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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Visitor

Early morning visitor just passing through this morning. He walked around the house and then ambled off down the mountain.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Emotional And Psychological Impact

Check out my latest blog for Mother Earth News about how going through a wildfire impacts your mental well being. The blog can be found at: https://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/spring-wildfire-2018-zbcz1808

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Large Moth

Here is a very large moth that decided to perch right outside our under the house entrance. That T1-11 is 8" wide to give some  idea of the size of this winged insect.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Consider Economic Projections:

While visual reminders each day keep the Spring Fire and its destruction in our mind and can be depressing there are other considerations to evaluate. Current and future economic considerations.

This wildfire destroyed about half the property in our community. There are 3,364 parcels and half would be 1,682. Not all those are developed and 134 homes were destroyed. Most people can figure out that it will be decades before their property will show any semblance  of what it was. Likely unless they are very young they will not see it within their lifetime. Thus far their investment is from $3,500.00 to $7,500.00, and they now have a destroyed piece of property that will not be what they hoped for. They face the prospect of future property taxes and association dues on something that is greatly diminished in value.

So what do they do?  Some will pay taxes and dues and hold the property for their grandchildren to enjoy in the future. Others will most likely cut their losses and walk away knowing that they can't recover their investment. Any investment opportunity will definitely be long range. If half those owners walk away the loss of dues and taxes will be impressive, not to consider the costs of either the association or county recovering the land by foreclosure.

This wildfire will impact us all, some directly as it has already done and others indirectly. Mostly people are now deciding whether to rebuild on a devastated piece of property or to cut their losses as best they can. If they rebuild they will be surrounded by this devastation for many years to come. The association and county are obvious losers since they have the same obligations but do not have the same revenue base to pay for the obligations. Roads to maintain, equipment to maintain and fuel, salaries to pay, insurance costs and buildings to maintain.

But what about local businesses and merchants?  They will have less customers as those whose homes were destroyed will be relocated which will translate less profit. By the time the community is restored they will have indirect losses. Operating on a low margin of profit can put some businesses out of business with the loss of customer base. Businesses look ahead to growth not backward at less customer base.

So everyone in the community and area is going to be impacted by this wildfire. We can either stay in a depressed state or pull together to build our community back and make it better in the process. One way is to support local business where ever and when ever possible. Another way is to encourage those who lost their property to rebuild. The climate is the same - it is just the landscape that changed. Some of the deed restrictions no longer apply due to the devastation. Make it more desirable to build back and that will depend on the association and the county. Formulating new strict and restrictive rules is counter productive. Relax the rules and help people - don't hinder people because in the long run it will be the association, county and those whose homes were not destroyed that will indirectly pay the price.

It just seems like simple economics to me.....

When Does The Pain Stop?

 Many falsely believe that when we returned to our home things were better. These photos reveal what we see each day. While we are in our home we are in a small green oasis but when we leave our home we see nothing but destruction, wind blowing ash and the ditches full of ash washing down the side of the mountain. It is more than depressing and is a visual constant reminder what the new normal is going to be. The photo below is what we see each day across from the end of our driveway.
 It is hard to keep a positive attitude when we are reminded visually each day of what happened. Many say the trees will come back and while that is true at the slow rate they grow at high altitude it will be decades before we see new trees. I have trees that I planted 12-15 years ago that are only 5-6' high and they are situated where they get daily water. It will take decades to reforest the miles and miles of burned scorched earth. The grass has already come back but the trees will be a long time and certainly not in the next 20-30 years. Majestic mature trees will take much longer. We have trees that when counting the rings are 125-150 years old and all they are now is charred and laying on the ground. So when will things get better?  Not anytime soon for sure. Grass and weeds have come back but are only carpet for black, charred dead sticks that used to be majestic healthy trees.
The sludge that runs down hill and fills the ditches along the road and then over flows the road continuing on down the mountain comes with each rain storm. When does it stop?  When all the ash that blows in the wind is finally washed down the mountain. Constant reminders of what has happened to the community and will continue for decades. When does the damage stop? Probably not for a long time and our daily visual reminder will keep the wildfire current probably for the rest of our lives. This is the sad reality and anyone assuming everything is now alright because we are back in our home is mistaken. Our daily reminder is something that we can't un-see. The normal we used to know is now gone and will not return in our lifetime. We have no idea how long it will take for us to adjust to our new normal.

