Monday, July 30, 2018

Well,Well,Well This Has Been A Hell Of A Week Or Two

This is a photo of the sky at my house in the week since the Carr Fire began. Yes that ball up top is the sun and yes it is not altered in anyway. It is what we see with our eyes. And please forgive me if I do go on with little diversion about this monstrous fire. This fire that after a week has grown to just shy of 100,000 acres , taken 6 lives including two preschool age children and their great grandmother. And the fire that is now heading into Trinity county just to our west with as much unpredictability and insanity as it began with.

This is the map of the fire a day or two ago . The major change would be that the area to the left has crossed the dotted line in front of it entering the next county. Otherwise it is finally somewhat stabilizing and some folks are even repopulating their neighborhoods. Of course in a mountainous terrain such as Shasta county we in general aren't meaning urban type neighborhood. But several of those were involved too and lost in the fight.

This is what it looked like driving home from the valley floor on Saturday. It was the same day we had a visit from this sight for sore eyes.

I was under this in a cool spot by the river visiting with my sister by phone when it came out of the smoke and I can tell you it takes your breath away. 

As far the critters are doing well as can be expected. Yarrow has been doing some heavy working with Sherman at night. How do I know ? Well that is the other side of the story. I have slept on the deck literally for over a week now. Why? Because we have such an unpleasant inversion layer locked in place above the house cannot cool off because we can't use our cooler. Why? Because we have been having issues with our almost 18 year old solar unit. Part of it is wear and tear , part due to extreme temperatures, part to batteries and panels that need replacing. Even though it wasn't used a lot during its first 12 years of service and we have been here going on seven years , it is an older system. 

So what are we doing? Besides praying for cooler weather? Preparing for our upgraded unit. Geoffrey has been taking down trees for the new panels that will go on the East side of the pump/solar house. 

We will be replacing all six of the original units panels.  You can see the unit below in the center to the left of the buck pen. Of course that is a stock photo from last winter.  We will also be getting two batteries that will weigh in at about 1200 pounds each and will replace the entire bank of 15 smaller units we have now that are on the way out. We also have a few smaller items on the list. We are working with the small local business that put this unit in originally the owner is a super guy well educated in solar as he has been in business since 1971. Yes he is 75 years and still logging 16 hour days in the field. In the end we will an updated unit that will serve us well, push the propane to a backseat (this has been my dream carbon footprint and all you know) and give us a leg up if and when it comes time for us to downsize a bit. I am very excited!  Hopeful this will all come together in the next two to three weeks and the apparent cool down headed our way means we can nurse this system along as Geoffrey has already and we can get back our trusty swamp cooler and stop feeling like we live in one. I have managed to drop 6 pounds in the last 12 days between the heat and chores. 


I will take photos and keep you updated with the progress. Until then once again I will close with please pray for us in California. I have lived in three counties in this great state and two of them have major blazes in them and other parts of the state. 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

This Is A Week To Be Grateful For Blessings and Prayer For Those Whose Blessings Are In Short Supply

This is the Carr Fire. The fire went from approximately 7000 to 20000 acres overnight. It is now on a collision course with Shasta Dam
There are a large amount of persons fighting like crazy to stop this from happening. It is also potentially headed toward Redding    there are a large contingent of folks also fighting like crazy to stop this from happening. At this point the possible cause of this fire is vehicle aka trailer. I don't know more than that. I have at least one friend who is evacuated and her elderly mother was released from the hospital at the same time. I cannot begin to imagine.

This was our first wildfire the first summer we lived here

it was much closer to us about 30 minutes as the crow flies and was almost 28000 acres in the end . This was a lightening strike fire and was just plain evil from the beginning.  

This is always a potential trade off for living in the area I do. But one can be smart. Defensive space every year at least 200 feet from home and out buildings. More if you can manage. Make wise choices don't use chain saws, target shoot or use weed eaters or do anything on very hot dry days that could potentially cause a spark. Make sure there is nothing dragging from your vehicle or trailer while you are traveling that could cause a spark. And please only burn on burn days and if the burn days are revoked be safe walk away from your ego that tells I've got this because you don't. 

