Woke up to some serious frost this morning, then realized it was also some snow! After the frost melted, actual snow remained:
Then later this morning we got some big fluffy flakes;
Love love love it.
It’s been nearly two weeks since Gracie had minor surgery to clean out an abscessed wound. We put liquid antibiotics in her water. After a few days wearing the hated cone of shame and being trapped indoors, she was starting to lose her will to live. After 5 days we took the hood off and watched her like hawks. She was so happy to be able to clean herself! And she stayed away from licking her wounds. Such a good patient she turned out to be! On day 7 we let her outside, and she was SOOO happy!
She was so occupied with being outside again, she didn’t even think about her stitches. Now the fuzz is growing back on her butt, and the dissolvable stitches are still in place, but we think they’ll fall out any day now.
The stitches are purple! How colorful for a little lady.
Remember that LifeFlight airlift we saw recently? And how the guy who was having the allergic reaction died from a number of bee stings?
Well, there’s more.
First, the guy DID know he was allergic to bee stings.
The guy was NOT carrying an Epi-Pen on him.
He was out brush-clearing, and cut down a tree with a chainsaw. Disturbed (to say the least) a hive of bees inside the tree. Africanized hybrids, no less. Chaos undoubtedly ensued. He somehow made it back to the house.
Now, if it were you, what would YOU do at this point?
If it were ME, I’d throw up my hands and say, “Whew! That was close. Shucks, I guess I’m done brush-clearing for the day! Let’s crack open a cold beer.”
Instead, the guy fires up his Bobcat compact loader and heads back there to… I dunno what he was thinking. Move the tree trunk out of the way? Expecting the horde of angry bees to just follow the tree and ignore him? That they would have just flown away? We’ll never know.
Respect Mother Nature, folks, or She may smish you.
When we bought this property just under 10 years ago, there was an old park bench sitting out there. God knows how long it’d been out before we got it, but it was pretty weathered. We moved it to a new spot. Over the years I’d made a couple of repairs, securing loose slats with leather ties.
But recently it’s been leaning dramatically, more and more as the slats rot.
And then the slats themselves rotted through and started falling down.
Something had to be done. Rather than buy another new bench, we re-purposed the old supports. First it had to be disassembled:
Rich got some 1x2s and began putting it back together:
All finished! I wonder how long this one will last out in the elements?
Next up at Altamira: Gracie had surgery.
She’d been messing with butt near the base of her tail for some weeks. There was a cut, and it seemed to heal, then she’d bite it open, and pus would come out. Then it would seem to heal again, and on and on this cycle went for a few weeks.
Since she’s semi-feral, and we can’t even pick her up, let alone shove her in a carrier, we put off considering a vet visit, hoping she’d fight off the infection herself. Even if by some miracle we could get her there, how would we get medicine down her throat?
Finally we called the vet and laid out the situation and asked their advice. They said to get a live animal trap and bring her in and they could handle it from there. So I emailed around and found a trap I could borrow (Thanks, Jimmy & Marge!).
It looked SO harsh and medieval, though. So the next morning Rich figured it couldn’t hurt to try scruffing her and shoving her in the carrier before she knew what was happening. We’d get one chance. She was still sleepy, and amazingly, it WORKED! So off to the vet we went.
Turned out she did have a cut, and it was abscessed. They got her all cleaned up and ready to come home the same day. Here she is, all looped up and bleary-eyed from anesthesia, wearing the cone of shame. She was walking around like a drunken sailor, weaving around and bumping into walls. Poor dear!
Remember the Mercy Air Lifeflight airlift directly from a neighbor’s horse corral? Well, Rich got the dirt from the CalFire guys: the guy had been doing some brush-clearing, and hit a beehive. Got 16 stings. He died of anaphylactic shock. We’re pretty shocked, ourselves. Unknown if he knew if he was allergic. Allergies can appear or disappear at any time of life. And even if he knew, one bee sting might be survivable, but 16 could just overwhelm the system.
The poor residents of Cosmit Peak in our neighborhood sure see their share of indignities. The Cosmit Indians once lived here; perhaps the peak is an ancient burial ground.
High winds regularly howl through the saddle between Cosmit and High Hill. One house is always having sections of siding torn off every winter by winds.
One night a couple of years ago, for two hours, Border Patrol swarmed all through the brush on Cosmit looking for someone, flashing high-powered lights and radioing each other. A helicopter with searchlights circled overhead.
Recently a lightning strike wiped out the electronics of every resident on Cosmit.
Yesterday, Rich saw a medical call come in from someone on Cosmit Road. A severe allergic reaction. We watched while no less than five emergency vehicles arrived, then a Mercy Air Lifeflight helicopter began circling around. At first we thought they’d land on Engineers Road, but they backed off and continued circling. Eventually the helo put down in the horse corral of the neighbor next door. The nearest helipad is at the fire station three miles away. Maybe they didn’t think the victim was stable enough to move that far.
Here’s the touchdown (sorry it’s fuzzy):
You can see the blue-and-white helo parked in the horse corral. The victim lives in the house at center.
And here’s the takeoff a little while later:
Remember when I posted about the little lady figurine that’s being slowly entombed by a live oak tree? Well, she’s even closer to being engulfed. Here’s the picture from a year ago, and this is how she looks now:
The California live oak leaves are turning color before falling for the winter.
Remember that thunderstorm I wrote about the other day? Someone even nearly got hit by lightning (about three miles away) and captured it on video. Since we live off the grid, we’re able to shut down our solar power system during big electrical events like that one. First you throw a big Frankenstein knife switch like this:
That disconnects the solar array from the system. Then there’s three other switches that separately disconnect the inverter from the batteries, the charge controller from the solar panels, and the charge controller from the batteries.
I mentioned that I saw Cosmit Peak getting hit. Today I heard about how some of the residents on Cosmit fared:
Ed & Mo – Lost their DirecTV cable box, television, and telephone.
Martin – Lost his charge controller and telephone.
Stevensons – Generator’s electronics got fried.
I haven’t heard how Kathleen or the McDonalds fared. The McDonalds would have been the closest to the strike by far.
So… I’m REALLY REALLY glad we shut down as the storm approached.