Finding A New Home

With the loss of miles of habitat the adaptable pack rat is on a quest to find a new winter home. Unfortunately that brings them to our little green oasis and they dig their way under the back of our home. I set live traps and so far this year we have relocated 5 of them.  They are destructive little rodents and will nest under hoods of vehicles using your wiring harness as nesting material. We keep our hoods propped open to keep them out as they like enclosed areas to make their nest. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Hidden Dangers

 Large trees that have burned off under grown or at the base fall on a regular basis now. Ash pits are something to constantly be aware of as sometimes they look like normal ash covered ground but when you step on them you can go deep and break a leg very easily.
 Wind blown ash fills them in with light fluffy ash and they are in reality a hidden danger. It is hard to walk in the woods looking for a large tree that is burned off at the base and only held in place by a thin margin or splinter of wood. You have to be looking around and down at the same time.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Conundrum

Conundrum: noun, a confusing or difficult question or problem.  That is what our community has now a conundrum. The Spring wildfire destroyed 134 homes in our community - approximately half the homes in the community. The fire has gone and as the photo above reflects this is all that remains of 134 homes, dreams, lives and security. Scorched earth,  what used to be trees now reduced to pointers to the sky all black and charred.

People have gone from shock to discouraged and demoralized. As my friend Joe and myself drive around the community to survey road signs that were destroyed we go by these burned down homes. So far less than a handful of people are making any attempt to clean up the debris on their property. Why you might ask...good question.
Because the State and Federal authorities (bureaucrats all) have regulations and rules that prohibit a clean up any way but their way. The tin roofs have to be "washed on site" before they can be moved to a central location. The ashes from what used to be homes has to be wet down, double bagged in 6 mil. bags or enclosed in 6 mill sheets of plastic in a dumpster on all sides. As anyone knows wet ashes are sticky, heavy and will cling to a shovel. They are just plain a mess to deal with. Now add the goggles in the hot of the day with flies, a hazmat suit, rubber boots and gloves and guess how long you can endure this procedure.
Thus far the bureaucrats have not determined how to dispose of the cement from foundations. Based on the above two procedures it is a sure bet it won't be practical.
FEMA finally showed up and they have given us one day to provide them with the name and telephone number of those who lost their homes. Also to advise if they were insured, under insured or not insured. With people now scattered to the four winds it shows how interested they are in helping.
So this is a conundrum as to how to deal with bureaucratic procedures and plan to rebuild. Is it any wonder why people are discouraged and are more than likely going to take the insurance money and walk away.  Some already have made their intentions known and done so.
So what happens to the debris on their property in 1-3 years. It stays right there and it should be no surprise that they won't pay HOA dues or property taxes. Where does that leave the HOA and those who remain? Where does that leave the county and its significant loss of revenue? Well the bureaucrats don't much care if the county, HOA or anyone else has to continually suffer as they have their regulations and those rules and regulations identify their self importance. If a community fails or the county suffers that is not their fault. So how do you deal with these myopic bureaucrats? You don't because they are unwavering.
Supposedly this is done to protect us from asbestos. Asbestos was outlawed in the early 70's and the oldest home in our community was built in 1986. So where does this asbestos come from? Not a concern for a bureaucrat, the regulations are clear.
So having read this far you can see the conundrum, except in this case there is no solution and people are continuing to be victimized. It will be the slow death of a community. Paradise lost. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

A Tiny Feathered Hero

For more years than I can now remember we have had a family of flycatchers nest somewhere on our home. Last year was under the deck, the year before it was on the electrical meter and this year it was next to the door that goes under the house. Her two chicks had just hatched prior to the wildfire.
When we evacuated she was on the nest with her two little guys and I wished her well.
When we got home two weeks later one of the first things I checked was her nest. Two little heads were popped up looking back at me. Then a few days ago I noticed one of the little ones in my garden giving it his all to fly more than a few feet. Each try he made it a little further and finally he fluttered off to his new found freedom.
That mama flycatcher is to be admired as she withstood extreme heat and smoke to stick with those little guys and raise them to be on their own. The heat on the house was intense and the smoke had to be thick and choking but she stuck with it and got those little guys airborne. With the grass fires around the house she must have been terrified at times but through it all she stuck by those little chicks. Another hero if you ask me......

