Photo of the Week – December 13, 2012

From a camping trip with my sons earlier this fall:

I call this photo, “Hey Dad – can we use dried cow manure for campfire fuel?”

Camp fire at the Helzer prairie by Stockham, Nebraska.

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I call this second photo, “Hey Dad – take a picture of the sparks when I throw this piece of dried manure on the fire!”

Camp fire at the Helzer prairie by Stockham, Nebraska.

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Ah…happy family memories.

This entry was posted in General and tagged , , , , , , by Chris Helzer. Bookmark the permalink.

About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.

8 thoughts on “Photo of the Week – December 13, 2012

  1. Is there some kind of “squish test” you need to apply to determine if they are dried enough to burn well? I assume there’s some threshold of freshness below which the fire doesn’t look so, well, “perky”. Have you developed any kind of state and transition model to determine just where this threshold might be and whether it does, in fact, exist, or is it just something imagined by squeamish “city folks?” I might just stick with the old Yule Log. Happy Holidays!

    • Good one, Peter. Nothing as technical as what you suggest. My threshold is that if you can pick up the manure pile and it comes up as one solid piece, it’s fuel. If it folds or smushes (or worse) it’s not done yet.

      • Does the same test apply when you select them for tossing, or are there other aerodynamic criteria that must be accounted for as well?

  2. Years back when my older son was maybe 6 or 7, we were in the parking lot of a convenience store in the small West Texas town of Junction buying bait before fishing. An old dude drove up next to us in a battered pickup truck. When he got out he asked, “What are y’all doing?” When we told him we were going fishing, he said to me, “You know, when I see a dad going fishing with his son, I know that boy’s gonna be alright!”
    Chris, I know your sons are gonna be alright!

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