Monday, September 28, 2020

garden chronicles, the barn patio

 After the fire took a lot of wind from our sail, we are back to working full throttle on projects on the home front. Close to completion, the barn patio is almost finished. The first thing to be done was installing a retaining wall and bringing in fill dirt.

next up came the pavers

lastly, the fun part, decorating and planting! 

i am trying to keep in manly with trucks, this is my husbands workshop barn, i am just borrowing the back for some extra country fun!

my neighbor has been so generous with her garden, sharing countless of goodies, a couple of years ago she gave me red canna which excelled by the casita, i transplanted a dozen to make a gorgeous red wall of color for next year.

still to come is a hutch in front of the picnic table, the base frame is in place, next my husband needs to pour a concrete 2.5' x 6' counter top, followed with a pallet wood hutch top. 

it is the simple pleasures that count the most, we sat on the patio at sunset the day we finished sipping champagne on his birthday and our anniversary. 

Saturday, September 26, 2020

fig and rose pavlova~

 fig and rose pavlova

i made several small pavlova's so the recipe is dicey, basically i am a simple girl,

 for every 
2 egg whites
 add 1/2 sugar
 and 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar
bake at 300 for 50'. 

for the 3 circles i used 
6 egg whites
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 t of cream of tartar

i needed 6 egg yolks for a fabulous fig flan and decided to whip up a batch of meringue with the left over egg whites hence the odd numbers.

fresh whip cream
powdered sugar

fresh figs
drizzle of honey

Friday, September 25, 2020

Facing fire...

This looks like a simple mountain shot from afar,  but in reality it is totally scorched earth. This is my first time back to our destroyed house, I just wasn't up to the task until now, frankly, I was afraid to leave our house now in case of a new fire in the area, with excessive heat, filthy air and jittery nerves I didn't want to be gone, leaving our pets home alone for even a single day.  After the smoke began to migrate I was ready to face the fire. 

Only one house survived in my neighborhood, above the center yellow tractor you can see it, our house was above it and to the slight right, I could see our house from 15 miles away for over 30 years.

My first look is the base of our property, it used to have a wooden arch covered in boston ivy, just the posts are left standing, it had a sign saying the blooming hill...

Taken by my husband a few days after the fire you can see how smokey the air is as you drop down our driveway.

Three stories just collapsed in the raging inferno.

I was shocked at the steepness, I planted everything 30 years ago to protect us from mudslides.

We were right at the edge of this massive fire, there were zero firefighters for support, it raged down the hill at 1:30 am, neighbors fleeing for their lives with zero warning. I was shocked to see the valley floor not burned, they took their stand closer to town. You can see how mammoth this fire was, 600 square miles, 1291 homes burned, five lives lost. On the map below you see Vacaville, our house was on the far edge of that little inlet finger, the portion of the valley that didn't burn, to the left of the dot for town. 

You can see how infinitesimal our loss is the scope of this fire. There was not enough manpower in the state to stop these massive fires, numerous were active at the same time, this was the largest fire in the states history, until a few weeks later it was surpassed by another...

I was stunned to see new green growth by flora, zero water, 100 degrees plus for weeks and a raging fire, it shows how resilient nature can be.

           Looking down to my orchard.

Valley is green here, but it breached farther down the valley and burned that entire mountain range on the other side.

At the top of our driveway I had tiled in white come in my garden for the entrance of the hillside garden. The arch and lamp post melted away.

Hopefully the lions will be removed to here, the site is very difficult and has to be hand carried down hill 200' to the nearest place the tractor can travel...

Right next to the propane tank, that did not burn, regrowth has started already...

My husband has been going to the house a couple of times a week for insurance, contractors, etc, someone had dropped of screens on the top of the road with a note vaca strong, I was driving when he called to tell me, I had to pull over to wipe my tears... He was able to filter the area he knew where his grandfathers watch would have been, thanks to this sifter he found a little glob of melted gold...

Driving down our private road you can imagine how frightening this would have been. A week after the fire the county came through looking for dangerous materials, they dug through the rubble and pulled propane tanks out making sure they were deemed safe and tagging everyone's home safe or do not enter.

Looking back towards our house you can see all those criss cross paths, that was my orchard, a tree in every diamond.

By the freeway, it still chokes me up...

 thank you to all the first responders, right now napa has a raging fire, may all be safe and out of harms way.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

walk about~

katies best friend...

she loves me...

she loves me not!