I should have titled this post "A Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight."
We have been cleaning our yard, patio and garage this week. It's a slow process that involves deciding where to put all the accumulated junk that has piled up over the past four years, including all the junk that we had to take out of our old house and my mother's house, which both sold about six months ago. Since that was the middle of winter, it was easier to just pile everything on the patio and in the garage than to deal with it all in the deep chill of winter.
But winter didn't last forever, and when the warm weather came, the patio began beckoning to us from under her deep layer of debris, detritus and refuse. It's actually a pleasant and shady place to sit. Not that we'd know.
So we cleaned it off. There were piles of scrap lumber and broken chairs, etc., that needed disposal. My husband likes to burn anything made of paper or wood to reduce the amount of trash we put out. We put some things into the burn barrel and went back to cleaning, keeping an eye on the barrel, of course.
When supper was ready, we went in to eat - forgetting about the burn barrel. Andy was at work, Brian was away for the weekend. It was just me, Conor, and the little girls at the table.
There was a knock at the door. I have some free things out on the front sidewalk (unwanted items unearthed in the backyard cleanout), so I assumed it was somebody inquiring about them. Instead, it was a neighbor.
Her - "Do you know that you have wood burning out back?"
Me, nonchalantly - "Oh yes, we know."
Her - "No, I mean piles of wood, burning on the ground."
Me - Well, actually, I didn't say anything, because my heart was in my throat. Yikes! I hope I thanked her adequately.
Out back, we found that something had fallen out of the burn barrel, and ignited two of our wood racks that held our split firewood for the winter. In addition, there were several spots on the ground around where dead leaves were burning. I didn't actually see the conflagration because I was busy filling up buckets and trash cans. Conor was the one who went up for the initial assessment. All I could see was columns of smoke, which led me to believe that we had started a brush fire and the whole mountain was burning.
The actual damage was less serious, although still pretty serious. Thank God that neighbor passed just then, so we could get it under control while there was still time. It took us about 45 minutes until everything was fully extinguished.
Earlier in the year, our big wood rack shifted somehow and there was a small wood avalanche. Some of the logs that had fallen were burned.
This wood rack was about ten feet long and stacked as high as those upright wood stakes. It caught fire from underneath in two places.
I never did like how close Andy stacked the wood to the burn barrel.
My cousin Ian remarked, "Well, at least now you have charcoal!"
This is the dinner that was interrupted.
What is this, the sixth fire incident we've had here? Two chimney fires. One blackened pot on the stove that filled the house with smoke. One grease fire in a frying pan. One box of matches that burst into flames when accidentally left atop the woodstove. I hate fire. I wish I could be done with it forever.
I feel like I should say that this is the first incident we've had with the barrel in the four years we've been burning here.
I can't believe we forgot about the burn barrel. I can't believe that the woods didn't catch fire. I can't believe how the Lord spared us from a serious disaster, when we clearly don't deserve to be spared the consequences of our own foolishness.
My pitifully small heart is not capable of gratefulness that is as vast and profound as God deserves from me..