Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Fires Still Burning in Sonoma County.

Fire Update.

The fires are still burning all around Santa Rosa but the firefighters have been successful in pushing the fires away from the towns and into the wild lands.
The weather is cooling and we are expecting some light rain in a couple of days. That should help keep the fires down a little.
Some people are being let back into the neighborhoods that were evacuated.
A lot of the roads are still closed but things are improving slowly.


Yesterday we got our motorhome out of storage. We will be getting it ready for us to leave to go south in about two weeks.


We rescued Lorraine from the shelter for a couple hours again today. It looks like she will be in the shelter for several more days. They are being very careful about letting people go back home so it will be a slow process.

We are safe and well.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Fires Still Burning in Sonoma County.

Sunday Morning


Over night the fires were held in check by a combination of preparation, hard work by firefighters, a strong air assault and low overnight winds.

Smoke from backfires as seen from our front porch on Saturday.


The last time I heard any containment figures, the fires threatening Santa Rosa have 25 to 50% Containment. Its not over but we are in better shape than we were.

The weather forecast calls for low wind conditions and a chance of rain by Thursday.  That’s still a long time for the fires to burn. I hope they beat them down before then.



We went to the shelter to pick up Lorraine and take her to lunch.
When we arrived at the shelter Lorraine was waiting for us and was very excited.

“I can go home !” she cried excitedly, when we pulled up.
“Can you escort me home?”
She already had the cats in her car and we waited for her to follow us to her mobile home park.
When we got there, there were police at the entrance not allowing anyone to enter.
We had to turn around and head back to the shelter.
Disappointedly, Lorraine signed back in and we took the cat carriers to her area.
Apparently the information she had was not official or correct. What a let down.
We left the cats and went to our house for lunch.

Okay that’s about it.
We wait and watch and hope we don’t have to evacuate.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fires Are Still Burning.

Winds Increase Over Night.

Over night the wind came up with high gusts in the hills. The firefighters have been doing a great job of keeping a handle on the fire but even so the fire made some advances over night.

Looking at the smoke in the east from my front porch at 7:00 this morning. The wind is now out of the north east so the smoke is going south west. We can breath some clean air for a while.



This morning I heard on the radio that there are new mandatory evacuations to the east of us. 
My brother was evacuated this morning. He lives a couple miles east of us.

Still Okay.

We are packed and keeping an eye on things but we are still okay.

Cleaning Up.

There were a lot of dry leaves in the back yard so I decided that I should rake them up and get rid of them in case a hot ember happens to drop in on us.


Okay, that is where we stand as of this morning.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Santa Rosa Fire Update

Still Safe.

We woke this morning to thick smoke hanging over the neighborhood.


We had  made it through the night without having to evacuate.

Doctors Visits.

Patti and I had early doctors appointments this morning.
By the time we were done with that, a breeze had come up and most of the smoke was blowing south.


Fires Still Burning.

The fires are still burning but the fire fighters managed to keep them from advancing much overnight despite some windy conditions.

The fire to the north of us, which so far has been the most destructive, is fairly far away so I’m not to worried about that one getting us.

There is a smaller fire to the south and east of us that is much closer.
Today, we can see the smoke rising from back fires that the fire fighters started.
We are still far enough away that we should be safe as long as the winds don’t get too strong or blow the wrong way.
There are forecasts for high winds tomorrow afternoon.
At this moment, as I look out my window the wind is calm.
I hope it stays that way.

I guess we will find out tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Santa Rosa Fire.

The Beginning

Sunday night around 10:30, just before going to bed  the news was reporting a fire in the hills of Napa and one in Calistoga (about 20 miles away).
They were also forecasting high winds over night.

The Call.

Around 3:00 in the morning the phone began ringing. By the time I got to the phone they had hung up but left a message. It was Patti’s daughter saying to call her back.

As I was crawling back into bed I told Patti to call Dina.

I heard some mumbling as Patti talked to Dina, then I heard Patti say WHAT? OH MY GOD!!!