Mud Slide Photos And More

 This is Beekman Road just outside the Forbes Park gate where the ditch is 4+ feet deep. You look into the ditch and there is an orange cable laying on the bottom that was washed up. Not sure if it is telephone, electric or something else.
 The above photo is Wagon Creek where there used to be native cutthroat trout but now it is just sludge. The sparkling water is gone but mud and sludge replaced it.
 This is the main road at the bottom of the big hill as you come into the park. The end result of a major mud slide.
There is a green strip going up the mountain and our home is at the front of that green strip. A miracle created by divine intervention.....everything is burned on both sides of us.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Hey Nute

Had one of these guys in the front loader bucket when I went out yesterday.  Picked it up and put it in a safe place.

Love That Sun

Last year we had a garter snake up behind our house and to keep it from being hurt we moved it off the trail to safety. This snake has apparently taken up residence under my garden box and this morning was warming up in the sun when I noticed it. We have more than our share of voles and I hope this guy will reduce the vole population for us. We think it is the same snake but it has grown to over double its size from when we last saw it.

Photos - Various

 The photo above and below are a large tree that was leaning toward the house and had the bottom burned off. When I cut one root our friend Joe and Carol were working the come along's and it started to fall away from the house. Cut part way through the other root and it fell safely in open ground. The wildfire burned the bottom away and we got it down just in time as the rain softened the ground and we have received several good gusts of wind.

 The above tree burned off at the base and was marked for removal but it fell across the road first. I used the tractor to push it off to the side so we could get out. We have trees falling every day due to having the bottom burned off or just a small part holding them up. We have to be very careful outside as these trees are very unstable.
This little guy was out back yesterday but no sign of his mother. We hope she was around and just not seen as he doesn't appear old enough to be on his own yet. There was a bear they found after the wildfire passed that was burned so bad they had to do a humane euthanasia. We hope this little guy didn't belong to her. 

Mud Slides

The photo above is one I found on Google photos but driving out to take Echo to the vet yesterday the roads were washed out and gooey black ash and dirt were every where. Some trenches looked to be 5-6' deep and since our utilities are buried below ground and run along side roads its a wonder rushing debris has not ripped them out yet. If I can get out today I'll try to get some photos for our area and not borrow Google photos.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Aftermath Of A Wildfire

The above photo is all that is left of our neighbors well head.

One of the things I have noticed is what going through a wildfire does to ones psyche. I suspect it may be similar to PTSD that many of our military people suffer from. The trauma of suddenly being uprooted from your home; confined to a small motel room, dealing with  confused and nervous dogs and all the things associated is traumatic.

Then not knowing if your home is ashes or still standing and the return and finding it okay except for a few cosmetic burns and having to deal with the aftermath every time you look around you can have a psychological effect on a person. Each day as we look around and see all the total devastation it keeps the trauma of what has happened like a raw wound that keeps getting irritated more and more.

I have found it hard to concentrate, loss of focus  and being irritated at little things that don't count for anything. Being on 'edge' and often confused.  I like to think I'm in control and think clearly but I recognize that I'm only fooling myself when I think I'm okay. I know with time my mental status will return to normal and wonder about those who have gone through this wildfire and don't recognize their mental status has been altered or changed.

I recognized the change when I verbally struck out at Carol for no apparent reason. Then in talking to her found she had the same symptoms. Once recognized and identified we can cope and deal with it but I now wonder how many are having the same problems and have not recognized it yet. It seems to me that it is a subtle side effect of having gone through this trauma.

This was not just a sudden accident and then gone, it is something that continues each time we look around and are reminded life for us will never be the same. Each day refreshes the trauma...

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Fire Devil

 The top two photos are the result of a fire devil perhaps a quarter of a mile from our home. These two photos reveal how strong the wind can be as trees are uprooted and broken off half way up. This had to be a scary situation as it occurred for any firefighter in the area. We have driven this road many times and these were mature large trees and they were pulled from the ground roots and all. These fire devils are very powerful and we were stunned to see what they can do.
 Below is tempered glass from my neighbors Jeep window. It melts at around 1,500 C. to 1,550 C. degrees. This was melted and run down and formed this shape inside the vehicle. A normal or average wildfire burns at about 1,472 F. degrees and this one was according to the team commander the hottest he has seen in his 30 years of fighting wildfires. Even though our property was essentially unscathed we have seen clear evidence of the intense heat radiation and what it can do. It burned so hot that some places across from us the nutrients were burned from the ground. As we evacuated we could feel the intense heat along the edge of the road through the truck door. The fireman in a briefing said that it burned about 4" down in the soil therefore killing the nutrients.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Miracle

As this photo above shows the Spring Fire burned right up to the edge of the road but did not cross over at our home and property. On both ends of our property the fire went right up the mountain but it left us and our home green and alive in an oasis amidst what is other wise total devastation.

