Burning the hill

Burning the hill

Last Saturday it was that time again. The men from the village were going to burn down the hill that is situated along the village. They do this regularly, usually once a year, but this time it hadn’t happened for two years. So high time. If they don’t do this, the hill will be a wilderness of mainly ferns in no time and a complete forest will grow in a few years. By regularly burning everything down, they keep it under control.

Usually, the help of the (voluntary) fire brigade is, fortunately, also called upon to help with the burning down ….. Such a big fire can get out of hand in no time and the consequences can be enormous. Because there are a number of wineries in the area, they do not take any risks and spray the surrounding area well. Conditions were good on Saturday. It was sunny, the ground was completely dry and there was not too much wind. Bine also went to help and in between, I went to have a look when I went for a walk with Ivy.

There were about 20 men helping to control the fire and lead it in the right direction. The fire brigade has handy tools for this in the form of a kind of metal broom. With that, they slap the fire to extinguish it when it threatens to go too far in the wrong direction. Some villagers also use fern branches for this.

Of course, the dry grass and ferns smoke like crazy so you have to be careful where you walk because sometimes the wind suddenly changes and then you suddenly find yourself in the middle of the (hot) smoke. I quickly walked through it and then joked to Bine that I was now smoked and so probably tasted delicious ;).

My parents have their house on that hill, so there was also a lot of attention for it. They are not there yet so luckily they were not bothered by the smoke. They were happy to hear though that it was burned down again because if they would let everything grow, my parents would now be looking at a forest instead of the beautiful view they have :).

On the largest part of the hill, there are many young oak trees that have grown to a height of one and a half meters in those two years. Unfortunately, you cannot get rid of them with a fire. They are strong. The hill is now completely blackened, but in a month or so, everything will be completely green again. It goes that fast! That is why the villagers will soon be working together again for an afternoon to cut down the oaks.

In the past, the hills here consisted of grassland that was mowed several times every year to dry grass for the cows. Nowadays not everyone has animals or a farm anymore and those who do, have only a few cows. That is why not as much hay is needed anymore as in the past when people still lived from their farms. That is also the reason that we now look out from our terrace onto a wooded hill. Forty years ago it consisted of nothing but grass. But once they stopped mowing, nature got a free hand and a complete forest has grown. And I think that’s fine because it gives us a beautiful view and in this way, we can also experience the seasons beautifully :). We now wait for the beautiful young green that we will see again soon. Long live spring!


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