Apologies for not posting in a while. Our computer has been down so it's hard for me to get onto the internet whenever I want to.
I've been having to do chores 3 times a day for a while, to check on our goats who are due to kid at any time. With the weather this cold, it's very important that the babies don't sit in a cold spot or they will die. We already found one dead from a first time mom who kidded much earlier than she was supposed to, and she never cleaned the baby off when she gave birth so it froze to death. :( So we put a heat lamp in our barn to warm up a spot for the mom goats to give birth.
While I was doing chores Monday morning, I smelled smoke. I looked around to see if the neighbors were burning anything but they weren't. I got a feeling of dread and opened the barn door, to get hit by a rolling cloud of smoke! The first thing I did was go in there and get the goats out! It wasn't a huge fire, in fact I couldn't see more than a flicker of flame here and there, but most of the floor was blackened and smoking and a support beam was pretty much gone from the fire, and the whole barn was under a dense cloud of smoke. I figured it must have been the heat lamp that started it, so I unplugged the cord from the heat lamp and ran up the hill to the wellhouse to get some water to dump on the fire. Several buckets of water later and there wasn't much improvement, so I went inside the house and got my fire extinguisher. Even that didn't improve things much, so I had to dial 911 and have the firefighters come put it out. I rushed around trying to get the cars and horse trailer out of the driveway so the fire trucks could drive in, and pulled down the fencing so that the firemen could get into the yard. In my rush, I drove my car into a snowbank! And after the firemen got here I realized that my hands were shaking. All I could feel was relief that none of the animals were hurt (well, a cat got its fur scorched, but he's doing fine) and that most of the barn is salvageable. Our milk stand got burned up and 2 hen nesting boxes, plus a barrel and of course the heat lamp plus the bedding, part of the floor, the support beam, and a couple of other wood pieces. Thankfully, we have stone walls on the interior of the barn! Oh, and the nice firemen even helped get my car unstuck!
Afterward, the firemen came to talk to me and told me it was a very good thing that I caught the fire in time, because the fire was creeping up to the hay loft and in a couple hours the whole barn would have been up in raging flames. He also seemed pretty amazed that I could think to do all that stuff and move the vehicles etc... because most people panic when they see fire. Hmmm... I guess I'm pretty cool when it comes to crisises.
Also, this is not the first fire that has started from a heat lamp, so I am definitely NOT a fan of those things anymore!!! We really don't need the financial trouble that comes with this fire, but hopefully the insurance will at least cover the cost of the 911 call. I'm pretty sure that barns are insured separately from homeowner's insurance so I doubt if they'll pay for the damages, so it's a good thing they are very minimal.