Noah, Abel, and Carlotta Lose Home
Noah, Abel, and Carlotta lost their homes and all of their belongings in the Ranch Fire on Sunday, July 29th. They were able to evacuate safely, but it will be a long journey to rebuild or just find a stable home again. They can use help with the costs of making ends meet and finding housing for the interim period.
Their 80 acre property is located on the Mendocino/Lake county line. An equipment operator friend, who is working on the fires, was able to go to the property and confirm that it is a total loss. They have not been able to return to view the damage yet, and are currently staying with friends.
The Ranch Fire burned intensely through the valley, taking everything with it. Your support is greatly appreciated. Thank You!
More thank you’s. Thank you to my old friend Nathan Hall, who offered to come out during his only break from his career building houses to help me build a house, as well as his generous contribution. Thanks to Casey O’Neil for reaching out and being a really good dude. Thank you to Tuft and Needle, the bedding company, who is partly owned by my dads partner Mick’s niece. Tuft and Needle sent us two new beds, frames, sheets, and a very fancy bean bag for Abel, completely free of charge. The beds are lovely, and we are resting well. Also thank you to Orion Walker, who probably won’t see this, to opening up his house for us to stay in for the winter.
As far has how we’re doing, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. I have always prided myself on having a steady head and hand during stressful times, but I’ve been a bit of a mess for the last couple of weeks. When I’m not dealing with the aftermath of the fire, I’ve been mostly inclined to curl up in a cave and lick my wounds. I try to remind myself that most folks in crisis are not sleeping in high end beds in hand made straw bale houses, and that it could be so much worse, and is so much worse for so many people around the world. Even when I am unfortunate, I am still incredibly fortunate. That being said, I’m trying to let my myself indulge a bit in being sad. People in California talk about doing self-care a fair bit, which I usually find too self indulgent for me, but I think I’ll try and figure out what self care is, and try and do some this winter. There’s a particular kind of weary that comes with losing everything, and I’m going to have to try and get my energy back to get to the after part of this.
Abel is doing well, for the most part. He’s getting used to be in first grade, and his new living situations. He has expressed concern about whether we are safe or not, in general. He’s worried about whether our new house is strong enough, or whether there will be another fire, and he is worried about whether his mom will be ok. These things kill me, of course, but I’m happy that he feels like he can express himself and I’m doing my best to keep the dialogue going and navigate the hard questions. I think he’ll be fine.
As far as the rebuilding goes, we slowed down to the inevitable crawl. I’ve had foresters, architects, utility people, heavy equipment operators, FEMA people, insurance guys, and lots of other professionals up to help out pieces of the rebuilding puzzle together. I think all of the balls that need to be rolling are, and we will see how long it takes for things to come together. I will try to do as much of the building and contracting as possible to make funds go further. We won’t know what’s possible until we settle with the insurance company, and we are anxiously awaiting their settlement offer. I hired someone to help with the process, because dealing with the insurance company was particularly difficult. I spend a lot of time walking the new landscape trying to envision rebuilding a homestead that can handle the changing California climate. My life mostly revolves around stewarding the top 12 inches of soil, the place where all of the magic happens. It’s essentially all gone on my land, all of the biological resources stripped temporarily. Trying to be a decent steward of our rebuild, as well as the regeneration of the landscape, is still pretty exciting. I spend a lot of time in the places where water is still flowing, where life is still happening, and have taken countless pictures of little green sprouts that have already begun to emerge from the moonscape. I think that’s all I’ve got for now. Thanks again to all, and my apologies to any I may have missed.
With my deepest thanks for your concern and your help,
More good news. It appears as though Carlotta and I have both secured semi permanent housing for the rebuild phase, at either greatly reduced rates or free. Finding housing that we can afford while still being on the hook for our mortgage has been one of the more stressful parts of this ordeal. Abel’s school starts in a couple of weeks, and trying to get ourselves settled somewhere by then is priority number one. Between the donations from all of you and the kindness of those offering housing, it seems like we’ll be able to pull that off. I will probably live a hybrid life for awhile, staying at the rental with Abel part time and staying on the land as much as possible. I imagine Carlotta will want to do the same. My garden shed, which miraculously survived the fire untouched, looks more like a sweet studio apartment every time I go up. I am also monitoring the local travel trailer market.
On the recommendation of folks who have been through this before, Carlotta and I went to the fire resources center they have set up in Lake County. We received some immeadiate aid, and a great deal of kindness from volunteers from all over the county. For that we are thankful. It was readily apparent however, that donations made either directly to folks that need it, like you all have done here, or donating to local organizations that have a permanent foothold in the communities that they serve, is a far superior approach. This may not be new news, but the difference in the room yesterday was stark. I plan to carve out more time for service to others moving forward, and this will be my approach.
Ok, all for now, pardon the typos and run on sentences. My father is coming out tomorrow to take us all out to the coast for a couple days to decompress, and then back to work. Thank you all who have donated since my last update.