Burn Baby Burn

So, I promised to tell everyone what hubby did over the weekend while I was in Arizona, you know, his "surprise" for me. Well, I guess when he woke up Saturday morning, he decided it was a good day to burn off our pastures -- hardly any wind, very temperate day. He's done controlled burns many times in his life, so he usually knows what he's doing.

This is our FRONT yard in the photo above. Yes , it is burnt, and no, it wasn't meant to be burnt. Yes, that is the front porch of the HOUSE you can see to the left. He assured me he had no intention of burning the front yard (or the house).

This is one of our pastures that was successfully burned.... and the neighboring pasture that a farmer owned had the benefit of being burned also. Those are birds all over our pasture.... whatever it is that burning does, the birds love it for the next few days. Isn't it wonderful that SOMEONE is happy?!

Ah, I never knew we had prickly pear cactus here in Kansas, and I certainly didn't know it was lurking out in our pastures! How many times have I wandered through the pastures, not knowing the pain that lurked beneath my feet??! We'll need to go through each pasture and kill, kill, kill the prickly pear cacti.

What's left of our chicken coop, which resides in the BACK yard. Yes, our back yard. No, the back yard was not meant to be burnt either. Barack, our black cat, must have been inside the coop (the cats use this as their sanctuary), because he is minus his eyelashes and whiskers. Poor baby! We have not had a chicken coop discussion yet; should we fix it, or tear it down? Not sure what's going to happen with this structure.

Just for background info, these are "healthy" round hay bales. The way round hay bales are meant to look. Big, very big. These were lucky to be beyond reach of the fire. And lucky that a burning rat didn't run into them.

To the right in this photo, you'll see some very crispy round hay bales. One might assume that a burning rat could have run into them in order to set them ablaze. Not intentionally, no, I think the rat was just trying to get away from the fire. Yes, I know, they are rather hard to see. Believe it or not, that's about 15 very large round hay bales reduced to ashes. And almost three days after the fire, one of them was still smoldering today. We're still waiting for the word from our farmer neighbor -- he didn't farm the land, his brother did. So he was going to talk to his brother and let us know if he wants restitution for the hay. On average, these suckers go for $55/round bale. Times 15. I'm hoping they remember my Good Samaritan ways from last summer, when their tractor overheated and I provided them with water. I'm not sure they will think that water was worth over $800 though.....

Hubby surveying his damage domain

In the back corner of our domain

Let's see, what else happened on Saturday? Well, during all his mad dashes around the property trying to extinguish the flames, hubby twisted his ankle but good in a hole. It looks terrible, and he's hobbling around now.

At one point he decided to call 911. He felt he had it under control, but the wind picked up and he didn't want to take any chances. So the South Haven volunteers came out with the fire truck and several pick-up trucks with water tanks and helped him get it under control. Hubby said he had most of it under control by the time they arrived.

So what do you think I had to say to him??? Believe it or not, the first thing I thought of was PHOTO OPP!! I asked him to wait next time and do something like this while I'm home, so I can get some awesome photos!


  1. Oh my, too funny that he burned everything like that! Really now, if you had been there during the raging fire do you think you would have remained calm? I hope the horses were able to out run the flames! As for the chicken coop - you know I have 4 girls myself and its mighty nice to get 4 eggs a day and not have to run to the store. You ought to think about that.....glad you are all safe (I hope he still has eyebrows)

  2. Okay, I take the tornado photo comment back. NOW you are officially a Kansan - your husband almost burned down the house while 'clearing a little brush'. LOL

    I bet he's just mortified. Poor guy. He's going to get plenty of ribbing for having to call 911, not to mention the neighbor's hay. And the cat. Oh my.

    Once my cousin accidentally started a fire in a wheat field during harvest when he parked his grain truck on a pile of chaff. Dad had to push the truck out of the way with the front of the combine, destroying the header. Talk about expensive, that was a six-figure repair!

    Then there were our neighbors, who burned down their entire wheat field on the 4th of July, after a bottle rocket took an unexpected trajectory. That mistake cost a quarter of their annual income. Ouch.

    I got a million Kansas fire stories, I could go on all night!

    On the bright side, all that black is going to transform into the most glorious vivid green you've ever seen!

    Girl, don't EVER walk around in the pasture without the proper footwear! Not only are there cactus everywhere, but also spiders and snakes and ticks. You're down by Lyme Disease country.

    ... or at least those critters 'used' to live in your pasture. LOL!

  3. I'm thinkin that maybe you should stay home from now on. Just sayin.

  4. WOW! All I can even think is WOW! LOL Probably wasn't the welcome home you were expecting, and hopefully the neighbor won't hold him responsible for the damaged hay!!

  5. Holy Smokes! Twice in my life I've had a controlled burn get away from me. The first time ended up in the neighbour's vineyard--lots of restitution on that one--and the second? 10 years later my brother-in-law delights in pointing out the scorch marks 40 feet up on their pine trees where I failed to control a trash burn in their back yard. Oops.
    Glad everything ended sort of okay! Just think of how lush your front yard is going to be now!

  6. Wow--glad your made it ok and everyone has a great sense of humor there. Well, maybe not the cat with no eyelashes...

  7. Oh, you are so much a girl like me. I can't help but want to photo everything, and feel lost when I forget the camera at home.

    I just bet your hubby was stressed! I did something like that once, burned up a hay stack, a straw stack, the corrals and it was headed toward the barn by the time the firetrucks made it to our place. Sigh!


