July 27, 2012
When I return home I never have any doubt that I live in one of the nicest places in California. Murphys Creek runs two miles from my house, right through town, in fact. My daughter and her two boys came to stay for a couple of days and we drove to the creek to cool off. The kids like to walk upstream and tube back down while we visit on the bank.
The water is low everywhere this year, and it is kind of fun to float under the bridge.
Or do some fishing from the bridge. A tented playground is part of the park, visible in the background.
Or you can lounge around an eat cherries and corn chips, which is what we did. Relax. And, for nostalgia’s sake, we walked about two blocks to the Peppermint Stick, an ice cream parlor and enjoyed ice cream sundaes with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Virginia worked there when she was in high school, and she regaled the kids with stories of working an ice cream parlor and candy counter where kids could order two gum drops, one licorice stick and a sucker and hand over their sticky pennies. Ice cream cones had to be consumed outside.
My daughter, who had just recently done a field trip with students and went rafting down a huge river finally jumped in to get wet and cool off. I’ve enjoyed this creek since we moved here, only more now that I have grand-kids to come and play. It’s a pleasant way to spend a hot afternoon.
While waiting for the garden soup to finish cooking for a light supper, we heard a close flying plane.
The spotter plane is barely visible in the smoke that we hadn’t noticed until we heard the plane.
Soon the whole sky was a mass of smoke and haze and looked to be very close, which it was, approximately a mile away.
The helicopters began dropping buckets of water and the spotter continually circled to direct them.
A second copter joined the first one and a flurry of cars went up and down the road. We saw folks hauling their horses out of the canyon.
Eventually there were four helicopters and two spotters. The boys wondered why no fire engine came out. We explained to them the fire is in such a steep place, fire fighters can barely get to it. There were fire fighters from the highway side of the fire, we learned later. And my daughter took one camera and I another and we took pictures of every room in the house, every out building and the whole yard…just in case.
The copters were dipping into Utica Reservoir on the highway, and hauling back their buckets. The buckets don’t look like they carry enough water to fight a major blaze, but they do.
After a couple hours of the bucket brigade, they brought in a long line bucket as the reservoir water got lower. The helicopters were dumping with their lights on until it got dark and the ground crews had to hold the lines. Fire tamps down at night and they caught this one right away.
The wind had shifted away from us before it got dark and we were able to go to bed with a feeling of safety, but fire is always a danger in the Motherlode. Other communities suffer hurricanes, tornadoes and twisters, or volcanoes, so we all have our dangers and our charms. This turned out to be a 180 acre blaze with no evacuations. We can sigh with relief and go on about our business. For me, it has been a busy month and I’ve missed blogging more than I ever have before. I have been nursing an injured muscle and have three weeks of therapy coming up as well.
And, then this morning, besides hearing the spotters work the sparks, Karen was towed home with an incapacitated vehicle. It needs a new fuel pump. Not dangerous and not charming. Dang.
July 11, 2012
Normally, I blog every day. However, I flew home for a family reunion that I host every year. After a great deal of preparation to entertain, feed and coordinate a three-day event that peaked at 58 people on Saturday July 7th, I can truthfully say I meant to blog . Instead, I enjoyed the whole chaotic experience; the bedlam, cooking, eating, visiting, drinking, snacking, games. The skinned knees, overtired kids, frisbees knocking over your beer, getting squirted by the errant squirt gun. We laughed at the child who fell asleep while eating and the treasures placed on the totem. There were swim suits and towels drying on every railing and chair; errant socks and shirts in every room and on the ground. Whose shoes are these? Tiptoeing around rooms full of sleeping people on the floor, in the closet and on makeshift beds; Listening to the clanging of horseshoes; the late night laughter during card games; watching the breakneck dancing by lantern light; thinking I might get some sleep tonight. Blogging was out of the question. In fact, I couldn’t even concentrate on taking pictures, I handed the camera off and asked others to do it for me. Here are a few photos they took:
Prep time comes first.
Then a bit of kickback time.
That first night, the guys played horseshoes until they couldn’t see them anymore.
The kids danced by lantern light and raced around playing hide-and-go-seek until the first tumble in the dark brought the game to an end. (No serious injuries.)
The next day, some serious work on the totem commenced.
The small fry squared off for the squirt gun wars.
There is never a winner or loser. Everyone just stays wet and cool in the heat.
An impromptu opera in the kitchen.
A card game before heading for the flume.
The flume water was the lowest I’ve seen it in 35 years. So low some of the kids needed help getting in instead of out of the flume.
But, everyone got to ride and get cool even if they did scrape the bottom in places.
First timers need a little coaxing.
Someone was expecting to get “tossed” but the water was too low.
Tandem helps keep your butt off the bottom in low spots.
There is nothing quite like tubing the flume for all ages.
All that fluming takes energy and a few snacks afterward are standard.
After the flume, everyone got seriously into decorating the totem.
The ladder reaches to the very top.
Some people like to decorate and let someone else attach their treasures.
And some like to be up on the ladder as much as possible.
A budding artist turned a piece of wire wrapped in yarn into a rattlesnake.
By the end of the day, there was little room on the totem.
No one took a picture of the cooks nor the over laden table. Everyone brought a dish to share and we shared a sumptuous feast. But, part of the clean-up crew enjoyed a bit of laughter as they washed up a mountain of dishes.
The rest of the day was the same. Kids just all out running, jumping and having a good time. The rest of us wishing we had half their energy, enjoying the food, and watching the action.
And, after the s’mores, a few sparklers lit up the night.
I think I had a bed that night and slept until the coffee crowd came in for their cuppa wake me up in the morning.