Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Smell of Fear!

“Nothing is more gentle than smoke.
Nothing more frightful.”
              Victor Hugo

There is nothing that will make a farmer leap out of bed faster in the early morning than the smell of smoke drifting in his open bedroom window. Your heart starts pounding, your imagination takes over.
 My Hero rushes to the window he looks west, and south, he sees nothing. Since our barn is only about 150 feet from our house this is always the place we look first. There are no visible signs of fire so our imagination takes us to the barnyard next door. It is full of all our round bales. My Hero jumps in the truck and goes off to investigate.
 The thing about round bales and our nasty wet weather this season was the fact that some hay may not have been cured (dried) completely. This will cause a bale to spontaneous combust. This is a farmer’s worst fear. We have never had this problem but it is always in the back of our mind.
 My Hero returns and everything is fine over at the neighbours. He now circles our barn and the machinery in the yard. The smoke is drifting into the house, the smell burning my eyes. We live near a major highway and if there is a car fire and the wind is just right we will smell the smoke from there. This may be the source.
 I am sitting at the table, looking out the window into the darkness waiting for the light.
 We may never know the source of this fire; I do hope everything is fine. My Hero goes out for one more trip around the barnyard.



  1. Can I have your hero when you are finished with him?

  2. Fire is something that terrifies me.

  3. Really glad the smoke wasn't from anything on your property (or your neighbours'). I can understand how it would be in the back of your minds. Obviously just drifted across - just like the balloons!

  4. I was smelling the smoke and looking out the window when I saw your Hero drive into out barnyard, thank him for checking.

  5. it is my biggest fear too - especially with our severe drought this year. i've called the fire dept twice this summer on neighbors - once for a trash burn getaway that almost burned my neighbor's property and second for someone burning trash in the woods behind us - even after a burn ban was in place. not worried about making friends as much as i am about wildfire...

  6. oh the smell of fire immediately evokes that feeling of fear!!

    your hero is worth adoring and speaking of adoring, that silo, wow, i love it!!!

  7. I've seen three big farm fires. Two were downwind of my childhood home and the cinders blew in from almost a mile away. Dad left us kids to stomp flames while he went to help the neighbor. One was lightning started and the flames could be seen for miles. I do understand your fear. Let us know what you learned.

  8. We live in a high fire danger area so, like you, when we smell smoke it isn't a happy thing.

  9. I am so glad everything turned out ok. Fire is my worse nightmare! I have heard of hay bales combusting too! That would be awful! I have a cow like your Mary the lead cow. How can something that big be so sneaky???

  10. since we aren't "farmers" we haven't experienced this but we've been watching little house on the prairie and it's a very real threat for sure! so glad everythin is okay!

    {i know i can't compare movies to real life but we do learn a lot through them!:}

  11. You don't have to be a farmer to fear fire! Everyone should have a healthy respect for flames.

    The smell of something burning could have been carried for many miles. Someone may have had a problem but I'm glad it wasn't you.

  12. a frightful night. glad to hear there was no obvious damage anywhere.

  13. Nothing like being awoke by the smell of smoke. Frightening!
    You guys don't get a lot of sleep around there do you?

  14. I share your fear. Winter is ending here, the rain has stopped and there is usually some fool on the other side of the hill (the side the wind blows from) who will light a clearing fire to dispose of the dead winter grass then walk away and leave it unattended. It's becoming a yearly habit for me to ring the local bush fire brigade and report at least one fire that threatens our property :(. Crossing my fingers that after one fool was fined $10,000 last year that this year will be fire free.

  15. I know that fear all too well. We have forest fires here. Words cannot describe what we went through with the Grizzly Gulch Forest Fire that almost burned Deadwood in 2002. I am thankful it wasn't yours, but I also feel for the dairy that it did belong to. Stay safe.

  16. We have the same problem with trucks carrying hay. There's been a few go up in flames. A friend of mine lost his truck from the very same thing, and lost a million dollars of machinery -
    his livelihood.
    The small of smoke is constantly in my nostrils, there's always someone burning off. Maa

  17. My sister was the farming community hero a few weeks ago.... she is always on the look out, much like me...we are self appointed block watch people if you know what I mean.
    Anyway....she smelled smoke too... jumped in her car and drove madly around the little roads... searching for it...found it and sounded the alarm by calling several neighbours. they were on it...with big machines too.. and none too soon. The flames were pretty darn huge.... thank goodness they almost had it contained by the time the local fire department arrived.... all ended well. But, like you say... a farming community's worst nightmare!


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