This a.m. I received this email about the Rough Fire:
Friends and neighbors:
Per the NPS this morning:
At 0600 we are instituting a closure of the the Grant Grove area with a barricade at the Wye. This will be followed by an Evacuation Order going out to all residents and guests. The IMT will staff the barricade and they will NOT be allowing anyone other than Fire personnel to enter.
Park officials remain confident that the prescribed burns completed over the last 10-15 years which provide a protective “donut” around Wilsonia and Grant Grove will slow or stop the spread of the fire in the event that it approaches the area from the northern or western boundary of the park.
As mentioned in the last update, the fire moved around Hoist Ridge at the Kings River. The fire has since progressed up the Verplank drainage, and is, according to the 9-9 operation map, between 3 to 4 miles NW of the General Grant tree. Existing contingency lines are being reinforced, and new ones are being developed.
The latest reports state:
West of Hoist Ridge the fire will remain active. Air tankers will provide aerial drops of water and retardant to slow the fire’s advance.
In area north of Sequoia Lake, crews will scout and access potential location to extend the fireline between the Chicago Stump area and Highway 180.
Crews will continue to improve the contingency line along McKenzie Ridge north to the Kings River.
Thank you, Neal, for your consistent and accurate updates.
Pray, people, pray.
Book talk? What means that?
It means that if I want to sell books, I need to take them to groups and talk about them. So, my first event of that nature will be for the Tulare-Kings Genealogical Society, this coming Thursday evening.
My entire point of the book, The Cabins of Wilsonia, is that Cabin Communities Matter.
There isn’t much to brag on in Tulare County in terms of architecture. There’s my favorite bridge (on the Mineral King Road), the Fox Theater in Visalia is quite handsome, and there are various homes around the county that are respectable. What I think is truly remarkable is our cabin communities, particularly Wilsonia.
You knew that already because I spent 4 years making a book about it.
So, it is time for me to begin promoting my book. Here is the first event of that nature:
Tulare-Kings Genealogical Society
Thursday, September 3, 2015, 6:30 p.m.
Tulare City Public Library, Olympic Room
475 North M Street, Tulare, California
The “Rough Fire” is an appropriate name, although it was named for the Rough Ridge where it started rather than the difficulties it has caused.
It has made life in Wilsonia and the surrounding areas very uncomfortable – unhealthy air, road and area and services closures, worries about safety in many places, and worry about the cabin community.
Neal Mixter has been wonderfully on-the-spot and up-to-the-minute with his fire reports. His latest says this:
The planned reopening of Wilsonia and Grant Grove to the public was postponed at least until tomorrow (Tuesday) due to increased smoke and worsened air quality in the area. The Rough Fire has grown, but so has the containment percentage, currently at 17%. The areas of concern for Hume Lake, Grant Grove and Wilsonia are very near containment. Wilsonians reported heavy smoke in the village this morning and noticeable presence of firefighting aircraft throughout the day.
In the next day or two, we will announce the status of the Wilsonia events scheduled for this weekend.
Cabin owner and friend Jean Faszholz shared several photos with me. I didn’t ask her permission to share this with you, but I’ll live dangerously and show her photo:
We in MIneral King are also experiencing dense smoke. Mineral King is probably 30-50 crow-flying miles to the south of Wilsonia. Not complaining, because we aren’t living with the scariness of the fire being close. It’s smoky in Three Rivers too, so it feels as if there is no place to go to breathe clear air.
Welcome to Central California in a drought year during fire season. It’s rough, folks. Scary too.
Do you have a cabin in Wilsonia? Big Bear? Montana? Hume Lake? Hartland? Camp Nelson? Alaska?
I can draw it for you in pencil. I am Cabinart, and have been since 1987.
If your cabin is already in the Wilsonia book, The Cabins of Wilsonia, the drawing might available.
If it is in The Cabins of Wilsonia, but you prefer a different view, I can do that.
I price by size. 9×12 – $200, 11×14 – $275, 12×16 – $275, and on up.
There is sales tax. Welcome to California.
