I donít like it when my sleep is interrupted by strange noises. Itís so quiet out here in the country that I have to blame my sleep issues on something else. When I lived in town, I had rabbit ears, and every sound would have me peeking through the mini-blinds (or hiding behind the door). Back in my apartment-dwelling days I could feel my heart racing every time somebody walked heavily on the floor above me, or blasted bass through the ceiling below me.
So the intermittent whirring that woke me up a little after nine this morning (yes, thatís 9:00 am in the morning) was startling. Since I was asleep when it started, and only half awake by the time I got out of bed to investigate, several possibilities meandered through the cobwebs in my head. It actually sounded like water running through the pipes, and I wondered why someone was watering my yard so soon after it rained. (Yeah, thatís how my mind works when itís only partially engaged.)
Then I thought, oh no! The furnace is on the fritz. That would have been semi-tragic, considering last night was the coldest of the year and it got well below freezing, no matter what temperature scale you use. I raced upstairs to where the furnace access door is inconveniently located, but nothing was going on there. While I was in the loft, I peeked out the window and saw the source of the mystery sounds. A hot air balloon was blasting fire from its boiler, apparently preparing (or trying) to descend.
In fact, by the time I found some shoes and a jacket and raced outside with my camera, the balloon was already on the ground. We see balloons floating through the skyline often enough around here, but Iíve never had one fly (or land) this close to my house. It landed on an access way leading to the farm across Llano Road, and over the next few minutes they gradually hauled it away. By that time Iíd lost interest and was thinking about going back to bed.