I had already been up for an hour when the daughter staggered out this morning.
"We're on fire alert," she said blearily.
"No. High wind warning. Fire weather. Red flag," I corrected.
(insert obligatory "I hate the wind" comment here)
At 5:30, it was already gusting sufficiently that the ficus over our bedroom was merrily dropping little seed balls on to the roof. That was what woke me.
"Damn wind," I muttered to the spouse.
This is the time of year when good California gardeners are out doing clean up because winter is really our planting season. Because we were gone for a month over the summer, I have had more clean up than usual, and lying there in bed this morning, I thought...wind, fire, must remove 8-ft. tall dead shrub by back wall.
It was a victim of the nitwit landscaper we hired in 2004, who not only didn't plant it properly, but planted a full sun plant in the shade. It shot straight up to nearly 10 ft., and then developed root rot, and slowly perished, despite my efforts to save it.
Telling thoughts because when I appeared to gather my morning coffee, the son said, "Santa Barbara burned up."
"What?" I asked.
"Yeah, Montecito," said the spouse.
"What do you mean burned up?"
100 houses gone overnight.
On the upside, as I yanked and cut and sawed, I discovered that my avocado tree actually produced FOUR avocados this year. I knew I had three, but discovered the fourth today. They are still ripening on the tree.
On the downside, I ended up with biggest stinking splinter I've ever had, so deeply embedded in my little finger that it required blood, guts and medical instruments to get it out.
Go listen to some music: "The Chain" from the album Rumours by Fleetwood Mac.