A fire extinguisher in every lawn shed...
It's springtime, and my lawn has erupted with every kind of grass, weed, flower, bush, and vine. There are neat little rectangles of dark green where the rolling chicken coop has been and where I have spread rye/bluegrass/fescue blend seed behind. There's a fair bit of Bermuda, and more dallisgrass (a.k.a. crab grass) than I care to admit. Also, there are the nettles and dandelions.
When I was a little kid, I loved dandelions. Their flower was a happy yellow, and their puffballs were fun to blow. Now, as the guy who mows the lawn, their puffballs irritate me. They send up their puffballs the day after I mow, making my otherwise decently-trimmed lawn look raggedy. It's really quite amazing how fast they go up. And my mulching lawnmower does nothing to kill the seeds; it just plants them right there in a dense pattern.
I'm not much one for weed killing chemicals in my lawn. But I like fire.
Enter the Dragon. No, you Bruce Lee fans, not that silly movie-- I'm basically talking flame-thrower, here. The dragon is a nifty device that attaches to a standard 20 lb propane tank, and shoots out a 3 foot blue flame on demand. It's loud, and scares the neighbors. Fired at weeds, it fries them down to the roots, leaving nice ash to nourish the new grass seed that you then throw down. Organic as hell. Fun. Fire. What's not to like?
The kids, playing in the yard, each wanted a turn. And who am I to deny them this fun? They shot some undesireable plants, and went back to the trampoline. I kept at the weeds. While I went about the yard spraying blue flame at pesky weeds, I found a poison ivy vine growing up near the fence. I'm highly allergic, and my wife is allergic to everything, so I saw this as a nice time to really fry a dreaded enemy. I let it have it. I gave it an extra squirt of burning propane, just to make sure the roots didn't come back. I moved on to other parts of the yard.
About 20 minutes later, I found the garden hose stretched across the yard. I pulled it to the hydrant to be coiled, and found that it was just running. Well, that was odd. Why was it just running in the yard? I grumbled about wasted water and the kids, and moved on. Then I found what the hose had been watering: The fence. Seems that I had gotten a bit carried away, burning that poison ivy bush. The fence was wet and charred around a new hole at the base, next to the dead poison ivy bush.
I worried. Had my neighbor seen his fence burning, and run over to run the hose to put it out before passive-aggressively leaving it running as he stalked away? Oof. Not good for neighbor relations.
I went inside and polled the house. My wife assured me that she hadn't used the hose. My 11 year old daughter said that she had not used the hose. I found my younger daughter watching SpongeBob Squarepants, and asked her about the hose.
She gave me half her attention. "What? Used the hose? No." She went back to watching cartoons for a second before turning back to me. "Oh yeah. I forgot. I noticed that the fence was on fire, so I put it out. Did I forget to turn off the hose, Daddy?"
"Uh, yeah. Hey, kid-- good job on the fire-fighting, but you might tell your daddy when you've done so, you know?"
"Okay, Daddy," she said, and went back to watching SpongeBob and Patrick Starfish torture Squidward.
I'm proud of my just-turned-8-year-old little girl, but kind of amused at her nonchalance at her actions. This could have become a Big Deal. As it was, I just replaced two fence stakes the next day. Took me 10 minutes, tops.