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October 4 2011 Cocktails Newsletter
Hello to all my wonderful Cocktails readers!
It's been quite a while since you've received a newsletter from my BellaOnline Cocktails site and, for that, I must apologize. If you believe that life can sometimes be a lot like a roller coaster, my ride lately has been a wild one indeed!
On September 4, a wildfire broke out in my neck of the woods and destroyed an area that was roughly 20 miles wide by 24 miles long. Thousands of people like me were made homeless by the fire, which destroyed almost 1,600 homes. Fortunately, only two people lost their lives to the fire and I haven't heard of any major injuries.
Google 'Bastrop County Complex Fire' for the rest of the story; it's the worst fire in Texas history and it's a life changer, for sure. There are some videos on YouTube that I'm not ready to see just yet but, judging from the little I've seen, they tell quite a story.
Even today, one month after it started, the fire still burns. It has been contained and is under control but flare-ups happen daily and hot spots must be watched at all times. Did you know that when a tree burns down, the heat can be so intense underground, in the tree's root system, that the root ball remains a very risky fire hazard for weeks after the tree above ground is ashes? When dried leaves and twigs from drought- or fire-stricken trees drop on these embers in the root ball, they ignite almost instantly. This fire ransacked more than 34,000 acres of a beautiful forest full of oaks and pines so there are still many, many smoldering roots presenting constant danger.
I work from home so my home and my office were lost to the fire. I took refuge at a sister's house about 70 miles from the fire zone - whew! Since October 1, I've been settling in to long-term private quarters at her house and will soon have my office back up and running full speed. Please look for a more thirst-quenching newsletter next week. I'll have some intoxicating product reviews posted to my Cocktails site by then, too, so be sure to check back in a few days.
Meanwhile, thank you for your patience and understanding during this wild ride fate brought my way. It's been quite an adventure but all is well.
Sandy Hemphill, Cocktails Editor
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