We've had our first official wildfire of the season, which started about a half-hour's drive from where we live, moving away from us, so no worries there. But several folks have lost their homes, which is always tragic, and so, to some extent, we worry for them -- for all the homesteads and farms in the line of the burn.
In the drawer of my coffee table, I have a list of things to grab if we are ever evacuated in case of a fire. I have a five-minute list and an hour list, depending on how much notice we have. On the five minute list are our animals, my computer, our memory boxes for the kids and our fire safe, where we keep pink slips for the car and mortgage documents. On the hour list is a few more things -- our antique sideboard, our clothing, and other items I'd be hard-pressed to replace. And so we prepare, we hope, and we do everything we can (including keeping the brush on our own property trimmed down) to dodge the fire bullet. But really, it's anyone's guess where it's going to happen. The entire state is crisp, dry, and ready to burn.
So within this summer season, there is most certainly that bad. But there also good. The vegetable garden is currently yielding its summer bounty and everything is green and growing. The skies are clear (the fire is burning away from us so the smoke is moving away from us too) and the evenings are warm and inviting. All over the vineyard at work there are cottontail rabbits, California Quail, and even some wild boar. There are lots of parties in and among the vineyards for industry types, and it's a time when everyone gets together and makes their best guess whether this year will be a vintage for the ages, or one to forget. (it's too soon to tell, really, but it's looking good right now.)
Like everyone else, here in Wine Country we take the good with the bad and hope for the best in all things. It's going to be a long, dry fire season, but also a lovely season for ripe tomatoes, squash, eggplant and onions, so we'll take it all and say a prayer that the rain comes before anymore folks have to check off their evacuation lists and drive away from their homes and ranches, hoping and praying for the best.