Bloomtastic Is Finally Here

Today I had a chance to walk Maple Rock Gardens with Sherry, an editor from Garden Gate Magazine, and Debbie Arrington. You might recognize Debbie’s name. For years she was the Garden Writer for the Sacramento Bee. It was fun. Being garden enthusiasts we both looked at plants through the same lens. I have not walked Maple Rock lately looking through the lens of beauty. I’ve been hustling around getting ready for the tour this Saturday. Four weeks ago a major portion of the garden was torn up. The construction has been something that has completely dominated my mind and I haven’t been able to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. Walking with Sherry, Debbie and Photographer Jack I had a chance to reflect on the garden through the lens of beauty. What I gained today is something that I had lost. I had lost the perspective of how beautiful a garden can be and just how much it can give back. I guess the old saying is, “stop and smell the roses”. I can’t guess what your “stop and smell the roses” moment is, but mine is the boundless creativity that the garden gives me. The garden is patient with me. And as long as I am patient with it, nothing is asked in return.

I talked with Sherry about being patient with the garden. We agreed that people need to be more patient with their gardens. Today, while we walked around Maple Rock, I saw numerous things that were wrong and bothered me. The pressure of opening up your home to 2,000 of your closest friends can be scary. Given the fact that we had much of it torn apart due to construction I’ve come to the conclusion that I just need to release to nature and let it be what it is.The funny thing is that visitors to Maple Rock on Saturday might not be able to figure out what we did that was so invasive to the garden.

I hope you will join me this Saturday, May 11th from 9am to 3pm as Maple Rock Gardens gives way to Bloomtastic. We will be offering lunch, your favorite libation including a cocktail if you wish. Greg will be playing music in the garden and Earl will be running the trains.

Relax. Take time to smell the roses.

Take time to recognize the child within and watch the trains.

Take a deep breathe. Enjoy the view.

Simply breathe and enjoy.

— Click Here to Buy Tickets —

I have a different approach to designing a garden. I see things as noise. When I walk into a garden I mentally take out all the things that are noisy until my mind is calm. Then when deciding what to put back in the garden, I put back things that aren’t noisy.

After months of long rains and a very quick start to Spring my head has been completely noisy. Our projects were pushed further and further out with each storm this Spring. With Bloomtastic looming on the horizon the drumbeat of noise continued to pound. Thanks Sherry, Debbie and Jack for making me stop and walk the garden, however so briefly.

This Saturday I hope you can walk the garden and experience what I have experienced today.

See you this weekend at Maple Rock Gardens,

Scott

How can you help out those impacted by the Camp Fire?

You have helped out so much! Here is what’s needed – Visa Gift Cards and cash. Gift cards and cash can be delivered directly to the nursery or sent to us by mail. Our address is:

Attn: Nichole
High-Hand Nursery
P.O. Box 2280
Loomis, CA 95650

You can also call us and give us a credit card over the phone. Our number is 916-652-2065. We will turn all checks and credit card transactions into cash.

So Much Time, So Little To Do

As a child my favorite movie was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (I’m sure most of you know this by now, I’ve talked about Willy a lot). As he was leading Charlie and his cohorts into the factory he suddenly stopped and whipped around with his walking cane in hand. “So much time, so little to do”, Willy said. “Strike that, reverse that.” The funny thing about that part of the movie is that I have remembered it throughout my entire life. I still find myself saying it sometimes in conversation with others. I think it’s funny, everyone always just kind of stops and pauses, thinking about what I just said. When I start out a tour at High-Hand sometimes I’ll say that phrase as I begin walking through the nursery. More often than not I’ll stop and turn around and see the entire group befuddled wondering “do we follow him?”

The reality is that I have so much to tell and and so little time to do it in that I don’t know where to start. I want to talk about snails, weeds, Bloomtastic, hummingbird, a rescue horse, succulents, and Dory’s class. I just don’t know where to start so let’s just jump in and get at it.

We’ll start with the hummingbird and the horse.

