Friday, June 17, 2011

The weirdest thing that's ever happened at the 7MSN Ranch

It was Wednesday morning around 6:45. I had just taken a shower and dried my hair in preparation for a long, boring day of meetings in town. As I was walking out to the kitchen to make coffee, I thought I smelled smoke – and not the wood smoke that's been in the air from the Arizona wildfire. This was a different kind, not quite electrical smoke but something along those lines. Hmmm.

All of the pictures below were taken the next day, in my attempt to re-enact the scene.

I sniffed my way around the house and couldn't locate anything amiss. 
But every time I walked back into the bedroom, I smelled smoke.

I checked the hair dryer I had just used...nothing on fire there.

I headed for the open front window to see if the smell was coming from outside.


The chickens were busy eating their breakfast and didn't seem to be concerned about an impending barbecue.


Me: Daffodil, do you smell smoke?
Daffodil: Now that you mention it, yes, I think I do.


Me: Smooch? Smooch, are you in there? Stop staring out the window and tell me if you smell smoke.


Smooch: Did you say smoked? As in bacon? Bacon bacon bacon!
Me: Smooch, I'm serious here. What's that smell and where is it coming from?

I pressed my nose against the window screen and didn't smell smoke outside.

Then, as I was walking back the other direction, past the window seat, I saw it...


The window seat cushion was on fire! There was a little flame and a pillar of smoke, camouflaged by the filth on the window. 
I slammed my hand on top of it and quickly put it out.

 It was a tiny fire and I did not burn my hand, so don't be thinkin' I did something majorly heroic.

I could see immediately that a very bright beam of light was the cause of the combustion, so I closed the window shade as quickly as I could. Then I stood there wondering what in the heck was on the window that would cause a reflection hot enough to set the cushion on fire. I peeked behind the shade to examine the glass. Nothing but filth. I opened the shade. The beam of light came back. I closed the shade. Open. Close. Open. Close. You don't want to know how many times I did that trying to figure this out. Then I stopped looking at the window and glanced to my left.

Remember when you were little and you used a magnifying glass to cook bugs on the sidewalk? Or make wood-burned signs at Girl Scout camp? That is exactly what was going on here. The almost-summer-solstice sun, at the far north end of the eastern horizon, aligned with the magnifying side of the mirror, which was tilted at the precise angle to focus the beam of light and start a fire. Who woulda thunk it?

So then I took the seat cushion outside and unzipped the cover to make sure the stuffing wasn't burning, and it wasn't. Crisis over.

I don't think there's any deep meaning or moral to this story. It will just go down in memory, and on this blog, as the weirdest thing to have ever happened at the 7MSN ... so far.

48 comments:

  1. WOW, who'd a thought!!! Glad that you caught that before you went to your meetings. Bet that's why Smooch was laying on the bed and not the window seat

    ReplyDelete
  2. Now that is just weird!!! I am so glad you were still at home to put out the smoldering cushion!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Gee...
    Good thing Smoochy girl wasn't sitting on that window seat or she'd have a little scorched spot on that pretty blond pelt.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow, so fortunate that you were home and able to stop that before it became a large problem. Who would have thought the sun could be that hot when combined with the mirror at just the exact angle. And to have been that way long enough to melt things.

    Scary! Glad you are all okay and that the ranch didn't provide you with even more exciting blog fodder!

    ReplyDelete
  5. That's bizzare but I DO remember doing stuff like that when I was a kid! I'm glad you caught it before you left home! I'm sure you put that mirror in a place where that can't happen again! OMG!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anne Boleyn6/17/11, 5:42 AM

    Who would think that the sun would be in the precise spot, let alone the mirror, to allow that to happen. Well, I guess the sun was where it always is at that time on that day, but honestly, that's amazing.
    So, do you feel any remorse for having roasted the bugs back then?
    Will you have a sign made that says, "It's 6:45 AM; do you know where your magnifying mirror is?"

    ReplyDelete
  7. How interesting and scary. Wonder how many times this happens in other homes and it wasn't caught in time.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It could have been much more than the weirdest thing to have happened at the ranch. It is so lucky it happened before you left -- though your day would not have been boring.

    ReplyDelete
  9. glad you kept up the search or else your home may not have been there when you returned! maybe now would be a good time to start teaching your animals to pee on any smoke they may see...unless they can work the water hose =o)

    ReplyDelete
  10. The moral is -- be verrrrry careful with mirrors and lenses which might be in sunshine.

    Your magnifying mirror is a good example.

    Reading glasses, left on a windowsill, can do the same thing.

    Imagine if you hadn't been home.....

    Shudder.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I hope you've moved the mirror! If you'd had plans to leave an hour earlier, you might not have had a home to come home to! Glad everyone is safe.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Glad you didn't blow off your feeling that something was amiss. I'm sure that living alone out there has taught you to follow your instincts. Plus, you have good karma on your side. Still, what a close call!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Nancy in NC6/17/11, 6:39 AM

    Phew.... good thing you had the time to find out what the problem was... I had a house burn down once - NOT FUN... so glad you found the culprit...I loved Sandy's response - Smooch would be the first I'd train - she's so intense and she is the Border Patrol...

    ReplyDelete
  14. Jenny in MN now in AZ6/17/11, 6:40 AM

    WOW!!!! That is scary, odd, crazy and fascinating all at the same time! I'm so glad you didn't have a disaster!

    Wow...

    ReplyDelete
  15. Glad you figured it out before you left for your meetings in town. Could have been a huge disaster by the time you got home.

