After completing the greenhouse project, I was left with a pile of nail-filled rotting boards. I decided that the best way to get rid of them was to break them small enough (something I was able to do by hand) and feed them into the woodstove that the previous owners of the house had left behind.
One of my neighbours, Tom, calls it a sheep-herder's stove. I used the stove to burn leaves in the fall and was impressed with how well it retains heat and prevents sparks from escaping. It therefore seemed to me to be an effictive way to prevent a trip to the dump.
Starting after I finished work, I built up a fire and fed in board after board after board. I kept a frequent eye on the fire, while I worked on other projects in and around the house.
Around midnight, I heard some airbrakes engage. "I didn't know the bus ran this late...?" I wondered to myself.
Dismissing that thought, I resumed what I was doing. Minutes later, having forgotten about the airbrakes, I heard someone talking on a radio. It sounded like it was coming from the greenspace behind my house. I looked out the window, but didn't see anyone.
Then, from another room, I heard Fawn, with a touch of concern in her voice, "Michael, there's a firetruck parked in front of our house."
I scooted outside and greeted two firefighters who were leaving my backyard, walking towards the truck.
"Is everything Ok?" I asked.
"Oh, yeah," one of them replied. We got a call from one of your neighbours. She was concerned that there might be a brush fire in the greenbelt."
I deduced that she was probably smelling the smoke from my woodstove, and I asked the firefighters if it was alright for me to be burning wood in the woodstove at this time of year.
They told me that there was nothing wrong with the woodstove and that I could keep burning the wood, but when I went with them to take another look, I saw that my poor neighbour's house was surrounded by smoke.
When the evening air cooled, the inversion prevented the smoke from rising. Instead, the smoke creeped along the ground, surrounding my poor nieghbour's house.
I doused the fire.
Naturally, the neighbours were interested in what was going on. The next day, almost all of them asked if everything was alright. I'm guessing it's going to be one of those things that they'll talk about for a while to come.
"Remember when the fire truck came to their house?"