When the kids and I moved back we moved into the house I grew up in on the farm. When my parents moved to town they took what they wanted and left everything else. My garage is still 1/2 filled with their stuff and don't even get me started on the barns. Three weeks ago Mom and I cleared out the back porch and yesterday we started on the garage. Once again my burn barrel (12' in diameter and 6' tall) was over 1/2 full when I lit the match.
All day Dad and the kids worked on cleaning out the East barn and getting things put away for the winter. Since I was burning (IN THE BURN BARREL) he started a fire in the West burn pit and in a moment of brilliance he decided to get rid of an old, old round hay bale by burning it. Well, the burn pit is about 15' deep and he didn't put the bale in before he lit the fire. The bale started on fire quickly and he had to drop it so it ended up towards the top edge of the pit. It was breezy yesterday and the wind picked up and blew a chunk of burning hay into the grove and it lodged about 20' up in a tree. Well the poor tree was about 39 years old and mostly hollow and that's all it took to set it on fire.
I had been inside fixing supper and when I went to call the troops in to eat I was greated by the glow. I went back to the house for more garden hose and threw the food in the oven to keep it warm. Apparently Mom & Dad thought they could handle it themselves without telling me. I'm not sure why they thought I wouldn't notice...a flaming tree is pretty hard to miss.
Mom was the lights, moving the truck as we needed it, my 12-yr old son was the line runner keeping the kinks out of the hose, I was the sprayer and Dad was running the backhoe. The backhoe doesn't have lights so he was holding a flashlight in his mouth. The end of the hose had been run over so I had to use my thumb as a sprayer...talk about cold. It was leaking at the connection too so I was soaked.
After soaking the ground around the tree Dad decides it needs to come down. He uses the backhoe to push it into the ditch...well it snaps off about 4' off the ground and falls backwards bouncing off the cab of the backhoe. I don't know about Dad, but it scared the crap out of me. So...now the tree is half in the ditch and there are sparks everywhere. I'm on it with the hose putting out the sparks - one good thing about the dark, it made them easy to spot.
It is clear that the tree can't be left to burn out in the grove. I have visions of the grove burning all the way to the house and all the old "stuff" going up in flames. For a nanosecond I thought this would be a good thing except that also means that I lose MY stuff. Dad decides that the tree needs to be in the pit and left to burn out. One completely destroyed fence later the tree was pretty much in the pit.
The wind was really picking up and sparks were flying everywhere. I slid backwards down a pile of dirt - actually by this point it was more mud than dirt. Finally got the hose that had been run over undone and added a sprayer. It took a while but we got the hay put out and it was just the tree smoldering. About this time it started to rain. I'm telling you I was already wet, muddy and cold but I have never been so happy to feel the rain!
By the time we got to the house I was surprised to find that the food was still warm. Pork chops and cheesy potatoes never tasted so good.