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gr*** fire my a** fire

March 19, 2013

A cr*** title, and I’ll change it, as soon as I think of a better one.


A picture from Lafayette, but no big deal, right?

Uh, you can still see the smoke from Turlock.

“Air quality inspectors were continuing to investigate the fire and would have information on what was burning later this week.”

“The bigger issue is the lack of communication between Sacramento County and Contra Costa as alerts should have been going out immediately as they came in regarding the fire…”

“Bay Area Quality Management District said that the fire was a prescribed burn and scorched about 15 acres.”

photo by Naomi Griffin


oh no!

March 18, 2013

The Contra Costa Times says it was a grass fire on Sherman Island.  Do you believe it?  If it was, I’d like to know how it started.


March 18, 2013

OK, remember this?

That, at least, was an accident– an accident based on negligence, with a lot of complex and evil undertones, but still, officially, an accident.

This, however, was on purpose.

burning tules on Kimball Island 3-17-13 from Third Street, Antioch Lumber Company
photo by Naomi Griffin

It’s Sunday afternoon. I’m watering the plants, because yes, it’s March, and they already need a little water. Small white specks suddenly start raining down on us; at first I think they’re bugs. A few minutes later they’re joined by long black curls, clearly ash. Then we start to smell smoke. We look to the north, and see a black plume rising.

No sirens. They can’t be burning tules already? The smoke and ash increase, and the cloud grows.

My sister and her husband drive up. They’ve been watching on Second Street; she says half the town is there. The flames are clearly visible, and huge. By this time there’s ash everywhere, and the cloud is three times as large.

Our neighbor comes home. She says you can see the flames from the freeway. She’s disgusted; so are we. She wonders why we can’t burn wood in our fireplaces, but they can cover the entire region with something which is now approaching the dimensions of a pyroclastic flow. And she wonders how they can do this without any warning whatsoever– what about people who have kids with asthma? she asks. I’m thinking, “What about me?” Because I’m totally selfish that way.

Forty-five minutes later, this is what it looks like at our house, four miles away.

guess it wasn't a spare the air day

Yes, I’m still coughing. And I’m fed up with BOYS– boys blowing things up, and burning things, and killing stuff. Because I don’t care what the official reason for this is, that’s what this is about.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills

February 21, 2013


Snow on Mount Diablo, from Chichibu Park
February 19, 2013

rocket man

February 19, 2013

Well, rocket person.

arugula in the front yard

I’m sorry to say the Front Yard Experimental Farm has had unspectacular results, so far. We’re having a hard time finding anything that will really hang on in this stripped and compacted soil, let alone flourish. The one exception seems to be arugula.

Meanwhile, my neighbors down the street have a fabulous plantation of fava beans taking shape on their corner lot. They’ve added a bit more soil to their beds, which so far I haven’t had the ability to do. But he says they have the same problems I do.

They were out there with their kids when I walked by and gushed over their crop. He said they are trying to teach them, because no one does it any more. Their parents taught them, and they want to pass it on.

I don’t have any kids, but I do have one or two wonderful helpers from across the street, without whom the Experimental Farm would probably have remained the graveyard of the World War I Memorial Garden. They are interested and enthusiastic, and though my knowledge is limited, I share what I can, and we learn as we go.

Some rain would help.

A couple of weeks ago, we were laughing at our giant arugula, and I commented that we were lucky there was no homeowners association to weigh in on our landscaping choices. The little girl asked me what I meant, and I explained to her that in some neighborhoods, usually a bit ritzier than ours, there were groups that enforced rules about what you could plant in your yard, and what color you could paint your house.

She was absolutely appalled. A few days later her brother was here with her, and she exclaimed, “Tell him about THAT THING.”

As uncooperative as it’s been so far, we’re thankful for our “bit of earth.” The aesthetics ebb and flow, but its value transcends its appearance.

I have to admit, I’m still longing to grow wheat.

enough with the metal ladies

February 8, 2013

I bring you…



Photo by Naomi Griffin
Contra Loma

not the cannery lady

January 24, 2013


And obviously not Antioch. She’s on Treasure Island.

It’s a final comment on civic art. I love the Cannery Lady, and the Giant Water Drop, but we’ll never get anything like this.

Photo by Naomi Griffin