California on fire, three digit heat wave, rattlesnake bit my dog! But if you think I’m beat, you’ve got another think comin’!

Sheesh what a week!

As you may know, California is experiencing a three-digit Heatwave and fires in every direction. Right now we are keeping our Windows shut all day because the smoke from the “Carr” fire in Redding is rolling right up the canyon at us.

And then night before last, as we were getting ready to go to bed, our  little blue heeler, Badges, had a run-in with a rattlesnake near the corner of our cabin.

It was dark, there was a scuffle, my husband swore out loud, telling me to get the dogs into the house. He had his flashlight, and there in the beam was the littlest rattlesnake I have ever seen. I was almost sorry to see my husband dispatch it with a shovel. Then I realized what happened and started to feel Panic crawling all over my body.

Badges was holding his paw and hopping around on three legs. Biscuit wanted to get the snake, I had to take her by the collar and drag her into the cabin. All I need is an old blind diabetic dog that’s been bit by a rattlesnake.

It was after 9, which is late for us. I’m usually out cold by 9:15, so I was a little sleepy already. We loaded the dogs into the F-150 and headed for the only vet that’s open at that hour, the Taj Mahal vet there at the south end of Chico.

As we drove down the hill into town, I was overcome with nausea, I cling to my seatbelt trying not to throw up. I was already exhausted, I’d been up since 5 in the morning. The last thing I remember about the drive is asking my husband to slow down, telling him I thought I was going to throw up.

I don’t know how long I was asleep, I woke up in the parking lot at the Veterinary Hospital. I could tell it was late, there was hardly a soul around. I heard voices just outside the truck, my husband and another man talking about the Veterinary Hospital, and what a poor reputation they have for gouging people in the middle of the night. The other man was saying, he’d come all the way from Fall River Mills on his vets recommendation, but that he had not found one good review of this Hospital online.

Yeah I know, vets seem expensive. Especially the Taj Mahal vet, it’s hard to believe they aren’t there to take advantage of people when their pets are sick in the middle of the night. We’ve had to go to our regular vet for an emergency, and they were a lot cheaper. But after 10 pm all you get is a recorded message telling you to head for the Taj Mahal vet because they’re open 24 hours a day.

What are you going to do when your dog has just been bit by a rattlesnake? At least we have a 24-hour vet.

My husband came to the car to tell me that Badges was going to be fine. He said the anti-venom would take a couple of hours, so he had told the vet we would wait in the parking lot. He had been walking Biscuit around the building in circles when the other man had come out to offer her some water. We saw that he had his travel trailer parked in the empty lot next door, generator running. I wondered how hot it had been in that treeless lot earlier in the day, with temperatures in Chico hovering around a hundred and five.

At 1:30 am we approached the door of the building. Of course it was locked and there were no loitering signs. We wondered how many homeless people they had to field every day. The man who was staying in the trailer told us transients had knocked on his trailer door a few times but he just ignored them.

A woman came to let us in, said Badges was almost ready to go, and went about preparing our bill. I could tell by the tone in her voice as she gave us our total that she was ready for us to be angry, but my husband just stepped forward with his credit card and dealt with it. At least we have a credit card.

The technician who brought Badges out was pretty brusque. She let us know that if he ate the pain patch on his leg it would be big trouble! She treated us like delinquent children. I felt she was kind of pissed that we weren’t going to leave him overnight. I let it roll off, but she put the fear of God in Me. The thought of him eating that fentanyl patch kept me awake the last two nights. We didn’t leave it on the three to four days they recommended, we cut it off last night. Every time he so much as licked it I felt like I was going to go through the roof.

All I could think was, fentanyl is what got Prince. It scared the s*** out of me, after my husband cut the patch off I made him wash his hands about 50 times.

The last two days locked up in the cabin with a sick dog and an old dog in a hundred plus temperatures with our generator running to power our tiny air conditioner have just about got me beat. My husband has to remind me constantly, we knew there would be challenges about living up here.

