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    February 2011
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My Yard Burned Today!

When I was in high school, and living in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina (Dillon County), about this time every year, we would set our yard on fire. We had sod, and someone told us we were supposed to “burn our yard” and it would make the grass thicker and greener.  I grew up in the Upstate of South Carolina, and people in the mountains never carried out this annual tradition; however, I noticed a lot of black yards when we moved south. As a matter of fact, most people in the Upstate do all they can to keep their grass from growing too much or too fast.  Does burning the yard work? Who knows! I know this comment will probably get me in trouble; but, in my opinion, people in the lower part of South Carolina tend to have more manicured lawns. Now there are exceptions to that of course!

Well, I now live back in the Upstate, and several years ago, we brought in a landscaper, and he told us we needed to put down Zoysia sod. I immediately thought of the burning yard tradition. I will admit, the sod is beautiful in the summer; however, it turns brown in the winter if you don’t over-seed it with rye grass, which I don’t do.  Along with the new sod, came an irrigation system. Boy, I sure wasn’t expecting those water bills that first year! Did I mention I installed a pool that same year? The water company calls me Mr Raines!  We now have control over that situation.

Back to my yard burning story. Today was a very nice, rather warm day. I thought, “why don’t I burn my sod!” So…while my wife was at the office this afternoon, I struck the match.  The fire started slowly, and was very manageable.  Then, I started noticing cars stopping in front of my house….everyone was looking at me as if I were crazy!  One guy stops and asks, “do you need some help?” I said, “with what?”  He said, putting out that fire.”  He looked at me pretty strange when I told him I had in fact deliberately set this fire. He said, “why did you set your yard on fire?”  Naturally, I didn’t have time to carry on a conversation….I have a fire to fight! 

I live near the airport. I noticed a few low-flying planes. Not long afterwards, I hear sirens in the distance.  I had already turned on the irrigation system to help me keep the fire under control. Trust me, everything was fine…..and, under control.  You guessed it!  Fire engines start pulling into my drive. Then, all the volunteer firemen (we live in a small town, I think they actually like the excitement).  I told one of the firemen that everything was just fine. I actually asked him why they were here? He said, “someone called and said your place was on fire.” I politely told him that I set this fire, and it was under control. So, he said, “this is a controlled burn?” Yep, I said. You got it…then he said, “why you burnin’ your yard?”  Oh gees, not again!  They all left, and I started cleaning up to go inside. That’s when my wife drives in. She said, “I met the fire trucks as I was coming home.” I said, “really?” She said, “Brian, they weren’t here were they?” I proceeded to tell her they were; however, I never called them and they weren’t needed.  (I didn’t remind her about the time she cleaned the fireplace and threw ashes in the woods, and later had a visit from the same crew)! Now, that was a fire!

Anyway, enough excitement for me for one day. Maybe I need to stay inside in my office and work, and leave the yard work to someone more “experienced” in yard burning! Now, if you drive by my place this summer, and my grass is all beautiful and green, I can assure you, I will attribute it to my good-ole’, low-country yard burning. Then again, if my yards stays very black as it is now, I may have a problem! Anyway, thanks to the guys at the Liberty Fire Department for their quick response. It is comforting to know they are there when you need them. Now, I wonder who called in that fire??

Have a blessed evening!

Brian Raines

P.S. When I’m inside working, I work as a recruiter for a green-technology company. I help folks set-up home-based businesses. Who might you know that could use an extra $1000 each month working 10-12 hours part-time from home? Have them give me a shout.


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