We have been talking about using the fire pit to do an actual cookout tomorrow (weather willing!). That will require a trip into town to pick up things we want to cook over a fire, so I cleaned out and modified the fire pit today.
The first thing to do was empty out the ashes. I have done that once before, in our first year here, but not as thoroughly as I wanted before adding modifications to the pit.
I filled our large wheelbarrow twice! The first load was pretty much all ashes, while the second was a mix of soil and composted ashes.
I dug down far enough that I was starting to fight with root mats. Then I started hitting a… mat?
I pulled out the buried remains of… whatever this is.
It’s some sort of woven material that looks similar to a tarp, but… not.
When I pulled it away, I had another surprise under it.
Do you see those whitish specks among the roots?
Those are ants eggs!
Ants have somehow managed to survive in the fire pit! Considering how hot it would have gotten, just last night, I’m amazed. They weren’t just under the sheet, either. I found more around the edges, elsewhere.
Well, I hope they move on to someplace else because, now that the ashes and dirt are gone, they’ve lost what protection from the heat they had!
Clearly, this fire pit has been used to burn garbage, too. Along with the green mat I pulled out, I found broken glass and old nails, along with more expected things, like chunks of wood and rocks.
Once the pit was cleaned out and raked even, it was time for the concrete blocks.
We have a few of them around, but most of them are where they are, for a purpose. Like the ones around the storage house, that are holding various panels to cover what used to be the top of the basement. I haven’t moved them to try and see what they are covering yet, so I’m leaving them be for now.
I did have one available that wasn’t being used, and there was another in the middle of the tire planter, that had been buried in the middle to support the bird bath, which is now set up in a different location. So I dug that out and hosed out the dirt that had filled the openings.
I then had to decide how to orient things.
I decided to orient it with the nearby gate. That gap where the wind usually comes from, and I wanted some air flow over the fire. The openings in the blocks will allow for some air flow from the sides, too. I used one of the oven racks to determine how far apart to put the blocks.
I wanted to have the option of using both racks, so I also brought over the 1 half-block we have.
It’s shorter than the full blocks, so I added a couple of bricks under it, to make it level with the others.
Then I hosed everything down.
We now have several options.
If we want to do a simple wiener roast, we can leave the racks off, and the blocks can be used to support our roasting sticks.
Once we’ve built up the coals, we can place both racks on, like in the picture, for a large cooking area. If we need to, we can still easily feed the fire from one end.
Or we can use one rack across the middle, supported by the two large blocks.
Or, we can have one rack towards the end, supported by all three blocks. We’d be able to keep a fire going at the open end, and push hot coals under the cooking area as needed.
We can also fill the half block with coals for anything that needs high heat, like setting a pot or kettle of water to boil, and have the one rack covering it as it is in the photo, for air flow. To do this, though, we’ll need to get a long handled, metal scoop, like are used to clean fireplaces. Mind you, it’s entirely possible we already have one, hiding in one of the sheds. LOL
Now that the set up is complete, we can keep it in mind when we go into town tomorrow. We still might go for an ordinary wiener roast, but who knows what we might find to inspire us, instead. 🙂
I’m really looking forward to it! I hope the weather co-operates. 🙂