Monday, October 29, 2007


Some of the fires are still burning, but not near us. We escaped this time. But the disruption and devastation were unbelievable. Still are unbelievable. Freeways- our arteries- were closed for days at a time. The smoke was so thick you couldn't see the car in front of you at a standstill, let alone at 70mph. And if you can't drive 70mph why go at all. Most of the businesses were closed for a full week. Hospitals were on emergency only basis to have bed room for smoke inhalation injury and burn injury patients.Grocery delivery was cut off to the large stores. Gas stations ran out of gas.
My friends arrived from Oregon while the freeway was still open. Eduard's cousin arrived from Colorado while we could still pick her up from the airport. Then, the fire near us started moving north and we were out of danger. Wednesday was a good day. I started unpacking.
There are things we don't admit to people very often, but I must admit that I am not the best housekeeper anymore. When I grabbed some of my framed artwork, I realized it was filthy dusty. When it was time to put it back, it all got a really good cleaning. It took me just a few minutes to toss all the stuff into the car, but it took hours to unpack it all. Thursday was a long dirty day. And almost all the stores were still closed.
So for fun, my Oregon friends and I washed and spun wool. We knitted and showed off our latest creations. We tried to keep quiet and not exercise in the foul air. We played in our way while the soot drifted slowly down. On Friday we had a very heavy dew which congealed the soot into sludgy mud all over the ground- but no longer in the air.And on Saturday we had a light drizzly rain. Now the air was breathable and the ground was toxic.
I have washed off the cars and as much foliage as I can reach with the hose. I have tried to clean up the walkways to the house. And next, when this has all come to a stop, I will clean the inside of the house. It smells like an ashtray. There is soot in every windowsill. The carpet has a black path. And every surface has some gritty stuff left on it even after I wipe it down.
I will be done by Thanksgiving. But for now I am happy to have dirty carpet and dusty windows. Some people don't have anything left. My prayers reach out to them. My thoughts and hopes are with them. My garage sale will be soon because I need to share with them. Sometimes when you start cleaning you realize how much stuff you don't want anymore.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Environmental Catastrophe

Last summer, my friends in England were under water. Severe flooding cut off their water supply and power for many. Fortunately, my friends didn't lose their homes, but did get a splash of inconvenience. They were collecting rain water so they could flush their toilets. They were gathering drinking water from community water tubs. And for bathing, well let us just say that it was rare.
Now it is my turn to have disaster at the door. San Diego and parts of Los Angeles are burning up. Once again we are at the critical fire season and watching our friends and neighbors evacuate. But this time, we are on evacuation watch also. This may seem hard to understand as we are only 2 miles from the beach. Where are we to go? Into the surf? To the south of us, it is burning. To the north of us it is burning. To the east of us it is burning. And to the west of us we have a coast line and beautiful waves. We also have guests arriving tomorrow and Wednesday. And how can I possibly save all my produce! And my chickens!! and my trees!!!
Well, we have actually started packing the most important things and unfortunately the trees and produce will not get to go. BUT I am taking the chickens!
Most of what there is in the world is replaceable, except our lives. So I will take my loving husband and myself, enough necessities and semi-precious things, and my living buddies (with their food and water). Many people got the call at 5 am yesterday. We have been on notice all afternoon, but it is not mandatory yet. We are very close to the safe zone so we want to wait until the last minute to evacuate. But if the call comes, we will have to go and wait until the danger has passed.
For those of you who got the care package, you might have to send one back.