The Hummingbird

I’ve always said that you’d stop traffic to save a ladybug. I’m going to add hummingbirds to that list. This mother is perched in her nest, hanging about 2 feet out into the driveway at Maple Rock. I’m shocked that with all the activity going on there that she has not been knocked from her perch. So I’ve put out orange cones to cordon off my driveway and we’ll have to drive around the cones until her baby is born. Some would say that is a lot of effort to protect a bird. But I would say to them “I’m a guy that will stop traffic to save a ladybug and I’ve just added hummingbirds to the list, so there.”

The Horse

This is Mother the rescue horse. Evidently the rescue horse was pregnant. We suspected that but simply didn’t know for sure. So I introduce to you, little Baby Horse. Mom’s a miniature horse, not a full size horse. She stands about waist high, so you can imagine how tall Baby Horse stands. Baby comes up to your kneecaps. For now Baby Horse’s name is Baby Horse. The obvious names might be Doughnut, Spot, or Target. So for now meet Baby Horse.

The Other 400 Maple Rock Mothers

Obviously we have a few new mothers at Maple Rock. I guess we can add the 400 chickens to the Mother List. Cranking an egg every day? I would qualify that as a mother. So by my math we have 402 Mothers at Maple Rock. And we would like add to that count by inviting all the Mothers and anyone they would like to bring to Maple Rock for Bloomtastic on Saturday, May 11th.

Come Meet The Mother’s of Maple Rock

All Mothers wishing to be added to the list of Maple Rock Mothers, join us for Bloomtastic, a celebration of Mother Nature.

Lunch will be available. Stroll the garden, listen to live music and enjoy your favorite glass of wine. Simply breathe and enjoy. Click here to buy tickets. Parking is free.

And Then There Are The Succulents

Join us for a great day of succulents. At this juncture in the email I usually talk about the poster above but since we have so much time and so little to do, “strike that, reverse it”. So much to do, so little time. (Read the above poster.)

Now It’s Dory Time

High-Hand Mercantile presents our Fairy Bloom Workshop! Come design a fresh floral arrangement with seasonal flowers and succulents in a rustic antique brick mold. We will also be creating a twig gazebo to house a fairy of your choice. All materials and supplies are included as well as enjoying mimosas and fresh scones.

Saturday, May 4, 2019 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM PDT, reserve your tickets by clicking here.

I was going to talk about the weeds and the bees but something has come up that I wanted to share with you instead. This morning at 6:30 am we handed off the keys to Luke and Colton’s tiny house. Your donations have allowed us to provide ongoing support until we found a solution. Thanks to the hard work of Alyssa and the volunteers that built it, along with your donations, we did find that solution.

I want to wish Luke and Colton the very best. They have been to Hell and back. I wish them nothing but the best as they embark on new beginnings. Luke wanted me to personally thank all of you for your help. He said to me, “I’ve never met all of the people that are behind you, Scott.” With a tear in his eye he continued, “Tell them all thank you. Colton and I are blessed.” We can all learn from this tragedy and the perseverance of the survivors. I would say that we are blessed for having an opportunity to help. We are blessed to be able to be in a position to serve. Luke and Colton, I wish you nothing but the best.

We have six more houses in production and we are still taking donations. I guess I just don’t know where to stop. We started this journey way back in the Walmart parking lot amidst all the smoke. I never imagined that we would be where we are today. What am I to do, just say we’ve done enough and stop? Quit? We started this together and we will continue to serve as long as we have the energy and the funds to make a difference. When there are no more solutions to find, then we will rest.

High-Hand Magalia is going to get their own phone number soon. We’re going to try and extend the hours as we continue to bring on staff. Built from the ground up, I hope it will bring jobs, happiness, and hope to such a devastated area.

High-Hand Magalia
14098 Skyway Road, Magalia, CA
Open Wednesday through Saturday, 9am-4pm

Sorry weeds and bees, you got preempted by Luke and Colton. I truly hope to meet you at Bloomtastic on Saturday, May 11th. We will be accepting donations so we can continue to find solutions for people affected by the fires.

Be proud of your support, we are making a difference.

See you at High-Hand Nursery,

Scott

How can you help out those impacted by the Camp Fire?

