BURNING the midnight oil

Yesterday I worked 14.5 hours, from 8 am to 11 pm with a half hour for lunch. We burned 100 acres of Kellogg-Weaver Dunes, a beautiful collection of prairie-covered sand dunes in the Mississippi valley south of Wabasha. I was one of the assigned ATV operators, which meant I kept busy putting out our half-mile-long lines, and when the other ATV died I had more to do. After the fire ended, we had many standing trees burning. We used the ATV winch to pull one stubborn tree down, but we left quite a lot of trees smoking and flaming if they were far enough from unburned grass. By the time we towed the dead ATV off the prairie (by pulling it with the functional one) and loaded everything, it was after 9, and we rolled into St. Paul at 11 pm.

Other recent news:
Friday: Burned four small areas at Cannon River Wood Turtle SNA, ~10 hours
Monday: Burned a bluff prairie at the above site, then burned River Terrace SNA, also on the Cannon River, with abundant kittentails, 12.5 hours
Tuesday: Rainy, pulled garlic mustard all day at Wood-Rill SNA, Wayzata
Today: Returned to Oronoco Prairie SNA near Rochester to burn three small restorations with 6-foot Indian Grass in variable winds. (12-foot flames going unpredictable directions makes for some excitement)

Weekend: I went down to Carleton for Spring Concert and a friend’s Polish sausage barbecue. The concert gave me a chance to reconnect with most of my friends still at Carleton and a few from my class who returned for the day. It rained lightly the whole time, and the area in front of the stage quickly turned into a mud pit. I forgot to pick up the guitar from Aaron, so I will have to return!

Tomorrow we will likely hit the road to southwest Minnesota for an 8-day road trip to burn such sites as Prairie Coteau. We are pretty much done with our burns for the metro/southeast part of the state.

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