Rural Life in the UP of Michigan Some stories about life on 160 rural acres in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

January 25, 2014


Filed under: Uncategorized — admin0 @ 9:01 pm

ashesOnce a week or so, I have to empty the ashes from the stoves. If I can get to the gardens, I often dump the ashes there, in order to give the nutrients to the garden soil. This time of year it is hard to get to the gardens, so I often carry the ashes to a hillside where the cat litter is also dumped.

When I dump the ashes in the garden, I like to walk in Z patterns as I’m shaking the ashes out of the bucket, in order to evenly distribute them. This picture was taken on a very windy cold day. I slogged through the snow to the place I’m pretty sure the garden was, and realized I’d be unable to easily walk my normal Z. As I gave the ashes their first tip, I realized that the Zs were not needed, because the wind distributed the ashes for me. The heavy stuff dropped near my feet, and the finer stuff may have made it to the next county. The contrast and shading in the snow looked so pretty to me, I braved finger frostbite, pulled out the camera, and took the shot.

Have I mentioned that it is cold and snowy here?


  1. ted, when i was about 16 years old, winter-spring of 1964, we had a 10 acre plot than had been used only as cow pasture. no nutrients of any kind had been added in the previous 10 years. that year we put our ashes from the coal/wood burning furnace into the manure spreader along with the manure from the cow/sheep/chicken barns, and spread onto the field in long straight stretches. in may, the grass grew greener/taller/faster wherever we put the nutrients. i found it to be a remarkable sight. the cows loved it. pete.

    Comment by peter lehnert — January 26, 2014 @ 2:09 pm

  2. Hey Pete, I remember something similar, but urban, rather than rural. We had an old hand-push fertilizer spreader, and my Dad told me to fertilize the back yard. I was pretty young… probably in the single digits, and was skeptical that fertilizer did anything. I did the job though, although imperfectly. As the summer progressed and the rains came, the color of the grass perfectly showed how imperfectly every one of my runs up and down the lawn had been, because every strip was greener than the rest of the lawn.

    Comment by admin0 — January 26, 2014 @ 2:50 pm

  3. I have a question rather than a comment. We’re retiring from the southern Midwest to a wooded property in the U.P. later this year. How do we usefully yet safely dispose of woodstove ash during the shoulder seasons when there is little or no snow? We don’t want to start a wild fire. Wouldn’t be neighborly.

    Comment by Future-Yooper — June 4, 2014 @ 2:04 pm

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