Surely you know what a burn barrel is! No? “Burn barrel” is not a turn of phrase that rolls trippingly and easily off your tongue? Okay, well, us too.
But everyone else in Queensborough certainly knew what the old rusty oil drum perched on the cement covering of the Manse’s no-longer-used well was. Some even had some amusing stories about it, like how a previous occupant of the Manse (a minister, obviously; we are the first non-ministerial folk ever to live there) had decided to burn some stuff in it during a particularly dry period, and how the neighbours had suggested that it maybe wasn’t a particularly good idea, given that the burn barrel was positioned (oddly) immediately beneath the overhanging branches of a tree – a very dry tree, in that spell.
So yes, a burn barrel is for burning stuff, presumably leaves in fall, but what do I know? Maybe other things at other times of the year as well. None of which sounds particularly good for the environment, if you ask me.
So basically we wanted to get rid of our burn barrel, because a) we weren’t ever going to use it for its intended purpose, and b) it was so rusted out that it practically was separated into two halves horizontally. In other words, not adding to the scenic beauty of the Manse’s landscaping. But the fact that the bottom half was filled with heavy ashes, and that the two halves were sure to separate and maybe disintegrate if one tried to do something with it, made moving it pretty much an impossible prospect for us on our own.
Very fortunately for us, Mike Tregunna, the excellent proprietor (with his wife, Gillian) of the Tregunna Tree Farm outside Tweed and the man responsible for the new elm tree and the new maple tree that now grow at the Manse, had offered – out of the blue! – to take away “that burn barrel over there” when he planted the maple recently. He put his tools and his miniature front-end loader to excellent use: loading up the burn barrel (in two pieces), driving it over to his truck, transferring it there, and then driving off into the distance (the dump?) with it.
It was a kind and unexpected offer, and we were very happy and grateful to take him up on it. It is actually quite something how often people in the Queensborough area have offered to help with stuff like that, just out of the blue. It is very much appreciated, and it warms the heart. Okay, maybe not as much as if we were having a roaring leaf or trash fire in the burn barrel – but you get the picture.