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Resources for Air Quality and Fire Information

Air Quality and Fire Resources

Autumn in Sonoma Valley

Air Quality and Fire Resources

Sonoma and Napa Valley are especially beautiful in the fall.  This list includes local and national information links to access up-to-the-moment maps regarding air quality and fire resources.   It is my hope that these sites are helpful and are able to provide clarity with timely data when needed.  Feel free to contact me anytime; I am always here as a resource and trusted advisor.

Air Quality Resources

Fire Resources


Please let me know if this is helpful.  Wishing you many moments enjoying health and the Art of Leisure.

 

Sonoma in the Summer

Beauty  •   Home  •  Community

The Art of Leisure really circles around these three ideas, all the time.  Now, as we continue to experience the ebb and flow of a national health challenge and the seemingly ever present smoke of nearby fires, this is as important as ever.  Once again, I share my wildfire resource blog post which can be found in the Community area of this blog, to help support those looking for some perspective on wildfires.

Here I also share with you a celebration of a few shops, restaurants and homes–land in our beautiful communities of Sonoma and Napa Valley.

Sonoma in the summer is truly relaxing and a retreat for people who live here and visit.  Let’s start with what is open and welcoming around the Sonoma Plaza today:

Coffee or tea at Taub Family Outpost first thing in the morning is a favorite spot. Personally I love the Chai Latte: extra hot please!  This is also a perfect place to pick up some wine for the afternoon or lunch.  Just so you know…when appropriate, the lounge upstairs will be available and I am sure become a very active stop for many in the community.

Taub Family Outpost
Peruse a fabulous selection of wines for take away or shipment.

 

Sonoma in Summer
The dining lounge upstairs which will open when appropriate.

 

Sonoma Bar
This bar area was beautifully designed byBecky Carter Studio and built by the skilled contractors at GMH Builders located here in Sonoma.

 

The exterior is clean and simple, quite conveniently located on the South-West corner of the Plaza.

Nearby SummerVine, which is so appropriately named, as it always feels like summer in this shop.  Owned and operated by two wonderful residents of our valley, this home goods store has an abundance of flowers year-round, and so many beautiful housewares and gift options.

Lovely exterior and ever changing window displays on the northwest corner of the Sonoma Plaza.

 

Basic items and imports from around the world.

 

Table settings are a specialty.

 

These are perfect for a picnic.

 

Summer in Sonoma
Home, personal and gift scents.

 

For an afternoon in the park with good food, sunshine, local ducks and your friends, the Girl and the Fig has a well loved “pop up” stand with fresh + local offerings for enjoyment by all.  As somewhat of a landmark restaurant, they are known for their creative and satisfying dishes:

Sonoma Plaza
Sonoma Plaza park in the center of town seen here with City Hall in the distance.

 

Sonoma Summer
A table in the park for lunch from Girl and The Fig’s outdoors offering.

 

Or visit the restaurant across from the Sonoma Plaza Park for patio seating or a Spot in front of the historic Sonoma Hotel.

 

Their back patio has comfortable benches and tables with an authentic feel.

 

The fig was part of the inspiration for local owner Sondra Bernstein.

Then, if you would like to go home…this nearby land offering is a perfect opportunity for someone to build the custom house of their dreams:

Lola Sonoma Land is located on the coveted east side of Sonoma with close proximity to the shops, restaurants and wineries, yet offering privacy plus expansive views!  This is an especially unique opportunity in our community.

Currently being used to graze sheep and grow vegetables, you can see more at Lola Sonoma Farms, which is right next door.  This is a true treasure of a locally owned and operated organic farm, featured this summer in the Sonoma Magazine as Becoming Farmers.  You can see all the details at their website Lola Sonoma.

View of the land and nearby hills and vineyards.

Bounty from the vegetable garden on this Lola Sonoma Land.  This beautiful table display was arranged by my friends at Kati Kelly Interior Design.

Summer in Sonoma and Napa is filled with an abundance of beauty which once again centers around home, artisanal foods, wine and a warm and welcoming community.  I hope that you will reach out to me and know that my business is always a resource and provider of:

  • Community involvement and engagement
  • Local business updates
  • Clarity and powerful real estate related market data
  • Representation, assisting clients with purchasing or selling of a property in Sonoma and Napa Valley

Please contact me anytime chat or if I can help you or someone who you know.

