George has always been concerned about fire and the loss of the Farm’s various structures to his imagined apocalyptic inferno. There is a basis for his fears, although it was self-inflicted. According to J.D., George had set a slash pile afire some years back that had gotten slightly out of hand. He had torched a bunch of his, as well as a few neighbors’ properties, and the fire had taken about a week to get under control. Therefore, protecting the Farm’s cabins, shacks, sheds, and the main house is always in the back of George’s mind.
George had had the idea to make additions to the Earthship cabin and Angus’ cabin, both to make them more livable than a garden shed and potentially to increase rental income. A mini-excavator was rented, ground dug up for footers and a stem wall, and Angus, Tweaker Earl, and Slave Labor Toby put to work constructing the above. The footers were poured and the stem walls partially completed. They would have been fully completed but for a lack of interest and a lack of beer. Everyone knows that masonry labor is fueled by beer. No beer, no labor. Everybody knows this. Everybody.
Another factor that took away all motivation was the realization that funding for the additions was to be put on hold until adequate firebreaks could be made for these soon-to-be luxurious new rentals. Angus, ever desirous of more square footage that he would not be able to pay for and had no intention of doing so anyways, complained about the lack of progress to George. Randy was in attendance and said that he would be glad to cut out a firebreak for Angus’ cabin.
That’s when the Farm first discovered that Randy was secretly a jihadist and environmental terrorist. Angus’ cabin had been protected to the west by a stand of birch, cedar, and fir that was some sixty feet deep. This stand of trees provided relief from wind, shade in the summer, and a snow break in the winter. Not so much after Randy got through with it.
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