Every country boy from here to Montana knows that if anything bad happens on their land, it’s gonna happen in the middle of the night.
Heifer having trouble birthing her first calf?
Coyotes break through the fence to the chicken pen?
Feral pigs dig up your garden?
Burn pile relights in sudden 30 mph wind gusts?
The last one I know from experience.
In our vast experience of burning brush piles,(five is vast right?) we know the perfect weather will only hold until it’s time to go to sleep. Then all bets are off.
Recently, after a perfect burning day, we packed up our truck bed with the camping chairs and the remains of a devastated marshmallow bag, around 8 pm, and headed for the house. We checked the smoldering pile every hour until midnight, when a quick double check of the forecast revealed the dreaded announcement.
Freezing temperatures and a wind warning.
The freezing temperatures meant we had to drain the water lines that run down the back pasture. The very same water that would put out a fire. A fire kicked up by wind gusts.
A great day turned into a very long night.
I drove out and checked the fire every hour and all was fine until 4 am. I could see the flames kicking up from the pile when I reached the first gate to the pasture. Not good. I checked that it was still okay, then drove back up to the house to wake Hubs.
A very groggy Hubs pulled on his jeans and canvas coat before starting the long process of getting the water turned back on to the pasture. After finally getting the hoses hooked up, Hubs bravely sprayed the fire for about thirty minutes, having to take short breaks to thaw the sprayer head which kept freezing.
Me? I looked on very supportively from the heated truck cab. I really would have stood out there with him, but he sweetly told me to wait in the truck. I think my chattering teeth were distracting him.
After disconnecting the hoses and draining the lines, again, we bolted back up to the house.
I did learn something new from the experience. It turns out to be nearly impossible to go to sleep, even if exhausted, after rushing around in a pitch black pasture during freezing temperatures at 4 am. Who knew?
Oh well, at least we got to eat s’mores.