I’m sure you’ve all heard that California’s Wine Country has been ravaged by disastrous, raging wildfires. Unfortunately, Mrs. Colonial is in the middle of it all.
On Sunday, October 8th, my husband and I were returning from a college “family weekend” in Colorado where we visited our son. Travel home was difficult with a five-hour flight delay that resulted in us having to rent a car to get home late at night. Not a real problem, after all, we were safely home after an amazing weekend with our son, and that was all that mattered. However, there was an eerie feeling in the air. Winds were whipping up dramatically. There was a loud symphony of tree limbs swaying and garden debris being tossed around. Feeling a little uncomfortable, we resigned ourselves to the idea it was merely a fall weather event, and we headed to bed to rest our travel-weary bones.
I was excited to wake the next day and write you all. You see, before we left for our college visit, I had started to prepare my next blog post so that I could publish it as soon as I returned - I was bubbling over with good news, and I was thrilled to be able to share it.
THIS WAS THE BEGINNING OF THE POST I HAD WRITTEN (prior to the fires) - NO JOKE
Normally, if a hunky fireman shows up at your door in his quick-pull pants, chunky boots, and oxygen tank, you’d be overwhelmed with relief that help had arrived. Me, not so much. He wasn’t hunky (no offense) and he wasn’t there to put out a fire, only to start one . . . the one from my temper flaring. I didn’t need the oxygen tank due to any smoke, but it could have come in handy when I nearly fainted from the news he delivered! You see, Mrs. Colonial and her gorgeous 37 acres are smack dab in the middle of a high fire zone. I knew that, but what I didn’t know, and apparently my architect who designs in these conditions all day long didn’t know (REALLY?), was that the fire department was going to throw every possible requirement they could, straight at us. And the problem was, they wanted it all done pronto . . . before any permits would be issued.
I can’t even begin to describe the roller coaster ride we’ve been on and the stress involved trying to get this project started. However, what I can describe is the feeling of euphoria I find myself in now. After many starts and stops, excruciating delays, creative maneuvering, and finally the green light to receive an extension, we’re getting our permits tomorrow or the next day. The heavy equipment is ready to roll in. We’re going to begin!
I didn’t publish my post, becauseTHIS IS WHAT WE WOKE UP TO THE MORNING AFTER OUR TRIP
This is a view from the portico at the front of the house as the fire was coming down the ridge and traveling fast.
And this is a view from the rear of the property overlooking the lake.
We were directly in between two of the biggest wildfires in Sonoma County. Choking on the thick smoke, we decided to quickly pack our car and temporarily say goodbye to Sonoma County and to the home and land we love. From afar, we were glued to every news story, every map published, and every horrific, heart wrenching story from friends and associates.
As of this writing,170,000 acres have burned, 38 lives have been lost, and 5,700 homes are destroyed: California’s wine country will never be the same.
HOW IS MRS. COLONIAL?
She lives for another day. The irony? The city building and fire departments were very focused on requiring us to install a tremendous amount of very expensive safety measures, but in the end, it is Mrs. Colonial and her acres that stand, while so many other homes have burnt to the ground. She and her property remain a heavenly estate in the middle of a sea of blackened acres and debris. While other structures fell to the forces of ravaging flames, she never flinched. She remained steady on her ridge, determined to decide her own fate. It’s almost as though the strength within her walls and the pure MAGIC OF WHAT SHE IS willed the fire to stay away.
THE NEXT CHAPTER IN OUR HOME RENOVATION STORY
Unfortunately, it will no longer be possible for us to get our permits this year or even the first part of next year. It appears no building permits will be issued for new build/remodeling projects at this time. The city’s efforts will instead be focused on inspection of fire damaged homes and getting those re-built. And of course they should. Many people have lost everything and they deserve a chance to get their lives back as quickly as possible.
We were just a day or two away from getting our permits before the fire struck. The frustrating part is that we should never have been in this position. If certain members of our team had demonstrated more competence and commitment, I have no doubt we would be well on our way to renovation bliss. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but I have to remain focused on what is truly important: that is my husband and my kids, and my community that needs a great amount of help.
So that, my FAITHFUL FARMERS, is a wrap! I appreciate all of your encouragement and enthusiasm for my farm and this project. I wish I could have shared it with you, but perhaps it just wasn’t meant to be. I will surely remain committed to this beautiful, old Colonial home; however, this blog and my desire to share our story will now take a long nap. Mrs. Colonial’s future may or may not be told in text, this year or next, but you can be sure, your commitment to follow our story this far will remain as a warm spot in my heart. I wish you each a safe and magical home filled to the brim with the same kind of love your interest in our story has shown.
Our hearts ache for those who have lost their lives, and others who have lost their homes. This tragedy is far from over, so we send our prayers that everyone in the path of these unrelenting fires stays safe. For any of you who are interested in learning about the best ways to protect your own home from a wildfire, here are some links to some really important, informative information I received from the Santa Rosa Fire Department. Wildfire Action Plan, Prepare Your Family, Emergency Supply Kit, and Insurance Prepardness.While it was frustrating not being able to begin our project, in part, due to immediate requirements from the fire department, we truly appreciate their efforts to ensure we create a dream property that is not only safe for our family and friends, but also for our community.
A HUGE "THANK YOU" TO ALL OF THE THOUSANDS OF FIRE PERSONNEL AND FIRST RESPONDERS WHO HAVE WORKED THROUGH EXHAUSTION IN OUR COMMUNITY TO KEEP SO MANY PEOPLE SAFE! YOU GUYS ROCK!