  8. Glad the cat is OK! On the bright side all those pastures are going to be so green in a few weeks! I hope your husband doesn't feel too bad. I think most people who have lived in the country long enough has been a little humbled by fire at one point or another.

    My husband and I were burning tree limbs about 5 years ago and even though we were being careful, the wind picked up suddenly and we set our hay pasture on fire accidentally. It was early in the spring and the grass was still brown, it had been baled late the year before so it was short, but that short grass burned fast! I asked my husband to go down to the house and get some water, a couple blankets and call the fire dept while I kept working at stomping out the edges of the fire. (The only time for a minute I wished I had bigger feet)

    He got the water, somehow missed the two old blankets on the porch and grabbed the good ones out of the closet and did NOT call the fire dept....because he was too embarrassed. The fire got put out, we had 3 sides out and the fire dept did help with the last side. Luckily no real damage, except to my then new..black, wet blankets.

  9. Where do I start?!!! OMG!!! See what happens when you leave! One heck of a way to celebrate your 1st anniversary! I am so glad that he and your home is OK, sorry about his ankle, MAN that could have been a HECK of a lot worse!!!!! Poor kitty, hey I was looking at buying a built chicken coop, well not a burnt chicken coop Ha Ha. Aren't we sick always a photo opp!

  10. Hey my lil Oz princess with the handsome knight in shining armor (or is that a shiny truck, lol?).
    Wonderful post......I love to see a girls hubby thinking of her these days. It's rare you know? And we're lucky ladies you and I.
    Take good care and......

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl

  11. If that's all you had to say then are a very dedicated blogger. :)

  12. I've lived here six years and I still don't get 'a good day to burn' ~ LOL! The wind is blowing!!!!

  13. Oh my..poor guy.. trying to do a good thing..up here we try to cover each other when burning..the wind can switch so fast..and up here if you have to call in for an intentional burn..you get a big bill..especially if it involves a helicopter dump or a plane with flame retardant.. those hay bales can ignite after days of setting there..throw some dawn dish soapwater in a sprayer and coverer them with the spray. The poor kitty..glad he is ok:)

  14. Just think of the awesome fire pictures you missed! Thank goodness your house is okay! I am amazed when I look at your photos of the overall flatness of your land! I guess that comes from living in the appalachian foothills for a few years but gosh it's flat there!!!

  15. One of my biggest fears - FIRE!

    Thank goodness everyone is okay, I would've been freaking out.

    Me, I could think of other fiery things I would prefer for an anniversary present.

  16. That's what I thought of too....PHOTO OP!! That must have been some large black cloud. I'm glad you stopped on my prairie burn post today and sent me over here.

    He burned down the chicken coop???? This is your chance to get him to remodel it to your specifications. Think up something really good now.

    - Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

  17. Nothing like learning a lesson the hard way. Prickly pear isn't all bad. You can make some awesome jelly from the pears as well as prickly pear lemonade or prickly pear margaritas!

  18. I gotta tell you, while I sympathize with the out of control burn, your telling of the story and photos, made me laugh out loud and made my day a brighter one. Thanks from Iowa...

  19. Stopping by SITS, I must say that one of my fav smells is that of burning leaves. I actually miss it!!

  20. I'm sorry but i can't stop laughing at "Barack, our black cat". So is he the First Cat? LOL

    O.k. so back to the fire. We do that a lot here in western Oklahoma where the winds come sweeping down the plains.....all the time. Glad no one was hurt too bad and I'm sure hubby will wait for your help...uh er...camera...the next time he decides to have a controlled burn.

  21. I know this probably is not so funny around your house but you told this in such a way that made it hilarious! Once I was the neighbor that the fire was coming toward my house from the neighbor's field burning process. I lived in a log cabin made from the real OLD logs. Fire coming at you is not a good thing when you are in an old cabin. I think the neighbor had to pay big, because the fire department dug trenches to keep the fire from getting to the log cabin.

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  22. Didn't anyone teach that man that little boys aren't suppose to play with matches...LOL. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Enjoy your extraordinary life in Kansas! And thanks for this very entertaining virtual tour :-)Loved it! A warm welcome from China!

  24. I really enjoyed reading your post - it was a new perspective that I found really interesting. And no wonder you seem to be a happy camper in Kansas - look at that cowboy on your sidebar! ;o)

  25. OH MY! Just stopping by from SITS, to see how you like Kansas. My hubby is from Chanute KS...but we are currently transplanted in England. :-) I'm a Missouri girl myself, we met there, married there, then moved to Layton Utah, then to Tipp City Ohio, and now England...someday we will be home in all that rural-ness again! I so look forward to that day! Enjoy it some of it for me!!!

  26. Popping over from SITS, what a great story to bug your hubby with for a while LOL.

  27. Just stepping thru from MLS's blog. I have to agree with her your cat's name is hysterical!
    The last "controlled" burn I participated in was our front yard. It got away from us and burned my water hose in to. One minute I am fighting fire with water and the next my hose is limp and I turned around to see the fire creeping up behind me. No more controlled burns for this gal. Great post.

  28. Very funny account of The Great Burn Incident, and great photos too! Definitely keep the chicken coop, and it would be great to actually get chickens for it too! although I know they'd probably work too well as coyote bait. Are Barack's whiskers and eyelashes growing back? Soon as you get goats, I'll be out there for sure. Or even an alpaca? or two? You need more animals out there.