When we bought our house, we forgot to ask: does the municipality allow backyard burning? I know, I know, how could we have forgotten that “must have” amidst three bedrooms, lots of character, and large backyard?
Well, we did. And for better or worse, it turns out that burning is on our municipality’s naughty list.
Because of this, every fall my husband sighs a forlorn sigh as he looks at his pile of garden waste then longingly at the smoky haze smeared across the horizon.
Enter the picnic area of Goldstream Provincial Park. Located just off the parking lot, lie the fire pits – no reservations needed. Your fire just has to be out by the time the ranger locks the gates.
Upon learning of this, we immediately bundled the girls in their best raingear/fleece combos, for warmth not rain, and headed to Goldstream.
My husband was in heaven with his bucket of kindling as he marched towards the vacant pit. In no time bright orange flames lit up the picnic area. Thank you Cub Scout training.
Even though the smoke from our fire handedly blocked the stench of dead fish wafting from the river, the girls were still curious to see how many carcasses remained.
Armed with her poking stick, my husband carved from a piece of kindling, Miss Q was on a mission to spear her a fish.
It was both amusing and frightening to see how our everyday nature-loving girl morphed into a wicked eco-monster. Please note: she didn’t even come close to making contact, but definitely enjoyed the thought of channeling Grizzly Adams.
It was amazing to see, even at 4:30 in the afternoon, how many seagulls lurked in the trees. It was amazing still, that any of them could fly after over a month of feasting.
The winter gloves made removing slightly charred hotdogs from sticks challenging, but no one seemed to mind the extra fiber. Nor did anyone mind snacking on s’mores made with remaining Hallowe’en chocolate bars. I don’t know what it is, but food cooked over an open fire just tastes better.
With three little girls underfoot, I’d be lying if I said open flame + littles didn’t scare me. Thankfully none of my worst-case scenarios came to fruition.
At one, Miss C was content to be held. She wasn’t too sure of her snowsuit or the gravel under her Robbies. Meanwhile, Miss S and Miss Q were respectful of the line my husband drew in front of the fire pit.
For a late fall outing this ranks as one of my favourites. Not only do you get to test your family camping skills with the safety net of your house near by; you can satisfy your primordial urge to be one with nature and flame – especially if you forget to ask your realtor about burning by-laws.