COVID-19, the Art of Leisure and 300 Victory Gardens

These last few months have brought us to truly appreciate the value of our homes and gardens as we shelter in place.  For the combined good of our communities, we have a new understanding of our health and our friends near and far.

It is in that spirit that I would like to share the project that I recently completed for the Sonoma Ecology Center (SEC).  As my real estate business in Sonoma and the “Art of Leisure,” is constantly circling around the home and garden, this was so personally fulfilling to both imagine and complete with the SEC.  In many circles they say it takes a village.  That was certainly true of this garden project.  It was only with the help of leadership, staff and many dedicated volunteers that we were able to gift 300 “Victory Garden starter kits” to the greater Sonoma Valley community.  The following are a few highlights of how these hundreds of starter “Victory Gardens” were given in celebration of the SEC’s 30th Anniversary and in honor of Earth Day.

Victory Gardens

As we like to start a project with a vision of its end in mind, the picture above was seen in the local Sonoma Index Tribune newspaper the day before the gifting event of April 25, 2020.  It was appropriately titled, “Sow the seeds of ‘Victory’.”  You can see that I have full COVID-19 mask and gloves in place.

Sonoma City Hall

This is historic Sonoma City Hall the morning of April 25th, as we begin setting up tables to distribute the starter gardens.   Our scheduled start time was 10:00 a.m.

Sonoma Gardens

At around 9:00 a.m, the boxes are placed on tables and cars start to line up around the Sonoma Plaza, waiting for the gifting to begin.

Creating Victory Gardens

That then brings us to the beginning:  Our goal was to appropriately celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Sonoma Ecology Center on their birthday of Earth Day 2020.

We started by searching for available plants and seeds.  This was found to be quite difficult due to virus-related closures, so we changed to growing the plants ourselves.   Here we see Bee-Well Farms, the grower with whom we worked to plant vegetables, fruit, and flowers.  We needed 2,100 seedlings for the 300 starter kits.  With shelter in place orders have just been given, the available national seed supply was dwindling by the hour.  We were so fortunate to work with this wonderful grower who had the varieties of organic seeds that we desired and packaging supplies in stock.

Seeds for Victory Gardens

We were then able to locate and purchase 85,000 organic seeds online.  Delivery was slightly delayed due to the incredible demand.  Once received, we needed to count seeds to prepare 600 custom seed packages for the kits.

COVID-19

A few wonderful  volunteers and I measured seeds into the 600 packets. Each envelope contained either 100 carrot seeds, 150 spinach or 175 lettuce seeds.  The picture above was taken on my front lawn with full COVID-19 measures followed, except for a moment as we drew our chairs closer for the photo.

 

Victory Gardens Starter Pack

 

On March 30th, the project is announced by the Sonoma Ecology Center to the press and community through social media, print, and our individual networks.  In the community, grocery store lines were increasing and some food supplies were becoming scarce.  This only made our project the more relevant and needed.  Here you see what was in each Victory Garden box.  Eventually, the boxes went on to include a 4 inch potted tomato plant and a small bag of Biochar.

 

 

Very positive marketing material and messaging was created and distributed by the talented SEC staff.   A few parts of the messaging contained simple watercolors that I painted.

On Earth Day, the plants are delivered to the Sonoma Garden Park.  Here, we water these 2,100 young, sprouting fruits and vegetables and tend to the new shoots.

This is our first sample box, waiting to be copied 300+ times the following morning.

Putting together the boxes; so many fabulous, dedicated volunteers gathered in the old barn at Sonoma Garden Park.

Success…the boxes wait patiently for sunrise on Saturday, April 25th,  when we will collect them from the barn and ever so carefully deliver them to the Sonoma Plaza for distribution.

We are ready, and beginning to offer guidelines to the hundred of cars waiting for a safe, COVID-19 appropriate gifting of the garden boxes.

Soon, traffic control is in full force as we creatively direct traffic.  The quantity of cars was so much greater than we had expected.

A gift box is delivered to the trunk of the car while recipients stay safely inside.  In this picture, you can see two reporters from the local paper and a Wall Street Journal photographer recording the event.

Law enforcement arrives and traffic management is in full bloom.

Due to our advance planning, amazing volunteers, and the Sonoma Ecology Center organization, this was all quite orderly and successful.  Celebrating the “Nonprofit of the Year 2019’s Birthday,” began to unfold and the feeling of gratitude surrounded us.

After a brisk 45 minutes to an hour, we were running out of Victory Gardens.  It became necessary to turn away cars.  The enthusiasm was completely beyond our imagination as a board.