It was then that we learned that, that small fire in Calistoga had burned its way across the mountains pushed by up to 75 mile per hour winds and was now consuming the northern end of Santa Rosa.


By mid day Santa Rosa was practically surrounded by fires. Whole subdivisions have been lade waste on the north,west and east side of town. Towns to our east such as Glen Ellen have been destroyed.
There are fires moving in from the west and circling around to the south.

Looking For a Friend.

Our friend Lorraine had just bought a manufactured home in an upscale mobile home park in the northern part of town.
We heard the whole park had been burned to the ground.
So, Monday afternoon we tried to get to her place to see if what we heard was correct but we were turned away as all the roads going there were closed.

The smoke is real thick all over the area.


For the next day and night we were glued to our TV trying to get information on what was going on with the fires.

Try Again.

Tuesday, around noon we decided to try to locate Lorraine again. We drove back to the Mobil home park but this time we went around the back way and got in. We found Lorraine’s house and it was still standing.



We drove around the corner from Lorraine’s house and came upon a scene of total devastation.


We saw some people trying to salvage something from the catastrophe.


It looks like the place had been bombed. So Sad, 68 homes lost in just this one place. It is only one of many such places around the town that have been destroyed.

Now, to find Lorraine.

Lorraine’s neighbor was there checking on her own house and told us that Lorraine had gone to a shelter at the Finely Swim Center. We went to the center and Patti found Lorraine and both of her cats safe and sound.
Lorraine said that they were treating her and her cats just great and she was extremely happy to hear that her house was safe for now.

Smoke in the Hills.

We left Lorraine at the shelter and went home.
Around 5:00 we noticed smoke on the hillside around a mile southeast of us.


We are keeping a ear out for any evacuation orders. So far we are ok.

Today (Wednesday) it is still smoky and the fires are still devastating communities all around us. We are safe for now but the winds are supposed to rise again today.

So far over 2000 structures in Napa and Sonoma county have been destroyed. There are also fires burning in Geyserville and as far north as Ukiah.

Friday, October 6, 2017

A Couple Days at the Coast.

Joanne and Dave rented a house at Dillon Beach which is at the mouth of Tamales Bay and the Pacific Ocean. They rented the house for a week and invited us to come spend Monday and Tuesday night with them.

The House.


The house was built back in the early 1930’s so it is probably close to 90 years old.
It was built by a distant relative of Dave’s and is still in the family.
They only rent the place to family members and the house is well taken care of.

The ocean side of the house is mostly windows and…


has a fantastic view of the ocean and the Tamales Point.


A Relaxing Few Days.

I think this kind of sets the tone for the visit.


We spent our time watching the surf…


watching surfers…


Watching paddle borders.


and watching  the kite surfers.


We spent a lot of time at this table by the window playing cards, eating, drinking and enjoying the view.


Dinner Out.

Monday evening we went to an old road house in Valley Ford for an Italian dinner.


This place has also been here for a long time, maybe a hundred years.

You enter through the bar.


The Dining Room.


After supper we went back to the house and arrived in time to watch the sunset.


Mornings on The Porch.

It was really nice to have coffee on the porch in the mornings and watch the goings on’s on the beach and in the water.


Wednesday morning a large fog bank crept in from the ocean.


and by noon the house was fogged in.
Patti and I said our goodbye's and thanks to Joanne and Dave for a wonderful visit and headed for home.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

7 Days in September at the Cabin.


We got to the cabin around 12:30.

I arrived about a half hour before Patti so I got the fridge going and unloaded the jeep. When she showed up we unloaded her car and got everything moved in.


We brought two cars because I need the jeep to pull some trees off the beach at the Grove and there wasn’t enough room for everything in the jeep.

Lunch and a Walk.

We had some lunch then I took a walk up the road to the spring tanks to check to see if there was any water coming from the springs. The flow was small but adequate.

Unfortunately I forgot to take a camera with me.


Sweep the Roof.

After breakfast I got on the roof of the cabin to sweep off all the redwood droppings.