I’ll tell you what though, it still beats the hell out of living in Chico California.

When we moved here, we were very aware of rattlesnakes. Within the first couple of years we had this place, we encountered two large snakes that we had to kill. We found one to two three foot snake laying along the path in the yard, and the second had taken up residence under our tool shed and had a habit of coming out and threatening our dogs.

After we killed the second snake, we started to look into snake prevention. I started raking the yard clean, whacking low brush, and my husband got wire mesh to line the bottoms of our  sheds so that snakes could not get underneath them. I found rattlesnake repellent at Walmart, a jug of granules scented with cinnamon, and decided to make my own repellent out of cat litter and cinnamon spray. I sprinkled the cat litter around the perimeter of our yard, and then loaded a tank pack sprayer full of cinnamon oil, clove oil, and cedar oil in water. I sprayed this on the cat litter, as well as the base of all of the sheds.

I did that for a couple of years, and since we did not see any snakes in that period, I guess it worked. I dropped the ball this past spring because we were so busy moving I just forgot about it.

I’d also drop the ball lately on raking the yard, it’s been so hot and Dusty. I can’t wait until burn season, I’ll have to start raking piles again.

Yes, there are challenges to this lifestyle. But thinking about living in Chico again makes me feel up to the challenge.














The container garden is working out good!

While I am pretty frustrated with my computer service here on the hill, one thing that’s working out for me is the container garden.


All the tomatoes we potted are producing well.

We planted Early Girls, which are usually smaller, salad size tomatoes. We haven’t been disappointed, they’re big enough for sandwiches too.


They’re coming in fast, I have a dozen or so in the cooler.

I will probably end up making a batch of sauce. I like my sauce pressed, so I’ll have to dig my tomato press out of storage. But won’t it be fun to open a container of sauce in January?


We got these yellow striped cherry tomatoes from our neighbor, and this bush is really starting to pay off, with tiny green fruit all over it.

So every day we can eat tomatoes, I never would have believed that. 


Tomato sandwich for lunch, and plenty left over for dinner salad.

The Big Heat

I haven’t been posting much these days because my computer is slow – I dumped Comcast, which is great, but now I’m on a mobile hotspot, and that’s kinda sketchy. 

Remember Dial Up? 

We’ve also been having all sorts of distractions. My son and his girlfriend came for a couple of days and we got to take a road trip up the canyon. We did a lot of cooking, my son made dutch oven brownies. We watched old movies on our little tv/dvd player.  As soon as they left the Big Heat set in. 

Yeah, that’s one of my favorite movies, with Glenn Ford and Lee Marvin, but I here mean, very high temperatures. 

90 degrees is pretty hot up here, 100 is almost unbearable. The cabin gets up to about 90, it’s nauseating. The little loft where I keep my computer is a hot box by 9 am. 

So we get up, take the dogs for a walk, and do whatever chores we have lined up, and then we spend the rest of the day trying to stay cooled off. 

We have a tiny Intex swimming pool. We have enough electricity at our pump house to run the filter and jets, and who needs the heater. We get in the pool between chores, it’s a life saver. We have the dog pool right next to it, in the shade, and the dogs spend their day between their little pool and the ruts they have dug under our 10 x 12. 

Yesterday was awful, I kept thinking I was going to barf, and my feet swelled up in my sandals until there were pressure marks across the tops of my feet. So today my husband is going to get out the generator and set up R2D2 – our little portable air conditioner. We can run it for hours on very little gas. We tried to tough it out yesterday, but it was miserable. Today is predicted to be even hotter, so we’re doing it. 

I’m planning to sit at my kitchen table and write letters to friends and relatives, drink Kool Aide, and lounge with my husband in the pool. We bbq’d a bunch of chicken the other night, which is fantastic, cause we won’t have to cook again until tomorrow night. 

Time to  get out there and get what we can out of the day before we scurry in to the AC.