Here is the miracle: We had hundreds, perhaps thousands praying for us and our home to survive across our great country and around the world even to the Ukraine. Some may call it lucky, one in a million, coincidence but if you could see our property like we are able to see it you would know it was none of those but divine intervention. Regardless of the readers faith, lack of belief, religion we know in our heart, soul and mind that our property could not have been saved other than the Lord heard all the prayers and answered them.

I don't post this as any theology discussion but as simple facts as we see them. He does not always answer prayers the way we hope, but in this case our prayers and those of many were answered.

Here is another piece of the puzzle.   When we were all crammed into a small motel room in Alamosa our good friend Shanea brought another friend by whose hobby is maps and studying land areas. She knows how to access remote cameras and see live what most people are unaware of. She had accessed a remote camera as it zoomed in on our house as the fire had passed our area.  It was intact and looked normal. She was also able to see what we all thought was a bulldozer line around our property. We saw the view also but when we looked for that view later we could not find it.

Seeing that bulldozer line around our property gave us hope.  When we were finally able to get to come home the first thing I looked for was that bulldozer line. There was no bulldozer line or any indication that any firefighting activity had occurred on our property.

Shane Greer the incident commander stated at one of the briefings I attended that in his 30 years of wildfire fighting he had never encountered one that burned this hot. The heat against our outer wall was so hot it popped table joints and caused the remote for the TV to swell. Sixty or seventy feet away trees had heat damage but did not catch fire. Shane also commented several times the Spring Fire was so intense and fast moving they were trying to catch it and were unable to get ahead of it.

The only evidence of firefighting activity we found was where after the fire the firefighters came in to work on a few hot spots. Call this what you will but we are right here to see it ourselves and there is no power on earth that could make us believe it was anything other than our Lord who protected our home and property. As we stare in unbelief we can find no other explanation. We are in an oasis of green with total devastation surrounding us. In fact there was a fire tornado not more than 3/8's a mile away that uprooted huge trees, broke others in half and even in that super intense heat and the heat not 80' from our home we don't have any damage. Thanks be to the Lord......

Friday, July 20, 2018

Requirements

Here is what is needed just to dispose of ash, metal and concrete that has been reduced to totally burned homes. Last I heard was the 6 mil. bag only held about a yard or less of ash. This makes it hard and expensive to dispose of the remains of your destroyed home. All the homes in the park are 1986 or newer and per the asbestos ban imposed in the early 70's should have zero asbestos. Seems like overkill to me and very costly to remove remains of 134 homes so people can rebuild. Not to mention very time consuming. Same with lead paint...which is no longer being used and has been banned for decades.. These homes are reduced to grey fine ash with no substance. Wash twisted and burned pieces of metal roof before disposal? Just my opinion......


Disposal and Handling of Ash and Debris Spring Fire, July 2018 The ash deposited by a wildfire burning grass/trees is relatively nontoxic and similar to ash that might be found in your fireplace. However, any ash and debris from burned structures may contain more toxic substances due to the many synthetic and other materials that may be present in buildings. For example, car batteries or mercury light bulbs, lead-based paint, plastic items and other potentially toxic materials may have been present in the buildings prior to the fire. People should take precautions when entering buildings that are partially damaged by the fire or when handling any materials from buildings completely destroyed by the fire. They should wear protective clothing and equipment to avoid skin contact with debris and inhalation of ash. One particular concern in handling debris from structures damaged or destroyed by wildfires is the possible exposure to asbestos fibers. Asbestos is a known carcinogen and exposure to asbestos fibers can cause or contribute to the development of various diseases including asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Asbestos fibers have been commonly used in a variety of building materials including texturing, drywall, insulation and floor tiles. Asbestos-containing materials that are in good condition should not pose a hazard. However, materials that are damaged or disturbed can release asbestos fibers creating a potential exposure risk for building occupants and neighbors. To address this, Colorado law has detailed requirements related to the proper identification, handling and disposal of asbestos-containing materials. For structures that are damaged or destroyed by wildfires, following all of these requirements may not be possible or feasible. In recognition of this, the following modified procedures for dealing with buildings damaged or destroyed by the Spring Fire must be followed: I. Addressing asbestos in buildings completely destroyed by the fire where only ash and debris remain, or where sampling building materials for the presence of asbestos cannot be done safely1: Safe Handling of Ash and Debris The ash/debris should be handled in a manner that will minimize potential exposure to asbestos fibers and other hazardous materials in the debris. • Ash/debris must be wetted to minimize dust; packaged inside a container (such as an enddump roll-off) lined with double 6-mil plastic sheeting with the sheeting completely closed over the material once the container is loaded. • Soil under/surrounding the building should be scraped to ensure that all ash and building debris has been removed from the site. • Contractors should consult with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at (303) 843-4500 ext. 136 to determine training and personal protective equipment that will be required for those handling this material. Proper Disposal of Ash and Debris Ash and debris must be disposed of at an approved landfill. The following landfills can accept ash and debris from buildings destroyed or damaged by this fire that cannot be safely characterized for the presence of asbestos.

