A few weeks ago Dryhalla Rangeland Services LLC got back in the swing of things with our first burn of the year. This burn was different from any other that I have ever been on in more then one way. We started the year off with a burn in Swenson, TX which is about five hours north of Sonora where we live. If you are not real familiar with that area, let me just say one thing. Sand. Lots of it. It was like being on a beach or in the sand dunes and burning. We all got a great workout walking with the torch though! We could only use ATVs to get around the place, no trucks. Also because it was so far away we had a really really small crew. On a normal burn we have anywhere between 12 to 20 people helping. This go around we had four, including Colin and me. We were only burning small blocks so four was an OK number, but six would have been even better. But we handled it all like pros and burned two of the four blocks that the owners wanted done, 300+ acres.
Not only were we burning with a much smaller crew, with only the use of ATVs, in a sand dune, we also had to battle the cold. We got a late start the day of the burn because all the water in the tank we were drawing from was frozen.
Our sleeping arrangements were also on the list of firsts. This place is a hunting camp. That in itself should be enough said. But this is a nice clean place. The owners have a camper set up there that has a small pop out where the table sits. (Ya know the kind) Its small. Perfect for a weekend trip, but I don't think I could last any longer. There was only one real bed, which Colin and I took. We didn't think that Ray and Kyle would have enjoyed sharing. The other beds in the camper were the typical pull out, flip over or put down type. The small "couch" flipped into a full size, and you could drop the table down and make the seats and table into a very weird shaped bed. But lucky for Ray and Kyle the owners have a cool tent set up at the camp. It was a big tent, big enough to have a set of bunk beds in it and a wood burning stove. There was enough room that we all could spread out and sit around the stove at night, which was by far the best part of the whole trip. So we have a camper built for two, and a tent.
(Colin burning not in Swenson, just a good picture of him doing his job)
The heater in the camper bit the dust last time the owners were there, so they removed it to get it fixed and it had not returned. So we had (in the camper) a small fan that blew out warm air to heat the whole thing. Yeah right! On top of that, there was an open gas line that went to the heater, so when we turned on the gas so we could have a stove and hot water, gas just poured into the camper. So we had no gas to cook with and no hot water to shower with. (Also remember that I am the only girl with three men that will have worked hard all day burning, and none of us got to shower...) Thank the good Lord above that I had cooked most of our food prior to and froze it, so all I had to do was heat it up. Well, all but breakfast. This was another first for me. Usually the owner is in charge of getting all the meals taken care of. But this time it was up to me to cook for everyone. Heating up the food was a step back in time. I had to use the wood stove in the tent to heat and cook all our food. Too bad I didn't get any pictures of that!
That was the big kick off to the 2010 burning season for Dryhalla. At least out of the whole thing we got to spend time with each other and some close friends, and the coffee pot never missed a beat! If that had failed me, I don't know how this story would have turned out.
(Ronnie not burning in Swenson)