Friday, January 16, 2009

That dreaded F word..... Fire!

Well, its happened. Having to deal with a fire. To date we have been relatively unscathed with fire, at least during my 11 or so years here. On Thursday the farmer phoned me at home to say our neighbours had been phoning him due to a fire outbreak originating on River Road that was headed in our direction. He was on another property and couldn't get home in a hurry due to being in a tractor and as luck would have it the baler had got a flat! So I was instructed to go up and check it out, move a mob of sheep and report back. So here I am, kids in tow, smoke bellowing, and definately feeling in panic mode. A million thoughts running through my head. Where do I put a mob of 200 ewes plus rams where they will be safe, so after rearranging the gates, and herding up a somewhat startled flock, I got them to the far back flat relatively quickly, and with a minimum of stress. I'm sure they must have sensed my desperation. In what appeared to be perfect timing a Fire fighting unit arrived and needed to pass through the lane where I had just got the sheep out of. A panicked call to dear old dad slightly earlier had him arriving at about this time also, closely followed by mother dear. Then F-I-L arrives and it seems I have forgotten or wasn't advised that my ewe hoggets were in one of the fire threatened paddocks, but I swear they were hiding. Then Dad decided the farmer needed to be there so proceded to race to collect him. The next hour or so was the longest. Mum had taken the kids to safety and would have them overnight.

Waiting next to our partially constructed new house, with no water to speak of. What to do! I collected some old garbage bins that had previously been used to cut cauliflowers into, some pea seed bags and placed them next to the house with a dribble of water going into them. Poor house, standing naked in its bubblewrap, with smoke everywhere and the wind causing the fire to change direction by the minute. Fire units were racing backwards and forwards, refilling with water from one of the dams. The seven or eight Fire fighting units were able to use back burning methods to assist in controlling and after a while the fire was still burning but considered under control. Mostly on neighbours side of the fence. Not a lot we could do at this stage, the fire service personnel know their stuff and had it all in hand, so we headed to the other property, secured the tractor overnight and headed home, via River Road where the fire appeared to have started. More than likely deliberately lit.

One thing I wasn't expecting was the lingering smell of smoke on me. I had a shower and washed my hair once, but could still smell it. I then proceeded to have the worst nights sleep ever. Firstly I remembered I hadn't covered my Burke Parrots so I got up to do that, also having a drink to quench the sore throat the fire gave me. Then one of the treasures toy alarm clock decided to go off at about 3am, and was difficult to locate. The best sleep came as it was time to get up, and go to collect treasures.

Later in the day, approximately 4:30pm I took the treasures out the back to have a look at things and noticed one stump still smoking. I went home to prepare tea, meaning to let the farmer know. But at 6pm he rang, with a panicked tone in his voice telling me to call the fire service, it was going again. He was stomping it out in the grass, but it was heading in the houses direction. So, call made, I raced the treasures to safety at my parents, and returned to the house. Friends had arrived slightly before me and were in action. Thankfully my trickle of water into the garbage bins came in handy at this point and I didn't feel quite so useless. Fire fighting units from Devonport, Latrobe, Wesley Vale and Moriarty all started arriving and there was a truck at the house at all times during the threat. The seven or so units quickly contained the fire and by about 8pm we were happy it was out. Nanna had insisted on having the treasures overnight again which proved to be a good thing considering we went back up to check everything was ok before going to bed. It was about 10pm and I had again tried to get the smell of smoke away in the shower and was in my Jammies. I had suggested to the farmer that we take it in shifts to check the site overnight, hoping I could have first shift and get a goods night sleep, but we went together. First check proved fine, as did second, but next place there was smoke in a rather large stump. We firstly exhausted my fire extinguisher that is kept in the car, but that did nothing, so the farmer went for the tractor with water on the front. He poured the water over it for 20 minutes to no effect, it still kept smoking, and then he decided to go back and get the fire fighting pump which finally extinguished it fully. Getting home at about midnight thankfully a good nights sleep ensued.

I hope and pray it is out for good now, however there is one troublesome spot that is inaccessable and still a little of a problem.

On a lighter note, it was eldest treasures birthday on Wednesday, and what did she really, really want? A silky chook. Her grandparents were able to source one and I had a very happy camper that morning. As luck would have it, in todays paper there was a Silky rooster for sale. So we toddled over the Devonport to pick up this lovely young chap.

I think it is lovely to see enterprising youngsters, and was very happy to pass over the asking price to this young chook breeding teenager. He obviously loves his chooks and has handled them so they were lovely and tame. (A good thing for the treasure as she can spend hours carting hers around and pampering them.) Kids are our future and need to be encouraged. Whilst this young man is living in town hopefully when he is older he will seek a career in Agriculture.

Unfortunately when we got Milky home and introduced him to his new lady friend, Fluffy, it wasn't plain sailing. They had a bit of a tiff and he appears to be relegated to a corner of the coup. Poor boy.

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