Early this morning (4:50 am) we were all jolted wide away by a massive explosion that was scarily close by.

Justin ran to the backyard to see a huge pillar of black smoke coming from the what looked to be either the freeway or private school that’s right behind our house. As we scrambled around for the phone, a few minutes later another explosion followed and the black smoke turned into a roaring fire with ember and ash flying everywhere.  

Then another explosion, followed by huge flames leaping into the air that lit up the early morning sky. We immediately called the fire department and were especially concerned about embers landing on our house and our surrounding neighborhood (as we know what fires can do from the many wildfires burning throughout So Cal right now).

From our vantage point, it looked like the private Muslim/Islamic school (located directly on the side of our house) was on fire. We were concerned what caused  three explosions — could it have been a bomb (retaliation for the recent Bali bombings )?   What was going on?    

It turned out to be that a bakery trailer on the 210 freeway was the cause of the explosions and fire that swept up the brush and tree-lined freeway. It took fire fighters about 1/2 hour to contain the brush fire and an hour to finally contain the truck that was a huge inferno.

The air all around was thick with smoke (couldn’t escape it even in the house) and the stench of chemicals and rubber combined to make it hard to breathe.    The truck driver, we heard, got out; however, it’s still a mystery how the a bakery truck caught on fire and what caused so many explosion since the trailer part was unhitched from the main cab (engine part).  

As dawn broke, we could see white ash all over the yard and we are definitely thankful that it wasn’t any worse.

There’s a tiny blurb about our diy homebrew biodiesel in the Oct-Nov issue of Plenty magazine.   Last month I picked up a free Aug-Sept issue of Plenty given out at Sierra Summit.   As I opened  up the magazine for the first time, I saw a two page spread of a young lady in a sexy pose, eating an apple. The top of the ad said ” Polo Jeans Co  Ralph Lauren”; underneath states “beneath the beauty we find true leaders” (Confused at what I was seeing, I had to flip back to the cover to see what magazine this was again. Thought perhaps I picked up a Vogue magazine by mistake!)  

Okey dokey… glamorizing, commercializing, Hollywood-izing the green movement (yuck!). Apparently, companies are now jumping on the eco-bandwagon for the green bucks. That’s the only “green” they are interested in.

The dry Santa Anna winds have brought high temperatures and fires throughout parts of So Cal.  The past few days have been hot and the tender fall/winter veggies and a few other plants wilted under the oppressive heat. The tomatoes and peppers, however, are thriving with the late heat. Hopefully, the temps will cool down which will help the garden and firefighters.

On wash day, we washed a load of clothes (tees and under things) in the new hand washer.  Filling the bin up with water and a dash of biodegradable soaps, we agitated the load a few times by pulling on the lever so the soap could be evenly dispersed. We then let the clothes sit for about two hours, agitating every so often.   Wringing out the clothes using the attached wringer was quite fun and then the clothes were lined dried and the gray water used in the garden.   

We’ve asked Ray to build a cover for the cob oven in preparation for upcoming rains.   With the rising costs of gas prices, this cob oven will be a valuable asset to the homestead this winter.   Our solar oven is undergoing upgrades so it’s out of commission at the moment; but, with these two alternative sources, we hope that we will reduce our having to use the gas stove.    As for our gas water heater, it would be nice if we could install a solar water heater; but, with the condition of the roof and all the other projects going on, we may have to wait awhile.   That may turn out well, since we heard that there may be a rebate incentive going into effect in Jan ’06.    

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  1. Wildside says:

    Scary wake up! Glad you are ok.

  2. Tonks says:

    Phew! Sounds a little too close for comfort! And as my in-laws lived not too far from a California highway (in San Jose), I’m getting a bigger picture of your environment. Brave, very brave…