

People who just throw things "away", sometimes don't realize that "away" is a place.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

LOL...Imadork.....I didn't even realize it was my 50th hub until I saw the milestone on the hubtivity. Had I known I could have jazzed it up a bit with gold. LOL Thanks for stopping by and noticing!

Rochelle, as of yet, we don't have stipulations on the types of things we can burn. We could pay to haul it to the landfill too. Because it's a city landfill and we don't live in the city, we would have to pay extra. And because I've always had to burn my own I would then have to get into the habit of shredding documents. You don't have to do that when you're standing there burning your own papers.

I did begin to start looking at packaging more once we went through such a long spell of not being able to burn too. I love your comment how "People who just throw things 'away' sometimes don't realize that 'away' is a place." They see that as someone else's problem.

As always, thanks for stopping by and commenting, Rochelle!


goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

At my grandparents, we use to burn the trash, and when it was too much, I'd have to ride with my grandpa to the dump, I'm fond of both memories, and I know what you mean by the relaxing feeling.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Goldentoad: It was something that brought me so many mixed emotions today. It was something I've been so desperately needing to do for soooooooo long and the weather was perfect today for it. Yet, I didn't want to do it. I didn't want to stand out there with it, nursing it, hoping nothing would explode or the wind wouldn't pick up, etc. But, once I was out there, I was so into it. I actually had a good time with it today. I never thought about how it might shape my daughter's memories in the way that it has yours. So far, it has been all she knows. It'll probably freak her out once she moves to an apartment or something and she learns that all she has to do is set it out twice a week and someone hauls it away!

Thanks for stopping by and commenting GT.


imadork profile image

imadork 7 years ago from St. Peters, MO

That's what I'm here for KCC!


Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

The burning of trash is great fun until someone throws a hairspray can in without telling you and it blows up! Shrapnel everywhere!

Thanks for the pictures, KCC. Texas is beautiful in the spring!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

I did have a small explosion today as I was standing very near it.  Made my ears pop...LOL   But I had on safety goggles and quickly did an all over head feel to make sure I didn't have an ear dangling or a piece of something flaming in my hair.  I'm not sure what it was since everyone in my house KNOWS I don't allow aerosols to be put in the trash. 

Thanks for stopping by PM!   Yes, Texas is gorgeous in the spring!  Wildflowers abound.   I'll have to watch and see if we have our few white bluebonnets show up this year in our yard.  I affectionately, call them my albino bonnets.  I'm not sure how they ended up white but there is a patch of them that are all white in amongst the others.


Whikat 7 years ago

LOL, I love controlled fires and hearing about other people's trash stories. Then again, I don't get out much these days.

Stay Wonderful KCC Big Country.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

Than ban must be hard with the trash accumulating! But like you - I just love watching a fire burn. There's something about the way it moves within itself that keeps me transfixed. Great hub KCC - and congrats on your 50th!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Imadork, that's what you're here for? Really? I hardly think so! Love your lastest hub....everyone go check it out!


imadork profile image

imadork 7 years ago from St. Peters, MO

Thanks for the plug KCC.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Whikat, I'm glad my 'trashy' story entertained you! You DO need to get out more...LOL Thanks so much for stopping by!

Shalini, that's the thing, isn't it? Once you're staring at it, it's hard not to. You can see the flames dancing in and out of areas and how they will finally ignite some new piece of trash and how some things are quickly be consumed by it while others just smolder for hours. Very fascinating stuff.

Thanks for stopping by, commenting and congratulating me!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Anytime, Imadork! That's what hubfriends do! I noticed that you're not too far from 50 yourself. :) (50 hubs that is!)


imadork profile image

imadork 7 years ago from St. Peters, MO

50 hubs!!!! 98 Hubscore!!!! You are the queen!!!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

LOL! I got to 99 one time for a couple of hours! Then fell to 94 the same day. Go figure. I've had one hub reach 99 as well. Oh, the elusive 100.


imadork profile image

imadork 7 years ago from St. Peters, MO

The most I have noticed I got was 97. I think it jumps up to 100 when I'm asleep then goes back down when I waken.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

That's my theory too, Imadork! We've probably all hit 100 ten times, just never when we're looking! LOL


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

burning trash as ritual. nice. thanks for sharing :D


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks for stopping by Cris!


rongould profile image

rongould 7 years ago

Brings back memories of pre-teenhood. I was in charge of the burning. My inner pyro loved it!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma

You're a closet pyro, KCC!  "Didn't really want to do it" followed by "but then I got totally into it".  uh-huh...  sure... ;D

What I don't understand is why you burn in the open and not in a 50-gallon drum or some other metal container.  Are you not allowed to burn in containers?  Seems like that would be safer than an open bonfire.  How 'bout a compost pile for food remains?  Geez, aren't I being Miss Mother Earth News!  Sorry.  Don't suppose putting the trash bags in your car and dropping them in a company dumpster is an option either.  OK, I'll go away now.  Great hub, btw.  ;}}}}


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

"The BEST anyone has in the city areas around here would be 2 per week."

We have morning collections 7 days a week, and evening ones on weekdays. Recyling collection are only thrice-weekly, though.

50 hubs in a very short time - I'm in awe!


AshleyVictoria profile image

AshleyVictoria 7 years ago from Los Angeles

Wow, I've never heard of burning your own trash, silly city me! That actually sounds like a lot of fun - legally setting fire to your once belongings. Does it give off a bad smell? Where do you store the trash when you have burn bans?


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks for stopping by Rongould! Don't we all have an inner pyro? LOL

JamaGenee: You're on to me! LOL It takes too long with a 50 gallon drum! That, and I don't have one! Back 20 years ago we had one, but they eventually rust away. Where do you get them anyways? Not sure where we got that one. It is safer.

We bought all the stuff to make a really nice compost container, but it requires digging a 3 foot wide hole and we haven't wanted to do that with the ground as hard as it's been. Now, with this rain we just got, maybe I can talk hubby into grabbing the shovel.

I would get in mega trouble trying to dump in the company dumpster. Their thought is if all 400 employees did that they'd be overflowing. My ex husband sneaks his to some community locations under the mask of darkness....shhhhh.

Thanks for stopping by JG!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

I'm envious Londongirl! There is no excuse for having trash there, is there? I would like that set-up.

Ashley: You are City girl to never even have heard of it! I'm sure lots of folks assume that everyone has garbage pick-up. You pile the trash up outside. I pile it right where I normally burn it just waiting for the day I can set fire to it. Obviously, we do all we can to keep smells down (rinse out containers, cans, etc)pre-fire, and then smoke is smoke after that. You don't get a big choice in that part. You just stand upwind. Thanks for stopping by!


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

Hi KCC!  this hub kind of reminds me Chris Reilly's one about the boy who played with matches.  I wonder what Chris wouldto, had he any need to burn his trash :-) 

Here we get trash collection nightly, two exceptions in the year, Xmas and Easter :-)  Wonder why, guess extra time is too expensive those days!

Anyhow, I have to agree with previous comments -- funny topic for your 50th hub, you golden babe, you! :-)  But it was a very nice read, so thumbs up!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks so much Elena! Glad you enjoyed it! I can't even imagine how different things would be if we had daily pick-up!

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