Spring Fire Season

Fall fire season is always the worst, but spring can be pretty awful when it is dry and warm. Like last Friday. We got back from chores in town and a fire truck passed after we parked at my mom’s. And then other trucks. The woods were on fire.

The fire was on the ridge west of us. It had been windy all day, hot and dry. A truck parking on tall grass managed to set it on fire and that was the start.

burned area

To fight the fire they brought in fire trucks from Poca, Sissonville and Bancroft. A gas well was in the center of the fire area. If the well had been venting to the tank at the time there might have been an explosion.

fire trucks

By the time I got to the fire they’d already contained the fire and had begun the long process of mopping up. There were still hot spots burning and areas near the firebreak that needed to be checked.


The firebreak is in the center of the photo. They used leaf blowers to clear a wide swath of leaves. A hot spot is in the background. There was a stump burning and just past that a dead pine.

spraying water on burning tree

The fire is being put out using water but since the tree if it fell would cross the firebreak, they cut it down.

The area burned was 12-15 acres. On Saturday a crew returned to the site and burned leaves within the contained area so that there would be nothing to catch fire again.

That was too close for comfort. The way the wind was blowing and the closeness of the fire had everyone on the ridge worried.


Tapping Maple Trees

We tapped three maple trees near our home yesterday. We made maple syrup for the first time last year. It was a lot easier to do than we thought it would be and was lots of fun.

Drilling for a maple sugar tap.

You can see how close the trees are to our home. This tree is much the smallest of the three.

Water jug used for holding syrup

After the hole is drilled a spile is gently hammered in. The spile is a metal tube which acts as a spout for the sap. We wire a plastic jug that we’ve cut a hole in to the spile.

Metal spile and jug

This last photo shows the metal spile with the wire holding the jug to it.

This tree hasn’t produced much yet. One of the trees we tapped yesterday has already produced a gallon of sap. We keep a large pan on our wood stove filled with sap which slowly evaporates. Most of the sap is water. Periodically we’ll take the concentrated sap and boil it down to make syrup. Evaporating on the wood stove saves lots of time.

New Blog for Sootypaws

We started a blog for Sootypaws in 2008 but haven’t updated it since 2012. It’s become increasingly hard for us with dialup to access a number of websites, including our own blog for making posts. So, with the new website we’re going to host the blog here.

We’ll keep everyone posted with what we’re up to on the website. And hopefully posts will be more frequent since this is an interface that Molly finds easy to use also.