The Heat is On

The weathergods who taunt my blogging friend, Tootlepedal, with their annoying little games definitely played a blinder at the Homestead this past week.

After a summer of pretty ho-hum temperatures, pleasant but not astounding, they obviously clocked Farm Girl shrugging into her school uniform after nigh on two months of holidays and cranked up the thermostat; 31°C for Thursday, her first day back in the classroom, 35° on Friday.

Thursday morning, while the temperatures were still sane.
The clouds seemed to think they had all their ducks in a row.

Those temperatures continued right through our long Waitangi Weekend and for those such as myself who struggle functioning in anything over 30° it’s been a tad difficult. Fair to say I’ve been skirting along the clifftop of Losing It Territory; definitely not a barrel of laughs.

The barn, out of the sun in the late afternoon, has officially been ticked off the To Do list…the Dump Pile still needs attention, though

The high weekend temperatures came with our trademark Nor-Wester (Foehn Wind) as it so often does at this time of year. The paddocks are now yellow and crackle when you walk across them and the menagerie have spent their time following the shade patches around the paddock or house, depending on their access rights, only to come alive at about 9pm to wander around holding loud conversations with each other; I guess they needed to shout to be heard over the wind.

All this – the heat, flapping curtains, creaking trees, noisy animals, and, for some, zinging Nor’Wester sinuses – made sleeping rather difficult…and that turned out to be a very good thing.

Lying in bed watching our very nimble windbreak dancing in the gusts on Friday night, I happened to notice the sky looked a bit odd; kind of dusky and stormy. Could it be a thunderstorm was brewing?

Then I saw the flames.

Our nearest proper-farmer neighbours have a yard that backs on to the north west corner of our back paddock and in the dry grass and windbreak clippings the fire had plenty of fuel while the wind provided more than enough oxygen. Grabbing a phone, we hastened out to the back paddock to work out exactly what was happening and make sure we weren’t committing a Lifestyle Blocker cardinal sin (namely poking our nose in when the big guns have it under control); that done, we made the call.

We have a volunteer fire brigade here so, as I was on the phone to emergency services, the siren started; the engines were arriving by the time we’d made it back through the paddocks to the house. We watched them slow at the driveway to the yard and then, oh no! drive past it and turn into our drive. Yes, it was me in my sleeping finery (which ain’t that fine) that jog-trotted, crocs aflapping, arms waving, towards the first engine crammed full of fellow residents to redirect them. In fairness, the other on deck Homesteaders were busy trying to calm the Homestead Hound who had turned a tad feral – what, with the smoky air, flashing lights and growling engines.

The brigade spent close to an hour sorting the fire out and, the next day, you could barely see where it had been; slightly closer examination from the paddock vantage point showed a good sized patch of charred ground and evidence of the weight of a full laden fire engine.

Afterwards the what-ifs arrived in full force and we all got a bit jittery. Fire is scary and unforgiving, especially when it’s accompanied by howling gales.

It’s a story that will go down in Homestead history to be dusted off at future family get togethers around the dinner table: The Night of the Nearly-Big Fire. You know (snigger) the time Colin turned into a proper snarling, snapping guard dog…and one of us entertained the local fire brigade by running at her top speed towards their fire engine in her ‘jamas and crocs.

Apparently, it’s a story that just gets funnier; I’m finding it easier to laugh at now it’s a fresh 18° Celsius.

8 thoughts on “The Heat is On

  1. Ooh what a drama, but also lucky that you saw it and got on the blower at the double.
    Can just picture it all unfolding. Certainly a tale for the next catch up.

    • Such. a drama…it gets more entertaining the further away from it I get. We seem to be spending an unhealthy amount of time roaming the neighbourhood in our PJs lately… Definitely one for the next catch up….you’re safe, there’s no photos 😂

  2. My heart was in my throat as I read about the fire. So glad it all ended well, and you can now laugh about the jammies and crocks. Also, very glad the temperature has dropped. Believe it or not, we have temps like that in Maine in the summer. Never used to be so hot here in the summer, and I hate it. Draining and dangerous.

  3. You did well. Fire is truly frightening when it gets going. I don’t count my encounters with occasional drizzle as being in the same category at all. We would like a video of the pyjama incident though.

  4. Wow, close call. Glad you spotted it, and did some traffic redirection. Pretty scary with everything so dry. No judging the PJs;. About 10 years ago our neighbours shed burned down close to our property line (approx 50 m from our house and half that to our chicken shed). I was out there at midnight with the garden hose, spraying any embers coming down on our side. Haven’t forgotten the adrenalin surge of that night.

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