Friday, July 5, 2013

The Hot Dry Season

A couple of weeks ago, we took a short overnight trip to the Bay Area to visit my parents. When we came back on Saturday afternoon I'd just sat down with a nice afternoon cuppa, ready to relax and unwind when our neighbor called to say:  "Are you aware there's a fire on Lily Peak?"  That's about three miles or so away from the house.  Nope, we hadn't noticed that.  Good thing he was taking on the phone round robin chores.  After the big Carstens fire from a week or so before that, which wasn't close to us but was pretty scary anyway, I'd identified a group of sentimental mementos that I'd be sad to lose.  I scurried around and got those loaded up in the truck, just in case, plus a couple changes of clothes.  Then we went up into the orchard to watch.  Within not too long, there were helicopters bringing in big underslung buckets of water to dump on the area and we could see the vehicles of the fire crew on the top of the ridge.   (Binoculars came in pretty handy here.)  One plane came by and released a big red plume of fire retardant on the back side of the peak where the fire must have been at its worst.  It was difficult to make out the forms of the firefighters in the smoke, but we could see frequent glints of light off what I guess was helmets or face shields.  Basically, they put most of it out in about an hour's time, with a couple of daylight hours to spare.   We've done the best we can to make the house defensible if it comes to that, what with clearing a big area around the house, placing the big water tank on the top of Ant Hill, choosing the best fire safe roof, etc etc.

Since then, it's been just pretty doggone hot.  I'm getting as much cooking done first thing in the morning on the weekends, or making cold suppers.  I haven't really felt like shouldering my big camera bag with its 30+ pounds of equipment and then sweating my way around the neighborhood. 

That means that you're stuck with this iPhone shot of a super nifty California King Snake that I found sunning itself in the middle of the road while on my way home the other day.  After I took the picture, I waved my arms at it and it decided to head back downhill to somewhere safe for snakes.

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