Burning barrel of fun

Back behind our house there were two metal barrels rusting into the ground. They have been there since we bought the place. I got the bright idea to see if I could get one unearthed and use it as a burn barrel. I didn’t have especially high hopes as it looked like they had been there a very long time.

It was ridiculously heavy, but I got it rolled out of it’s resting place. Then with gloves on I started pulling out what looked like tree debris. Then I started finding broken glass, bent needle syringes, broken toys, and finally a lot of really big river rocks. Sigh. Why couldn’t the previous owners of our place just stick to normal garbage?

Anyway, we managed not to stick ourselves on any needles and found that the bottom of the barrel was still intact. YEAH! I was super excited to have a burn barrel as we had a huge pile of old wooden shingles that we needed to dispose. I didn’t want to burn them on the ground as it would leave lots of nails behind. I felt bad about bringing them to the dump because of how much space it would take up, so a burn barrel seemed like a good option. It took me six days of burning for a few hours (I would have to stop when the coals got too high) and the entire pile is gone. We will dump out the barrel and bring the nail-charcoal mix to the dump. I am so happy to have that eyesore gone.

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8 Responses to Burning barrel of fun

  1. Ron says:

    Fire is a wonderful tool. I’m looking forward to a nice day when I can turn some tree tops into ashes myself.

  2. Leigh says:

    We’ve burned some brush in a campfire sort of affair, but a burning barrel is really best. Too bad your ash has so many nails. Otherwise it might be good for the chickens or the garden.

    • robin says:

      Yeah, we are hoping to get rid of the nail wood we have so we can start putting the ash out in the fields or garden. Right now when I empty our woodstove the ash pail weighs so much it tries to pull my arm off. Yes, there is that much metal in it from nails.

  3. hehe..this reminds me of a similar story of mine..I got a barrel like yours and cut the holes to burn and started burning..I had a huge pile of wood that was 30ft long by 8 ft wide by 4-6 ft high..so I started burning and on day 3 my neighbor stops over..he then asks me why I am taking the long route..he said that since it was so wet there was no danger in having a bigger fire so I could just light a fire and burn as fast as I could get the wood on..I stopped the barrel burning and a week later I was off for a day so I lit a fire in a safe place that was close to the wood and began burning..Once the wood got going good I was throwing the wood on as fast as I could..I had to stop after an hour because I could not get within 20 ft of the pile to throw more wood on..Long story short within 3 hours I had reduced my pile to nothing..the flames were so high that I could not see over the flames to the other side of the pile..Obviously this is not for everyone..there was a 20ft burn mark in my ‘lawn’ and there were many nails left behind..not to mention the fact that there were still hot coals 3 days later..a barrel is the safe way to go and I still use mine if I want to do a small ( more controlled ) fire. It was also nice when we cut an old oil tank in 2 to have fires in because now I don’t have burn marks all over my yard for each occasion someone came out for a visit and stay overnight..although it is amazing how well things grow in the spots where I did have burns in the past. ( disclaimer..I live in the middle of the woods so no neighbors were there to freak out at a burning pile of wood with flames 20 feet high..one of the freedoms of being off-grid in a remote area! ) ..I also have been cutting down trees so I have a burn scheduled for April before things dry up..should be a big one!

    • lee says:

      Wow, that’s some burning story! We can burn outside too, but it’s much more regulated in our area. You can only burn in the winter, you have to get a yearly “permit” (a piece of paper from the local gas station), and you have to call every day to find our the legal burn hours (if any). We’ve had our share of raging infernos, but the burn barrel was the best option for this particular nail-ridden mess.

      We had a neighbor ask why we didn’t just burn the whole pile of shingles in place. I pointed out the grove of highly flammable cedar trees that surrounded the pile. He didn’t seem to have a problem with it.

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