Matfield Green - Our first years

Saturday, April 22, 2006

An email from home (Bill & the Burning Bush)

It was a big day yesterday starting with pouring the basement walls at 6:30. A concrete pumping truck with a hose arching about eighty feet high on an articulated arm delivered the concrete to the formwork from four rotating trucks. I'm sure it was the largest and most sophisticated pour since the underpass was poured in 1922. The pumping truck was remotely controlled by the driver who stood a few feet from the men directing the hose into the formwork. The whole operation took less that two hours, so the weekend started early for Scott Woodward, his son, and two helpers.

Pat poured the subfloor of the last bunkhouse unit (a completely separate operation from the above) and rushed off to meet the same load of concrete at the Miller's front walk.(Unfortunately they hadn't ordered quite enough so one leg of the "Y" shaped walk didn't get poured.)

As Pat was finishing the floor Bill Haw appeared. I immediately recognized him from a picture I had seem on the internet. We had a pleasant conversation -Cottonwood Falls, scenic easements, ranch economics, the idea of a Chase County dude ranch, his three ranches in this area, soaring land costs, etc. [Rumors are that the Rogler heirs have been offered $1200 an acre to keep the farm out of auction - and turned it down!]

In the meantime, I realized that the wind velocity was low making it a great day to burn the remainder of the prairie north of the house site - about 8 acres. After last week's embarassment of starting the BNSF tracks on fire and the visit from sheriff and volunteer fire department I was a bit apprehensive. Luckily the two BNSF rail welders - the guys we showed through the bunkhouse last week - we at the grade crossing, so I asked them what they thought. They told me to go ahead and do it and confirmed with their boss via two-way radio. With this encouragement I was off to line-up help and assemble the equipment for a five o'clock burn. I found Pat and Phil Miller finishing the walk and Kenny Thomas and told them we would start in three hours.

In the meantime the welders reappeared and said that their boss thought they should help with the burn, but that they couldn't wait until five. So, we decided to do it straight away. So the welders, Kenny, and I went to it - Kenny with a small ATV and a torch and the rest of us with sprayers.

I was pleased that the fire burned throught the wooded areas. After dinner with Pat in Burns we returned to find the woods still in flames - there was one hot spot that seemed almost like the burning bush in the Bible. We decided in was a pack rat nest mounded with sticks that was sustaining the flames. We watched for awhile and then returned to the bunkhouse for sleep.

Love you.


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