You have helped out so much! Here is what’s needed – Visa Gift Cards and cash. Gift cards and cash can be delivered directly to the nursery or sent to us by mail. Our address is:

Attn: Nichole
High-Hand Nursery
P.O. Box 2280
Loomis, CA 95650

You can also call us and give us a credit card over the phone. Our number is 916-652-2065. We will turn all checks and credit card transactions into cash.

New Beginnings

Every year we open up Maple Rock gardens for an event called Bloomtastic. By now I’m sure you’ve heard of Maple Rock. I’m sure that some of you have seen Maple Rock for yourselves. But the one thing nobody has been able to see during the Bloomtastic event is the Peonys in bloom.

The reason why you have not been able to see the Peonys is because they have always bloomed prior to Mother’s Day weekend. Every Spring when I walk the gardens I’m looking for a sign from nature that tells me Spring is coming. I’m looking for something that is an undeniable force of nature and once it starts it will not stop. When the Peonys start pushing from the ground up this says a couple things to me. First, it tells me the ground is warming and nature is waking up. The second thing is that I can’t stop it. Like you, I have been waiting for the rain to stop. Well it stopped and Spring came the next day. What’s unique about this year at Maple Rock is that it may be very possible that the Peonys will still in Bloom May 11th. This has never happened before. Perhaps this is mother nature’s way of rewarding Bloomtastic after a long, long winter.

Join us Saturday, May 11th as we celebrate nature and the new beginnings.

Join us in the garden Saturday, May 11th 9-3pm. We’ll have live music, lunch will be available, and a glass of wine or your favorite libation, should you desire one.

Bloomtastic this year surely will be spectacular if the Peonys can hold their blooms. I have no control over them but I will be talking to them tonight. Get your tickets by clicking here.

Succulent Kokedama Workshop

Come learn the art and craft of the Japanese Kokedama. These hanging string gardens will be handcrafted with moss, jute and a variety of succulents from the High-Hand Nursery. We will macrame a hanger for a manzanita branch to suspend the beautiful creations from. All materials and supplies are included and enjoy mimosas and fresh baked scones while we create. Dress for mess. Get your tickets by clicking here.

High-Hand Magalia is open for business.

Why did I open up a nursery in Magalia? Several reasons. Most of them are personal. We’ve been so involved in supporting victims of the camp fire that it has become an extension of all of us. I opened a nursery because I wanted to bring life back into an area of utter despair. I’m not crazy. People are trying to understand what the new normal is. I thought to myself, is it enough to just give money and come up with solutions? Is it enough to hand over the keys to a car? Throughout the last months we have helped a lot of people through tough situations that seemed insurmountable. Throughout the last months I’ve continued to ask myself what the next step is.

Life starts with a seed and in my business it starts from the ground up.

High-Hand was built from the ground up, so it’s obvious that my approach would be just that. Years ago we built High-Hand, literally from the a blighted, condemned piece of property. An old fruit shed that sat vacant for twenty-five years came to life when a seed was planted. An idea, a vision, a dream, and a burnt out lot. We are building it in the heart of the devastation as a sign that life can return. After helping for the last four or five months somebody has to step into the headwinds and show that it can be done from the ground up. So that is what we are doing.

We rolled up last Wednesday and started laying the groundwork for our humble nursery. We re-purposed the refrigeration truck used throughout winter as our storage truck. The stacks of pallets that had been accumulating from the multiple deliveries of bottled water are now our tables to showcase plants.

Please know that High-Hand Magalia is a humble little nursery, built from the ground up, by the great people of Magalia. It’s also staffed by the people of Magalia. Will this work? I don’t know. If it does, great. If it doesn’t then hopefully my failure there will inspire others to come after me. It’ll take us a few weeks for us to get into the rhythm of shipping plants and understanding the needs. We haven’t yet really established hours and we really haven’t established a synchronicity with High-Hand Loomis, but it’ll come, I promise.

The Children’s Library — From the ground up.

This Children’s Resource center, built with your donations, will supply books, necessary things/stuff that kids like and will need. After all these months of hardship this is kind of fun, isn’t it? Your donations helped build this. Give yourself a pat on the back and feel good about what you helped create.

