Wednesday, September 29, 2010

lost and found

My mother has been asking me to go upstairs to see the oil pastel I did for my parents back in the early 80s. On our visit to Maine last week, I finally went up and saw this next to the bath tub. It was wearing dirty glass in one of my telltale cruddy frame jobs, so I gave it a squirt of Windex and took a quick shot with my iPhone.

Not bad.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

bear on the run

The bear cub is still at large. He apparently eluded the guys from the DOW when they tried to catch him the day before yesterday. I imagine seeing them brought back immediate memories of his mother being shot by them, so he did what his best instincts said and ran like a rabbit. The good news is that his mother schooled him in the fine art of fine dining a la garbage, so not only is he still alive but probably eating well. He's been seen a couple of times since, so we know he's still following his garbage route, which probably makes it possible to trap him. Anyway, he's still around. Considering what he's been through, including the fire, I'd say the little guy is very clever and very brave. Part of me wants to root for his escape, but reality tells me that being caught by people is much better than being cougar bait.

So RUN!, little guy. Just not too fast.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

hot crossed buns

No doubt thanks to all your crossed things, there's some good news today.

First, the wind is down, the humidity is up (here in Colorado, that could mean a woo-hoo! whopping 30%), the Reservoir Road Fire up north of the ranch is 25% contained, and there's lots of firefighters on the ground as well as in the air. They all expect to make good progress today. That's critical because there's a red flag warning (lots of hot, dry wind) for tomorrow. Then it will ah-h-h cool down for the rest of the week.

Second, the bear cub was found this morning! Hallelujah!!! Though we didn't see him up in the tree where he was spotted, I think we walked right under him. Someone called the DOW. Hopefully, the cub was darted and successfully taken to the bear rehab, where he can spend the next 2 years safely learning how to take care of himself out in the wild world. Oh, I hope so.

Now, if everything will just chill out (including Hurricane Igor), our 10-day trip on Saturday to see my mother in Maine will actually include some R&R. Keep 'em crossed, everyone!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

never say never

Today another 700+acre fire broke out, this time up north of the ranch. It's moving west/northwest and has burned some homes. The good news is that 8 miles of reservoir is in between the ranch and the fire. Also, because the Fourmile fire here in Boulder was a Type One wildfire, as is this one, all the bombers and hundreds of firefighters from around the country are already here and moved right in on this new fire. The wind isn't blowing as hard, but it remains very dry and the temps tomorrow will go up to 90. Oh jeez.

Fingers crossed...

Friday, September 10, 2010

burning woman

The fire's still burning, the wind's still blowing
and I'm still painting.

Like a crazy woman.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

sleep tight, kiddies!

The slurry bombers are dumping in the 'hood.
Now it's getting personal...

Boulder residents who live west of Broadway and north of Spruce Street are being asked to prepare to evacuate their homes, in case the path of the Fourmile Fire shifts dramatically.

City officials on Thursday afternoon said that forecasted high winds overnight are leading to concerns that the fire could shift toward city limits.

"Based on the (wind) patterns that are being forecast, we do have concerns it could push the fire east to the western parts of the city," said Sarah Huntley, a city spokeswoman. "We don't know if evacuations are going to be necessary."

The forecast calls for wind gusts as high as 50 mph starting after about 6 p.m. today, and lasting into the early morning hours.

Read more:Fourmile Fire officials: Boulder residents west of Broadway, north of Spruce Street should prepare for possible evacuations - Boulder Daily Camera

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Sometimes, help comes when you need it.
Or more likely, when you need help,
you knows it when you sees it.

Our species typically expects it to fall out of the sky.
One way or the other, it often does.

We were already pretty sure that slurry bombers are heros.

Now we think they're miracle workers.

This rain didn't stop the fire, but I'm sure it slowed it down.
It washed the air and gave everyone a break.
It felt so good.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

how many is too many

Stand back. I am on a tear. A bear tear.

I started this post last week. It was supposed to be all about bears. At last count, six of them had been "euthanized" (go ahead; say SHOT) in this county this season. Why, you may ask. Well, if you ask the DOW (Department Of Wildlife), the damn critters got what they deserved. After all, they were caught raiding kitchens, cars and garbage cans. If you ask me, the problem is people, not bears. People who leave the kitchen window open, JuicyFruit gum in their cars, and a regular smorgasbord of goodies out in their smelly trash every single night. Can you say, bait? So which is worse? Bears in the bushes or the DOW? I won't go into the details of the latest encounter, but trust me, it's a horrific story. Here's the short version:

For weeks, this sow and her 4-month-old cub had been pilfering jelly donuts (garbage) in an alley a few blocks from my house. I dogwalk in the early morning and would see unending upended cans every single day. On the first of September, the dog and I heard a neighbor's quiet "watch out for the bear". I looked up and saw these two.

Here's the mug shot of the latest ursine culprits:

Sanitas bear

Hours later, the DOW decided the injured mother couldn't adequately care for her cub, shot her and the cub escaped. The best you could say is that they bungled the job. As far as I know, no one has found the poor little guy yet.

I hate helpless; I had to do something. So off I went to Kinko's to have flyers printed. Every morning, I shove one into the gaping maw of every stinking garbage can we come across. Of course, the same people who harbor reeking refuse have no problem trashing the flyers every night.

I generally tend to think that there's just too damn many people. Just like I hate being helpless, I sometimes also hate being right. Case in point: As I headed home from the store this morning, I thought I saw a small curl of smoke behind Mt. Sanitas, the same mountain which is on the western edge of Boulder and backs right up to our neighborhood. In the five minutes it took to get home, the I'm-sure-now-famous wildfire was filling the sky over our backyard with smoke.

Here's the roof of my studio.
I'm going to go ahead and hope the fire's not as close as it looks.

In another ten minutes, the bright sunny day was blanketed
by a thickening layer of acrid smoke,
and ash fell like light snow.

This fire is awful. We always knew it could happen, especially during a hot, dry season like this. Every house, every ranch and every mountain town in the 20 miles west of here has been evacuated. Every canyon road is closed, the wind is gusting up to 65 miles per hour, and the smoke cloud can be seen from Wyoming 200 miles down to Colorado Springs.

I feel truly sorry for everyone fleeing this monster. But while people are being told to take their animals to the County Fairgrounds, I can't help but wonder who told the wild things where to go. I can't help but worry about that little cub.