Monday, January 22, 2018

What an effin' idiot

I call myself an effin' idiot several times a day for various justifiable reasons. Sometimes I may be judging myself a bit harshly, but not this time, because only an effin' idiot would do something this stupid.

It was Saturday afternoon. I had just finished preparing for a predicted snowstorm – moving hay from the hay barn to the feed room, dumping the ash can, filling the bed of the Ranger with firewood – and Smooch and I were headed out for a walk before it got any windier.

Just as we were leaving the front gate, I smelled smoke. It didn't smell like chimney smoke. It had earthier tones, almost...manure-like.

I looked back to my right and saw it. Holy effin' shit. The track where I spread the donkey poop was smoldering, right where I had dumped the 50-gallon trash can of ashes an hour before.

I ran to the scene as fast as I could, pulling a very confused Smooch with me. Clearly the can of what I thought contained only cold ashes had a hidden layer of embers, and pillars of smoke were popping up over there, then over there, now over here, then over there. Picture me playing whack-a-mole with my feet which, even at size 8, weren't big enough to stomp out the hot spots.

While I was stomping, I tried to formulate a containment plan before the situation spun further out of control. I figured the almost-worst case scenario would be that I'd have to keep stomping until the storm hit, then the snow would put out the embers and burning poop. But Smooch was getting inpatient and didn't think jumping up and down was a suitable substitute for a walk. And what if the snow didn't happen?

I pressed my luck and ran with Smooch to the house, tossed her inside, grabbed two buckets, filled them with water, ran back to the poop track and listened to the ground sizzle as I poured on the water. The hot spots were hotter than I thought.

So I ran back to the house again, refilled the buckets, ran back to the poop track, did not have a heart attack, dumped the buckets, listened to the ground sizzle again and screamed the title of this post more than a few times.

It looked like I had extinguished the worst of the embers, but with the wind blowing hard, I wasn't about to declare victory. My new plan was to run back for the Ranger, unload the firewood from the bed, load up the water tank and fill it, while periodically running back and forth to the poop track to make sure nothing was getting out of hand.

Once the tank full of water started draining on the ashes, my heart finally stopped beating out of my chest and I ran back to the house to get the camera because I'm a blogger and what did you expect?

 It takes a long while for 65 gallons of water to drain...


...which gave me plenty of time to ponder the depths of my stupidity...


...and think about a foolproof method for ash management,


which will likely involve dumping water on the ashes while they're still in the can.
Why I never thought of this before remains to be seen. What an effin' idiot.