Sunday, August 30, 2009

How about some pictures?

And not of the fire, but our vacation! We just spent a couple of weeks on Vancouver Island (you know, that giant island NW of Seattle) with my labmates, helping a few of them with their research projects. I was just unskilled labor, and it was great not to be in charge! I was busy most mornings, but usually had the afternoon to hang with the boys. My boys were not bored in the mornings, however, because the community school was down the road, with a ball field. Every morning, they headed down there to play ball for an hour or so, and then head back to meet me for lunch.

First, some friends of ours that just moved to Ireland (how exciting!) came over the night before the boys and I left for the long drive. We'll miss you guys!

On the way up, we stopped in Seaside and Astoria, OR. In Seaside, we ran across a re-enactment group spending the weekend as part of the Lewis and Clark expedition sent off to make salt. This is the tent they actually stayed in all weekend. They were a lot of fun.

And then, we found that Astoria was all prepared for our arrival...with a parade, a regatta, and the grand re-opening of the Astoria Column, which you can climb (and climb, and climb, and climb...and climb some more) to throw off a balsa-wood plane and watch it go a long way. It reopened literally one hour before we got there. See, I told you they knew we were coming.

While we were in Canada, the boys went fishing with my advisor Carlos and his son Paolo. They did manage to catch dinner for our BBQ, and it was quite tasty. Good job, boys!

We also spent an afternoon at Brady's Beach, with Paolo and his mom Andrea. This is the boys building a ramp for the tennis ball, before they spent 45 minutes throwing it for a dog to retrieve. We had a great time. More to come later!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Prayer Request

Please consider adding the communities of southern California to your prayers today. We are only a couple of miles from the biggest fire, and many of our friends are much closer. One family, best buddies of A.J. and Levi, is only two houses away from a mandatory evacuation area. Thanks for your help!

Update: a couple of hours ago the fire raced along the ridge above our house, and there is now a mandatory evacuation for the area around A.J.'s new school. We are currently outside the evac area, and I don't think we'll have to leave. I'll continue to update as warranted.

Second update: I think we're out of the woods. Looks like the fire is heading north, further into the forest. Hopefully it's just smoke now.

Third update: It's now almost 8pm PDT, and it now appears as though I am a liar. I can now see flames from our windows on the ridge to our northeast. I don't know what that means for us. Aaron has some pictures, and we'll post them when we can. If we get evacuated, I'll put another update on here and head out. I really hope it doesn't come to that. Many of our friends have been evacuated throughout the day. I guess we'll all just party at the shelters!

Fourth update (4pm Sunday): I have decided that this fire is schizophrenic. For a while yesterday it was moving very quickly, today it's just creeping. I'm not even sure creeping is slow enough. Currently, at least as current as I can find, it has burned 35,000 acres, crossing the entire mountain range and now threatening towns on the other side. Thankfully, there is very little wind, so now that it has burned much of its fuel on this side, it's moving very slowly. And, to get to us, it has to go down some very steep terrain, which fires don't like to do, especially without wind. Therefore, even though we are technically under a mandatory evacuation order (which turns out isn't actually mandatory at all...then why call it mandatory?) we are at the very edge of the evac area. And, it appears, not actually in any danger. We have been watching the flames at the top of the ridge for the last few hours and have not seen them move. At. All. If things change, then we'll leave, but it seems not very likely.

Monday, August 10, 2009

More summer fun...a garden and a new drum set

I decided that I had so much success with my tomatoes in little pots, that I should put them in the ground. That way, they'll be much more likely to survive our vacation. So, I picked an area of the yard that I thought would be suitable, waited for the right moment (a morning when I had time and it wasn't too hot yet) and started to dig.

Oh. My. Goodness. It was so much harder than I thought! It seemed the ground was bedrock, with the shovel barely making a dent! I finally asked Aaron for help, and we hacked at it with an axe. Instead of actual grass, we have a grass-imitator, until you get to the roots. Then, rather than grow in nice, fibrous strands, this stuff has big roots, and they are all intertwined. A HUGE pain. But, we did it. Here are some shots of the garden.



After! It looks so good because I bought seedlings, rather than just seeds. We have a lot of growing season left, but not that much! So far, I'm growing more tomatoes and some zucchini. And, we made lemonade recently with some of the lemons. It was pretty good, and I don't like lemonade!

Now, on to the new drum set. Levi and I did some work a couple of weeks ago restacking the wood pile. It was the worst pile I had ever seen. Just big logs tossed on each other. So, we cut them and restacked them. I did most of the lifting, and Levi did the encouraging. "Good job, Mommy. Keep stacking those logs!"

When we were done, he picked up a couple of sticks, and turned the "logstack" into a drum set. We even got some video, but that has to be processed and then it will be up here, too. He was using one log as a cowbell...1..2..1,2,3,4 and then went on to the others. It was pretty funny. And, he decided he needed fresh air, which is why he's not wearing a shirt. Even though the shirt he had on that day was sleeveless. I don't know how you get much more "fresh" than that.