Burning Barrel

In the early days of my cottage life everyone had a steel barrel around their country house or cottage. Steel barrels come in handy for catching rainwater and for burning stuff. Some folks cut them down and use them for campfire pits, while others, particularly in days past, used them for burning garbage.

My father started the tradition at our cottage years ago when he laid his hands on a steel barrel and decided it would make a great stove for burning garbage. In no time he had it set up and lit, enjoying himself immensely. In fact, I think it is still one of his favorite things to do at the cottage. Never mind a campfire, just give him a barrel and something to burn….

I have to admit, I was never all that keen on the idea, because burning garbage is probably not great for the environment, and it’s not great for the air we breath either. But on the other hand, a little burning on occasion, depending on what you burn, is probably not that bad, especially when it’s compared to the pollution put into the atmosphere by cars and factories etc. I’m not saying it’s good…just not all that bad…oh what the heck, to be honest, I have no idea one way or the other, but it sure gets rid of garbage…..

As long as it’s a good hot fire, not much smoke goes into the enviroment anyway. Containing the fire in something allows for a pretty hot fire. That’s where our burning barrel comes in….We had an old metal stand, made from pipe that I think was originally built to hold a 45 gallon drum full of stove oil. Back before 45 gallon drums of stove oil became harmful to the environment. Since we did away with the old Kemac oil stove, he decided the stand and barrel would make a great incinerator.

Well, it’s several barrels later, because they rust out very quickly, but we still use the system to get rid of certain garbage. Get a half decent fire burning and you can burn almost anything. Our last old barrel rusted through and I thought we were finished with the burning barrel. Oh but I was wrong. It’s amazing what a 90 year old cottager can do when he puts his mind to it. Keeping an ear to the ground, he found one of my friends who could get him a barrel, cut the top out of it, and get it ready for burning. This time he refined it a little, telling my buddy to leave a little of the cover on to keep hot embers from falling out the front of the barrel. Here is a picture from the front.

Notice the lip in front at the bottom…I am such a redneck cottager……

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