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The Power of Permits
By Tim Reid
here come times when tree pruning or land clearing leaves you with a few piles of brush and stuff.  There are three ways of dealing with this.  You can take it to the municipal dump, you can rent a large chipper shredder at the local 'rent-all' or you can burn it.  The last is the cheapest.

You must obtain a permit in order to burn.  Sometimes there is an outright ban on outdoor fires.  But this time of year poses little fire hazard.  If you are burning dried brush there will be little smoke.  If the brush is fresh, it will send out billows of smoke quite visible for miles.

"Do you have a burning permit to start that fire?"
"Nope, just an old tire and some gas."

Now, in order to prevent a flood of calls to the local volunteer fire department it is important to go to the township office and take out a burn permit.  It doesn't cost anything.  They will notify the fire department.  This will prevent the fire trucks ending up in your front yard.

When piling your branches in the fire keep all the ends on one side.  This prevents it bridging and going out in the middle.  When the fire burns out all that will remain is a pile of ashes in a bit of charcoal.  This would be one Jim Dandy spot on which to plant an asparagus patch.

If you choose the chipper shredder, be aware that this is the most expensive option.  Make sure you don't accidentally throw any metal in there.  This would cost you plenty - not that you won't be paying plenty renting it  - but new blades or any damage to the machine will cost you more.

Make sure the area to which the chips are going needs them.  Hard woods and poplar make a nice mulch.  With cedar chips you have to be careful not to poison the ground as they are acidic.

Q & A

Revenge is a dish best served cold.
Quote of the week
Author unknown
This week's questions come from Glenn in Smith Falls and John in Coe Hill.

Dear Tim:

My lover and I wish to get a milk goat.  I want a lamancha and he wants a saanen.  Which one is the better milk producer?

Dear Glenn:

My first question is 'Why would you want a goat without ears?'  But to each their own!

In any case, saanens are second to none in milk production, although a toggenburg holds the world's record.  Lamancha follows close to the alpine which is about average.  Nubians are primarily noted for their cream production.  On this one I have to go with your lover's choice.  When you do get your lamancha don't be surprised if you get some pretty strange looks, stopped traffic and stupid questions.

Dear Tim:

My great uncle died and left me a 1952 Massey-Harris 44D Special tractor.  He left my brother a Massey-Harris 1954 Pony.  Both are in mint condition.  My brother says he got the better tractor and that I am crazy to want to put mine to work in the bush.  But I just can't afford to keep an antique play toy.  What do you think?

Dear John:

(My first Dear John letter!)

You must have been the favorite nephew because you by far got the better tractor.  A 1952 Massey-Harris 44D Special  tractor was the top of the line in its time.  The 'Special' means a limited edition and a rare tractor.  Your brother got a 1954 Pony.  This was a well-loved tractor in Europe from 1945 to 1956, as huge quantities were shipped over there after the war.  It is well-loved in Holland and France.  In short, you have a Rolls-Royce.  Your brother has a Honda Civic.

As for working it, your brother is right.  To start with, that queen of tractors saw her reign 40 years ago.  To be in mint condition today she didn't see much work.  To put her to work now would be a very good way to find out just how hard it is to locate parts for her.  If the tractor is not of sentimental value, sell or trade it for a backhoe or a small bulldozer for bush work.  The only thing that prima donna should see is the occasional snow plowing or a parade.

This week's helpful hint:

When setting a screw in for the first time, it helps to put a little dish soap or vaseline on it.  It makes it easier to screw and prevents it from rusting.

Tim Reid is Ex- Canadian Navy and lives with his spouse on a small mixed farm in Hastings County.  He may be contacted at or by letter mail at RR2 Gilmour, Ontario, Canada.  KOL 1W0.