I Smell Smoke


    I know that I’m not the only one who said, “I smell smoke.” in the central valley of California today.  A very strong, dry north wind blew from early morning until sunset.  We have had a very dry late winter and spring and wind-driven fires abounded.  The closest fire was many miles away to the north of us, but the wind drove the smoke quickly southward. 


      At times the wind would die down for a moment or two, and then the smoke would settle heavily toward the ground and the the smell of smoke came in through all of my open windows and doors.  The sky was filled with smoke, and the sunlight filtering through had a weird orange cast to it.  Then that strong north wind would gust and begin blowing in earnest once more and the smoke would lift and move along.  One firefighter was burned in the fire near us, but no homes were lost.  The same cannot be said for the fires in near by counties.  The weatherman is calling for strong north winds again tomorrow. 

     We continue here, as always, and I am blessed with work.  I cannot claim that line for my own, but rather caught it from one of our favorite movies.  The line struck a chord with me during one of our many, many viewings of it, and it has stuck.  I am truly blessed with the work that the Lord has given me right here in my own home.  There is always something for my hand to do!


     Some of my normal homemaking duties have fallen behind as we work to keep up with the berries.  The youngberries and blackberries are just about done.  We will have a few more, but not many.  It’s a sad thing each June when they come to an end.  The blueberries, however, are ripening quickly in the heat.  Dani picked about three quarts this morning before it got too hot. 

     A blueberry cobbler was made from part of the picking, and the rest of the blueberries were bagged and put into the freezer for muffins, coffeecakes and the like this coming winter.  Blueberries are the easiest things in the world to freeze.  You do not wash them before freezing.  They are simply picked and put into freezer bags or containers and frozen.  The washing is done when they are thawed.  Nothing could be easier!  I’ve been hoping to have one picking that would yield enough for one batch of blueberry jam, but we always seem to be a few cups short.  There are still plenty of green blueberries out there, though.  I’m sure I’ll get to make my batch of blueberry jam yet!


      I’m also quite busy keeping the watering and irrigation going.  The north wind and temperatures in the mid-upper 90’s (we’ll hit 100 before the end of the week) mean that I cannot skip a day of watering.  I rescued some bedraggled hydrangeas yesterday and some very thirsty begonias today.  Our well pump is in constant motion these days!


     There have also been a few projects that have kept us busy.  Although my husband finished building our new porch last fall, the winter weather prevented him from painting the house around that porch area.  The paint was purchased yesterday and my husband did the painting today. 


     We are painting the same color, of course, a pretty, sunny yellow.  The white trim still needs to be painted, and – Oh, I can’t wait! – we will soon have a very beautiful new look to our front entrance!  We will be removing the screen door, the one that has never hung straight.  We bought beautiful, shiny brass hardware for our front door, and a lovely brass kickplate.  The door will soon be painted a gorgeous, high gloss emerald green!  Painting the trim (ultra pure white) and the door will have to wait, though, until my husband’s days off next week. 

     We are continuing on with homeschooling, of course.  Because we homeschool year round, my boys have a gradual transition during the summer from one grade to the next.  Will is finishing up third grade in a couple of subjects, and I have needed to spend some time pulling together the materials he will need for his fourth grade year in those subjects.  Aaron, it seems, has suddenly caught up with all of my advance planning for him, as well, and I have been putting in some afternoon hours working on fleshing out the next part of the outline I’ve made for his second year of high school. 

     My husband had set aside some of the inheritance he received from his Grandma Goldalast year for two trips this year.  The first, of course, was our recent trip to Disneyland.  The second trip was to be a get-away for just the two of us this August for our 30th (!!!!) wedding anniversary.  We have been so glad that that money was set aside as things have come up that would have otherwise caught us short.  The well pump.  The odd car repair (those are never cheap, are they?).  Replacing our kitchen floor after the dishwasher leaked and ruined the vinyl.  Broken computers.  Just stuff that happens.  As I said, we’ve been so grateful that the money was available to cover these as they came up, and yet there has been no overtime available for my husband to recoup these expenditures.

     We have spent quite a bit of time the last few days debating whether or not we should still take our anniversary trip.  We scaled back our plans quite a bit and yet my husband said he would still need at least one day of overtime in order for us to be able to move forward with our plans.  He said that just yesterday.  Today he called in and found that there will almost certainly be an overtime shift available to him tomorrow!  Praise God!!  We have found what I think is the perfect little place.  It’s not quite a bed and breakfast, yet not a hotel either.  If the overtime definitely happens tomorrow, I will be calling the inn to reserve a room for four nights in August!  We know, for certain, that His timing is meant to keep us in constant reliance upon Him, and I am happy to be in that position of reliance!  God’s provision is sufficient!

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27

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16 comments to I Smell Smoke

  • Hi Cheryl, I was just wondering if you recieved the Quilt Book, it has been a couple weeks since sending it your way and am not sure if Bren had mentioned it to you.  I couldn’t put a note in the package in order to send it at the book rate and failed to get a note off to you that you were being gifted with it!

