It is being reported that the fire out near the bison ranch is about 35% contained.  However, thundeheads are lurking, and the winds – even here in the city – have increased significantly.

When I talked to Dot yesterday, she said that the wind was beginning to move the fire away from them.  With help of several good friends, she had spent the day pumping water out of the pond (it sits opposite the house) and wetting the living daylights out of the lawn areas all around the house:  “I’m going to have the greenest lawn in Stillwater County.”  Which is saying something because the last time I was out there, we sat on the patio and lamented the fact that the lawn was fading fast under relentless heat, regardless of how much water they put on it.

They dug, lined, and filled the pond a few years ago in anticipation of just such a summer as this.  Up until this summer, it’s greatest asset was to be a home for a few pairs of ducks, and now for 3 turtles.  On a sunny day, you’ll see them arrayed on what is left of the bale of barley straw (its decomposition promotes growth of beneficial bacteria – a new one gets dropped in every couple of summers), necks and limbs outstretched so as to soak up as warmth much as possible.  I can’t explain why I find them such a pleasing sight; I just do, and I always look to see if they’re out.  As I was leaving one afternoon, one of them was.  I skidded to a stop in the middle of the driveway, grabbed my camera and jumped out.  I zoomed in for a close-up, and quite literally at the same instant that I began to press the button, a bird coasted in and landed on top of the turtle’s shell!  The turtle went plop! into the pond, and I was left with nothing but my mouth hanging open, wondering what on earth the odds of that little sequence of circumstances might be.   I digress.

As their ilk is, Dot and Rick are excellent stewards of their land.  They manage their forest assiduously.  They maintain cleared areas all around the house.  There’s the pond.  And still, Dot said that if the winds change, everything else could change in an instant.  What are the odds?  Hard to say.  We show up every day, we bring ourselves to bear on the tasks at hand.  Still, life on any scale, be it small or large, comes with risks, with factors, with events that are out of our control.  Still, we continue to show up, to do our best.  Better to go on than to dwell on what has or could go wrong.  Because life goes on.  And in the end, it is still so impossibly sweet.

About thesolitarycook

I'm a chef, a cook, a teacher, a reader, a writer, a bike-rider, a dog- and cat-woman
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  1. Karen Rush says:

    Thank you for the update. Your friends and their flora and fauna were the first thought on my mind when I awoke this morning. Any update on the imminent new status awaiting you?

  2. Good news that the bison ranch is safe, I can just picture the bird on the turtles back, how wonderful. Congrats on again on the newly engaged couple and the mother-in-law to be status. When will the wedding be?

    • Thank you! I can’t wipe the silly grin off my face, and was so emotional yesterday that I wept through much of the opening ceremonies of the Olympics last night. Don’t know a date yet. Might later today!

  3. Have not stopped by your blog in awhile, and when I read about the update on the ranch, I was astounded that everything was OK…hope it is all still fine, and lucky they had the foresight to build that pond!

    • Thank you so much, both of you. Yes, it was quite an adventure for about 12 hours, but all is well and the fire is completely out now. There was a small number of houses damaged, and some outbuildings lost, but all in all, it could have been much worse. The area definitely benefitted from its proximity to Billings, from whose airport air tankers were mobilized, as well as water-dropping helicopters. The pond has earned its keep!

  4. ldpw says:

    I’m so so glad they are all ok.

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