Some folks think we are crazy living where we do . Being off grid attempting to lower our carbon footprint and do as much for ourselves as we can. But to those of us that do it couldn't be any other way. When I wake up to mornings like this 

 And nights like this 
Walk in 42 acres of  solace I can't imagine living anywhere else. Seeing deer, turkey, roadrunners hearing coyotes and holding a hummingbird who took a wrong turn and ended up in my greenhouse then watching it fly to the top of pine tree. Those things win out over the risk that is always there. 

Life is full of risk heck getting out of bed in the morning holds the potential of tripping over the cat and breaking your neck. Make life full of calculated risk life is way too short to not take calculated chances. 

I am blessed beyond measure to be able to have this surrounding me. Please send up a prayer for those around me who experiencing the unthinkable today in their lives today with this fire. May California and other states that are experiencing high wildfire rates recover and go on for the love of what it offers.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Is That Cookies I Smell Burning Or Did Someone Say Fire?!

My sunflowers are becoming more captivating daily. Take for instance this one. It appears to have only bloomed half way. I have no idea why but it most certainly makes for an interesting photo. I have deemed it the Star Trek sunflower.

One of the group of three that bloomed two days ago. Apparently didn't want to let go of the vegetated string attaching the two sides.  If you look closely you can see a honeybee just above the VM string on the right.

Here is the whole family including five of the group in various stages of blooming and the one in the upper right corner going into the next stage. 
 Dinner last night. Rice pilaf with wild caught Soho salmon sauteed with fresh squash, mini sweet pepper, mushrooms and sweet red onions.

That was yesterday Thursday. On Wednesday I went over to the Tehama District fair. I was judging for the second year the open senior baked goods. I enjoy this aspect of the fair judging and was through 75% of the divisions having just finished the pie categories. And awarded Best Pie to an amazing out of the blue cranberry pie as "best pie." My thigh tingled. Well the pie was good I mean really good a dark horse in the pie race and not to look at and heft it was going to be "the pie, the best pie". But a thigh tingle? Oh tingle again Oh my iPhone. Slightly relieved I for some reason felt the need to answer the second tingle, er, call. 

"Terry this is Janet (that would be my neighbor at the cattle ranch ) I don't want to worry you but there is a fire on Ash Creek just down from your property."  Oh I think a fire where exactly how bad exactly? The low down was the flames were dancing 35 feet in the air above the pine and oak trees , there were already 4 (which ended in a total of 5) air drops of retardant and as she spoke trucks where arriving. I thanked her and went back to the table. 

I informed the ladies at the table clerking and the building superintendent of the situation. There were about four or five divisions with at least 3-6 classes each left. The super offered to finish the judging for me . But I said it won't take that long I will finish. I started to press on in the new division, the super very quietly and calmly said " I can do this for you". Oh that was a new idea and wonderful gesture I thought. Well then if she did that I would sign off on my finished judging sheets and leave. I starred at the half inch thick judging sheets waiting for my signature. Again the super spoke up "I can sigh them for you." "Oh  you can?" said I. I picked up my pen and began to sign the first sheet then looking up I asked her "could you do this?" To which she calmly replied "yes". 

Then the smoke cleared in my head. Oh my gosh what was I thinking. I was doing what many a client in the veterinary practices had done on hearing what your mind couldn't process. And that dear lady was doing what I had done before quietly , calmly kept repeating until I processed. I was out door after maybe three minutes even though it seemed more. I set a track record for driving home from the fairgrounds. And I took the back way over the mountain in case there were hard closures on more traveled roads to our area. I was worried about not being able to get past a closure leaving me on one side and Geoffrey and the farm on the other.

I need not of worried by the time I got home it was under control and mop up beginning. We were so blessed. The fire remained small, the crews hit it hard and heavy. The afternoon winds that had been blowing everyday for a week were still.Those winds would have whipped that fire to the west with my farm directly in the path. There would most likely have been not much left . Odd the winds picked up about an hour after mop up began. The response team was fast, efficient and through. We are blessed. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Welcome To My Temporarily Permanet New Look

Had a nice support and newsy email from Susan of
Susan always has a way with situations and looking at the world that takes my mind away from my little corner of the world. If you haven't read her latest post please do so.

