The Fire

As superstitions go, I have never been a believer in them. Now and again I will participate in some silly ritual like making a cross on my windshield if a black cat crossed the road in front of me, I wont walk under a ladder UNLESS its the only way around it, and I have been known to stop a rocking chair if it was rocking just because I guess.

On Friday the 13th of April, yes Friday the 13th, I spent the better part of the day with My Mom and My Dear Friend. We hadn’t done anything together in a good year so the three of us took off from my farm and just made a few stops at little junk stores. I remember that several times throughout the day I made mention that I was NOT a believer in the stigma that goes along with Friday the 13. I serve a bigger God, He is in control of my world.  We came home around 3:30 p.m.

At 9:30 I went to bed as the stomach flu has visited all our kids and grand kids and I was not feeling very well. I had only ate a few pieces of chicken strips the whole day and I just wasn’t sure if it was the grease from them in an empty tummy or the flu. Either way I wasn’t comfortable.

At 12:43 .m. I got out of bed and stumbled down the stairs for the inevitable.  It was going to happen.  And it did. Afterwards I was laying on the bathroom floor, so sick, my mind was not functioning at full capacity. After 20 minutes or so I was able to stand up without being dizzy and make my way to the living room. I laid back in my recliner and my head turned to the south windows. It was brighter than normal. I remember thinking “wow the moon is shining bright on this part of the yard”. I layed there a few more minutes . I heard a pop, but thought it was the damper on the outside wood burning unit. Then I heard another louder pop. I rolled my head towards the dining room and I noticed that lights were flickering on the windows that face the east.

I jumped out of my recliner and raced to the kitchen. There are 3 large windows that face the west, and a bay that is over the sink and faces the west.  I looked up at the light over the sink, it wasn’t flickering. .I looked again fearing it had a short in the wiring. Still nothing. Suddenly, The whole kitchen was flickering and it seemed so bright for just one light over the sink on. I looked out the 3 windows by the table and I screamed… over and over I screamed.  Our entire barn was a blaze in flames. I have never witnessed such a fire in person. (Photo taken by our daughters,)

(Thirty five years ago, when my childhood home burned I was living up the road in my own place and when I walked down the house was completely  gone and all that remained was a lot of smoke and ashes).

While our youngest daughter and her hubby and children are building a new home across our 20 acre field in a wooded 5 acre lot they are living in a beautiful bungalow that we built several years ago for my elderly Aunt who is given the sad diagnosis of cancer. It room enough for a family for temporary headquarters but can be a bit tight after living in a real home with a lot more footage.  This bungalow, which  consists  of a  living room, kitchen, large bath and laundry room, bedrooms,  offers quiet living way  off the road  with a spectacular view of the woods. It is the west 3/4 of the structure.  On the east side is a 30 x 30 garage/shop that we make small farm repairs in.

Our Daughter and Son in law park their vehicles between the barn that burned and the garage/bungalow structure.  When I looked outside and saw the old open front barn on fire …I was so scared for our kids and grandkids.  I ran out our glass door without shoes or socks or coat. The wind was blowing so fiercely from the north and was pushing the flames across the driveway and into the cattle pen. The cattle were stampeding and jumped the fences . I ingested so much smoke while I ran as fast as I could. When I reached the bungalow, I beat on their bedroom window  hard over and over again and kept calling their names and yelling fire…get out.  Get out. Then I ran around to the west side where their living room door was and beat on it. They opened the door. Already they had discovered the flames because their outdoor German Shepherd was barking in a more alarming way than usual and Our daughter had gotten up knowing something was a miss.  Our Son in law had already ran out the door, and stared their suburban and drove it to the west side of the building. I grabbed three of their children by their arms and pulled them, barely allowing their feet to touch the ground and I did NOT let go of those arms until all three children were safely in the suburban. I shut the back passenger door. Our daughter was in the driver seat with her baby in her arms and they drove up to our farmhouse.

Our son in law, ask if I thought he could save his Bosses truck, that He drives as the main  crew leader for the company. The drivers side was all smoking and the flames from the building appeared to be the only dangerous part. So I said, “Maybe if you slide in from the passenger side. The moment He started that truck and drove it out from between the two building the wind hit it and the entire side of the truck was in flames. I was screaming for our son in law that it was on fire…..but as he is always a calm and collected man, he drove it to the water pump, put out the flames and then had the mind set to drive the truck out into the middle of a field just in case it still would blow.

Once our daughter was in the house with her children safely I then called 9ll. Carl was  standing outside watching the barn in his pajamas and was constantly walking behind our wood shed building, and the grand kids playhouse.  He was  throwing up. Now the flu bug had hit him. Between his vomiting sessions and mine we stood in shock, in tears as we watched ……

.24 years of hard work and struggling to make ends meet and trying  and acquire decent used, dependable equipment just  going up in flames. 

We had Four tractors, Farmall M restored and parade ready, A farmall 706 that ran but we had bought a motor to replace the one that was in it….a 1755 Oliver tractor, (my first tractor I ever bought of my very own) and  was our steady work horse. We were  just coming off of winter,  so we had all of our equipment stored in the barn and lean to additions to keep them out of the weather.   We had a New Idea EAR  Corn picker, a New International hay baler, a Gehl 95 Feed grinder, a beautiful Ponderosa  4 horse stock trailer, three John Deere lawn mowers, (2 Honda Recon 250 four wheelers, a Badboy zero turn lawn mower that belonged to our daughter. While they are  building they stored their outdoor things in our barn.) All our hand tools, hay and straw, wooden barn doors that I used for photograph props when I take pictures for families. All our yard ornaments were in there. Each fall I take everything out of the flowers gardens and rock garden and store them for the winter. 

