I finally called up Friday to register for the chipper rota with the Branciforte Fire Protection District, staffed almost entirely by volunteers. It might be two months, I was told: the local fire departments share a chipper and everyone must take their turn. Oh well. But true to their mission statement, the officer I talked to was indeed nice:
All members of the Branciforte Fire Department will strive to give excellent customer service, to always do the right thing, and to always be nice.Don't you love that last part!
The next morning I was out collecting seeds (Madia elegans) when Mr Wood Rat called my cell phone to say that the chipper would be there within an hour!
Yes, it was the end of the line for the brush pile -- and a great photo op for this month's Gardening Gone Wild photo competition whose theme is -- "The end of the line."
The picture at the top of this post is my pick for the competition. As you can see, it's the end of the line for the brush we cleared - and there is a fire fighter literally at the end of the line for feeding the last of the brush into the chipper. On the left you can see the tiny pile of mulch that is all that remains of the gargantuan brush pile!
Below I begin at the beginning of the end ...
This was near the beginning of the hour and a half it took to reduce the pile of dangerously flammable dry wood to usable mulch. They worked really hard!
In fact you could say they really got into their work....
Hey there, didn't you read the warnings?...
I also liked this next photo as an entry for the competition because you can really see where the end of the line is for these big old rotted logs that Mr Rat had lugged out of the woods. (They were in a big pile where we now want to do some landscaping). It is a more dramatic shot. But I went with the visual pun.
That was some heavy-duty chipper! It hardly hiccuped. I like the teeth someone painted on its output chute.
I was so happy to see the back of that pile. I asked the guys if I could take their photo and they graciously agreed.
We extend a BIG THANKS to these volunteer firefighters who are supporting local homeowners to maintain a defensible zone around our homes.
And here is Mr Rat grinning at the place where the pile was, as the fire fighters drove off to deal with their next pile.
Duncan the dog was hopeful some of the late residents of the pile might still be around. But they, like the pile itself, were gone.