Planting Victory Gardens

This is one plant which found a home in the soil of a local resident.  As an organization, our goal was to gift all 300 on Saturday.  Our mission completed, we were thrilled.

 

The Sonoma Ecology Center is involved in many areas of the Sonoma Valley community.

Victory Gardens in Sonoma Valley

Wishing you a lovely garden, and to stay well during this time of shelter-in-place.

Celebrations in Sonoma and Napa Valleys

Autumn in Sonoma Valley

Whether for a holiday, birthday or special occasion, the idea of taking time to pause and honor something or someone is central to the Art of Leisure. In Sonoma and Napa Valleys, we add to that the traditional celebrations which are inherent to the vineyards and natural world surrounding us. Here are a few favorite spots to help make such moments memorable with an especially lovely evening or a beautifully curated gift. Wishing you many joy-filled celebrations!

As Expressed by International Artist Hunt Slonem:
Serge Sorokko Gallery, Larry Block

Celebrations in Sonoma
Ruby
Celebrations in Napa
Yellow Picul
Sonoma Celebrations
Shangrila

Dining – Sonoma Valley:
Edge (Thursday evening), Sonoma
Single Thread Farms, Healdsburg

Gifts – Sonoma Valley:
Olive + Rose
J James Sonoma, Sonoma
Chateau Sonoma, Sonoma

Dining – Napa Valley:
RH Yountville Restaurant, Yountville
The Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil, St. Helena

Gifts – Napa Valley:
Carter and Co, Saint Helena
Finesse, The Store, Yountville
Acres Home & Garden, St. Helena

BRENDA MCNEILL • Art of Leisure • Lic # 01862410 • 707.339.9133 • www.brendamcneill.com

A New Home for Shelter Dogs and Cats

It is a gorgeous summer in Sonoma and Napa Valley, and as many are on vacation, I wanted to share with you that in my spare time, I paint portraits of dogs and cats who are temporarily living in animal shelters.  When the pet is adopted, a professional print of the oil painting is given to the person who provides these four-footed friends of ours a new home.  Also, gift cards are made of the paintings and the proceeds are donated back to the shelter for food, bedding & care of other rescue animals.  The following are a few of the paintings:

Buttercup, adopted 2019, she had an outgoing personality and was petite & highly active.  She would look directly in your eyes, just asking to be adopted.

Charley, adopted 2018, this dog was a beautiful Grand Pyrenees mix who was found under an abandoned house.

Bella is actually my own puppy, and she is helping shelter animals through the sales of gift cards.

Rigo, adopted 2018, was a small, friendly dog, with an especially expressive face.

This dog sat so proudly.  He had been adopted and I painted him as a fundraiser for Pets Lifeline.

Pinky Pie, adopted 2019, this puppy was sweet and gentle, with a lovely personality, and is the sister to Buttercup.

Oliver, adopted 2018, he was found on the street and rather unsure of his surroundings.

Mariah, adopted 2018, she was a very small kitty with lots of personality and unusual markings, very friendly and loved visitors at the Pets Lifeline kennel.

Happy, adopted 2019, he was this wonderful, slightly older dog, who was quite calm and grateful for warm companionship.

Jack, adopted 2019, this puppy was quite shy.  He had been abandoned, then found under a house with his two siblings.  After some very special care from Pets Lifeline, he gained weight and became more comfortable with people.

Emily, adopted 2017, she was a wonderful calico cat with large, kind eyes, although exceptionally shy.  She had been at the shelter for awhile and would hide under a blanket or go to the far edge of the cat room so that nobody could see or pet her.  Her adoption occurred soon after this painting was finished.

Jewel, adopted 2019, this kitty had a very gentle personality and sat with such a sense of place on her perch at Pets Lifeline in Sonoma.

These cards are now sold in five stores from Sonoma to Palo Alto.  They are:

Wishing you a happy summer!  Do check back soon….

Wildfire Recovery, Words of Wisdom: Step Three

Sonoma Valley Winter

With the embers now extinguished in the historic Northern California and Southern California fires of 2017, I hope that what I share here from my personal experiences with wildfire recovery can streamline or simplify the process for anyone affected by these fires.  As mentioned previously, a few years ago, the Cavedale Fire blew through the hills of Sonoma & Napa County, burned my home to the ground, and affected or burned six of my other structures and approximately 140 acres of my land.  This required efforts for rebuilding, renovation, erosion control and logging to bring back the property and natural environment.  Full recovery from that wildfire did happen.  This came about only after a few challenging years of constant attention to detail by myself, my family and a team of professionals.

