Rise and Fall

About a year ago a fire swept through our valley destroying over 3000 homes and businesses. 6,000 people were homeless in an instant. Three thousand acres were burned to the ground.

Where does one start to pick up the pieces and start the process of getting together documents for insurance payments?

How does one get over losing everything?

Today, driving past the areas that were burned, there is little in the way of resettlements and building. Folks are still trying to get their lots cleaned up and cleared of debris. Insurance claims are slow to appear so many folks have been left in a Limbo of burned paperwork and restrictions.

One lady in her 70’s has persevered through it all…my friend, Joyce. She is a seamstress who has been working tailoring clothes since 1969. Her home was flattened within minutes of her returning home from driving people to doctor and hospital visits.

She was allowed to run into her house and grab her medications and one doll…everything else went up in smoke.

After all the emergency vehicles had left, one of her friends told her that they should go to the ashes and dig through to see if anything survived. She was reluctant from the looks of the site but as they walked along to the back of the house, a jewelry box was found.

She opened the box and found one article…

Finding a thimble was her sign that she should continue her sewing business and rebuild. Luckily her tailoring shop was saved and she could continue working through this whole year.

The other single thing that was rescued was her doll. Joyce lost 4 chests of Teya’s clothes that she had made over the years. She said, “Teya escaped with the clothes on her back (t-shirt and leggings) as did I.”

But this month has some brought some good news…Joyce’s new manufactured home is on site where her last home was. Foundations are being poured and renovated and brought up to code before utilites are hooked up and she can move in. Her new front door is painted red as it reflects what a welcoming and generous person she is in the community.

Soon she will be in new sewing room and making new clothes for Teya and herself!

As the summer temps cool, we have been harvesting our two types of Butternut squash. Here is the first batch on Mr. Mole’s workbench in the garage. There will be more to join them once we have our first frost and the plants shut down.

Our Swiss chard plants are still producing:

The potatoes grown in fabric bags have done well:

The remaining green tomatoes will have another month to ripen and be brought into the kitchen to be scorched under the grill and then frozen for the Winter.

This week Mr. Mole got creative and constructed a “catio” as in a cat patio for Nadine. She can stay inside and watch birds safely when her humans are busy doing gardening chores. She is leash trained now and can be hooked up with a 60 foot leash and harness to roam around the back yard as she wants. Here is a stock photo, not in my back yard!

Halloween is fast approaching and I have already order 180 pieces of candy for the goblins. Normally, we pass out over 150 treats to neighborhood kids but last year and this year, we will have a box on the front porch with a sign to take just one in English and Spanish. Since half of our local population has refused to be vaccinated and our town was rated the most infected in the whole US, I won’t be getting close to the trick or treaters. It’s all about getting the most candy after all!

Wishing you all good progress on your holiday sewing projects!!!

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15 Responses to Rise and Fall

  1. Stephanie von Loewenfeldt says:

    I spoke with Joyce last month and she never mentioned the loss of her home. Clearly, she puts others before herself.

  2. Elizabeth Harber says:

    I really enjoyed your post. Thank you. Best of luck to your sweet friend.

  3. upsew says:

    Seeing those fire on TV was so awful…..can’t believe the speed of them….. funny how the thimble survived…..my best wishes to your friend


    I feel very humbled by your post. Here was I, worried about gaining weight. My previously sewn nice dresses too tight for me to wear on my upcoming cruise. How lucky I am to still have them, and to live in England where we don’t have your extremes of weather.

    • mrsmole says:

      We all had to be grateful after seeing the burned houses and businesses. Even now a year later, very little has been restored and black burned trees stand in witness to the terror of that night and air pollution from smoldering embers throughout the valley.

  5. thealicat13 says:

    A gut wrenching,
    soul strengthening article.

    My vehicle is packed with precious pattern blocks and machines at the start of fire season, and doesn’t get unpacked until Nov. When I sew, I haul what I need out of my Highlander and then right back in it goes.

    It’s high anxiety living, always listening for fire alerts.

    God bless your friend, and thank you for this gem of hope.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, alicat, I too have some things ready to go from a year ago. I have bags of my late father’s things like old scrapbooks from his youth and the flag from his funeral right near the back door for a quick exit. Being prepared has a good feeling about it.

  6. JustGail says:

    As bad as the photos are, I’m sure being there is far worse. The smell, the sounds (or lack of) add to the impact. So bizarre how in the midst of such destruction, things survive. I’m glad Joyce found the thimble, and that her home will soon (hopefully!) ready to move into. Your garden did great, mine was pretty dismal this year. At least I didn’t need to worry about finding canning jar lids.

    • mrsmole says:

      I didn’t get any tomatoes to have to broil and freeze either, good thing I still have some frozen from last year along with ziplock bags of pesto too. It was a mighty fine year for squash, thankfully, and my friends and neighbors love to make soup and share their recipes with me after I drop off the squash to their door.

  7. Linda Craig says:

    What fabulous fur parents you are. Love your catio & your ability to leash train Nadine!

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