Steve heard the rooster crow and stretched, pushing his feet out of the covers at the end of the bed. As he became fully awake, his heart beat faster thinking about what would be an exciting day. First he would clean out the wood pile behind the barn and make room for a lean-to shed that would house the lawn mower, four-wheeler, lawn carts, etc. If those were out of the barn, there would be room for two new stalls that he would fill with the two colts he had bought. The stalls would give shelter and feeding space when the colts weren’t outside.
Steve laid back the covers and crept silently around the room gathering his clothes and boots. Amy could sleep a little longer while he did chores. She would be up fixing breakfast when he came in, but she was most cheery in the morning when she woke up on her own.
With the morning chores done, he returned to the back porch, taking off his dirty boots, and came up behind Amy to give her a big hug. She turned from the stove where sausage was browning in a skillet on top, and biscuits were baking in the oven. She returned the hug and offered a sweet kiss. “What’s on your agenda today, chore boy?”
Steve held her close and looked into her big blue eyes. “I hope to burn that pile of scrap lumber behind the barn today before the wind picks up. Then I’ll start on the lean-to so we can have room in the barn for the new stalls.”
Amy’s eyes danced, and her dimples deepened with a big smile. “Oh, Steve, I can’t wait to get the colts here! I’ll start working with them right away, gentling them and getting them used to being brushed, and…”
Steve stopped her with his finger on her lips. “Whoa there, girl. We have a lot to do before all that happens. We’re both looking forward to the day we can bring them home, so let’s have some breakfast, and I’ll get started.”
After a delicious breakfast, Steve strode out the door, eager for this day’s task. By 10:00 a.m., he had drug the wood far enough away from the barn that he felt it was safe to burn it. He added a few more scraps from around the corral, poured a bit of gas onto the wood, stepped back and threw the straw-torch onto the pile. With a whoosh, the flames covered the pile and were sending their fiery sentinels high into the air.
Amy could see the blaze and smoke from the house and went out to watch the fire do its work.
She had just come to stand beside Steve when a surprise wind took the flames from the wood pile to the nearby corral where hay remaining from the morning chores quickly burst into flames.
Steve ran around the barn to where the water hydrant stood. Amy grabbed a nearby shovel and threw dirt on the flames nearest her. “Hurry, Steve! It’s spreading fast!”
Steve lifted the hydrant handle and hurried back to where he had left the fire, only to realize that the flames had spread beyond where the hose could reach. “I’ll get another hose!” Amy shouted above the crackling of the fire.
Amy hurried to the lawn where another hose lay coiled like a rattler ready to strike. She picked it up and ran with hair flying, hose dragging and lips clenched in determination.
“Turn the water off for a second, Amy, so I can attach the other hose.” He quickly joined the second hose to the first and again called to Amy, “OK, turn the water on full blast!”
What seemed like hours later, but was actually only minutes, the two looked at the smoldering wood that had so recently been the north side of the corral fence. With a sweaty and smoke-streaked face, Amy chuckled, pointed her head toward the house and said, “Why don’t I go and get the hot dogs and some marshmallows, and we’ll turn this minor disaster into lunch?”
Steve took off his hat and wiped his brow with his shirt sleeve. “Is that like turning lemons into lemonade?” A slow grin broke out on his dirty face. “Why not? Let’s have a cookout while the coals are just right.”
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