At High-Hand Loomis our flower baskets are ready just in time for Mother’s Day. This is a great time of year to walk our greenhouses, take a deep breath, and take it all in. Our roses are beautiful and blooming.

I’ve come to know that it is really all about dirt and ladybugs. If you mess with dirt too much it will kill you. However, people will stop traffic to save a ladybug. I think that if I continue to follow these rules then High-Hand Magalia won’t fail. It’ll plant a seed of growth in an area that so desperately needs it. My hope is that it will be an incubator for more jobs and inspire other businesses to step into the headwinds with me. Beyond the nursery I hope to create a nursery related product that can be Magalia grown and sold into the valley. I do have a thought of what this will be, but first things first.

Visit High-Hand Magalia and witness it’s humble beginnings. It is a drive that you will not soon forget. The address is 14098 Skyway, Magalia.

See you at Bloomtastic Saturday, May 11th. Tell Susie at High-Hand Magalia Scott said, “Hello.” Your support makes a difference.

See you at High-Hand Nursery,

Scott

How can you help out those impacted by the Camp Fire?

You have helped out so much! Here is what’s needed – Visa Gift Cards and cash. Gift cards and cash can be delivered directly to the nursery or sent to us by mail. Our address is:

Attn: Nichole
High-Hand Nursery
P.O. Box 2280
Loomis, CA 95650

You can also call us and give us a credit card over the phone. Our number is 916-652-2065. We will turn all checks and credit card transactions into cash.

Celebrating Nature

I’m always astonished at the metamorphosis of nature. Nature is power. Nature is grace. As we go through our busy lives, day to day, month to month, year to year, do you remember? Do you stop to recognize the new beginnings and healing that nature’s spring brings us?

After a long winter spring has arrived to bless us with her grace, the apple blossoms of the Fuji Apple trees at Maple Rock are a hint of things to come.

Maple Rock Gardens Come Celebrate with Us

This time of year is a very special time at Maple Rock, our gardens come alive, our Peony’s bloom, and their flowers grace us with their smiles.

Join us Saturday May 11th, Mother’s Day weekend, and celebrate Mother Nature at Maple Rock’s Bloomtastic. Lunch will be available. Stroll the garden, listen to live music and enjoy your favorite glass of wine. Simply breathe and enjoy. Click here to buy tickets. Parking is free.

One can say that it is hard to find nature here amidst all the devastation. The healing process in Paradise has been agonizingly slow and painful. On my trip last Sunday it was easy to forget that Spring had arrived in Paradise.

We are still helping people who are living in cars, we are still helping people with individual needs. As individuals heal, there are very subtle signs that the healing in Paradise and Magalia is occurring. I had to look beyond the loss to find Nature’s grace. I am astonished with Nature’s ability to start over and wash away the devastation.

The fire burned so intensely that it twisted and melted steel. But it could not prevent Nature from reclaiming what was Hers.

The fire melted glass but could not stop the power of the Peony’s from coming back.

I’m always astonished at a Rose’s ability to survive.

Life is coming back slowly, simple little signs. Nature is showing us a glimpse into her resilience.

So What’s Next?

We’re going to open a nursery “High-Hand Magalia”. You may think I’m crazy but I’m not. I have a burning desire to try to do my part in bringing back normal. Were going to open up a nursery to employ people and provide sunshine and happiness and lift spirits in a region that is devastated. A portion of the profits will be given to support our ongoing work. The support we have received from all of you has been awe inspiring. I want to do more. So I hope we can create a few jobs and a revenue source for ongoing needs. Maybe I can get some of you to go to High-Hand Magalia and visit the nursery for yourself. I’ll let you know when we open. I’m not sure it will work, but it’s the only way to start the process of recovery.

At High-Hand Spring has arrived. Our fruit trees are blooming and peony are pushing. Join us for Bloomtastic Saturday May 11th. It’ll be a day not soon forgotten.

I’ll keep you posted about High-Hand Magalia and the new beginnings there.

See you at High-Hand Nursery,

Scott

How can you help out those impacted by the Camp Fire?

