And thus it came to pass that Autumn, 2008 began just as Autumn, 2007: Cold winds, hot winds, and raging wildfires...
It's almost sad that Wally has become used to empty pizza boxes flying through the air. He doesn't seem to care much anymore when the branches of the trees surrounding his turnout paddock are waving furiously like kites tethered by the merest of strings.
"Ho-hum," Wally seems to say. "Another windy October day in Southern California. Now on to more important matters. When is Cindy serving the carrots?"
Of course, the advent of the windy season means that Ron and I are scrambling along our hillsides, double-checking to make sure our young trees are anchored to stakes and poles. Several times, while trying to push against a trunk while Ron straightened it in the wind, I felt like I was doing some weird mime impression: "Woman Attempting to Remain Upright while Facing Headlong into 80 mph Wind."
Meanwhile, property owners in the areas to the north, south and east of us were attempting to win battles against a crop of wildfires. If you live in Southern California, you know fire season comes every autumn. You sort of prepare for it. The only uncertainty is where the first flames will erupt. For a couple of days the network news was filled with images of people fleeing their homes. But there were also plenty of images of horses being rescued and then, fortunately, cared for at evacuation centers. Each horse wore a wide strip of silver duct tape all the way around its neck. On the tape was written the owner's contact information. That tactic helps eliminate the confusion when one horse's personalized halter is "borrowed" a dozen or more times to aid in rescuing other equines.
If you didn't catch Horse Channel's coverage of the first edition of West Coast Wildfires, 2008, you can click on this link: Welcome to Autumn
For now, the wildfire danger has passed, although we're still dealing with very hot, dry, breezy conditions. Personally, I'd just as soon transition directly into winter. Seriously. Rain and cold snaps I can deal with. I just snuggle into my parka, lace up my waterproof boots and drink a lot of hot apple cider. Wally, I think, would agree with me.