Saturday, June 14, 2008

Martin Fire Follow Up

We had a pretty surreal cloud of smoke move overhead and block out the sun from 3PM on yesterday (click any of the images above for full resolution). This morning everything was blanketed with fine white ash. The good news however is that after a 520 acre rampage, the fire is now 90% contained, with full containment expected Monday morning. Our thanks to the over 900 fire personnel who battled the flames.
United Way Santa Cruz now has both Summit and Martin fire recovery funds links on their homepage. They promise to ensure that 100% of all donations will go to victims.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

If wishes were horses...

So much for a quiet rest of the fire season... This is a shot from our back deck of the Martin Fire now raging over 300 acres, 0% contained, in Bonny Doon. Fortunately, Cal Fire mobilized rapidly, and the winds have died down from this afternoon's 10-20 mph gusts. Unfortunately, there are many other fires burning statewide right now, so we can't expect a response as massive as last month's.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

30 for 30

Thirty tomato cages here, which I just made for our 30 different varieties of tomatoes. Coincidentally, today is my 30th birthday, a good time as any to give an update. First and foremost, the baby is thriving! She's sitting up on her own now and just figuring out how to crawl. She's also blowing lots of bubbles and finding her voice, which is quite cute during the day, and only slightly less cute when she wakes up at 5 AM every morning =*) Our peak daily solar output post-inverter continues to hover around 6.2 kw. Not bad for a system that's supposed to max out at 5 kw. Our meter spins backwards while the sun's up and is down from when it was installed, though I imagine we'll catch it this winter. We are growing a ton of food this summer. We've got about 600 bed feet each of sweet corn, beans (dried and green), squash (winter and summer), and onions (walawala and red torpedo) in the ground, the aformentioned tomatoes, a boatload of potatoes (bakers, French fingerlings and yellow bananas), some garlic (Music--planted last fall), watermelons, tomatillos, carrots, peppers, collard greens, cabbage, basil, cilantro, oregano, parsley, thyme, sage not to mention the raspberries and the fruit trees, which are loaded with lemons, limes, grapefruit, peaches, plums, apples, pears, pomegranates, persimmons and olives. Our kiwi vines and table grapes are thriving as well. They will likely even produce fruit this fall, but we're primarily focused on getting good trunk vines up and over their trellis this season. Next year we'll focus on getting some good scaffolding going and focus on fruit production. We've certainly had the heat up here already this summer; the Pacific is the warmest I've experienced in the last 10 years. We're currently in the middle of our second mini-heatwave. The first torched Nancy's flowers, which were just germinating, but we've got another round in, and we're staying on top of the water this time. We were very fortunate that the recent fire was a few ridges south of us (map here), but our friend's DeeDee and Dave were less lucky (some incredible photos here). Our hearts go out to everyone who experienced a loss. Hopefully, we'll have a safe, uneventful rest of the fire season. Thanks for checking in on us. Take care and have fun!