Previously, I have written Steps One and Two of what I call the “Three Steps” to fire recovery.  Whether you are rebuilding a home from the foundation up, renovating a partially damaged property or repairing a structure or land, the stepping stones to recovery are very similar.  Based upon my experience, the most important components to recovery are grouped into these three steps.

Wildfire Recovery

STEP THREE

  • Gather your team together and create a plan:  It is important to have a strategy of which all the people and companies involved in your project are aware and can follow with you.  Last month, I mentioned the variety of categories and professionals who made up my team.  This blueprint or plan of your ideas can be as simple as having your current intentions for the home written on a piece of paper of which everyone receives a copy, or, it can be more detailed version created on the computer.  In my case, I did both.  I had a written document which I kept organized in a large binder.  On my computer, I had a detailed translation of that vision in an Excel spreadsheet.  All responsibilities and timelines were as clearly outlined as possible.  Being organized in the midst of the inevitable chaos that a fire brings is quite important.  This plan helps to inform and guide the overall path for almost everything that is done on your property.  Of course, it is key that all involved sign off on the plan and timeline.

The ability to proceed forward each day toward a goal, track your success, and keep individual accountability is the value of sticking with a plan.  The following are a few key points which, when I look back, were instrumental in my ability to ultimately craft a successful fire recovery.

  • Divide and conquer:  In order to most efficiently work the plan, the first thing that I did was to assign general responsibility.  Having a main contact point for each of the different priority areas allows the work to be divided up, and gives a feeling of control. For example, someone was in charge of the insurance contract and communication with the insurance company, and another person was working daily on contents which included recording lost items and researching current values.  At the end of the day, we would check in and celebrate our accomplishments or re-work the plan as needed.

Sonoma Home

Looking out the open doors of one of my houses in Sonoma….

Important Groups

  1. Insurance:  Read and re-read the insurance policy.  Talk with the adjustor regularly; if needed, connect with his supervisor and/or headquarters.  This is such an important component to being able to do what you aspire to do.  In many ways, it is the constant which allows you to move your ideas forward.
  2. Money Management:  The payments come from different areas in the insurance and recovery process.  Managing and keeping track of this with an outside professional or on a spreadsheet brings clarity to a sometimes confusing situation.
  3. Legal Advice:  In my case, I hired a very experienced corporate litigator, the best that I could find.  This was important to my success and my piece of mind.  I paid for the legal advice by the hour.  Today, in Northern California, many tort lawyers are trying to bring together groups of people for a larger, group case.  I was advised that paying by the hour would cost me much less money than if I paid the lawyer/firm a percentage of any claim.  This proved to be true.  The multiple layers of value that a truly capable attorney offers are invaluable.  Things which I did not understand, my lawyer understood completely.  His confidence and complete grasp of the process helped my confidence and ability to keep proceeding along.
  4. Contractors:  It was important for me to meet with my main contractors once a week, preferably over coffee.  We were able to stay in sync with what we were accomplishing and to make changes as needed. When an adjustment happened, everyone was updated and kept on track.  I also often used the telephone to communicate.  The importance of stepping away from the computer and hopping on the phone to speak directly with those who you are working with can not be underestimated.  When important issues were on the table, we scheduled a meeting immediately, usually on the property.
  5. Real Estate Support I would add this area today because many people have decided that it will take quite a bit of time to rebuild, so they are purchasing a new property.  This fresh home is a place to settle and to find happiness and calm while the older property is being renovated or sold.  As you may know, I am a real estate professional, and am very grateful for the opportunity to help individuals and families with what they most need at this time. My advice would be to find someone who has experience, and truly understands the fire recovery process.     

Believe

  • It is a belief of Wabi-Sabi that we are always in the process of expanding or contracting.  This is an important idea, because so much has been contracted by fire that the belief in the process of expanding now is essential.  The idea that what is ahead could possibly be as wonderful as what lies behind us is worth pondering.   All that I have outlined so far helped me to stay in the frame of mind of looking forward.  This can be challenging, as it is necessary to look backward for contents and structural reconfiguration reasons daily.

