Friday, October 26, 2007

California is burning- new updates

I am correcting some things and updating this on 10/27/07 I am sorry I didn't write this all (this whole post I mean) sooner, but we have been under a tremendous amount of stress lately.
Here is our state from space. This picture was taken October 24th I believe. In blue, that's where we are. The red are active fires burning at the time of the picture. In yellow I approximated the area where two more have started.

None of the photos in this blog were taken by me. Whenever possible I have included photo credit.

For the last two weeks, I, along with the rest of California, have watched and read with shock and horror the tragic events that have been unfolding in our beautiful state.

Somewhere, here in our very midst are evil people.

People who's only thought is to cause mindless devastation, and inflict tremendous danger on their fellow men.

To me, it is unimaginable that one human being could be capable of causing such destruction to their own land, their own neighbors,
to their brothers and sisters.

Fires threatening homes in San Diego County

Current active fires burning as of today. Since the beginning of October, there have been 35 fires in California.
Of those 35, 23 are under investigation, and are believed, or are known to have been Arson.
Some of those fires were small, and out quickly. Others turned into unbelieveable infernos.

San Diego County I believe

Photo taken by: Redlands. I'm not sure which one this is, it looks like Orange County- but I now believe it to be Malibu.

Satellite image of smoke plume from space.

Photo by: Clodagh of fire in Canyon Country. My dad's former home is just South of this picture.

Photo by: Pooya of Sand Canyon. The above two photos are of either the "Meadow Ridge" or the "Buckweed" fire.

Photo by: Palony of Valencia, of the "Ranch" fire I think. This was the closest one to us.

Photo by Marenghi of the "Ranch" fire in Castaic.

The Buckweed, Meadow Ridge, Magic, Aqua Dulce and Ranch fires are all the closest to us.
800 square miles have burned so far. Some of these are 100% contained, or are expected to be within 24 hours. But there are still 9 actively burning fires.

1 million evacuations

2,000 homes destroyed

11 people dead....... so far

Here, we are okay. The winds have shifted onshore, helping the firefighters. Our canyon is filling with smoke from the San Joaquin Valley, as the wind sucks it all back this way.

The wind has been blowing about 30 mph every day here, over the weekend and Monday it was about 65 mph.
We are scared.
But, we are okay for now.

Thank you to everyone who has emailed us and left comments. Our church is very involved in the efforts to help those evacuees left with nothing. They sent down two semi trucks full of food to San Diego on Monday.
Pray for them.
Pray that those responsible are caught.
Pray for our firefighters, they are stretched so thin right now.
Pray that no more fires are started.

I love you all,

I am happy to say that winds dying down in the fire ravaged areas have helped fire fighters. The winds have NOT died down here in the mountains, in fact they have picked up considerably again. But, all the fires near us with the exception of the "Ranch" fire are 100% contained now, and we have cloud cover. The marine layer is moving in, and will provide welcome cooler temps and moisture in the air to help the firefighters.
My husband reports rain in Bakersfield this morning. Let's hope it moves up here, I am weary from holding my breath.....

Friday, October 19, 2007

Take a walk with me....

All Photographs copyrighted by Rachelle Black 2007
My dear Fatty Lumpkins and his old momma dog Tequila say:

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy a walk!! Let's go!
And down the road we go.

Past the never dying lavender that cheers me up with it's fragrance. Times like this I long for my Cannon OS with manual focus. *sigh*
Past the last of the sunflowers... this ones just unfolding to it's full glory. The last harbinger of summer, it's sunny face brings a smile to mine.

Past the "Bear in the Tree"

B.t., this is for you. The natural formation looks just like a bear head profile, and after meeting you, I can never look at it without thinking of my little beary friend!

Here we are walking past the poison ivy that is climbing up a white oak tree at our seasonal stream. It's colors range from pink, to red and yellow.

Everyone joins us on our walk. The dogs Lumpy and Momma Dog, and the cats, Jack and his sister Diane.
Here's a little slice of heaven found under the Buckeye trees. Their leaves fallen and branches bare, they are stark- yet, beautiful. The first to bud striking green in the spring and light up the canyon, the first to shed their leaves in the fall and drop their shiny chestnuts, bearing huge flower spikes in summer, they are always interesting to see.

Into the sun we stroll, dogs sniffing the trail ahead and cats watching our six. A- a- aaaa-choo!! Oy, the rabbit brush is blooming, again. Hope you took your allergy medicine!

Careful, we're coming up on Shark Rock!! Watch out, he might bite!

Jack says it's time for a break. He has a heart condition, so we pause for a moment. Jack is a cat, who thinks he's a dog. If he could bark, he would! He comes when I whistle, charges at visitors like the dogs, and sleeps with Lumpy. What a piece of work...

Look what we find when we stop for a moment! Some colorful poison oak. Careful, don't touch! Admire it's beauty from afar.
Diane asks,

"Are we going to sit here all day?!" Ever impatient, Diane is the polar opposite of laid back Jack. Demanding and imperial, Diane is the Queen of the ranch.