  According to the latest word from OSHA, any contractors who are involved in the debris removal process will be required to have employees wear protective equipment. It is possible that this may change depending on our success with the State. Your contractors will be able to obtain a copy of the restrictions from the office. (there is also a note they must be trained first by OSHA in debris removal)


1) Metal can be removed from the debris, washed on site, and taken to the designated staging area(s) for removal by recycling companies.
2) Concrete can be removed from structures and piled on site, pending further developments. At this point, the SLV Landfill cannot accept the concrete without testing for asbestos, but we are hoping to have this requirement eliminated or find other options for the concrete.
3) Ash and rubble can be wet down and piled on site. Currently, the SLV Landfill can accept this material only if it is treated as asbestos contaminated, which means that it must be dampened, and double wrapped in 6 ml poly. We will be addressing this requirement with State officials, but unless and until it is changed the Landfill can only accept the material if it is prepared in this manner and labeled. You will also need a “manifest” for having it hauled to the Landfill. We suggest that owners delay disposal of the ash and rubble pending further clarification.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

When A Victim Becomes A Real Victim

Our community has already heard from the EPA, OSHA and the rules have already been explained to us about debris removal. What these hard and fast rules will do is destroy our community. So far they have only decided about the double bag 6 mill disposal and metal disposal. They are still contemplating concrete disposal and will inform us when they have reached a decision. What our neighbors both with destroyed homes and those with still undeveloped land have yet to realize is the cost associated with this debris removal. Even vacant land will be required to comply to these gov't bureaucrats, and removal will be required.

Below is what I posted on Facebook and while it is harsh it has merit in my opinion.

What happens when the wildfire goes out and the smoke clears? When the service agencies leave and so does the media and the third largest wildfire in state history is nothing but a statistic.
There were 134 homes reduced to ash and twisted metal and people are still in shock and those who still have homes have to drive by the devastation of blackened trees, grey ash on the ground and the pungent smell left behind or the clouds of ash and dust that blows on the wind.
People are still in shock and have trouble focusing or concentrating with the constant visual reminder of what is now reality.
But little do they realize that the real trauma has already started. Not adjusters who actually are there to help or those who are trying to restore utilities or the electricians, carpenters or plumbers. The real trauma is when the bureaucrats swoop in with all their requirements and rules/regulations. Those heartless assholes who never leave their desk or office but impose unrealistic conditions on already victimized citizens in the name of the gov't.
How people can't clear the debris from what was left of their life that is now ash or twisted metal unless they comply with "regulations". It is for their own safety they say with asbestos that could be present. Of course the oldest home in the community was built in 1986, and asbestos was outlawed in the early 70's, so the chance of asbestos is nil...
Normal contractors are not qualified per the gov't to handle ash, concrete or metal. Homeowners have to hire a hazardous asbestos specialist to evaluate, supervise debris removal. Ash has to be wet down and put in 6 mil bags and double bagged. The trash bags at Walmart are just a little over 1 mil thick. 6 mil bags then have to be buried at a landfill a certain depth. Both the bags and the cost to bury them is expensive.
The EPA and OSHA have there unwavering requirements that must be complied to without any variance. 20 years ago before I retired and handled claims a single bag cost was over $35.00, and anyone handling them had to be fully protected in a hazmat suit and mask and trained. When the final cost to dispose of these non toxic materials per bag was tallied up it was super expensive. Then multiply hundreds of bags and factor in the specialized cost of disposing of concrete and metal and remaining wood that may have a minute trace of lead you have 135 super fund sites.
When our traumatized neighbors realize the enormous expense to clear the debris will easily exceed the cost of what it will cost to rebuild their home and the majority exceeds what insurance pays the real meaning of being victimized sinks in. What they have gone through losing everything in a catastrophic wildfire was a walk in the park to what the government bureaucrats are going to put them through. They are about to learn what a totally whimpering victim is really like at the hands of the EPA and OSHA.
We have already been told about the requirements explained above. .FEMA is nowhere to be seen nor any of our politicians who can make the rules abated or less restricted. The fact there is no asbestos in our community means nothing to a pompous bureaucrat because they have their rules and regulations and this is their chance to have real power over hapless citizens which make them seem important. Take a bottom feeding bureaucrat who has a little power and they will make people true victims with their regulations whether they apply or not.
Our community is going to go down the dumper not due to a wildfire but due to a heartless bureaucrat and our government idiots.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Home Again



