A friend just informed me that it’s been a year since I posted anything on my blog. Really? A year? Wow. She was right. So what have we been doing for the last year?
In thinking back I remember that my time was mostly consumed with the Firewise effort here in Portal.
Last June, after a wildfire burned about 5 acres on vacant land behind us and crept onto our property about 20 feet, I pretty much took the reins of the effort to wake people up to the very real threat a wildfire in this canyon and foothills can be! With help from Mayra Moreno from the Az. Dept. of Forestry and Fire Management and a committee made up of concerned neighbors, we held education meetings, showed videos of fire behavior and taught our neighbors how to improve their chances of surviving a wildfire with Firewise practice. Mainly removing downed, dead, dry trees, brush and grasses from their properties and clearing around their homes and buildings fuels like branches, bushes, wood piles and firewood stacks. With the help of Mayra we held a class on assessing properties to advise neighbors of preventive actions they can take. A handful of folks who took the class continued to help Bud and me assess properties and advise our neighbors. We successfully got a large portion of neighborhood participation and on July 26th we were presented with our Firewise recognition. That was a relief, but this is an ongoing effort to keep fire fuels reduced to protect our canyon and properties.
We've spent time jeeping and exploring southeast Arizona and the Boot heel of New Mexico......re-discovering old indian caves, petroglyph sites, old mines, birding, the usual stuff. We play a little music now and then with the Arizona Banjo Blasters in Tucson & Green Valley. We provide music for the Portalaires and Shangri-la-las here in Portal. His and hers singing groups made up of our neighbors. We sing doo-op songs of the 50s and 60s and some uplifting songs for feel good events like the celebrations of life for neighbors we've lost in the past year.
We try to visit with our grandsons at least once a month in Tucson and occasionally Melody will bring the boys to Portal to see us. Wesley is 7 and Greg is 4 1/2. They are growing up so quickly!
I grew my hair for 2 1/2 years to donate to a company that makes wigs for grey haired ladies in need, and this summer was so uncomfortably hot that as soon as it met the length requirement, I had it cut off and I feel so much better! Everyone says I look much younger with my short hair. I just know it's much more comfortable and easy to deal with.
We've had a lot of wildlife visit our yard through the seasons and are happy to have a pair of Montezuma quail coming again. There hasn't been water in the creek for months, so our water feature is a daily stop for lots of critters including a couple of black bears.
In March I got a call from the powers that be here in Portal (the St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee) and was asked if I would serve as honorary mayor this year. Mainly that means I ride in a porsche in the parade, receive the key to the city, and shake hands with visitors. It's quite an honor for a rather new resident, but I humbly accepted the position.
We love this community and happily do whatever we can to support our neighbors and the canyon.