One day in October, 2008, My Cowboy had to go weld something on a windmill. Now, I have no idea about what or how you weld on windmills, but anyways, that is what he was doing. Unfortunately, it was a very windy day. A very windy day. As in, 40-50 mph gusts. Or more. I try to underestimate, so people believe me. Well, it being fall and all, the grass was dry. Very dry. And there happened to be some tall, dry grass around the windmill. Hmm, welding+wind+dry grass= fire. yep. Some sparks caught fire, and so My Cowboy calmly stomped them out. Then more sparks caught fire on the grass, this time he used his Carrhart, but to no avail. In seconds the field was burning, fast and furious. And I do mean furious. It wasn’t long till the Fire Dept began to get calls from people. First My Cowboy, then from neighbors and strangers driving by on the road. Ok, I really don’t know who all called, but I do know they got multiple calls. Anyways, I stepped outside to do something, and smelled smoke. I then seen the cloud of smoke about a mile away. My memory is a bit foggy from this point on, but I do know that I drove down to where the fire started, and couldn’t find My Cowboy. And the other cowboy asked me for a shovel. Not that it did much good against that inferno, but he didn’t realize that until he got out to the front line. The fire trucks came, finally, and calmly sprayed tiddly bits on the sides of the fire. Like that was really gonna do much. So My Cowboy, and the other cowboys worked at the front of the fire, scraping up layers of grass and topsoil with the tractor-buckets, trying to make a dirt windbreak. It worked, eventually. I think the cowboys could teach the Fire Dept a thing or three.
#1: when the fire is racing toward your neighbors hay stack, (freshly filled for winter) you get to the front of the fire and put it out!!
#2: see above.
Meanwhile, my friend Nikea (the other cowboy’s wife) and I were making sandwiches and brownies and getting a cooler of pop ready for the guys. As they came in, we handed out Coke and sandwiches. Then I drove out around the ranch on the road that borders the X-Bar, and handed out sandwiches to the firefighters that were fighting it along the road. By now it was night, and the sooty men would peer out of the darkness, trying to see who was hollering about food. I felt rather foolish, till one old white-haired man began to thank me and eat like he hadn’t in days. Or hours. He was too old to be fighting fires, I thought, but you can’t break the spirit of these men who have lived in the open lands, fighting whatever it throws at them, enduring the hardships, thrilling in the freshness of baby calves and spring mornings, soaking up the sun when it shines, bundling up against the cold when it bites, and bending into the buffeting winds. They don’t quit with old age. They don’t bow out when the going gets tough. They just quietly go on, fighting fires, enduring weather, and getting ever stronger. At least that’s the way I like to see it. I love old people.
Anyways, back to the fire… see this beautiful picture of this windmill?
It was taken the same day as this one, below…
…and this one. The ill-fated windmill.
the windbreaks smoldered awhile.
The firefighters worked so hard – holding down their shovels.
Jenni and Frank entertaining themselves while I climbed on the windmill to take pictures. Ranch kids learn at a young age to entertain themselves. They have to, during brandings, shipping, sortings, etc, etc. And while their mom indulges her hobby of taking pics.
By the way, the fire was under control by 10-11 that night, although the guys went out to check the hot spots several times per night for the next several nights. We didn’t get any rain for awhile. And even when we did, the stuff in the windbreaks smoldered a long time, as in: weeks. Even after a snow. And My Cowboy ruined his Carharrt.
PS- I like firefighters. But their strategy is slightly lacking. Ask My Cowboy. And we are friends with the fire Chief. He is a wonderful christian man. He’s been out multiple times, the first two times was from MY 911 calls. I set my yard on fire 3 weeks after we got here, then he was the first one on the scene to search for Andy, so he is familiar with us.