You have helped out so much! Here is what’s needed – Visa Gift Cards and cash. Gift cards and cash can be delivered directly to the nursery or sent to us by mail. Our address is:

Attn: Nichole
High-Hand Nursery
P.O. Box 2280
Loomis, CA 95650

You can also call us and give us a credit card over the phone. Our number is 916-652-2065. We will turn all checks and credit card transactions into cash.

Where Are We At These Days?

If you close your eyes for a moment and think back over the course of the last six months, what would you be thinking about? Would you be able to separate in your mind all the events that had occurred? Or would it just be a big blur? When I look back over the past six months, it’s a big blur mixed in with worry and at times adrenaline spikes. I have received a lot of emails from people asking about different people we’ve helped from the Camp Fire. So this lets me know that there are other people worrying too.

Did you donate and then wonder where we were at? Have you been following the stories, kind of confused that some of the news coming out of the Camp Fire doesn’t seem to be news of huge successes, but stop and start and stop again success?

Since the beginning of this journey we have helped an incredible amount of people. Too many to list. We have experienced sadness and set back together as well as the blessings of watching somebody rebirth their life.

I can’t speak to all the stories you’ve heard as to what is going on with the Camp Fire. I don’t pay attention, nor do I really read them. I can only attest to the work we have done together and our own focus on providing solutions.

I so want to someday write an email that has no mention of tragedy or hint of sadness. But we started this journey together in helping those from the Camp Fire and while there has been so much success we still can’t escape the constant drumbeat of sadness. I’ve spent the last six months plowing through these things and constantly looking forward. I did this with your help, trying not to look back and when I was forced to look back or circled around to a place I thought I never had to go back to, we together went back in with great resolve, bigger solutions and a commitment to finish what we started. So, if I may I’d like to take a moment to update you on where we are in our journey of hope and helping those in need.

Here’s where we’re at.

– Sadly, funds are being raised to help a lady married 61 years to cremate her husband. This fire continues to claim people. I don’t know what else to say about this other than I come across this a lot. The evacuation, the stress it created, and the conditions that exacerbated those with health concerns are continuing to take a toll. Together, we have paid for cremations and taken a bit of a burden off in time of need.

– A lot of people took in survivors onto their property and into their homes. I thought, “What’s going to happen when these people have to leave and have nowhere to go?”. You can only sleep on somebody’s couch for so long. You can only pay for extra food and utilities for so long. We are paying for some of these utility bills to help relieve the stress while trying to come up with better solutions for people. I always felt new needs would come up and they are. I knew it would be like a merry-go-round spinning, occasionally letting the horse go loose and we would have to find a solution for the horse.

– Recently we have paid a past due utility bill and are preparing a vehicle so that a young mother can take her trailer and drive out of state. Her two-year old child was sent to family after the fire. Your donations are now going to reunite them in the coming days.

– This is not the fresh catch of the day, but the start of a new life. This gentleman lost all his logging equipment in the fire as he evacuated. Your donations helped get his dignity back. They helped him to get a job. His new boots and climbing gear have started him on his journey of taking care of his family again and moving forward. Thank you for that.

– March 27th, we are happy to say that we are taking down the tent at the church. We will still be feeding about 300 meals a day, but are consolidating into a smaller area as the weather improves. Tony and the team at Celebrations in Roseville, thank you. Your tent, tables and chairs and heater have provided warmth through a long, snowy winter. I don’t know how we would have fed so many people without it. We have served over 50,000 meals to date. Thanks, Tony. Thank you, Produce Express and Reed’s Meats and your continued support in helping those in need.

– I had said in the past that I thought that the removal of the tent would indicate a turning point and it is a shift into our next step. We are going to shift our services into a resource center. This center will provide folks with the ability, once vetted, to get individual needs met. One size doesn’t fit all. We can provide basic necessities that will help people to get to the next step. There could be a pot of gold a mile away, but if you don’t have the means to get to it, all you can do is sit and stare at it.

It is fashioned after the very thing we have been doing all along. Identifying a need and fulfilling short term needs to get people to the next step in their lives.

