June 13, 2017


Life is returning to normal. The evacuation order was lifted yesterday although there was still a lot of firefighting in the Forest. Several hot spots which would flare from time to time and there were a number of helicopters tending them. They would fly to and fro with water buckets that they filled at some of the orchard wells, and watching them dump them and hit target in windy conditions was awesome. I have nothing but admiration for these crews; there were 400 of them at one point.

We slept really well last night. No obvious smoke when we got up and it felt very cool outside which will have helped keeping the fires from running away again. We are looking at 100 plus degrees next week which is a typical June for us.

I checked the garden this morning and it is doing well. The grape leaf skeletonizers are terrorizing the grapes, and I find them hard to get rid of but I will pick them off best I can. I cannot be messing about there too long because the towhees have built a nest in the vines again.

Lettuce is doing awesome, picking some tomatoes and green beans. Fed thinnings of carrots to the horses, which was much appreciated. I will seed some more tomorrow to keep vegetables going throughout the summer, and now it is just water, and more water because it is June. Life is GOOD!

June 10, 2017

Another day

The house is still standing, the horses and chickens are fine, as are we and Emma. The fire is still burning: it moved south and is now on Mt Glenn. There is also a big fire on the other side of the valley, near the Chiricahua Monument, hence the ominous sunrise.

All emergency personnel has left: no sheriff deputies, no firefighters. Is the pressure off? Is it old hat now? Do they consider the fire out? Is it Saturday? We are still under evacuation notice and they have issued a pre-evacuation for the village where we have been spending the night, about 10 miles east of the WD.

There is strong wind in the forecast for Sunday, so we are not out of this yet.

June 9, 2017

Bad day - good day

On Tuesday afternoon a lightning strike hit Dragoon Mountain, to our west, and started a couple of wild fires. Not unexpected, and always on our mind this time of year: it is super dry, hot, and windy. We could see the (still small) fire on the east side of the mountain but went to bed and slept uneasily.

The fire was heaviest on the other side of the mountain and people in the hamlet of Dragoon were given evacuation notices, or pre-evac notices depending on their location, on Wednesday night. On Thursday the fire appeared on the east side on the mountain as well and was quite visible. Planes flying overhead, lots of smoke.

We got word that pre-evacuation notices would be coming soon so we packed a bag and food for Emma. How do you pack not knowing what you will find when you return? What is important? I took some photos, meaningful knickknacks, electronics, papers. This house means so much to me ....

Our friend Mary, currently in Nevada with Em's sisters, made her house available to us so we had a place to go to. We had already decided to close off the round pens and the stalls and leave the horses in the arena where there is nothing but dirt and vegetation is not close.

Our evacuation notice came right after dinner. Mary, being a veterinarian, called to urge us to take our eight hens with us and let them into her second bathroom,  the "animal emergency room" that could be hosed off afterwards. Ever tried to round up chickens into a dog kennel with a wild fire at your back? Wish I had a video of that one.

We prevailed and arrived very gratefully in the village (Pearce) and a safe haven. Dan had forgotten his prescription glasses and decided to return to the house to retrieve them and he made some photos on the way. One of the many fire crews were already in the driveway and gave Dan assurance that the house would be safe, even if the landscape might burn. The horses were safe in their opinion. Such a relief!

With this knowledge we slept fairly well and returned early this morning to find two fires still burning  in the Forest, but the house and the landscape safe. They were able to contain the fire within the National Forest, but there is still work to be done. I am leaving our bag packed.

We will call this just another adventure.