After a rough start of a missed deadline, wrong address and incorrect face of a cabin, this is the completed commissioned pencil cabin drawing of a Wilsonia cabin.
What a long long sentence. A picture is worth 1000 words.
Do you have a cabin you would like me to draw?
I kept emailing the Wilsonia cabin owner to inquire if the Post Office had forwarded my incorrectly addressed card.
Finally, I asked if she’d like me to copy the sketch and email it to her. Being a gracious and understanding customer, she was agreeable.
I drew the wrong side of the cabin. She wanted the front, I drew the back. I didn’t look at the photos she sent me, only looked at the ones I had taken. Knowing that more living happens on the back side than the front, I just wasn’t really paying attention.
What a gracious and forgiving customer, who kindly let me know that wasn’t the view she had asked for.
That’s the reason I do sketches! Let’s get it all figured out at the small scribbly stage before I pour hours into the precision and detail that make up my pencil commissions.
Quickly, I did 2 more sketches for her. Fast. Immediately. Scanned. Emailed. Red-faced. Git-er-dun. Giddy-up. Hubba, hubba, hubba.
She preferred the extra width showing in version B, and you can believe I got on it, immediately without delay!
Last winter, a Wilsonia cabin owner contacted me about drawing her cabin. It was to be a gift for her sweet mama. Getting photos wasn’t going to be easy, in spite of the lack of snow. Cabins are closed in the winter, which means there are shutters on the windows which makes them look quite uninviting.
No hurry, said she.
No worry, summer’s coming, said me.
Suddenly, Sweet Mama’s birthday was almost here. Customer said, “Oops”, maybe you can do a quick sketch or something and send it to Sweet Mama in time for her birthday and here is the down payment on the drawing and here are a few photos.
No problem. I did the sketch, turned it into a birthday card, and sent it off.
TO THE WRONG ADDRESS!
Yes, they had moved and I didn’t make note of which address was correct – from the check or from the envelope.
THE CARD NEVER ARRIVED!
What is an incompetent artist to do in this awkward situation?
Tune in on Monday, August 17 to see what happened next.
The full title is too long – Why I Still Go To Wilsonia Even Though The Book Is Finished.
- I like it there.
- I have friends there.
- Some people want me to draw their cabins. (Really?? After 272 drawings in the book? Yeppers. They want their cabin drawn their way. It’s okay. I love to draw.)
- It is fun there, especially over the 4th of July with the parade, ice cream social, silent auction, and potluck.
- Ahem. I have books to sell! The Cabins of Wilsonia is for sale. Want one? This is the link.
Wilsonia is next to or perhaps even in Grant Grove. It’s a short walk, but people speak of walking to “the village” or even “the mall” as if it is a separate location. It is, and it isn’t.
There is a long tradition of a simple parade at Grant Grove on the Fourth of July. It consists mostly of Wilsonia folks, because they are the consistent residents in the area. The Park employees are transient, changing parks, working seasonally. The visitors are simply that – visiting, passing through.
It is short and sweet, simple and moving. (Duh, of course it moves, it is a PARADE!)
Last year was my first time attending. The parade was so short that it had to go around the circuit twice.
This year it was long enough to just go once. Lots of decorated Jeeps, Tracksters, and other fun vehicles, along with Park fire trucks. Flags, flags, flags, and several signs that read “May the Fourth Be With You”.
Gorgeous horse, poor photography.
Daughters of the American Revolution.
Fun wagon party!
The Fourth of July is a busy day in Wilsonia. It starts with a parade at Grant Grove at 11 a.m. In the afternoon beginning at 1 there is a silent auction of really neat stuff at the clubhouse. At 1:30 is an ice cream social, also at the clubhouse. Then at 6 in the evening, there is a potluck and the silent auction concludes at 8 p.m.
I’ll be there with my neighbor/friend Robin, with boxes of books and the original drawings. (The drawings will be at the cabin where we will be staying in the Masonic Tract).
This drawing will be in the silent auction:
It kind of gives the false impression of a cabin isolated in the woods instead of a cabin surrounded by 213 other cabins in a delightful community known as Wilsonia!