The Spring Fire is almost, if not, fully contained now and as far as the south end of it goes we will be able to return to our homes tomorrow and we who still have homes grieve for those who lost theirs. It is a sad and disheartening thing to return to a heap of ashes and twisted metal. Those who had beautiful mountain lots with abundant trees and growth now only have charred sticks pointing to the sky and grey ash on the ground. I can remember how excited we were planning for our retirement home and those who bought lots to do that have had their dreams shattered. I think emotionally their loss is equally great. It will be even greater if they come view their property.

I personally have a huge sadness as I drive into what used to be lush mountain land and now it is scorched earth. While our home was one of those surviving I don't think I'll overcome the sadness and sorrow that I know others  are experiencing who are not as fortunate are going through.

All because one moron who defied the multitude of warning about no fires decided he could have one anyway. 108,000 acres burned and destroyed and hundreds of dreams and lives damaged... sad....

Heat Melts ATV


We have been attending the Spring Fire briefings each day and yesterday on the wall was this display. I thought at first it was a piece of art but what it really is - is what is left of an ATV. The heat was so intense that it melted the entire ATV and this is what is left. This wildfire generated intense heat. 

Aluminum melts at 1220 degrees  (f) and a wildfire with fuel burns up to 1,472 or hotter.  One of our neighbors brought this in to share and so we could see how hot it was. The heat ignites anything in its path...

Monday, July 9, 2018

Odor Removal

When I was working I used cleaning companies to remove smoke odor from homes that had a fire. Twenty five years ago using an ion machine was state of the art and only a few companies had this equipment as it was costly. I checked it out on Amazon and the price had fallen on these machines substantially. The one shown will do 4000 square feet and it costs $90.00 including 4-5 day shipping.

These little beauties destroy all odor in a house and not mask it or hide it. Also perfect for people who suffer allergies. The drawback is that no one or pets can be in the house for an hour or two when it is in operation.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Photo Taken Yesterday

This photo was taken yesterday. This is the big lake in Forbes Park from approximately Forbes Park Road looking toward the dam at the end of the lake. Hopefully this section will be put out soon. In our 21 years in the park the winds that funnel through this cut in the mountains are ever changing and strong. This is l mile from out house which is off to the right, When we visited our house yesterday I put out a hot spot just up from our driveway. Photos to share later. This photo courtesy of Spring Fire 2018...

Friday, July 6, 2018

Bath Tub



 Ever since we have been temporarily staying in this BW motel room Echo has  been fascinated with the bath tub. He will go into the bath area and just stand and look at the tub. He has yet to figure out what that thing is used for but he keeps studying and pondering that strange thing..

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Miracle

We found out our house AND property were spared. The tax assessor took a photo and nothing damaged. It went down the other side of our road. We are overwhelmed with this good news but grieve with those who are not so fortunate. Sitting in the notice meeting when a home was  announced destroyed I would hear an exhale or little moan. My heart was breaking.....

