Alicia here, to announce that you, our CSA members, raised a total of $10,640 for our olive oil producer and beekeeper, who experienced much loss and damage to their supplies and properties as a result of the LNU Complex Fire in August. Andrea, our beekeeper, and Susan, our olive oil producer, will each receive $5,320. We are deeply grateful for all of the donations we received, big and small. Below are updates from them.

Andrea Fansler, Beekeeper
The first month after the fire was pretty heavy and dark, but we are moving forward! I am taking care of the hives and keeping my fingers crossed that Mother Nature will be on our side next year so we can pollinate and bees will make some honey! This year has been pretty hard on the bees.

The clean-up / demo at the shop, where I worked for the last 20 some years and where all my tools and supplies were stored, is going to start on October 12th, and we are super excited. We will rebuild after that and hopefully the new shop will be ready around Christmas!

The money collected will go to a great cause: brand new boxes, supers, frames and lids. Oh yea, and a new hat and a veil 🙂 Thank you to all for your support and generosity, it means so much to me.

Susan Hassett, Olive Oil Producer
I am overwhelmed by your generosity and kindness to help Buzzards Roost get back on its feet. We have lived on this land for 30 years.

That said, our entire 18 acres is burned. This includes my home, three horse sheds, two work carriages,100 bales of hay, 3 other outbuildings, part of a horse barn and a lot of fencing. I was very proactive and evacuated my four horses late afternoon, caught two cats; one escaped and when I returned four days later he was hiding under one of the only unburned buildings and was fine. I never expected this. Many of us were unprepared. We were lucky. We had 20 minutes to get out.

My initial biggest concern was getting the irrigation system restored. Along with the water system damage, many of my olive trees and walnuts are torched. The bottom third of quite a few of the trees are brown and the olives look like little pits. The walnuts are torched higher up but it looks like the nuts might be okay.

I care more for the land than I do the buildings, so the next project will be to spread manure and throw California native seeds, as far into the hills as I can, and it will all have to be done by hand because there’s no machinery that can get up there. Part of the money that you have given me will be spent on that seed; some of that money has already been spent on drip irrigation, major cleanup and restoration.

Our plan is to keep watering, keep seeding, and pick our olives at the end of October and our walnuts in November. I hope that the crop is good.

I love my land and I love Pleasants Valley. It breaks my heart to see so many big beautiful heritage oaks come down along the road. Somehow we will all be reborn and rise above the ashes. We will have new identities because our old identities have blown away in the wind. I thank you from my entire being for your kindness and care. I am proud to know the people of Terra Firma Farm, the Winters Area and this entire region. I couldn’t be where I am today without all of your support and help and for that I am forever grateful.