We continued to watch as our chicken coop full of chickens scattered and screamed with no way to get near them to save them. A turkey coop was gone. The barn which was 32 x 64 and had a 15 x 64 additions added on to the entire back of it. Added to that, was a  8 X 15 X 12 foot high  corn crib that held 600 bushel of ear. It would have fed our cattle until late November when a new crop could be harvested. Now we will struggle to keep feeding our cows till fall 2018.  We lost 20 Isa Brown chickens that were layers every day, along with 27 small chickens that had feathers and were bought and being raised to increase our daily  egg production.

If the shock, and trauma wasn’t enough to endure try and adjust to,

Exactly 3 months earlier, to the day, Jan13)  On our way to our grand daughters birthday party we were in a head on collision when someone else crossed the center line and we hit  us . The claims adjuster from the Gauging Facility   said She was doing 68 and we were doing 41.  That was a  G force of 109 mph. We had multiple  injuries that we are still  healing from, we  lost a beautiful truck that we were unable to replace with same like qualities…..and a  fire to  our barn…

Whenever  we get into a vehicle and another car appears to get too close, we both  tense up. The force of that impact was so surreal. It haunts me all the time. I  lay in bed at the end of the day and the scene from the fire plays over and over in my  head. It just didn’t seem real.  We are grateful that no one was hurt, that the flu HAD ME UP at 1 in the morning.  And yet…


We were NOT prepared for the devastation of the visit from our “Insurance co”. They showed up on Monday morning….after we called 3 times. The “person/serpent”  arrived at 10 a.m. turned on his recorder and grilled us until 2 p/.m.  We had to sign for them to do a credit check on us, they made us answer questions about our mortgage, our utility bills, who we owed money to, did we have a drug or drinking problem, did we smoke…They would be diving into our checking account and our finances….what a total creep. Why. Because AFTER he got everything from us HE WANTED. He shut off the recorder, closed his little boy rule book and said..”None of your farm equipment was covered. You have no blanket policy.

Another hard hit. In 14 years the “AGENT”  has never been to our farm, never called us. I called him about 6 years ago and added the new barn/bungalow building and made sure it had replacement cost. Our home also has it when I opened the account 14 years ago. Why this agent has never been here not one time in all those years SHOULD BE A NEGLANCE act and there should be some severe reprimanding for it.  As of this writing he has still not bothered to call us or come by. Not that he would be welcome.  The adjust that was here that Monday made us feel like criminals and he meant to. He later chastised me a couple days after when he let me know how “Unfriendly” we were to him after he said they would not coverage.  Not sure what kind of world He lives in but I can assure you that I would not have his job of beating another person when they are already down, and I sure wouldn’t expect them to smile while I did it.  Dealing with this adjuster was debilitating  to both my husband and myself.  For two weeks and two days we have hit every plateau of emotions like a bad rollercoaster ride. We are shocked, angry, hurt, angry again, we cry, our insides shake, we run to the bathroom, our nerves are shot.  Our spirits broken.

The barn that burned is the ONLY building on our property that apparently did NOT  have replacement cost. It supposedly was Actual Cash Value MINUS depreciation. How does a building depreciate when you keep up the maintenance on it. We painted it several times. Its a metal building. We had the roof painted . We built doors for all four of the open fronts on it. And yet they say depreciation is 1 percent per year.  The barn was about 50 years old so they say that our payment will be  about  30K.   (after they give us 8 pages of drawing that the adjuster did, and shows us that it would cost about 64K to rebuild everything. Such a nice insurance company. INSURANCE is something you pay  and pay on for years believing that you have some piece of mind, when in fact they are NOT there for you, they are modern day PIRATES that rape and steal from you with their hidden clauses and constant new amendments.  That’s how they all get so rich and keep so much money that have their own credit unions and such.  Where is our govt… all this.  Well, again it wasn’t enough yet…then we were told that 7500.00 of the 30 will be sent to the township until the inspector says that we have cleaned up the fire mess to their specifications. Then we can put in a request for the return of the money. Had we NOT had insurance, we would have received a 90 day clean up notice.  Its the little extra kicks into our already seeping wound that you gotta love. NOT

As far as our personal belongings we are allowed to claim our mowers as lawn care equipment but NOT anything else. They wont cover a 24″ pipe wrench or a vise as they are deemed for farm use. Again by their SENIOR FARM SPECIALIST. What a joke….guess no one uses pipe wrenches on household plumbing and obviously we must all HOLD our mower blades in our hands when sharpen them with a grinder. Couldn’t use a bench vise for that…….They crossed off a pink  cozy coup car with matching trailer as a piece of farm equipment also. ITS A CHILDS PEDAL TOY.

All around this has been a bit of a rough patch for sure. While I tend to like the rodeo, I don’t care to live it and its been pretty tough to stay in the saddle and not let go.  My faith took a direct hit.

I understand that God is not a vengeful God, and obviously if HE were in charge of everything and everyone there would be no children beaten, raped, or sick with cancers……there would be no murders of innocent lives.  We wont ever know this side of  Heavens Gate why any of the bad things that happen to ANY OF US on this earth. We have to square our shoulders, damn the torpedo’s that others are firing at us, and walk forward at full speed.  We dare not take a moment to feel sorry for ourselves or sit down and wallow in the muddy puddles of life.  It will get us no where.  We will be covered in mud, dried to our skin, and still be just as sad and broken. We have to fight, we have to believe that things will get better, that beyond the rain clouds ..there will be  sunshine. Eventually.

Its not the manner in which a man falls that is important, but rather how he rises that shows his true character and strength and faith.   We temporarily lost our faith and hope,  but The GOD I CHOOSE to believe in knows our hearts and understands our state of mind during trials like these. Id like to believe HE UNDERSTANDS