Today 4:00


Wednesday, July 4, 2018
6:55 p.m.
A notification meeting for Forbes Park Landowners whose property was listed as inaccessible at Monday’s meeting, as well as units G2, the remainder of H1, H2, J, K, L, M, N, P will be held on Thursday July 5th at 4:00 pm Sierra Grande Middle School located next to the Blanca Fort Garland Community Center.
The meeting will be restricted to property owners listed above. Rapid tags will be required to enter the meeting. Rapid tags can be obtained at the Disaster Assistance Center located in the Blanca Fort Garland Community Center Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Picture ID and proof of residence are required to get a rapid tag.
The meeting will include breakout sessions during which the condition assessment will be shared for properties with permanent structures (no RVs or vacant land). Property owners whose property was destroyed or damaged will receive photos of their property. Behavioral health staff will be available. Members of the media are not permitted.  
Homeowners who are unable to attend the meeting on Thursday can view the assessment report which will be available on www.slvemergency.org later Thursday evening.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Update


For anyone wanting to follow this wildfire in S. Colorado, there are some official links. You can go to two sites for County reports: One is on Facebook and one is a web site. Both are slvemergency but the web site has .org.
The other official site also has two sites,  one on Facebook and one a web site. Springfire or Spring Fire with a .gov. When you put the wildfire in your search engine it has multiple sites and some are Spring Creek Wildfire and all other variations.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Update


We have been in a motel with no internet due to a severed fiber optic cable for five days. We finally have internet back and are now waiting for the county officials to update the homes that have been destroyed. They are not up to our area yet due to heat. We hope to hear something in the next couple days. So far there have  been 104 homes burned down and 61 saved. That is about 1/3 of our community of 350 homes and those are in the first part so being in the middle we have yet to be accounted for. So far this fire in 5 days has burned 80,000, acres and is only 5% contained. More to follow as long as the internet holds..

Friday, June 29, 2018

Spring Wildfire

We were finally able to evacuate yesterday and this was what was happening. We drove through flames getting pelted with hot embers along the way. We are now in a motel in Alamosa safe and sound. We saw nothing but devastation on our way out at least what we could see. Piles of rubble where homes used to be and scorched earth everywhere we looked. Our community has been destroyed and even as I write this it continues. I will try to keep updates but it is now in the front of the Park only ash and what used to be trees. Some houses survived but 24 were lost and perhaps more. We are still in shock over what we saw and what is to come. This wildfire is zero contained and getting larger by the minute. Paradise is lost for at least a generation....

Photo courtesy of a friend who took it on their way to Alamosa.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Letters

Carol just purchased me an IPhone which I have resisted until now. When our daughter Sasha visited us recently she introduced me to what is now known as Face time. I had no idea that even existed until we were holding her phone and talking to her daughter face to face. For an old geezer like myself I find this technology fascinating. It replaces letter writing and in fact they don't even teach cursive in schools any longer. While the modern technology is amazing I find myself missing the written letter.

I still have one friend that I exchange letters with regularly. I am glad for the new technology but the art of letter writing is rapidly disappearing which I find sad. When I sit down to write (type) him a letter I structure my sentences so the reader will understand what my intent is. Not in code or some  abbreviated version but thoughtful phraseology. I am able to think my subject through without the instant communications.

After the letter is mailed it will be a few days before he gets it and then I  patiently wait in anticipation for his reply. Technology allows us to be in constant and immediate contact with each other and how that will impact interpersonal communications in the long run I'm not sure but what I am sure of is I miss letter writing. Getting a personal letter in the mail is much different than holding this small computer in my hand with laborious typing and going back and forth.

In a written letter the intent is pretty clear usually. On this blog for instance I get responses from others but many are just anonymous spam or trying to get someone to open their website for a product or service or worse. I delete those but they are many each day. At least a letter won't be pirated in any way for someone else's purpose.

Times change and I know I need to keep up but I'm already missing letter writing. There is nothing like receiving an anticipated personal response from a friend or family member.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Rhubarb

 Above photo is before - below photo after.....

Thursday, June 21, 2018

New Kubota B Series

We received a new Kubota yesterday and traded in our BX model. The BX seemed to have one problem after another. The Co-op person who tried to hook up the front loader on the BX model advised that it was just a frustrating challenge. Hope this one will serve us better.
Now is a good time to invest in a Kubota tractor as they are offering zero finance charge for up to 5 years.  Also, if you buy two implements Kubota gives you $700.00, off the price.

Hummingbirds By The Flock

Three feeders and all three are loaded with hummingbirds. We have one more hanging out front and it is a busy feeder too. We miss Henrietta but many of these are her offspring so that is good. 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

2018 Garden

 Above photo shows the rhubarb plants with raspberry bushes behind and potato bin to the left. There is a peppermint bush behind the lower rhubarb. We have already had two rhubarb pies from the one rhubarb plant and Carol is making the third pie today.
 Above photo is lettuce and bottom photo is spinach. Next trip to town I'll need to get some Miracle Grow fertilizer. Not shown is the Earth Box that is on the deck with carrots.