Lots of little bits and pieces to talk about - where do I start? The smoke here is worse than ever. This morning I could barely see across the highway, two short blocks below us. That's Boris, our German Shorthair/pound hound, looking so regal lying there in the dirt. I had to do some laundry this morning, and used the electric dryer instead of hanging things out. I didn't want my clean clothes reeking of smoke. It's so thick it hurts my eyes to even be out in it.
The fires in California were all caused by lightning, but it's got everybody worried because we usually don't get the dry thunderstorm weather coming through here until late July or August. If the fire season is starting this early, it's going to cost a lot more tax dollars to fight the fires and, coming off a dry winter, lots more property could burn. Also, this week is the one-year anniversary of the big South Lake Tahoe fire that burned over 250 houses, so that brings up some bad memories. That fire last year was started by a teens' party campfire left unattended. Four years ago, a disastrous fire here in Carson City started the same way. The fire burned for four days, and over 50 houses were destroyed.
That fire burned towards our house the first day, but they stopped it on the ridge just to the north of us. We had fire trucks on both corners of our lot, and could see the line of fire fighters silhouetted all along the ridge. We were under a "be ready to evacuate" order then, so had the cat in the carrier, the dog inside on his leash, and the sleeping bags, some clothing, a few mementos and computer backup discs ready to go. The chickens we'd have to leave to fend for themselves, and in the past when we had horses we had to walk them down the street out of danger. That time, I was also packing to leave for my Africa trip the next morning, so I had all my things just thrown into garbage bags and I figured I'd finish packing in the evacuation center if necessary. It's scary. Do you have a list of what you'd take if you were in that situation?
But the fires aren't anywhere near us at present - just the smoke. I have to admit - it makes a nice filtered light for photos. So, let's move on to some other items: I love watching how our animals interact. The new chicks are doing fine in the coop with the rest of the flock. We had a little bantam rooster in the pen with the babies as they were growing up, and he's now taken charge of watching out for them. Yesterday evening, when I went out to shut up the coop (predator protection measure), a couple of the little Reds were still outside. I was just puttering around in the garden waiting for them to go in when I heard one of them squawking. I went over to see what was the matter, and that little rooster had come back out and was pulling the feathers on one's back. It was time to go in and he was telling her to quit messing around. As soon as he let go, she hopped through the door, with him right behind her, and I could close them all in for the night.
Mrs. Guinea wasn't in the coop last night, so she must have a nest somewhere now too. Male guineas don't stay with their mate by the nest during the night, so Grey was back in the coop as usual. But this morning, very early, Missus woke me up (guineas are very loud) calling for Grey. Of course, he was shut up inside the coop, so I had to get up and go open it up so he could fly out and join her, and then she was quiet. What's interesting to me is that tonight, when I went to shut up the coop, Grey wasn't inside. He was perched up on the gateframe of the pen, right next to the coop. Missus wasn't there again. He looked a bit uneasy, like I might try to chase him off the gate, but I told him he was fine. He's figured out she's not inside, and he can't get out until one of us opens up the coop, so he wanted to spend the night outside the coop. His reasoning ability amazes me.
I'm off to the San Francisco Bay Area tomorrow. My sister and I are going to see Allison Krause and Robert Plant in concert at the Greek Theater on the University of California at Berkeley campus. We both love live music, so this is quality time together for us. It will be a quick trip, because I have to be back up at the Lake Saturday afternoon for a training session for volunteers working the Shakespeare Festival at Sand Harbor this summer (how to do things for free, again).