    ReplyDelete
  16. WOW! Thank goodness you were still home to catch it! It is not so weird as just plain scary. Happily, karma was on your side and it was resolved without a disaster.

    Pretty neat reenactment, though :-)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Estella from Co.6/17/11, 6:51 AM

    Praise God you were home, and that you have such a good sense of smell. I'm surprised Smooch wasn't more curious as to what was smoking on her seat. Actually, she was looking at the window area, wasn't she as she was laying on the bed. Thank goodness everything is o.k. now. I bet you're looking around the house checking things out, I know I will be. Have a good day :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I guess there is a place in this world for mirror cozies after all. I shudder to think what might have happened if you had not found the fire right away.

    Love the shots of interior of house, with critters.

    Great save.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Your guardian angel was sure watching over you!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wow, you were very lucky!! That could have been so much worse.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Sooooo glad you found it!!!!!! Let me guess...that mirror has found a new home far away from the window?

    ReplyDelete
  22. You can't make this stuff up! Wow. Glad you smelled it and put it out before it turned into anything serious. You had me in stitches with your captions though.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Well I was kind of close with the chickens being that close to the weirdness!!hehe My dresser mirror sits to the right of my bed but it faces the outside door sooOOOo I don't think this will ever happen but we have the same bed!!!and I have 2 hats on top of the bottom posts, my grandma and grandpas!! That's a little weird! GLAD we have our noses for smelling!! Thank GOD YOU found that before YOU left!! HUGS to all and Happy Week-end!!

    ReplyDelete
  24. My Mom had a similar, and weird thing happen. She was always saving rain water from the roof runoff, etc and putting it in plastic coke bottles to water her plants. (she lived in White Oaks NM, also where I grew up, so she tried to be frugal with water) Anyway, she was storing them along the side of the house. One day my Dad noticed a little smoke and a little burned spot in the house siding. The coke bottles of water were reflecting the sun just right and starting the siding on fire! All the bottles were moved under the house! So be careful with water bottles too. Don't leave them lying out in dry grass etc. in the sun.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh my goodness!!!! Just thinking about " what could have been" is heart stopping! I'm so very glad you were home to discover it and put it out.
    On a lighter note: I can SO understand the filthy windows. Little/no rain and wind full of dust=filthy windows.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Yikes! So glad you averted that possible disaster! Wow...gives a whole new meaning to the phrase 'smoke and mirrors' Ok...so no ore mirrors near the windows ...OK?

    ReplyDelete
  27. Good sleuthing! That's crazy, alright! I'm with Pat - glad you caught it before you left for your meetings. I was beginning to think a crafty pack rat might have had something to do with the mystery...

    ReplyDelete
  28. That's incredible ... and lucky for you you had not left the house as of yet! Life can be weird and odd ... sometimes the universe saves us from these types of strange encounters!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thank God you were there...it could have been a whole different story. Yes, you've got an angel lookin' over your ranch~

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thank Goodness your sniffer caught the smell. And had the whereabouts to investigate.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Doin' science at 7MSN Ranch!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Oh my gosh, that is wierd. So glad you caught it before you left for the day. I shudder to think what might have happened.

    ReplyDelete
  33. i "like" catalog living on facebook...how apropos that this came across today =o)

    http://catalogliving.net/post/6622067359/sun-of-a-gun

    ReplyDelete
  34. I had the same exact thing happen to me on my living room chair. The sun reflected in through a glass vase I had on the window sill. Very scary!

    ReplyDelete
  35. What an amazing story! Good thing you found it in time! I just recently discovered your blog.... and am mesmerized by the incredible scenery around your home. Really beautiful and unique! I live in Taos, NM for a short while when I was a teenager.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Wow, I never think of such things. Now you've got me looking around... glad you caught it before it became a full fire. That is sure scary!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I hope you "peeked," because if you peaked,you were up too far....

    ReplyDelete
  38. Holy Smokes Batman!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Oh good Lord! Thank goodness you were around and caught this before bad things happened! What a good ending to this story.

    ReplyDelete
  40. My sister's siding on her house started melting from the sun reflecting off the window. Crazy stuff! Glad you were home.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Great P I work! Glad you were able to find before you left. My biggest fear is my house catching on fire. Sometimes I hallucinate smelling smoke......

    In my area, you wouldn't need a magnifying glass to start the fire. It's the "hot enough to cook an egg on the sidewalk" time already. 104 today :(

    ReplyDelete
  42. I used to work at a summer camp where they were PARANOID of fire (there had been a big one some years back) and the director insisted all mirrors be covered if no one was in the cabin. We all thought she was nuts...apparently not!

    ReplyDelete
  43. this got me pondering a lot... no deep moral or anything but I do believe that God loves all creatures great and small and that there were some guardian angels watching out for you and the crew. This could have ended all kinds of bad. You and yours bring too much joy and inspiration to too many people to have something horrible like that go down....

    anyway, glad everything is okay... and good for you, as someone said, for following your instincts

    ReplyDelete
  44. Glad you caught that! And glad you figured it out. You could pick less-extreme scientific experiments. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  45. Eeek! I never have liked magnifying mirrors, now have another reason ( like humongous pores wasn't enough).

    ReplyDelete
  46. OMG so glad you found it before you went to town!!! Wow!!!! Someone was watching out for you!!!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Oh Sh**! Good science project though lol. Glad you found it in time...your window reminds me of mine..with all the nose prints,

    ReplyDelete