On the journey home, I am taking it slow to soak in all the beauty of the morning. Ahead, everyone looks back. "Are you coming?" you can hear them say.

Let's pause near the beautiful oak grove.

And home again, home again, jiggity-jig!

I hope you enjoyed taking a walk with us in our little corner of the world.
I would like to thank everyone who has kept our little Narya in their thoughts and prayers. I am cautiously optimistic that she will make a full recovery. She is ever so much better than last weekend, and is getting stronger every day!
Till next time,

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Who's the genius?

That created my spectacular new banner/header you ask?

Why, it is none other than the lovely Gattina, whom you can find at:
She is wonderfully talented, tells hilarious stories about her cats, and is now creating these headers!

She can make any type you want, with any pictures or themes you want.
Take a look at her blog often, she changes hers all the time!

Drop by and see what she can create for you! I endorse her business fully.

I'll be back soon, we've had a setback with Narya and I am busy taking care of her :( Prayers are very welcome, she looks to be turning the good corner right now, but still, you can never have too many prayers and good thoughts! I am exausted, but when Narya is well, so will I be.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Alas, poor sink..... I knew thee well

I would like to introduce you to my new hero;

Yes, the common paper plate. So ordinary, your everyday sort of average guy. Not one to stand out in a crowd. Quiet and unassuming, the paper plate sits out it's life in your pantry, too boring for everyday use, not suitable for soup, and certainly too bourgeois for company.

And yet..... the humble paper plate is my hero.

Shock and awe...... sink, oh sink.... wherefore art thou sink?!?!?!?!?!?

Here marks the spot where my sink used to reside. It was beautiful! White and pristine, with a faucet that spurted water at the simple touch of it's handle.

That is, until...... (dun-dun-duuuunnnnnn) The Clog. The Clog came and lodged itself inside my sink's beautiful pipes and rendered my poor, wonderful sink impotent with just a chunk of solid matter.

Hubby thought The Clog was inside the pipes leading up to the sink. Just a simple matter of unhooking the pipes, and whoosh! Out would come the clog.

But alas, twas not meant to be. The Clog actually had the nerve to fix itself into the tiny connecting tubes in the sink itself. Oh dear.....

So, hubby, ever the fix it man, said- "No problem! I'll just take out the sink, take off the pipes and whoosh! Voila! Presto chango!! Fixed!" Uh-huh...... not. Taking out the sink caused the tiles along the sides to break off, causing the grout to have to be be removed, making fixing time stretch into days, causing.... this.

The great mess of our time. And this is only a small part of it.

While hubby had to replace tile, grout, glue and paint, (5 days now) the dishes amass themselves into great heaps that threaten to take over the entire house if left unchecked. Every plate, and spoon, cup and fork have been used. The trail of dirty dishes meanders along every available speck of counter space, onto the kitchen table, and gives me heart palpitations every time I enter the kitchen and think of the clean up.......

Enter My Hero! *sighs and flutters eyelashes*

Oh my sink, I never knew how much I loved you! I took you for granted, used you every day over and over and never told you how much I appreciated you! I callously scrubbed you, muttering under my breath about how much I hated cleaning you.... I threw things into you, never once considering your feelings! Do you really like potato peels and broccoli?

Never again! I swear by all that is pure and good in this world! I will never again take you for granted! I will spoil you rotten, make you sparkle with vitality all the days of your life! I will feed you only the purest ice to keep your disposal blades sharp, and never, ever will I mutter under my breath how much I hate doing the dishes! Never Again!!


There you lie...... your guts strewn all over the kitchen, your pipes torn asunder, rendered useless by The Clog.

Alas..... poor sink..... I knew thee well.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Alpacas as a metaphor for life

This is Narya. She had a rough start in life.
Born to a first time mother who got udder edema, Narya had to be supplemented when all she wanted was mom.

Many crias would have given up. At first, we weren't sure she was going to make it. But, here she is, at 9 days old.
As you can see, she is doing great- despite the odds. She fought the good fight- to great results.
Cheerful and bright, she races around the pen, then collapses in a heap to bask in the sunlight- heedless of how close a call she had in her first days of life. She is friendly, outgoing, and care free. She doesn't let life get in the way. A living testament to overcoming overwhelming circumstances.

She is an inspiration to anyone who strives to survive hardship, and a reminder to live life every day to it's fullest.

As the color changes on the poison oak, it reminds me of how something potentially so devastating and painful can be beautiful as well.

I am looking for the beauty...........................

Right now I am trying to learn a lesson from both Narya and the poison oak. My husband got laid off on my birthday. Life was criated, and hope was destroyed both on the same day- how is this possible? At first I simply rejoiced in the criation part, and ignored reality. But reality has a terrible way of intruding........

I am trying to learn......... this is the third time since 2001, and I don't know how I will learn whatever lesson there is if I haven't learned it already.

I am looking for the lesson................................

They say behind every hardship- there is a blessing in disguise.

I am looking for the blessing.............................

I am looking.........................................................

for the light at the end of the tunnel.