– Water. Teigert has done an incredible job stepping in and helping to take the burden off of us. Paula from Teigert and Nichole, my assistant, work seamlessly together to put the logistics together. It works like this. Paula from Teigert confirms that Sam’s has the water in stock. Paula emails Nichole, my assistant in the office here at High-Hand. Nichole arranges for payment and notifies Paula that we are good to go. Paula then notifies their mobile equipment department, who then sends a truck and delivers the water to Magalia.

Every other week Teigert and one of their partners, Pacific Coast Building Products, pick up water and deliver it to Magalia. Quite a bit of logistics. Behind the scenes, Judd, Paula and Nichole have been doing a wonderful job.

Which brings up something I haven’t mentioned. Nichole runs my office. She runs all the accounting, payables and receivables and payroll for a company of 60 employees and 4 businesses within it. She has, without question, taken on the business of working behind the scenes to make all this happen, supplying logistical support, tracking down paperwork and fielding phone calls.

As I sit and ask myself about the events of the last six months, through my personal blur one thing shines brightly. It’s all the great people here at High-Hand who have taken calls and jumped in with their sleeves rolled up to keep this all moving smoothly. They weren’t told this was coming and when it came they jumped in without question. To Nichole, the team at the nursery and cafe, thank you so much. To Celebrations, Produce Express, Reed’s Meats, Teigert and to so many of you who have donated, thank you. I don’t know what else to say other than “thank you”.

– A young mother and her children moved into their new trailer. They had been sleeping in a car. They are no longer, thanks to your donations. Please understand that these situations after all these months still exist.

While we’ve had our eyes down moving forward helping as many people as we can, every time we look left or right, we find new needs. A military veteran keeping warm by candles in his trailer has a generator and a supply of fuel. Just trying to get to Spring.

It looks like Winter hasn’t given up yet.

But Winter is up against Time, and Time will win, if it hasn’t already.

Today, Wednesday, March 20th, at 2:58 p.m., Spring started. Winter’s days are numbered, as well as the suffering of people trying to stay warm.

– Yesterday, we purchased 100 propane tanks. They cost $50.00 each. A propane company up in the area has agreed to fill them and refill them for free. These tanks are being loaded up in a pick-up truck and delivered to people who have no means of refilling their tanks. Concow, a town on the back side of the fire, is such a place. Tanks are loaded into a pick-up truck and the routes are made. I just want to thank the propane company and a very hard working lady for making all this happen.

– Luke and Colton’s tiny house is almost done. We are building another for an elderly lady and her two dogs and a third for a young family. You and I have committed to three more homes with more on the horizon. Alicia is working hard to coordinate all this. To finish the two other houses, we will spend an additional $5,500.00.

– A gentleman who owns a custom door shop has agreed to build all the front doors to the tiny houses. Sir, I don’t know you, but thank you very much.

WHERE ARE WE AT AT HIGH-HAND NURSERY?

Throughout the winter, we have been growing and growing and growing. Our greenhouse is full with the latest flowers surely to make anybody smile.

We’re doing a bit of Spring cleaning here and I’m going to be giving away a few things for free. We have a few scratch and dent fruit trees. Here’s the list:

Unmarked Persimmons
Espalier pear, unknown varieties
Pomegranate
Peaches, unmarked
Plums, unmarked
Pears, unmarked
Camperdown Elm

I’m not trying to guilt you, but if you do happen to make a “volunteer donation” while picking up your “free” tree while supplies last, that money will be used toward our Camp Fire efforts. This will be this Saturday and Sunday, March 23rd and 24th, while supplies last. See Adrian. He’s the answer man with a big smile, always.

This weekend, Dory has five seats left for the first class of Spring.

Saturday, March 23, beginning 10:00 a.m., join us for a Springtime Fresh Floral Centerpiece. Reserve your spot by clicking here. Tickets are $65, plus tax.

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

Mother’s Day weekend, May 11th, Bloomtastic arrives, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets are $10.00 and can be purchased online by clicking here, at the nursery, or at the gates of Maple Rock Gardens. It’s a great time for all. Come and enjoy the freshness of Spring at Maple Rock Gardens.

