Winter Solstice at the Firepit

The last two early mornings I’ve gone out to the firepit just before dawn and built a small fire in the chimenea, watching it burn down while I ponder the changing of the seasons.  I love to wander around in the yard, quietly collecting small twigs for kindling for the next fire and it was easy this morning under last night’s full moon.  I could see the tiny twigs glistening white against the brown leaf mulch garden floor.  There is plenty of oak and pine branch deadfall for firewood and sometimes I use dried pine needles and palmetto fronds as starters.  Today I began clearing the firepit area, cutting back the dead palmetto fronds and dead grapevine.  Last winter, I made an archway out of bamboo and grapevines and I took that down to accomodate the bay tree, which had grown so much bigger. I always cut some bay and camphor branches to dry for the next fire, I love the smell of them when they release their scent in the flame.  I began cutting the palmettos back away from the trail in the west woods.  I’d let them grow all year long and it was time.  I only cut the main trail today.  Tomorrow I’ll pick up all the cut fronds and decide where the side trails should be.  I look to see where the animals have been walking, because I want to stay off their space, and I have two big gopher tortoise burrows I don’t want to disturb.  They live here, too.

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