Fix the Skull

I put a cow skull at the end of the main beam of the cabin. The horns were loose as they weren’t the original horns on this head and one had flopped down.


I had just stuck the horns on the skull when I put it up. Now I had to take the skull down and fix the horns.

I took the skull to my work bench and assessed the situation.


I decided to screw the horns onto the skull.


Next, I had to get back on the roof to replace the skull.


Now, that looks better.


Redwood Tree.

We went down to the creek to see if we could salvage a redwood tree that floated down the creek to our swimming hole last winter.

Matt and Mike cut the tree into four pieces a couple of weeks ago.


I want to get the tree off the beach so that it doesn’t get washed away this winter. There is a lot of good lumber ($$$) just laying there.

We drug the logs up to higher ground using the jeep. Starting with the longest one.


To get out of the creek bed you have to go up a steep bank between a couple of trees.

It’s a little tight.


I drug them all up to this spot where they will be safe from the winter creek rise. I hope.


We drug one of the smaller pieces up to the cabin.


Goofed off the rest of the day.


Trail Work.

The last time I walked the trail, there was a tree that had fallen across it.


I decided that today was a good day to remove it so Patti and I hiked up the hill behind the cabin to where the tree was and proceeded to cut it out of the way.


It didn’t take to long for the two of us to clean things up.


Move Some Firewood.

There were a couple of small piles of firewood around so I got the wheelbarrow and moved them to one spot near the fire pit.

A short walk.

Later on Patti and I took a short walk up the road toward the gate.


We stopped at the second bench.



Trail Work.

We spent some time today doing work on the trail.
Patti and I took a rake and loppers and walked along the trail raking off the leaves and sticks to define the trail.


We worked our way to the small creek crossing.


I cleaned away a log that had fallen across the trail.


We spent the rest of the day enjoying the passage of time.


Doctors Appointment.

Patti had a doctors appointment tomorrow so she left here around 10:30 this morning.

A Couple Little Chores.

After Patti left, I moved some firewood off the hill and stacked it by the driveway.


Next, I started the generator to charge a battery and didn’t want to sit around and listen to it running all day so I decided to go work on the trail.

Trail Work.

I walked out the trail and picked up the rake that I left there yesterday.
Once I had the rake I continued along the trail cleaning it up as I went.


A Big Beehive.

After a short distance, I came across a large beehive that had apparently fallen out of a tree.

I stopped to take a picture but there were still some large hornets flying around so I didn’t stay long.


I continued along the trail taking my time enjoying the day in the woods.

Bob’s Here.

I didn’t get back to the cabin until after 4:00.
Bob’s van was parked in his normal spot and he came over to the cabin when I arrived.
We BS’ed for the rest of the day.


Fixing the Spring.

Bob brought up a bucket of clay so we could finally seal the main water spring properly.

After breakfast we put some tools and the clay in the jeep and drove up to the trail.

Heavy Load.

We put a limb through the bail on the bucket so we could carry the clay up the hill to the spring.


We got as far as the first bench.


We decided that we didn’t need all that clay so we dumped about half of it.


The bucket was a little lighter now.

Made it to the Spring.

It was a struggle and we had to set the load down a few times but we finally made it up to the spring.

The last part of the trail is really narrow so before we could get to the spring with that heavy load I had to do a little work on the trail.

Eventually we got to the spring and Bob worked on sealing the spring.


I continued working on the trail.

Back at the Cabin.

We finished the spring job and went back to the cabin around noon. I was just starting to get my lunch when Patti drove up.
We all visited for a while then Bob left for home.

First Fire.

It got pretty cool in the evening so I got a fire going in the wood stove. This is the first fire of this fall.



Saturday was my birthday so I spent most of the day just puttering with things; Swapping batteries, picking up tools, etc.

One thing I did was to hang up the sheep skull that I found in AZ.


A Walk.

In the afternoon we took a walk up the road to the old mill/ “Slag heap”.



The Worst Day.

Today is the worst day of any trip up here.

It is going home day!Sad smile

After breakfast we will move out and clean the cabin for the next time.