Friday, October 11, 2019

Powerless

I'm sure you've seen the headlines about California's ongoing power outages. They are planned and executed by the very people who we rely upon to bring us our power. It's a new strategy for the utility providers to do these planned shutdowns as a way to avoid the massive fires that begin during high wind situations. Those winds can cause transmission lines to fall or a tree branch in the millions of acres of forests all over our state to fall and hit one of those lines. Our provider here in northern California has had to make very costly payouts for the huge cost of human life and property over the past few years during what has come to be known as "fire season." Instead of upgrading their power line infrastructure, they chose to simply shut down power for their customers.

So, at 1:00 am on Wednesday morning we woke to total darkness in the house. Total. Even the streetlights in front and behind our house were dark. We  had been forewarned some time in the afternoon on Tuesday that there might in fact be a power shutdown. Emails from the company came to our inbox. Texts came on our phone. Then at 7:00 pm it said, "Shut down tonight. It may be as long as five days."

How does one plan for such a long-time event? Well, we had our newly purchased generator ready. We had plans for meals. But really there's no way to keep things powered for five days. That's simply crazy. We couldn't keep the refrigerator running for five days on the generator. Many gas stations need power to pump their gas, so it was unlikely that we could refill our gas cans if we ran out. We saw photos of cars lined up for blocks waiting to fill their tanks the day before the outage.

While the power was out I realized that this was unlike all the other power outage scenarios we had ever been in. We have experienced many days without power because of snowstorms in winter and raging fires in summer. During those times of disasters we could rely on the efforts of the utility company's workers to be out there doing their hard work for us. During this outage it was a disaster of their own making.
So, we waited. It was a beautiful warm sunny day. Our internet service provider had lost power as well, so we had no way to connect and read any of our favorite news or blogging sites. Our cell phone was working, but I never use it to connect to the internet.  We mostly use it for music or for when we're on the road. It was simply a quiet disconnected day. We were powerless. We walked to the co-op to see if there was any bread available. When we got there we were blown away by the number of people in the store. Every check out line had a cashier, and every line was long. The store was dark. There was no bread, no bagels. We left and walked home. We ran the generator a few times during the day and into the evening to keep the refrigerator at a good temp. Then we moved the most perishable items into the cooler with lots of ice for overnight.

At 2:30 am the power came back on. The utility company moved their disastrous disaster avoidance system south to other parts of California that went dark on their command. We walked back to the co-op in the morning sunlight. The photos are of what a good part of the store looked like. They lost so much of their perishable items. Lucky for us, though, they did have some freshly baked local bagels.

Fire season is not over yet.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Kiev and Egrets

My grandparents
I had a post planned, a story I wanted to tell about my maternal grandfather. All the news about Ukraine and Kiev (Kyiv) has sent me down memory lane trying to piece together my grandfather's journey from Kiev to Egypt, a journey he and his brother took in the early 1900s to escape the pogroms. They walked all the way, or maybe they may have gotten some rides with people in horse drawn carriages. They may have walked through the Black Forest.  I called my 92 year old aunt (my mom's sister) who tried but couldn't recall all the details, except that he walked from Kiev to Palestine and then to Egypt where he learned how to be a barber. But the details just weren't enough. There are no photos from the time. The story is short. But whenever I hear the news about Ukraine and Kiev, I think how I have some long ago family history there, how the world is crazy big and crazy small at the same time... and really simply CRAZY always.

So, the weather has been utterly beautiful. We've been walking our 3 miles a day. Enjoying the blue skies and warm temperatures. We headed out to the marsh and saw two egrets walking a long the trail. One took off and flew into a tree.
The other walked down the trail in front of us for a ways, ignoring us and the other egret in the tree.
It let us get pretty close. Close enough that I almost got a photo of the Egret and Roger in the same shot. I was surprised by its calmness.

But then it got tired of us breathing down its long and beautiful neck and flew away.

No photos of that flight, no stories about Kiev.

The end.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

An Unexpected Local Headline

I often check the local newspaper online just to see what's happening around town. When I clicked on the link Wednesday afternoon, the headline surprised me and sent me searching for a post I did back in June. Here's a screenshot of that headline, if you don't click the link. The article is about a B-17 bomber that had crashed.

I photographed that very B-17 vintage bomber when it flew our blue skies in June. Here is the photo.
And, here's a link to the post I did about it back then. I remember it was such a surprise to hear this plane and see it flying over our little town here on the north coast. And now it's really such a sad surprise to see a headline saying it had crashed in Connecticut and that there were fatalities.

What a sad fate.

Monday, September 30, 2019

The End of September

September was a truly beautiful month here. The weather has been warm, and the skies have been full of beauty almost everyday. Cloud formations that sent me running for the camera, sun and moon rises that confirmed our earth's splendor.

One morning before sunrise, out on our first walk of the day, there was a rainbow. It was not raining, but it had rained in the night. One end of the rainbow drifted into the clouds and spread out its beautiful colors.
It really was a beautiful month. But really, who am I trying to kid? The best part of September has been discussion of IMPEACHMENT!

Friday, September 27, 2019

The Deluge and The Webs


Last Wednesday we had a downpour like we've never seen before. There was a flash of lightning, a huge rumble of thunder and then the skies opened up and rained down 2 inches (5cm) in a half hour. It was more rain than either of us had ever seen come down at once in such a short period of time. The streets filled with water, our rain gutters overflowed like a waterfall all around the house. Then it was over as quickly as it began. The streets cleared. The gutters stopped flowing.

The next morning I went out to take a look around. The sun was shining, and there were spiderwebs everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I think the rain may have destroyed all the webs, and the spiders came out in full force to reclaim their space. What a sight it was.



The spiders do like our yard because our flowers attract so many insects. It's like a feast for the little spidery beasts out there. This really did seem like a lot of webs.
Of course my favorite was the web that was iridescent in the sunlight.