A week since the fires started

Well, it’s been a week since the #santarosafires started. A short, but long week. Most of the fires are yellow on the maps, but there’s a new fire that started as 2 separate fires this weekend, I think. It’s a ways away but we have been seeing weird smoke over Taylor Mountain – it’s from a few hills back. Hopefully the fires die back and those thousands of firefighters can go home. I heard today that it’s thought that some 50,000 people 100,000 people were evacuated because of these fires. And so many lost their homes. I wonder if parts of the previously-forested hillsides that were burned will somehow end up with housing on them. Extra housing was already desperately needed. I heard on the radio that some folks are not planning on rebuilding… It might take a while to sell those properties off.

We finally got our hands on a P100 gas mask (respirator) today.  I still have been having pain in my chest and headaches. I’m probably a bit more sensitive because I have a bit of asthma and multiple chemical sensitivity. Z can feel it, too, though. Unfortunately, we only bought one (to see if it would fit me- I had had my doubts, and it’s not great with my glasses, but we have it), and there weren’t any in a kids’ size. We finally bought a room air filter for the house, and the plastic smell of it is horrible! Z tried using it after he’d had the window open, and he found that it cleaned up the burnt smell right away, so that’s good.

I am starting to wonder if we should be eating the produce from the garden. There was so much oily stuff in the water I soaked the basil in today. Sure, basil has oils. And the kale water had oils, too, but I initially put the basil into the same bucket. Ashes definitely come off into the water. There were farmers markets today – we went to the Sebastopol Market. It was sad to say goodbye to one couple and to not see my friend’s farm whose stand my family shops at every week. They were evacuated early on Saturday and probably haven’t been let back in. I’ve heard of farms that were destroyed, including another farm from the Saturday market :(. So sad.

Bucket and seedling tray that have ash on them from the fires
Ashy bucket and tray



#SantaRosafires — Go Away!

Artichoke in bloom

Hi! It’s been a rough week, what with all the smoke and ashes in the air. We are about a mile east of the mountains that 2 fires are on the other side of – one spot is 3 miles to our south and east, and the other is I’m not sure how far, but to the north and east. Z hasn’t seen red at the top of the hills since Sunday night/Monday morning. I saw flames through the trees at midnight on Sunday night and looked on Calfire to find out what fire it was – I figured that it was in Lake County. At least one family from T’s preschool lost their home.

Garden update: I’ve still been picking some stuff out there- kale, strawberries, corn the other day, and some of the tomatoes. Oh, and melons that we haven’t gotten around to trying. Last weekend there was one that was delicious in one half and bitter in the other!

There’s a bit of ash on everything. I’m worried about my soil. The raccoons are digging up what little I planted (greens). I bought garlic seed on Sunday (maybe 8 hours before the 1st fire Santa Rosa fire started. Haven’t planted it yet! The zinnias and celosia are still lovely. Some of my newer marigolds blew over and/or got eaten by gophers. The wind on Sunday night was so strong. (I actually predicted the fires right around the time they started). The wind tossed my little greenhouse and scattered my seedlings all over the place. Some of the supports were broken. We’ll have to examine that situation in a few months – it’s the end of the season, pretty much. I’m so frustrated that I didn’t get my cover crops to germinate. I can plant again, but the way the soil is and the sprinklers are, it’s hard to germinate anything.

It’s not really safe to be out there, and I’ve been extra busy with a preschooler at home, errands to run, and twitter and facebook updates to share (I have a separate twitter account that I use for more personal and political stuff).

The wind isn’t as bad tonight as it was on Sunday night, and at least for the northern fire (Tubbs) it may be blowing in such a way that the fire will stop spreading. Please wish us luck!

Starting to get fall crops in

plants in the greenhouse this evening

Well, I have cabbage seedlings that are getting big, and broccoli seedlings that i’ve potted up (some have been rotting in their new pots 😦 ) and this stuff needs to get into the ground. Z prepped the area with the tractor, and today i put out enough oyster shell and compost to get me started (the right row is pretty much ready to receive seedlings).

new greens beds. cabbage and broccoli scheduled for the right, and kale and broccoli in the left rows

I should have watermelons soon if they can handle the 48-degree nights.

