Before I begin this post I wanted to inform those of you who were planning to join us tomorrow in the store for our First Thursday Event that we have decided to postpone the event due to the terrible fires. We hope that you all are safe!
Those of you who follow me on instagram may already know some of this information, so my apologies for the repetition...
I wanted to give all of my Velvet and Linen readers an update on the Thomas fire here in Ventura County. The fire started on Monday night near the beautiful Thomas Aquinas College.
By 3:00 a.m. on Tuesday, we were woken up and told to be on stand by to evacuate. It would have been difficult enough if we only had our human family to consider, but we now have many furry four legged family members to care for.
The fires in the hills to the east of our home on Tuesday morning..
We woke up and began to pack the cars... It was a very odd, surreal experience... the process of trying to figure out what to take. My mind became very calm and nothing really seemed to have much meaning, other than the safety of our family and animals.
By 9 a.m. we were told to evacuate. Our wonderful gardener, Ricardo Gutierrez, and his team helped us get the goats and sheep into the back of our cars. Our next door neighbor and the equestrian team from Leila's school provided transportation for the donkeys (the saying "stubborn as a mule" is oh so true!) in one of the school's trailers. We are so blessed to have this supportive community!
At 10 a.m. we took one more walk around the house, knowing that we might not see it again. The inside of Patina Farm was eerily lit from the fire that was burning the hills behind our home.
As I left our home I thanked Patina Farm for the memories we created there and imagined a protective shield around our property.
Our first stop was Ojai Valley Lower School. We left the donkeys in the care of the equine faculty and began to focus on the sheep and goats. It was very difficult to leave Ojai and our community during this crisis, but we knew that we needed to find the sheep and goats a safe place to be. We started our drive on the 150 through Casitas Pass up to Santa Barbara.
Lake Casitas during the fire. Image by Michael Owen Baker for the LA Times.
We drove up to the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara and were able to leave the goats and sheep in a stall with the Santa Barbara Equine Evacuation team.
We spent the night at a client's home nearby, thankful to be safe.
Until we went to bed, we were on our computers trying to get updates on the fire and praying for the safety of all of our neighbors and the rest of Ventura County. The devastation being reported was almost unbelievable... so many structures gone. Leila's school lost several buildings. I tried to comfort Leila as she processed this loss.
Before we went to bed, I contacted our neighbor, who remained in Ojai with her horses, to see if she had news about our homes. I went to sleep knowing that Patina Farm was still standing
We woke the next morning , and Steve decided to go back to Ojai to assess the situation. The wind had died down, and most of the fires were out, but the smoke now filled the air. Ojai Avenue, the main street in town, was deserted... no cars parked anywhere.
The mountains behind our home we not visible through the smoke.
Our entire property is covered in ash and soot.
Steve is spending the day watering the house and property in preparation for another 24 hours of dry winds. He also was able to talk to several of the courageous fire fighters that are risking their life to protect our small town.
We would appreciate if you would keep us in your thoughts and prayers. I am a big believer in the power of thoughts and prayers to mold our reality, or at the very least,to give it a little nudge in the right direction!
And now news of new fires in Bel Air and Hollywood to add to our prayers!
I will be adding updates on our situation on Instagram.