Wednesday, September 28, 2011

There and Back

Max & Ernest rest from bird-watching out the window.

We're home after ten days in North Carolina and Virginia.  

I was excited about the trip and afraid to go.  From the preparations, you'd have thought we were leaving for the moon.  

Two days before we left, I opened a safe deposit box at a bank only a block from the fire station.  Hunted down all the important papers of the last five years and personal history from forever, plus sentimental jewelry and photographs. Took second-most-important papers and back-up hard drives for our computers the next day.

We moved burnables away from the house--patio furniture into the living room, propane tank behind a stone wall.  

Denny cut back the foundation plantings so nothing touched the house.  I heavy-watered the beds, thankful for the hot hours spent earlier this summer installing drip and soaker.

The part that made my heart thump was setting up the cat carriers on the dining room table so our next door neighbors could be out the door with our cat family in less than five minutes.

You think I'm afraid of wildfire?

Aerial view of Bastrop fire destruction, by William Luther for the San Antonio Express-News.

The week we left, fires burned in San Antonio and Austin.  The Bastrop fire, burning since Labor Day weekend about an hour's drive from here, is 98% contained today, after burning about 55 square miles including more than 1,600 homes, killing two people and who knows how many farm animals and wildlife. And pretty much all of the country's westernmost loblolly pine forest in (formerly) beautiful Bastrop State Park.

We came home after 10 dampish, rainy days in a land of big-leaf trees like green towers cloaking mountain and roadside. Living glory.
View from our hotel toward Asheville, NC and Blue Ridge Mountains.

The cats are satisfied to have live-in servants again.  The orioles and most hummingbirds have flown on.  While we were gone, deer began eating my potted porch plants.  

We have a home, we're good.

Copyright 2009-2011 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. The Aerial view of Bastrop fire is amazing. So sad to look at the scorched Earth from that angle. Hope you had a good trip. Sounds like you were well prepared.

  2. Saw the blackened results of a number of spot and smaller fires aroiund the NW side of San Antonio last week. That is very smart to do what you did "just in case".

    I hope it especially inspires your neighboring residents and bloggers. It looked amazingly dry from my plane.

  3. Isn't it interesting that any other year your preparations might seem like paranoia, but with our conditions this year, it seems like an incredibly sensible thing to do. Glad everything was quiet while you were gone.

  4. Glad you made it there and back safely, and everything was good while you were away.
    It is very scary around here. I have things packed up, in case we have to evacuate. I think I'd do the same as you, if we went away for a long trip.
    Just going out for the day is nerveracking.
    Stay safe....

  5. I love your new picture of your kitties! I bet they are so happy you are home. The rain hardly did any good here...just made us wish for more. Welcome back!
    I love your blog format.

  6. Welcome home. I'm glad the fires spared you. The picture of fire damage is horrific.

    Asheville is lovely. I enjoyed reading your article about the Biltmore, and would love to visit it again.

    Thanks for all you do for the birds and the bees, and for sharing your great photos with us.

  7. Hi Kathleen,
    I'm glad you had a great vacation and are safely back home. And I'm even happier that you found all well, especially the cats. That's always my topmost concerb when we have been away, to find our whole "zoo" alive and well.
    Best regards from karnes City,

  8. I'm glad that you're home and that you have a home. I am sorry to hear of the fires ravaging so much beautiful land. As you know, southern California has wildfires all the time -- I know how terrifying and even depressing it can be. Here's hope for rain --

    I also look forward to hearing about barbeque!

  9. You will be surprised how fast everything comes back. We visited Yellowstone in 1988 after the horrible fires there and less then ten years later, there were spots where you couldn't find a trace. By 2005, nothing.

    Glad you had fun in the Blue Ridge. Beautiful country.


  10. Glad you, Denny, your familiars and home are safe in this bad fire season for Texas. You made the most sensible of preparations before your trip. So glad that the fires did not make it down your way. x0 N2

  11. That is amazing!! It certainly has been a fire season for all of us, hasn't it? It's always shocking going to the green places and coming back to our own's a bit of adjustment. As I've gotten older, I've accepted the desert landscape as my favorite:) But it is nice to see lots of green once in awhile:)

  12. So glad you returned to an intact home. Fire is awful.


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