Crazy day today. This morning, we closed on the land next to ours. I’ve shared some about that before, but basically it’s 6.48 acres, of which about 2.4 was clearcut this past fall by the (now) previous owner. We think one of the reasons they sold it at all was how it looked after being demolished like that. But for us, it’s a back lot to our current house and 5.5 acres. We’ll do very little with it, beyond keeping some of it clear, planting evergreen seedlings in the spring, making a campsite, building a simple road for access, some MTB trails... that’s about it. We’ve lived next to (and used) this land for 11 years, and we are psyched that we were able to finally buy it.
So I get back to work and I’m standing in someone’s office, chatting. They have the local police and fire dispatch on in the background. I hear “chimney fire...” then I hear the address... it took me a minute to process... HOLY SHIT THAT’S MY PARENTS’ HOUSE! So I left and got to their house just behind the fire truck - I’m work pretty close by - and by then, even, the chimney wasn’t doing what it had been.
First of all, my father was in the fire department for 29 years. He’s very cautious with fire, and the woodstove. He also cleans the chimney diligently every year, sometimes twice. So what happened?
When they started up the stove this morning, they noticed black smoke coming from the chimney outside. So they closed down the air to the stove pretty well, and the smoke subsided... that can happen. A little creosote in the chimney burns up and then it’s gone. So they open the stove back up, and, worse. A LOT more black smoke. Call the fire department.
By the time I arrived, the chimney looked more or less normal, though you could smell something other than wood smoke. It wasn’t healthy. The guys got up on the roof easily - because the ladder stays up all winter so my father can clean the solar panels with a broom - and dropped a weight on chain down the offending flue. Pretty quickly they found a blockage of what seemed like... paper. You see, they’d been burning some old paperwork in the stove from time to time, and it seems that some of it got clogged up as it went up the chimney only partially burned. This caused a backup and led to creosote buildup, just in the 2 months since it was cleaned.
I didn’t stick around as there was no danger to the home or its occupants, and by that time, too, there were THREE fire trucks there - I guess nothing else was going on, plus, it could have been a lot worse. Definitely better safe than sorry when it comes to dispatching fire trucks to a chimney fire, at the home of a fire department veteran (it’s a small town, everyone knows everyone). I’m sure some people thought “geez if HE’S calling 911, it MUST be bad. But luckily, my father was calling a) out of an abundance of caution and b) there really was something wrong, that, left alone, could have caused far worse problems.
So, back to work. Tonight, the sky should be very clear. Stargazing is excellent on the new land, because it’s so open; I’ll probably take the dogs over for a walk after dark. I’m also going to cut a few more trees, ironically, to open up the view a bit more from our house, now that we own the land where those trees are.
More to come. Also, now I need a tractor.