Thursday, February 26, 2009

A hot time on the old homestead

Well, I earned my keep yesterday. I was just inside minding my business while stitching up some hiking boots when I heard something that sounded like a very close gunshot. At the same time the power dropped out for a split second. I threw on the same boots that I was mending and ran outside, only to be greeted by the smell of smoke. I looked over the retaining wall between the house and the barn to see what was happening with the utility pole up there. Sure enough, a grass fire was burning right by the eaves of the house. Our home, you see, is earth sheltered, and the roof in back is just above ground level. The fire was also pretty close to our propane tank, but the wind was blowing the fire away from it and toward the house. I grabbed the bucket of water for the pets that was sitting on the patio out front and climbed up and over the retaining wall. I doused the flames right by the eaves and stomped out the other flames I could, but they kept igniting on their own. We have had a pretty dry winter, so the grass was really parched. All the while, I am keeping an eye out for any sign of further electrical current from the utility pole right above me. I jumped down the retaining wall and grabbed some garden hoses, strung them up and over the wall, and soaked down the area that had been burning. It went out easily at that point, so I got a chance to go call the electric company and request a technician to come out and see what had blown up. Scattered around in the grass were some pieces of ceramic shrapnel that had blown off a component that was previously attached to a ground wire that led down the pole into the earth.

A while later the technician came and fixed what was actually the lightning protection device that had melted down. Naturally, this being a small community, it turned out this was the dad of somebody I had been a year ahead of in school.

So, that was the excitement of the week thus far. It was a nice chance to see whether or not I had forgotten my firefighting basics from Pole. Unemployment has at least let me save my folks' house from potentially burning.

On the left side of that picture of the broken insulator chunks is something I found in the yard last weekend. It sure seems like it could be some sort of stone tool, but I don't know fore sure. I need to find a more learned person than myself to make that call.

NTR on the job hunt.

Fear can't hurt you any more than a dream.
~William Golding, "Lord of the Flies"


Becky said...

Nice to see the carry-over of useful skills. And no need for ECW gear either.
How about some pics of the house? Earth sheltered buildings are nifty. Also a hint as to the origins of the LOTR obsession.

Eric said...

Ethan Thanks for your quote from Sir Ernest Shakleton. It led me to the book Endurance: Shipwreck and Survival on the Sea Ice. I picked up the Audible book and listen to it on my way to work. It was a great book, I know how it turned out but yet wondered how it would end. What more do you want in a book. So for one week I looked forward to driving to work. Keep the quotes coming because I hate my dive to work.

Craig said...

Good work young grasshopper. you saved the ranch. Leaving for Denver and Palmer Station 16 March. I will be blogging so I'll send you the link.


EthanG said...

Yeah, I didn't want the story about the fire to come off as too much of a pat on my own back. It was just something very much out of the ordinary. I'll see what I have in terms of pics of the house, Becky. Yes, it's our own little Bag End.

Eric, I'll do my best to keep the writing interesting, and will keep my eyes peeled for quotes of significance. I really appreciate feedback like yours; it's good to know the time put into this little forum of mine has some worth to those that read it.

Craig, definitely hook me up with your blog address. Having not been to that station I do enjoy hearing about the different "culture" there. Maybe that will be in the cards for me to work there sometime. It'll be good to get your spin on the place.