Shortly after we moved in, the house across the road was bought by a couple about our age who were moving out of the city. They are a nice couple who we have come to know quite well in the months since their move to the country and subsequent remodel and discovery of everything that is wrong with their house, barn, etc. Recently, we were over and they showed us their barn that is in desperate need of some structural rehab. The previous owners had raised goats and used the barn for keeping animals and for storing all of the farm essentials- hay, straw, chopped corn in the silos. After many years of inactivity the barn has started to deteriorate and many of the beams have either rotten away or broken from what we can only assume was poor construction from the start. In an effort to save their barn, they have employed the services of the local "barn-fixer" to come and replace the old broken beams and re-engineer the structure so hopefully this won't happen again. The only catch- they must remove the decade old hay and straw that fills the entire top floor of the barn, so the the areas of concern may be accessed. My husband volunteered to help remove and discard the old dusty, musty mess, and by discard I mean give away what anyone will take for their own farms and burn the rest in the field behind the house. It always amazes to me to see exactly how many bales can be stacked into one barn. After countless wagon loads had been pulled away, the discard pile was just waiting for a match. That's where it gets complicated.
We have experienced our own share of rather large fires over the years, so we warned them that a call to the local volunteer fire department might be a good idea, just so they aren't alarmed when someone calls it in (and there's always some pain in the ass do-gooder who does.) So when we heard the sirens, we figured it was just a false alarm. Turns out our neighbor himself called the fire department because the fire had jumped piles and spread too fast for just one man to contain. The fire department responded right away and were able to get it under control with pitchforks and the pump truck. The thing is, we live in a small rural community where the folks around here loves them a good hay fire. The volunteer boys were stacked 4 deep itching to get a hand on their hoses. So really it wasn't that bad, just caused a little welcomed chaos for about an hour, plus I stood on the stump in our front yard and took pictures- Lucky you, Internet.