Purchased Pie and Other Delights of the Season

Purchased Pie and Other Delights of the Season
This Thanksgiving, instead of rolling out pie crust, I put signs on trees I wanted to save. Two years ago, a wildfire ripped through Northern California, and along with 2,000 other structures, it gobbled up our sweet rural house on Cobb Mountain. Later, we discovered that our homeowner’s insurance policy was mostly worthless. Last month, another wildfire roared through Northern California, and this one swallowed up our home in Northeast Santa Rosa. The odds of suffering two catastrophic infernos while in cancer treatment do seem unlikely. But life is funny that way. My family and I learned a few lessons after the Cobb fire. First, we got a new insurance agent, who I hope is better than our last one. And second, we learned that clean-up efforts after a declared disaster can be nearly as damaging as the disaster itself. On Cobb, huge crews, which were paid by our federal government, sawed down every living thing on our mountain landscape. Where once there were trees of astonishing variety, now there are stumps. Artlessly clear-cut. It looks like a cowboy with a chainsaw was in a race against Paul Bunyan. Nothing’s left. Some have been dumping construction debris on the spot where our house once stood. One day, if my cancer diagnosis allows me to live long enough, I’m sure I’ll get a certified letter from my county threatening all sorts of nastiness if I don’t clear off their mess. Again. Meanwhile, we have a new lot full of ash and burned trees. This time, my husband and I decided to take preemptive action. The day before Thanksgiving, we roped off our glorious California Oaks, which can survive even if only 10 percent of their canopies are intact. We put signs on our driveway, begging FEMA subcontractors not to remove it, even though th
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