Wine Country Painting
An oil painting of a home that barely escaped the flames

A Few Ideas 

  1. Sanctuary and Inspiration:  Find a sacred place to which you can retreat and recharge.  Have a general idea of what your optimal recovery looks like.  Write it down; maybe keep a binder with clippings and pictures of the idea or image.  This is different than “The Plan,” which is much more formal.  I would carry around my personal inspiration board, adding and subtracting to create what was beautiful to me.  Not only does this lift your spirits, but it allows for a constant visual reminder of what you truly want and are working every day for.
  2. Add Education: Do a science project on your property.  In my case, I enlisted the help of a world renowned forester from the University of California, Berkeley, who helped me to identify a small area to document the natural recovery of the plants, animals and land.  We visited this spot often, and it was encouraging to see what would take place when I did absolutely nothing.  Additionally, my children learned many important lessons from being involved in this educational project.
  3. Focus: The organization tools and rituals which I have outlined in previous posts helped me to stay focused.
  4. Time:  The unspoken value of time is key.  As you may imagine, things can get a little messy and confusing as you go through the steps in your plan.  In my case, it was important for me to believe that my most important asset was my time.  If something was not working, I let it go, and replaced it as quickly as possible with what would work better.  Everything can be replaced except time.

Sonoma Valley Nature

Morning in Sonoma

Success is defined by each individual.  I found that after the wildfire recovery was all done, what I had created from the ashes, through diligent repairing, renovating and rebuilding, was indeed more lovely than what had made up my property before the fire.  Granted, it is a process, but ultimately, its a process worth pursuing.

After doing all of the above, I went back to running a successful business on my property.   Many people from around the world came to visit and enjoy the rest and rejuvenation that this property in the hills of Sonoma offered.  Ultimately, I did sell the real estate.  It was beautiful, and the land, trees, and animals on it were healthy, so in my mind, it was a success.

Daffodils

Rebirth

Again, I hope that something here can be of help to you.

Wildfire Recovery, Words of Wisdom: Step Two

Autumn in Sonoma Valley

It has been over a month since the wildfires have been extinguished in Sonoma and Napa Counties.  Thus, I wanted to share with you a few more words of wisdom that I learned from my own wildfire recovery process.  The following thoughts make up what I consider to be the second step, or phase, of pulling life back together and moving forward after a fire. My property in Sonoma sustained both full destruction and partial destruction to land and structures many years ago, so hopefully, something here can be of help to you.

STEP TWO:

Recall and Build Your Team

  • Recall, Record and Research:  Begin the process of remembering the contents or state of your home/property before the fire.  Home insurance companies usually have a template for this or you can create a spreadsheet.   I have provided an example below of one that I used.  In my case, I went about the process of visualizing the interior and exterior of my home that had burned down completely.  For the structures that had been damaged, and the land, I looked for drawings and markers which confirmed the original footprint.
  • After you have a general scheme of the areas affected, focus your visualization upon opening the drawers in your mind and recording what you see inside:  This takes a little time.  It is important to include closets, work rooms and jewelry boxes just as they had looked the last time you saw them.  The reason for this is to either replace or be reimbursed for what is lost/damaged.  Next, write down an estimated value of the item when you purchased it and what it would cost to replace now.  In my case, I had a lawsuit against the entity found responsible for the fire, so this information was critical.  It is quite important to start this as soon as possible, while your memory is most fresh.  Pictures and video are helpful, but many times your memory is most accurate.

Example of contents listing from a laundry room
 

Gather professionals who will comprise the Recovery Team:  The Following are a few of the general categories which I used to build a team.  Each group then contained the consultants and contractors who worked with me during the recovery process.

Land

  • erosion control and soil consultant
  • survey company
  • logging company

Trees and Landscaping

  • forester, tree or vine consultant
  • arborist
  • landscaping company, for drawings of original gardens/land plan
  • tree removal service
  • consultant analysis of grape acreage
  • soil analysis

This is a view from my property after the fire clean-up effort and a recent photo of the hills at dusk

Clean-Up

  • debris removal company
  • plumbing repair contractor
  • contaminated soil removal business
  • building contractor
  • well and pump repair business
  • painting contractor, exterior and interior
  • smoke damage cleaning contractor
  • pool contractor, for pool and pool cover
  • leak detection company
  • electrician
  • heating contractor
  • rug/furniture cleaning service
  • mail box provider
  • glass repair company
  • gate repair business
  • gardeners

Structures

  • structural engineer
  • contractor to rebuild
  • architect for replacement and repair
  • septic construction company
  • specialty contractor for unique structures
  • water tank consultant

