Kinda goes without sayin', don't you think? And yet, I feel the need to say it anyway.
There are always little twigs and things fallin' from the trees in my yard and when they do, the peeps will gather 'em up and put them in the compost pile or green bin. I should explain. A green bin is a big bin where you can put compostable stuff to be picked up with the garbage if you don't want to compost it yourself. It's called a green bin 'cause it's a bin and well... it's green.
Sometimes however, those little twigs that fall from the trees are more like branches. A garden inspection done immediately after a big storm will usually find a branch or two. Also, when the squirrels start doin' their hoedowns up in the oak trees in the fall, branches often appear afterwards on the ground. This has become quite commonplace since the invasion of the grey squirrels. Those grey squirrels are particularly big and heavy and when they start dancin' in the trees, stuff breaks. It happens. It happens more often than you might think.
Anywho... when twigs grow into branches and those branches fall to the ground, the peeps gather them up and drag 'em out of the way. They can't put 'em in the green bin 'cause even though the green bin is big, it's not that big. They also can't put 'em in the compost pile 'cause they're so big, they'd take forever to break down into compost. They could, I suppose, chip 'em in a wood chipper but since we don't have a wood chipper, that's not gonna happen. I suggested to peep #1 that she employ a woodchuck 'cause everyone is always askin' how much those woodchucks can chuck and I figured that this would be the perfect opportunity to discover the answer but apparently, chuckin' is different from chippin'. Who knew?
So where exactly do my peeps put those twigs that are the size of branches? Why, they put in a brush pile, of course. We have a brush pile just for such occasions. Actually, we have two of 'em. We needed to start up a second one after the Great Squirrel Hoedown of 2008. That was a doozie of a party. There were branches, acorns and squirrels everywhere. Little squirrel-sized bottles of nut beer scattered all over the ground, too. Little empty squirrel-sized bottles of nut beer scattered all over the ground. But I digress. My point is, there were a lot of branches and brush and whatnot needin' to be piled.
Havin' a brush pile in your garden is a good thing, you know. Brush piles provide protection for lots of little critters who need protectin'. The peeps know that havin' a brush pile is an environmentally sound decision while bein' kind to animals at the same time. They'll always have a brush pile 'cause of this. Always and forever.
My peeps just keep addin' to the brush piles. They never get that big. Stuff at the bottom breaks down and they keep on addin' to the top. It works out well.
Other peeps however, have different ideas. Here in the wilds of Nova Scotia, peeps have a habit of burnin' brush and leaves and stuff. They also have a habit of burnin' brush piles.
Truth be told, we don't actually live in the wilds of Nova Scotia. We live in a subdivision. It's not overly wild. Well, Ol' Peepers' hair was lookin' pretty wild the other day but that's a different kind of wild, I should think.
Last Saturday afternoon, our new neighbours decided to burn some brush. They scoured their property for brush and piled it high. Then they lit it on fire. As the fire consumed the brush, they added more and more and even more of the woody branches and twigs and things. They kept that fire going for several hours.
At first, it wasn't so bad. There was some smoke 'cause a lot of the brush had had green leaves attached to it. All that smoke was going straight up in the air so although it was very bad for the planet, it wasn't directly affectin' either me or my peeps. County law allows for the burnin' of brush so the neighbours were allowed to do what they were doin' and, I repeat, the smoke was headin' straight up so things seemed to be in paw.
But that all changed by Saturday evenin'. After dinner, the peep and I went into my office to do a quick edit on my Sunday post. We opened the door and were smacky-pawed in the face by a wall of smoke. SMOKE! Smoke in my office! MOUSES!!!
The first thing the peep thought was that something in the house was on fire. Something in my office. Then she realised that no, thankfully, that was not the case at all. What had happened was that she had left two windows open in the afternoon and the smoke from that neighbour's brush pile had come in from the outside.
Ol' Peepers stepped outside and there, the smoke was even worse. It was everywhere. It hung in the night air. There was a smoky haze in our back yard, our front yard, the driveway and even out on the street. At least half the subdivision was filled with smoke. It was awful.
You could see the smoke, it was so thick. And it smelled. Actually, it stunk. It had a horrible, acrid smell. It smelled like there had been more than just wood and leaves bein' burned that afternoon. There must have been some plastic or rubber in that pile of brush to create such a horrendous stinky stink. My gosh, the smell was even worse than the smell of the skunk from two nights before! MOUSES!
And the smoke got in my eyes and made them water. And it got in my nose and made me sneeze. I didn't even wanna breath but had to 'cause... you know... a kitty has gotta breathe. It's kind of important, you see.
Like I said before, county laws allow peeps to burn brush and leaves. They're not allowed to burn garbage, mind you, but brush and leaves are okay. They're allowed to burn it as long as doin' so doesn't create a fire hazard. They don't want sparks causing forest or grass fires. Forest and grass fires seem to be their main concern.
I wholeheartedly agree that preventin' forest and grass fires is important. In fact, it's super-duper important. But what about breathing? Is the ability to breathe not important, too? Doesn't every cat and every peep have the right to be breathin' clean, fresh air? Air that's not filled with acrid-smelling, stinky smoke?
'Cause here's the dilemma, my friends. Where there's fire, there is smoke. It's almost inevitable. Fire and smoke go hand in hand and paw in paw. Where you have one, you're gonna have the other. To think anything otherwise is crazy talk. Crazy as crazy can be. Why, it's crazier than a squirrel makin' nut pies. It's crazier than a drunken squirrel makin' nut pies and let me tell you, that's pretty darned crazy, if you know what I mean. MOUSES!