On Saturday we (or at least I) got a scare. This is how it happened...
Farrah, Savy, LilyAnn, and their friends Jessie Joy, and MariLou, and I all walked up to Mr. Lombardy's horses. The younger girls all ran off to play on a huge fallen tree, and we petted the horses, and groomed them (or rather, tried to get them used to the brush and currycomb). On our way back we stopped at Mr. Lombardy's hose to rinse off the little girls' mouths, which were burning because they had sucked oranges (probably from pesticides on the peels). Farrah and I smelled smoke, and we scanned the horizon looking for it. Because there was a large pasture in front of us, and then ferneries and orange groves, we could see a long way from where we were standing.
“Someone must be burning,” I said to her.
“Maybe the Hutchersons,” she suggested.
“No, the wind is blowing the opposite direction.” (It was blowing strongly from the highway.)
We turned our backs for a moment, turned back to the horizon not ten seconds later, and there was a huge plume of smoke in the air- black, billowing, growing more every moment.
We started home, speculating about what caused the smoke. From the suddenness of it, the color and the smell (more like gunpowder than wood) we came to the conclusion that it was a wreck. We hadn't had rain for about ten days, and the wind was blowing 20 or 30 MPH, so for a while the firemen had a difficult time controlling it. I was beginning to get very worried for a while. I'd gone to take a shower, thinking that the fire would soon be put out, even with the wind blowing it straight towards us. Not long afterward, Farrah knocked on the door, and told me I'd better hurry. A few minutes later, she came back, and said that “Mr. Saint could see the flames in the trees, ash was falling all over the place, and everyone was heading down to the lake." I came out as soon as I could, and found that though everybody was not heading down to the lake, the smoke was much, much thicker, ash was indeed falling, and I later found that not only Mr. Saint, but also Mama and Bo saw flames. We became quite worried. We moved all the cows except Honey down to the lake, and began trying to catch the chickens, knowing that otherwise, if the fire came to us, they'd be blackened chickens. It was pretty well impossible to catch them though. A little later Daddy and I drove up to the corner of Mr. Lombardy's pasture (the one nearest us) to see some firemen putting out a small fire started by flying embers which had alighted there. As this was only a short way from our own property, I was concerned. This whole time, while preparing for the worst, I had been in a state of disbelief. It seemed impossible that the fire could actually make it to our house. Thankfully it didn't. This was largely due to an excellent idea which someone had- namely to turn on all the sprinklers in the ferneries and orange groves.
Yesterday Farrah and I saw where the fire had taken hold by the pasture. There was a large blackened area in what used to be a patch of dried leaves and dead wood under a thick camphor tree. We learned the cause of the fire on Sunday. Our neighbor Mrs. Todd dropped by with a letter of thanks to the firemen for us to sign, and she told us what had happened. There is a little Catholic church just a little ways on the other side of Hwy. 17. The people there had been doing some brush clearing, and had a large pile which needed to be burned. They got a permit, burned their brush on Friday, put out their fire and left. That is, thought they put it out. Well, they really didn't. The result was the fire which nearly burnt one of our neighbor's ferneries, and was in a direct line with our house. I'm so thankful God protected us from the fire.