This weekend was a pretty good one, by most standards. I spent the morning Saturday building a fort with my kids, using a pile of 6'-8' long, 1" - 3" diameter pieces leftover from some tree clearing I’m doing. A bucket of nails and a few hours of messing around, and we had a sort-of lean-to shelter with a tarp roof, pallet floor.

Here’s the lead architect reviewing his plans pre-construction:

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I didn’t really take pictures mid-construction, so here you go: 

Illustration for article titled Weekend Update
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This worked out nicely because on Sunday it rained, kind of a lot. So we had a fire about 30' from the shelter and went back and forth from the fire (warm, but you got rained on) to the fort (dry, but cold - it was 38 degrees). Smores were had, in the shelter of the fort. It was lovely.

Oh and we also set a tree on fire that was near the fire. It’s a beech, and mostly dead. There are some large branches growing out of the top and sides that are healthy-ish, but the majority of the tree is rotten and quite dry. Exposed to a hot column of flame for a long enough time, we noticed smoke coming from near the top, on the opposite side from where the fire was. The whole tree was reaching a kind of flash point as smoke poured out of the entire rotten/dryrot side, and then it started to really flare up.

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Illustration for article titled Weekend Update

Now, it was raining, and this was entirely legal and safe. There was NO danger of a forest fire of any sort, the ground is saturated and again, it was raining and not windy. However, I didn’t want burning chunks falling down on my kids, so I grabbed a hose and put it out. Still, it was cool to watch develop!

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Illustration for article titled Weekend Update

The pile of sticks next to the tree doesn’t really tell the tale of how hot that fire really was.

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Illustration for article titled Weekend Update

I was feeding it piles of sticks no more than 2" in diameter, by the arm-full, for 2 hours straight. It was a mix of dry and green brush, but it was quite hot for a long time.

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Oh I also got out for a mountain bike ride on Saturday with one friend. It’s a great way to get out, get exercise, and have an adult conversation, all without being too close to each other. The trails were peppered with icy spots - some on sharp corners! - but really pretty good for March. Mostly dirt, no branches down, and very little mud, amazingly. It felt amazing to get out on the bike. And unlike in some places I’ve heard about, it wasn’t overcrowded with people trying to get outside and away from other people. I guess I’m lucky to live in a sparsely populated area to begin with.

I hope you all are doing okay. Tell me something about your weekend, if you like. I’m working from home again today while also trying to teach Kindergarten and 1st grade. It’s... challenging.

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