August was the hottest month we have had so far this year - and also the smokiest. There have been so many wildfires burning all over California, most of them caused by dry lightning, that the air quality became extremely poor in most of the state - and many parts of the country since the fires in California haven't been the only ones. Half of the month we stayed inside with the windows and doors shut because it was too unhealthy to venture outside. Two of the fires are burning in our county and we had many evacuations orders which were all reduced to warnings (which means be ready to evacuate any time). The fires are close to the Russian River which is an important water source for us, and in order to keep enough pressure for the firefighters to battle that fire we were all asked to conserve water as much as we can. I stopped watering my garden (except for the veggies) and once again felt relieved that I had the foresight to plant a drought tolerant garden. So far I haven't lost a single plant, and two nights ago we even had a little rain. The past few days have been foggy with much better air yesterday. However, the weekend ahead is supposed to bring another heat wave with temperatures up to 106F - I hope the garden can take it.
I missed spending time in the garden. I was lucky to get in some hikes in our beautiful Regional Parks, some of them with Kaefer. We went early in the morning to avoid the midday heat and enjoyed nature, saw wildlife and had some good conversations while hiking the trails. She is leaving in less than a week, my heart is heavy, but I also know that I will be okay after a few days when I know that she has arrived safely, has moved into her flat and hopefully doesn't have to quarantine too long. She will be tested at the airport and the result will be back within 48 hours, so hopefully she can go outside after two days.
Work at the high school started the first week of August. It has been rather quiet in the beginning and I could finish some of the things that haven't been done since March when the schools closed down. The school year started on August 17th and of course it's all distance learning. It is very strange to be back on campus without any students being there. This week we're distributing textbooks which is a huge undertaking (we will be done tomorrow evening) for almost 1600 students. Even though I felt bone tired every evening, it was so nice to see the students again. Sure, we were all wearing masks, my colleague and I were working behind Plexiglas, but nevertheless, there suddenly was life on the campus. I hadn't expected that I would enjoy these five days so much.
In order to stay sane I knitted a lot - several hats and socks and I also finally finished the sweater for Kaefer that took forever to knit up (mainly because I had to unravel parts of it again). I was quite busy with my Etsy shop selling socks and photo cards which, of course, was very welcome, too. The positive and the negative pretty much balanced out this month.