Hm, the bad Inaturalist code at the right is worrisome; no time tonight.

PS, I planted some snow peas last week and they have emerged!

TWO 110+ degree days!

It never gets that hot here, but it was roughly 112 yesterday and 111 today. Some of the plants in the garden are just sort of fading away. An example is the sunflowers in the east side of the garden. We’ll see what happens. #weather

Part of a screen capture from the Weather Underground site that shows that it was 109.4 degrees early this afternoon.
Screen capture from Weather Underground that showed that it was 109.4 degrees early this afternoon.

We’ve been getting lots of green, yellow, and purple beans and basil. We’ve gotten a few squashes so far, and a couple of tomatoes this week. My seedlings have made it so far – even the ones that I transplanted this week! They are flowers that probably won’t get to flower before it gets too cold, but I felt like I should try. I picked 2/3 of a 5-gallon bucket of pears the night before the 1st extra-hot day. I think that’s all I will get for the rest of the season! I can still see a few out there, but I just don’t have the time or energy. I got too hot  in our carport on Friday and am still recovering.

Heat wave!

There might be a monarch butterfly or two in this photo – that’s what I was trying to capture! I’ve been seeing a monarch pretty much every day lately 🙂

Wow, the days have been in the mid-to-high 70’s with fog until 11am or later. Today it may have gotten up to 101 degrees. I fertilized today and in the morning we will hopefully water twice as long as we’ve been doing lately. My 2nd-year Seascapes have 0 flowers. The green, yellow, and purple beans are delicious.

I sold some kale and pears this week (to a local juice company) – the day after I had started new kale seeds! The Red Russian kale has pretty much been destroyed by aphids (and their predators), and the dino kale is starting to go. It’s time for a new bed of greens. I’ve also got a lot of broccoli seedlings to pot up. The juicer said he’d love to take all of my kale every week. I’m not sure if it’s financially worthwhile for me to grow “for” him. I way undercharged since I figured this is sort of a wholesale thing. The way that we were put in touch with each other was througha gleaning organization that I emailed because I don’t have time to pick the pears! Tomorrow is probably the last day on which it’d make sense to pick pears (because of this heat). I wish I could’ve gotten out there to pick pears every day. Also, I’ve been wanting to buy a new dehydrator and still haven’t picked the right one. I wish we had the time and gumption to build one ourselves. (Z’s back has been out again the last few days, and with the need to prep beds, he’ll need to get on the tractor, at least to mow for new beds)

I’d really like to get some cover crops planted, but I feel that we need a new watering system. We use sprinklers that are on these little 2ish foot posts (which are all bent from our hard soil)

The neighbors built an “eff-you” fence. That’s what a friend of mine and I call it, anyhow. I figure that it’s either because they don’t want to see our butt cracks, or they don’t want us to see when their kids are playing on our side of their house, or they don’t want their kids to always be coming to the fence to look for my kid/produce from our garden, or they don’t want my kid to play with their kids. 😦 One could look at it in an unrelated way such as “or maybe someone gifted them some redwood fencing slats and then when they ran out they just continued with that hideous, kinda-seethrough bamboo or whatever that is.” It’s been 2 weeks since the mom texted me back about setting up a playdate (with an “i’ll let you know.” I know they are busy and our schedules haven’t lined up, but still… I feel sad and confused, and rejected. Believe me, we’d move if we could really afford it. It looks like our place is worth about $200,000 less than a more-ideal home with some land that would have certain better features (and there are few of those places on the market).

Today we had a nice visit (at her place) with a neighborhood flower farmer who I met through the community ed flower class I took this spring. 🙂 She had a “certified organic” sign on the property. Awesome!

Still no progress on the selling-cut-flowers thing… no time. I’ve been doing too much facebook/politics and a lot of parenting stuff and health stuff have been taking up garden time.