A Nice Day for Bonfires


“It’s a Pretty Nice Day for a Bonfire!” said Hope. Hope is three and she thinks everyday is a pretty nice day for a bonfire. We have a lot of cookouts. Maybe she thinks its normal to cook outdoors. We’ve had delays in the construction. Time does not stop and winter approaches so our thoughts have turned to fall fencing and that means even more bonfires than usual as we clear new fence line.

This was brought to a head because two of our older and more wiley sows announced that they were tired of the south field pastures and wanted something fresh. They showed me where the weakest points in the fence were and crossed. Not in that order. They got into the corn, which was meant for them anyways and it is ready so I’m not upset. Frankly it was a poor crop this year with all the excessive rain in spring and early summer. When the pigs start putting pressure on the fencing it means it is time for me to think about making new pasture available.

We have the whole north home field and the north field that have been stockpiling all summer for fall forage while I had the herd concentrate on mowing down the brush in the south paddocks. Now it is time to move them. The grass is lush and the corn, squashes, turnips, Jerusalem artichokes and sunflowers are ripe. So we’re fencing today and tomorrow – that means more bonfire cookouts.

Cookouts for Hope and Ben means hot-dogs roasted on a stick followed by smores. Hope thinks that is just grand and likes hers lightly toasted. Her brother prefers his Cajun blackened or darker – both hot-dogs and marshmallows. The rest of us enjoyed a pork and veggie potato stew in the cast iron skillet you can see to the left in that photo. Someday I want to get a round cast iron pot for making the stew. The deep skillet works well with a top to keep out the ash but I would love to be able to hang a cauldron over the fire.

This time of year, from about mid-summer until early winter, we get that extra satisfaction from having produced nearly all the ingredients in the stew other than some spices. Interestingly, having raised and then prepared the food seems to make young children, who can sometimes be picky eaters, more likely to try and enjoy a variety of foods. One of the benefits of our connecting with our food.

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53째F/30째F Sunny but no real frost yet. Foliage past peak.

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor…

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6 Responses to A Nice Day for Bonfires

  1. karl says:

    i also believe that there is a correlation between the ease of our kids trying stuff that we raised. although, there are still illusive variables that don’t allow consistent results.

  2. pablo says:

    What kind of sticks do you use for roasting weenies? I use gray dogwood since it grows straight and long (and because I have plenty of it).

    I like your idea of the kids understanding the connection to the food they eat.

  3. I favor the young maples. Their saplings grow fast, straight and have hardwood centers. Sometimes the kids will choose a poplar(sp?) or other soft centered tree which does not make a good roasting stick. We save the sticks from meal to meal, fire sterilizing them, but eventually they wear out or burn through so replacements are needed.

  4. Patti says:

    Well if you ever get through north Iowa give me a holler..I have a nice cast iron dutch oven that is a bit to heavy for me to lift anymore :):)

  5. Kristianna says:

    I love the photo, Walter! :-) This is exactly what we have planned to do with our children tomorrow evening. The only difference is we will not be having a bon-fire, but rather a fire in our woodstove.

    Our Ben has been asking to have a “campout” downstairs in the living room and Dad said we could roast some dogs and have smores, too.

    Looks like you had a fantastic time!

    K

  6. that’s so nice to watch …and to realize that everywhere children love bonfires…we used to make a lot when our son was young…cooking on the fire is so nice and food tastes so much better, (the children sometimes eat things they would never taste around the kitchen table…)your blog and your family are very cute.i’ll come back…
    grandma Mousie from France

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