Clean Up: fire pit ring

Yesterday, things were a bit cooler and finally nice enough to start a fire in the fire pit!

I’ve been putting small branches and the invasive vines I’ve pulled up into there since last summer, so it felt good to finally burn that stuff away!

While I was at it, I decided to clean up the bricks around the fire pit that the skunks revealed while digging for grubs.

Knowing that these were the glazed bricks we’ve got all over the place under there, I decided to use the sidewalk ice scraping tool. Just a flat blade that would slide across the surface, and cut away the root mats at the same time.

It worked remarkably well!

In the above photo, I’d finished uncovering the bricks all the way around.

There was some seriously thick root mats covering some of them!

The next step was to hose them down with water, including using the jet to pressure wash some of the dirt out from between the bricks, and between the bricks and the fire pit ring.

Where the water pooled showed me the most uneven areas of the brick ring.

What I will eventually be doing is taking them out completely, leveling the base off as best I can, then putting them back.

Ideally, I’d be adding a layer of gravel under there, first.

I am seriously considering taking the wagon and a shovel out to the old gravel pit to see what I can salvage out of there!

Until then, we make do.

My next step was to use break up the ridge of soil and root mats around the ring some more.

Every now and then, I’d find a small rock, but then I hit was seemed to be a much larger rock.

A strangely flat and smooth rock.

I found another brick!

For a moment, I thought maybe there was a second ring of bricks, but the angle of it was too random for that.

Somehow, a single brick got left to one side, and got buried with the others.

The ones around the fire pit getting buried makes sense, but how does a lone brick on the side get left there long enough to be buried, too? Did no one try to mow there, before it got covered? Did people using the fire pit (and I know it did get used) simply walk around it until it disappeared, along with the other bricks?

So very strange!

I set it aside with another brick like it, that I’d found under some nearby maple trees. πŸ˜€

(These glazed bricks have been around for as long as I can remember. I have no idea where they came from, but they would be at least 50 years old, and probably quite a few years older. While I intend to take them out of the various areas they are in now, to replace them with what should be there instead (like infill around the house!), these are going to be kept and repurposed. They’re too slippery to use as a “floor” for anything (which is probably what they were salvaged from originally), but I think they would be great on walls or something, at some point.)

Once I broke up the ridge, I used the metal blade on the scraper to push the soil away, to try and level things a bit more.

The grills in the fire pit, btw, are the racks from our old oven. After burning away what was already in the pit, I started working on the pile of branches by the collapsing log cabin. When a solid bed of coals was formed, I put the oven racks in it, then built the fire up again on top, to burn away any grease or whatever that got on them while being used. We basically didn’t bother to clean the oven when we knew we needed to replace it fairly soon. It did have a self-cleaning function, but we didn’t feel it was safe to use. With elements on the stove sparking, we didn’t want to find out if anything electrical would give out in the oven, too!

So I used the fire pit to get the cruddy bits off.

Shortly after this, my daughter joined me, and we built the fire up once again, to get rid of more of the branch pile.

I also used a metal rake to spread the soil out more, then took the hose to it, to break up the clumps. The water no longer pools at the bricks. πŸ™‚

After a while, my daughter took out the oven racks and set them aside to be hosed off, later.

The next thing I want to do is empty the fire pit of ashes, which will be spread over a garden area or two.

Once it is cleaned out, I want to add some cinder blocks or bricks into the pit. They will be there to hold one or both oven racks. This way, if we wanted to, we could use pots and pans for cooking over the coals. I do have a campfire rack, but it’s meant to put food on directly to cook, not hold the weight of cooking utensils. The oven racks and bricks will open up more possibilities for what we can do on our fire pit. πŸ™‚

While I was working on uncovering the fire pit ring, I had help.

Not the most useful kind of help!

More like the “pay attention to me or I’ll trip you” kind of help! πŸ˜€

Eventually, he got tired of trying to make me pick him up and went for a nap. πŸ™‚

Such a cutie!

He would make such a loving indoor cat, but we’ve had no luck in adopting him or Creamsicle out. 😦

Lately, Potato Beetle and Creamsicle have perfected the art of rubbing against our legs WHILE we are walking, somehow managing to maintain contact and pressure even as we pull our legs away.

Such determined creatures!

Also, Potato seems to like my new shoes. Maybe that’s it. He’s happy I no longer have these.

My left shoe had actually blown out like the one on the right, but I’d used Gorilla Super Glue on it. Amazingly, it is still holding! The other shoe was only coming loose at the toe tip, so I glued that – only to have the sides blow out, soon after! The tip managed to hold on for days longer.

I’m not a shoe person. It’s so hard for me to find shoes that accommodate my feet, I don’t bother. I have one pair of regular shoes. Maybe a pair of sandals, too, if I can find them. Not this time of year, apparently. :-/

Women’s shoes don’t fit me, at all. I can wear extra wide men’s shoes, but to get the right width, I go with a size that’s a fair bit longer than my feet. Which is why I keep catching the toes of my shoes on things. πŸ˜€ It means my shoes wear out on the sides faster, as my feet bend in a different area than the shoes are designed for. It doesn’t matter if they are cheapies, or if I spring for a higher end shoe. By the end of a year, all my shoes end up looking like this!

Which, if nothing else, is entertaining!

The Re-Farmer

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