Professionals

  • lawyer
  • insurance agent
  • real estate appraisers and consultants

Other (this could be press or television)

  • video to document
  • film from television station
  • photos

Lawsuit related

  • district attorney
  • mediation specialist
  • soil and tree analysis representative
  • forester (I had over 100 acres of land burn)
  • land appraiser
  • attorney

Signs of gratitude

Hopefully, your situation is not as complicated as what I sustained, and you do not need to enlist the help of all these professionals.  Looking back though, it is the pulling together of these wonderful people, and companies, which begins the most rewarding part of wildfire recovery.  I had team meetings, group lunches and many mornings of strong coffee with donuts.  With a spirit of acceptance and gratitude the process moves along.  In many ways, this can be considered an adventure; it certainly was for me.  Obviously, each phase has many elements; when moving from one to the next, a true sense of accomplishment and success is apparent.   This is the unexpected beauty of wildfire recovery.

As I have mentioned previously, please let me know here, or send me an email, if I can be of any help to you.

Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season.

Wildfire Recovery: Words of Wisdom

Autumn in Sonoma Valley

The smoke is still thick and many of my friends have lost their homes.  I lost my home in a Sonoma fire many years ago and would like to share what I learned from that experience.  These are simple “words of wisdom”  based upon the recovery process that I went through.  In my situation, the fire wall was approaching my property quickly, so I gave each of my children a black plastic garbage bag, told them to quickly gather their favorite things and that we needed to leave right away.  Then I loaded everything in the car, including two very anxious, large, black labrador dogs and raced down the narrow mountain road in the hills of Sonoma.  The fire was upon us: the heat and sound alone were incredible.

Since that time, I have developed a three step system for fire recovery.  The first step it to stabilize yourself and those around you. Do check back as I will be posting my other two steps over time.  This seems to be where we are today in Sonoma and Napa County.  Although it may sound simple, I hope that something here can be of help.

Step One:

STABILIZE  YOURSELF

  • Find a place to stay: This is obvious, but it can be a little challenging. I stayed with a friend first, then moved to a hotel, then to another friend’s house, then back to my property.  Although my home burned down completely, I had another structure into which I could move.
  • After you contact your insurance company, sign up with FEMA: I was at a meeting last night in Sonoma and they offered many resources to get you started with money and housing.  In my case, I did not have FEMA.
  • Organize what things you do have: In this time of confusion, bring as much clarity and order to the few items that you may have saved from your home.
  • When you have a little money from insurance, buy something special: I bought a couple of cashmere cardigans to be soft and luxurious against my skin during this sad and trying time.  They also were to keep me warm, and to remind me of beauty in the world during the coming days.
  • Set up a daily routine:  In the midst of chaos, it is important to have your own daily routine.  Although it may sound crazy, it is possible.  Mine included a simple breakfast with a pot of tea, working all day, exercise in the late afternoon, making dinner with the family, reading/journaling and sleep.
  • Keep a journal: I found it helpful to download my thoughts from the day onto paper, where I see it visually and make a little more sense of my time.
  • Get the kids settled: This was a big project in my case, but basically help them to connect with school or friends and build a routine for them. Lots of hugs and words or encouragement are essential.  As my kids had watched their home burn from a distance, I reassured them that we would buy new things to replace what was lost and that it would be fun.
  • Give everyone a basket of painting supplies: My art baskets included: wicker baskets with a handle, a high quality watercolor set, a few extra paint brushes, good paper, two glass jars for water, a good pencil and a good eraser.
  • Play soothing music: I played classical music to bring calm.
  • Have dinner and breakfast as a family: In my case, it was tempting to let everyone do what they wanted, as I had so much on my mind, but it was quite important to gather for breakfast and dinner to share the meal and thoughts each day.
  • Book of daily thoughts: I read a quick quote each morning for inspiration.  My fire situation occurred a number of years ago and at that time, I read a book called Grace Notes, by Alexandra Stoddard.  Today, I might also look at Offerings, by Danielle and Olivier Föllmi.

Based on experience, these are a few of the things that I would pull together first.  Please let me know if this is helpful, and check back, as I will be posting more over time.

Evening, while the fire is still blazing in the hills

First responders from San Joaquin County

A beautiful ‘dozer from Bushey’s Custom Farming in Canby, California, also a first responder

Late day meetings after 24 hours of work

 Take care, and remember that I am always here as a resource for you.