Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Logic: If the sky looks like this in your yard,

then you may be evacuated.
Among the things I learned, yesterday.

The Carstens Fire had been ripping along, near our house.
Got a Code Red call from the sheriff's office at 1:15 a.m. Monday.
Basically saying, be ready, 'cause we might need you out of there....
Then around 5 p.m. (or so?), got the "Please go now" call.

By the time I started packing the hens into Staples boxes
(modified with large air slots & fluffy bedding),
a GIANT red fire engine bumped up the 1/4 mi gravel driveway.

Bear said they were structural fire guys,
so were here to figure out how they might protect our home.

As I picked up the 2nd hen and plunked her into the box,
one of the guys said, "Friendly chickens!"
 =) Indeed.

Throughout the day, I'd see what I thought were birds flitting by,
silhouetted against the amber sky,
then would realize it was a large, blackened-yet-whole leaf,
drifting into our yard from a fire almost 3 miles away.

One of the freaky pieces of "ash" we got at our house:

An entire oak leaf, big as my hand.
Blistered, blackened, and beautiful.

And shiny, charcoaled bark chunks so big
I could tell they were from Ponderosa pine trees.
Also identified manzanita leaves, and cedar scales.

Unlike any vegetation inventory fieldwork I'd done before.
Blackened biology.

Photo of Carstens Fire, Sunday, from Sierra National Forest land:

It's an interesting state to be in:
thinking, "Wow, our house could burn down,"
while staring at the HUGE column of smoke,
thinking, "That is SO BEAUTIFUL."

Orange and brown, purple and red,
slate blue, grey and black,
all swirling, rising, expanding.

I could watch all day.

Presently we are holed up at a charming friend's home.
She also has chickens & a cat (all sequestered),
so our accommodations are great,
and I expect the hens are loving the view.
And appreciating the greatly improved air quality.

Last night 1 cat basically hissed and growled
underneath our bed ALLL NIGHT;
the other cat is STILL under the covers,
in self-storage,
to detox from the over-stimulation, no doubt.

Poor baby.

But, hey, we're all here,
and 100% singe-free. =)
Life is good.



  1. Glad you're safe and I hope your home is too. You have an admirable appreciation of the many aspects of danger and beauty in such a situation. Your chickens are obviously loved. Take care.

  2. Phew, pleased to hear that you're all ok! Fingers crossed that your home is likewise.

  3. stay safe.... I am joining to Hugh comment

  4. Stay safe and keep show us the beuty

  5. =) Thanks, everyone. We're good, evac was lifted for our neighborhood last night, so came back this a.m. All's well. Our land is littered with blackened leaves that drifted over from the fire, and smaller white ash. Trippy stuff!

  6. Oh that's good news that you're back and all is okay! So crazy and scary, but yeah, totally gorgeous.

  7. SO glad that you were safe, and that your land was untouched too. All those burnt bits of vegetation--like doing botany on Pompeii...!

  8. be safe biobabbler, I am glad all is well with your home. I've been dreading the fire season since March.

  9. Oop, glad you, furry feathery fam, and home are okay. I may have to retract a comment I made over on Imperfect and Tense (he's yet to publish it) re: house swap. The IDing singed leaves is wild, and hopefully something you won't do again any time soon.


Cool people write inside rectangles....