Not Quite Ma Ingalls

The trouble with reserving cabins online is that you don’t really know what you’re getting into until you arrive. We just returned from our Colorado trip, where we stayed in two great cabins. The second one was a bit of a surprise.

When the online listing said the cabin was 5.8 miles outside of Colorado Springs we thought, “Great! Right on the outskirts of town!” What the listing didn’t specify was that the cabin was 5.8 miles straight up a mountain. We were driving up this winding road, and I was looking over the edge of the cliff thinking, “Do people really live up here?”
And oh yes, apparently they do. We kept driving until the road turned to gravel, and then to dirt, and then to dirt with huge bumps in it. All the while I was trying to distract the kids from cranky car-fighting while trying to NOT imagine us careening over the cliff and plummeting to our deaths.(My husband asked if I would like to explain the physics of the car suddenly hurtling off the side of the road and over the edge. No, I would not. But I’m sure it could happen.)

I kept saying, “We’re still not there? Seriously? Haven’t we gone five miles yet?” Time had disappeared. I was thankful I wasn’t pregnant or I’m pretty sure I’d have been jolted into early labor and then we’d have to bump our way back down the mountain to get to the hospital.

Anyway, thirty minutes or so later, we arrived at our cabin, which ended up to be over 100 years old, down in a valley. It came complete with outhouse, tiny stable, miner’s cabin, abandoned mine, and small waterfall.

My husband and I were in a bit of shock at our new accommodations (the kids were delightedly running around; they don’t care much about where they are as long as we feed them).  I saw the quaint little kitchen though and started to warm up. I decided it would be a lovely adventure in simplicity—one tiny bathroom, no tub, teeny kitchen, but
that was all right! It would be like camping out on the prairie! I could cook cornbread in the oven! Too bad there weren’t any prairie chickens.  I was practically Ma Ingalls.

The next morning I decided to make my normal bacon, on foil on a cookie sheet. I put it into the adorable oven and turned it on, then went out on the porch to read. I made sure to set my watch timer since I’m notorious for forgetting the time and ending up with a pan of charred bacon.

Isn’t this a lovely view from the porch? This is where I sat and read.

About ten minutes later I noticed a smell and went into check on the bacon. I was sure it wouldn’t be done because it usually takes about 30 minutes for our oven to heat up and the first batch of bacon to be done.

I opened the oven door and saw clouds of smoke, charred piles of bacon, and flames. The entire pan of bacon was on fire. I slammed the oven door shut and started yelling
for my husband. I was saying, panicked, “What if the cabinets catch on fire?
Can we just let it burn in there? Will it go out?”

He was irritatingly calm about the whole thing.

“This is NOT GOOD!” I kept telling him, trying to impress some urgency upon him.

“I know it’s not good. I didn’t do it!” he said, unhelpfully. Then, “Let’s just put some water on it,” as if discussing a minor irritation, instead of a FIRE.

“I don’t think that’s gonna work!” I said, thinking that this was a grease fire, but not really sure. Did bacon count as grease? It’s not like it’s a big pot of oil (which I’ve also caught on fire).  No, bacon was food, not grease, so water could work, I reasoned. I didn’t discuss any of this inner monologue with my husband, because there was no time, he seemed so certain, and you know, the oven was on fire.

We peeked in the oven, and the fire was bigger, and I was afraid that those old cabinets would get so hot they’d start on fire.  Now this part is a bit fuzzy, because it seems like somehow the cookie sheet of bacon was on the floor when we threw the iced tea (that’s what was handy) on it, but I’m not sure how it got there. Anyway, somehow we threw a glass of iced tea on it and the flames all shot up higher.

Apparently bacon counts as grease. Now we know.

We had the fire extinguisher ready, off the wall, pin pulled out, and at that point blasted it with the fire extinguisher. Thankfully it worked, and immediately put out the flames. Oh my goodness, I don’t know when I’ve been so relieved. I’m so thankful the owners had that fire extinguisher there and it worked.

What if it hadn’t? What if we burned up that 100-year-old house? And then, of course it would have started (another) forest fire, and the fire crews would have taken so long to get there it would literally have set the mountain on fire.

Thank you, Lord. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I went outside, shaking, and hugged my wailing 2-year-old. My six-year-old daughter was surprisingly calm (she must take after Daddy), and my eight-year-old son was still asleep in the living room.

“Oh, my gosh,” I kept saying to my husband. “I am SO thankful that fire extinguisher worked!”

He was still calm. He said, “It would have been okay. We could have beaten it out with clothes.” Clothes! Beaten it out with clothes? Are you kidding me? All I could imagine
was the clothing starting on fire and everything getting totally out of control. I’m not saying it wouldn’t have worked, I’m just really glad we didn’t have to find out.

Anyway, we opened windows to clear out dust and fire extinguisher fumes; I didn’t want my kids (one of whom had a cough and was using an inhaler) breathing that stuff. We woke up my son, made sure everything was okay, then left to go to Focus on the Family for the day so things could clear out while we were gone.  We cleaned
everything up that night.

After the fire

It cleaned up nicely.














It took about four hours because if you’ve ever used a fire extinguisher, you know how that dust gets onto every surface, so I had to wipe down all the surfaces, clean the oven, scrub floors, etc. My husband and kids vacuumed and wiped down all the surfaces.

I really didn’t mind though, I was so happy the whole house was still standing. After an awkward call to the owners (“Um, so we set your kitchen on fire this morning, but everything’s fine now!”), I decided I would not touch that stove again! I realized that the old dials were sort of inexact, and I must have had it set on broil instead of bake.

Also, after the fire, we noticed something odd. See it, over on the right side at the bottom?

It was my toddler’s always present Nerf sword. Apparently he had earlier been so charmed by the cute little oven that he thought it the ideal hiding place for his weapon. I’m not sure if that contributed to the fire
or not. But what we learned is, that Nerf swords apparently do well in fires.  Now we know.

See, it survived quite well.





So, I decided I wasn’t really in the mood to be Ma Ingalls anymore. I was afraid of touching the oven again, and not really up for any other adventures.

In fact, I decided what I clearly needed after all that trauma was a pedicure.

It seemed the logical solution.

This is the Broadmoor, which was right at the base of the mountain. Sure, the pedicures at the spa there were twice what they cost in
Tulsa (we looked it up), but how often do you get the chance to go someplace like that?

Well, after inquiring at the spa, and getting to see the lavish surroundings, I decided I didn’t need one after all. I decided I could save $100 and paint my toenails myself. I was awfully tempted though.  You know, to deal with the trauma and all.

We did do some other things on our trip too.  I’ll try to post some pictures but it might
be a few days.  I have to get to the laundry first.

As you hear about those fires near Colorado Springs, please remember to say a prayer for the firemen and people around there.

But just so you know, they weren’t my fault. I promise.




4 thoughts on “Not Quite Ma Ingalls

  1. I know it wasn’t funny when it happened, but like all NEAR disasters, it’s funny now. I can’t wait to see the pictures. That’s the kind of vacation we would enjoy- well not the fire and not an outhouse!

    • Thanks Renee. I hope to be posting them soon. At least the outhouse wasn’t operational! :)

  2. Wow. I’m glad nothing serious happened. Grease fires are extremely dangerous. That had to have been pretty scary.

    • Thank you William. It was scary! I am a big advocate of fire extinguishers in kitchens after my two experiences with grease fires. They get out of control very quickly! We keep a fire extinguisher under the sink in the kitchen and two bathrooms and I check to make sure they are full whenever I clean under there.