It is pretty toasty here today and our lows have been about 72. We have been saved by nice evening breezes and lighter ones during the day also. Of course with breeze comes wildfire potential with high temps. But I am grateful for them as they permit sleep at night which keeps me sane and during the day it makes it more tolerable for man and beast.

 Sunflowers new blooms popping out daily. 

 Today I had young sparrows colliding with the window doors that open onto a deck. The poor birds would hit the window (I hate that sound) and slide down the glass mouth gaping open due to over heating. That was it after number three hit the deck literally. I tossed together this free bird feeder from left over parts in the green house. Even though this picture doesn't show it they took advantage of the a bath and no one came near the window again today. So the search is on for a respectable bird bath.
Gradient spinning was the task of the afternoon. I spent the morning outside in fairly decent weather but at noon was inside holding my own spin in. I have a 4 ounce braid of BFL I am using and hopeful they will grow up to be a pair of socks. 

Lastly I spent some time looking for my lost Layout link so I could possibly get this new look to behave itself but no cigar. I will have another go at it on Thursday. Wednesday holds house cleaning in the morning. The afternoon will be spent at the Tehama County fair judging adult baked goods. Wish me and the entrants luck!

Saturday, July 14, 2018


This is how I feel under construction.

This is a Brachiosaurus . This is also how I feel doing any even marginally technical work on my blog like a dinosaur. However I did pick this particular variety of dinosaur as it has a great long neck classic no? I always fancied having a long classic swan neck you know like Audrey Hepburn. I also have always thought my parents should have given more thought to my name then assumption. No my name is not assumption but it is Terry with a Y. Not Teresa no . Catherine tossed in the middle for gender clarification I suppose. It was Terry because my father was absolutely sure I was going to be a boy. Nonsense I was obviously destined to be Fiona but then the obvious is often times ignored you think? But I digress . 

You all remember this photo right? The creek up the hill  in Burney at the Falls. I love that creek and miss finding it on my home page. With a bunch of other things I have become attached to on my blog. Such as my layout link which has of today totally disappeared from selections of links I can use to organize my blog.

And to think that this whole mess began because I was bored. I wanted a fresh face for my blog I wanted a look similair to Leigh's of or Susan of    

But NO uhna nada ain't gonna happen . I can't even get my old blog back perhaps not because that is a bad thing. But I need redemption folks. I need to see the blog light and hopefully it isn't a train. I need a twelve step program at the least and a blog design program for folks who got their first computer at age 50 and that was awhile back.  

Maybe Mama Pea could send Chicken Mama out West? Least we forget those sweet folks in the tech cubicles at Google who play with these things and take away what we had and add stuff that makes no sense at all. Can anyone hear me? Is anyone out there? 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Like My New Blog Look?

Ok I have lied. I don't have a new look yet. Because of items like this one above. When I left blog world for a creative respite I got little time sitting on my beloved "Tush Cush" and staring at this screen. I will work on that but wanted to say "Hi" and share some of what has been going on. The first sunflower opened up in all glory yesterday.

Then about a week ago this young lady came along with her Mama. Mama (my daughter) went home and Miss. Claire stayed. She requested one more week yesterday and how could I possibly say "no" to a Grandgirl who does this with her Gammie?

and this
In addition she is excellent company, low maintenance and at 5'9" helps Gammie reach things without a step up . A win win I would say.

Our view on Wednesday of Mt. Lassen on a half day trip after chores still wearing a cloak of snow and we are almost half way to Fall ! Can you tell I am happy?

Another away from computer time eater. Long awaited simple but if I say so myself attractive kitchen towels woven for Brittany and Jon's wedding gift. Better late than never!

Lastly two of five peaches on my bare root planted this year. I was amazed and realize most folks remove first year fruit. But heck this tree is growing like crazy and I expected them to fall off before this stage. So for now I say let us see what happens. I also have a Sugar Semi Dwarf Pear , Granny Smith  apple and a Meyer lemon. One of our resident jack rabbits tried to devour my lemon but I saved the day with a good cage. She is growing back and looks to be on the way to success.

Have a wonderful weeks end and I will pop back in when Miss. Claire has left for home.