It's time to burn pastures in the Flint Hills, and pasture burning is a necessary task in our part of paradise, folks, like it or not. It always amazes me how even people in our tiny town don't quite understand exactly why we do what we do. Preggo brain has taken a firm grasp upon my brain this afternoon so I am unable to write a proper essay complete with scientific notations (or even a coherent sentence for that matter) so please be content with my meager, probably scrambled reasoning this afternoon on why we must burn our pastures.
Burning does a fine job of suppressing weeds and is a great alternative to spraying chemicals. Our terrain is rather rocky and uneven and traveling with a vehicle of spray, or even aerial spraying is not always a viable option. Burning can reach into draws and creek bottoms in a very effective manner. Similarly, it also helps suppress woody plants and unwanted cedar trees from invading a pasture. In addition to weed control, burning helps control unwanted insect invasions. Burning helps increase plant productivity by increasing photosynthetic capabilities.
Yes, there will always be a few bad apples who manage to let a fire get out of control and make the evening news for their involvement in some sort of catastrophic event. However, for each and every one of these random incidents, there are also 100 properly controlled prescribed burns that occur and you never know they even happened, minus the beautiful black soil that begins to look like a luscious, green golf course in only a few short weeks.
Below are pictures from the one fire where I remembered to bring my camera. Enjoy, and please remember to click on pictures in order to enlarge them.
|I was ecstatic to be able to capture photos of a whirlygig. And yes, that is the technical, meteorological term I am absolutely certain.|
|Two whirlygigs. What are the odds?|
|Doesn't this seem like a collection of colors you'd see at a paint store? Feel free to create some of your own fanciful names for the colors. Prairie fire orange, steel blue sky, etc.|
|We drove by this pasture last night and it does indeed now look exactly like a lush, green golf course. A golf course with calves grazing it.|
|At this point Kenyon decided I was too close to the fire and started yelling, "NO, NO MOM. HOT, HOT!"|