Fire season continues….

We have had horrible air quality and visible ash on plants, a result of the Paradise Fire in Butte County, California. Freezing cold nights. This morning they were predicting a low of 41 degrees F, and now they are saying 33. At least this time they are changing the forecast to reflect the much lower temperatures! It is currently 38 degrees and only 10:30pm. We have had eerie silence due to no wind at times. At others we get winds from the north and/or east – the kind of winds that favor fires. It/I was sad to go from late-summer to late December over the course of two days, and to have the cold continue. The smoke caused a couple of cold days, too. Brr. #ihatewinter

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I guess this counts as 1st frost

The basil had a good run this year

Well, the end has begun. It was supposed to be a low of 44 degrees Fahrenheit last night. It was 38 or 39 around 7am, according to the smart speaker’s weather report (probably based on about 8 miles away on the other side of Santa Rosa). My friend across the freeway said that his thermometer read 31!!!

The zinnias don’t look too bad from the street, but up close they are mostly gone. The purple zinnias still have some flowers that are harvestable. I had a busy day and didn’t make it beyond the greenhouse and burying recent transplants between appointments this morning. Then I didn’t get out again until dusk tonight. I frantically harvested a few tomatoes, marigolds, basil, and peppers in the dark. My friend Debbie said that I could pull the pepper and tomato plants and hang them in the carport to ripen the remaining fruits. Anyone want to come help with that, lol?

Frosted zinnias

1st anniversary of the firestorm

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“Karl the Fog” sneaks over Taylor Mountain on 10/9/18

This week is the anniversary of the night the big fires in Sonoma and Napa County started (and I think some started Lake and maybe even Mendocino, but I could be wrong). Folks in the Bay Area in general have been pretty on-edge these last few days as we had hot, dry days with high winds (worse in the hills, ugh) coming from the North and Northeast – much like last year. Thankfully, those particular winds and the red flag warnings have ended.

Today KQED Radio’s “Forum” show was a live event in Santa Rosa with updates from officials from city, county, and state departments related to the fires, future altering about emergencies, coordination with other fire agencies, fire prevention, housing construction, and fire recovery in general. I am guessing that this is part 1 and this is part 2.

KQED news and the California Report have been doing some good reporting in the last year about how the fires started, the cleanup, and rebuilding. In our house, we are radio and web people- we don’t subscribe to the Press Democrat newspaper or watch TV news, so I don’t have a good sense of other coverage. Oh, this weekend there were updates about the red flag warning and the just-in-case stationing of fire trucks in the East Bay hills to prevent a disaster like the fires that happened in the past. I’ve also recently found a radio show (segment, realy) called the North Bay Report,  that has some coverage, although it’s mostly of other issues.

I’m glad that this anniversary is mostly behind us. Really glad.

 

One year since the fires started

KQED radio is airing some coverage of the anniversary of last year’s fires (today’s the anniversary). Here’s a California Report piece that I just heard: https://www.kqed.org/science/1932387/should-californians-be-rebuilding-homes-in-a-fire-zone and there are some other pieces at https://www.kqed.org/news/

I wish I had the time to write a longer thing about new housing that I see going up around the city and its outskirts (often displacing homeless people who camped in beautiful empty lots), and about how upset survivors are about disaster tourism (Especially when people walk around their properties! ugh), and how there are a lot of different art projects that are exhibiting right around now. I met an 8ish year-old girl last week who was a very angry and bitter fire victim. Can you imagine how hard it is to come home to live in a trailer where her family’s house once stood?

If I had a podcast, one of the people I would interview is one of our local farmers whose whole property burned down, and some who lost only small parts of their properties, and learn how the fire affected their operations, their land, their customer base… Sigh. Back to breakfast. Have to pick strawberries.

Many of us have been on edge this weekend because of the hot, dry north wind that creates the perfect condition for fire to spread…

The rainy season has come

Clearly I need to be keeping a closer eye on the 10-day forecast. We got around .11 inch of rain on Saturday. I found my first Berkeley Pink Tie Dye tomatoes on Sunday!

At least I got compost delivered last week. I was disappointed that it is not “finished,” since I need to use it right away. Fortunately I have a teeny bit left from this spring’s delivery and I also may be able to salvage a yard from the last delivery I got from Waste Management (I thought theirs was a very good compost). It’s almost buried by wood chips from the notorious time this past spring when the delivery truck got stuck between the driveway and the garden and sank into the soil. They put the wood chips where the compost went, and then the compost got dumped where the truck was stuck. I guess that my next delivery will have to go at the end of the driveway and I’ll just have to go a longer distance with the wheelbarrow. Sigh! I’ve been putting wood chips on the bald spots on my paths and today I finally started putting compost on the new greens bed. So far behind, as always.

I sold my first flowers!

I’ve kind of been waiting for sales to fall into my lap, rather than like picking flowers and then hustling to sell them. Kind of pathetic, I know.

A woman in the local flower growers/florists network said she needed marigold flowers (without stems). Here’s a photo of some of the 30 (36?) that she took.

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Dark Orange Marigold flowers

I was concerned that many  looked too far developed, but that’s kind of where they are at late in the season. I’ve really been in denial and it’s becoming increasingly clear that winter is coming. Early.

Workshops… tempting…

I get so frustrated with all the questions I have and the lack of people to ask… I need mentors. In the meantime, I keep hearing about all these workshops that I wouldn’t really have time to go to, like locally at Singing Frogs Farm this fall and The Gardener’s Workshop (online) with the author of the book Cool Flowers. I just don’t know…

The garden looks pretty darn good, but I have no idea what to do with my gorgeous, big purple, pink, and white zinnias. Do I sell them one at a time? In bouquets of 4? And um who do I sell them to? I was thinking of selling thru a local buyers’ club but someone sold like a $20+ bouquet at $5 each (with like 5 focal flowers, smaller flowers, and foliage and other fillers) and I’m like… peace! I’m not about to way underprice my flowers just to bring in a couple of bucks. And yes, I am pretty sure that the other grower, like me, has a partner who has a pretty good-paying job. That doesn’t mean that we don’t deserve to cover the expenses and labor incurred in growing the flowers, though!

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