  • Your hydrangea is lovely. We have been 100 or more all week. With my pulmonary emboli, I have not been able to go out at all during the day, cuz I really do want to be able to breathe…something about needing oxygen to live LOL

    PLT our pool is finally clear…Wouldn’t ya know it, the pool guy told us two weeks ago Thursday we could swim on Friday, and Friday AM I was admitted in the hospital for a week! I did get in for a little bit Sunday night, but it has just been too hot for me to be out.

    I hope that the fires subside and keep that smoke away. You sure don’t need your asthma flaring up from it.

    Have a blessed week.

  • Glad to hear that you are not in the fire area! I was just reading the news and praying that you were safe. Your home looks lovely. I just love that porch! I can’t wait to see your “new” door!

    How exciting about your trip! It sounds wonderful. So neat to hear how the Lord provides.

    Have a wonderful day!

  • I pray the fires stay completely away from you!

    One of the biggest reasons I agreed to take the vacation with our kids (other than the primary reason, to see my beautiful grandkids) was that “feeling” that such a trip might be far too difficult in the future. Especially is fuel prices keep rising.

    I just know you will appreciate having taken your anniversary trip tis year. Such memories you will have! :love:

  • Hi Cheryl,

    I can’t help but ask “What part of California are you in?” My parents were born and raised in Madera- near Fresno….and I was raised all OVER California- from Laguna Beach, to Santa Maria and Placerville- and a lot of places in between! (lol)
    The top two pictures you posted look a lot like the valley area where my parents were from. 🙂

  • When I lived in West Virgina there was some really bad forest fires about a 100 miles away from where I lived. But you could see the and smell the smoke in the air. It was very wierd and scary all at the same time. I pray that the fires stay away from you. God bless


  • You are keeping very busy!! So glad Copper has figured a way for you to take your trip. “My father was a man. I think I understand the sex.” :goodjob: What a movie line that is!! Really, I know Copper would do whatever he could to make your Anniversary trip happen.

  • There are some serious fires going on in this area, aren’t there? I watched the news last night and saw that many to the north of us have lost their homes/ranches/animals due to the fires. Very dry. Hot. Windy. Not a good combo.

    The Lord always provides where He resides…as long as it’s in His will. I’m so thankful your dear hubby found a bit of overtime, Cheryl. Your 30th anniversary will be sweet indeed. Rocky and I are celebrating our 20th in July.

    Have a lovely day…

  • @Stephanie –  Yes!!  And thank you!!!  I’ve a thank you note in the mail to you (which was left in the “out” box in the kitchen for three days before anyone saw it to take it out!!). 

  • I was thinking of you when the news came on about the fire…
    I am south of you so we are bracing for the usual fires here in southern California!

    Your hydrangea is gorgeous! I am having the hardest time with hydrangeas and my roses this year!

    Just wanted to come by and say hi!

    Wishing you a very blessed day!

  • I was thinking of you when the news came on about the fire…
    I am south of you so we are bracing for the usual fires here in southern California!

    Your hydrangea is gorgeous! I am having the hardest time with hydrangeas and my roses this year!

    Just wanted to come by and say hi!

    Wishing you a very blessed day!

  • We are so blessed, are we not?  And so many times I take Him for granted. 

    I’m glad you all are safe from the fires.  Congratulations on your upcoming thirtieth!  (it seems like yesterday, doesn’t it?)



  • Praise the Lord for His provision and protection in the midst of the fires!  I will be praying that your hubby gets that needed overtime so that your trip can be all that you hope for and more. 🙂

  • Hi, Cheryl…Your porch and your flowers are SO pretty! And may I offer a very early congratulations on your upcoming 30th anniversary! What a wonderful blessing, especially in this day and age, to reach that special milestone.

    You mentioned that it will hit 100 degrees where you live this week. I visit your blog daily, and know that you remain extremely busy and productive all the time.

    Would you mind sharing how you manage to get accomplished all that you do in heat like that? Is it just because you are used to it? We’ve had high humidity and temps in the low 90s here in Vermont the last few days, and I don’t handle it well at all. I feel like it’s all I can do just to SIT and make it through the day, never mind actually trying to get something done.

    It doesn’t help at all that we went from sweatshirts right into the 90s, but if you have some hot weather survival tips, I’d love to hear them. I don’t want to waste the whole summer, just because I can’t stand the heat.

    Thanks, and have a great day!


  • Cheryl, My house is yellow with white trim too.  🙂  When we first moved here it had an emeral green door!  It had lots of damage though so we replaced it and now have a wood tone with a face window cut out.

    I am happy for you that you will still have your Anniversary getaway.  God is good!!  Have a wonderful day.

    In Christ, Karen T.

  • Beatiful pic of the hydragea… and the part about the blueberries makes my mouth water.  We just planted blueberry bushes this year, so maybe in a couple years there will be enough to put in the freezer.  Praying for the fires to stay away from you! In Christ, Lisa