 

WHAT’S AFTER MAPLE ROCK’S BLOOMTASTIC?

Succulents. That’s what’s next. Join my friend, Robin, Sunset Magazine’s succulent guru and learn all about succulents in one of the two lectures. Click here to learn more and reserve your seat. Obviously, we will have a lot of succulents for sale. Belly up to our succulent bar, bring your creativity and pot up your own succulent creation.

This event is free. Don’t miss out.

Well, that’s where we’re at. I can’t thank you enough for your continued support of our efforts in the Camp Fire. I look forward to seeing you at High-Hand Nursery.

Scott

How can you help out those impacted by the Camp Fire?

You have helped out so much! Here is what’s needed – Visa Gift Cards and cash. Gift cards and cash can be delivered directly to the nursery or sent to us by mail. Our address is:

Attn: Nichole
High-Hand Nursery
P.O. Box 2280
Loomis, CA 95650

You can also call us and give us a credit card over the phone. Our number is 916-652-2065. We will turn all checks and credit card transactions into cash.

A Sense of Urgency

Since the beginning of the Walmart parking lot, it seems like it’s been forever. Maybe it’s because there’s been a continual push to come up with solutions for people. As if the harshness of the fire wasn’t hard enough, winter is continuing to inflict pain.

There are areas flooding, trailers stuck and with the blanket of snow things just come to a crawl. We don’t have to experience it directly because we live in our homes and we are blessed because we were not within reach of the fire. It seems like it’s been forever but it really hasn’t.

We’re coming on just five months. With winter things quiet down a little bit. We all tend to huddle and move about a lot less. But for the victims of the fire, so much has not changed.

The shelter closed down. People were pushed into trailers that were anchored into muddy fields. People who I am still working with are now in a homeless shelter. I’m very frustrated because I just don’t know if I have a solution for some of them.

My mind operates like a boiling pot of water right now, constantly churning over.

As harsh as winter is and as difficult as it has been, we’re still finding solutions, big and small. We are using the donations as frugally as we can and applying them as accurately as possible.

Born out of a hellish night, thirty people hunkered down for 3 days, hoping to emerge. One of those people who survived that night at the church was Rusty and his children. Rusty and his family continued to stay at the church and unselfishly helped out with the fire victims as they arrived. He did whatever was necessary. Unloading trucks of water, sweeping, and cleaning. He stood vigilance over the tent. Your donations supplied needed items along the way until a solution could be found. Five months after it all began Rusty headed east with his family.

He had received a truck that was donated to us and with this they were headed to Kansas. This truck allowed him to pack up and finally move on. They headed south to Barstow at which point they would turn left and head to Kansas.

As I’ve learned throughout this journey helping fire victims of the fire trying to get back on their feet, just fights until the very end. Just when I thought I had people taken care of, things consistently popped up. For Rusty, this was no exception.

As luck would have it, Rusty broke down in Barstow and had to stay in a hotel for 2 weeks waiting for the truck to be repaired. You and I didn’t give up. We never abandoned Rusty. We got his engine repaired. We paid for his hotel. We fueled him up and out of town he went. I’m sorry but I could not leave him stranded in Barstow.

I want to share a message that Rusty sent for all of you.

Rusty checked in with me from time to time on his journey. I was nervous about the engine. I wasn’t worried about Rusty. He is a wonderful father and a hardened veteran of our military. He texted me a picture when he arrived with a message for all of you.

His message read, “We just got to our midway house, this is it, this is us, we will branch out from here to find our land and home, God willing. Thank you so much for helping us get here. Have a blessed day. Rusty, Brian and Rusty II.”

It’s real simple. I would have not been able to get there without all of you and your donations.

Luke and Colton moved from the shelter to the homeless shelter. Without a better option for now, it was really my only choice. We are making progress on his tiny house. He is staying positive and is excited for its completion.

Your donations are funding four tiny houses currently. I’m managing the budgets the best I can with the donations I have. So far, so good. This will be Luke’s and Colton’s new home.

I took this picture back in the beginning when we were helping Luke and Colton at the shelter. While they’re living at the homeless shelter now, they’re upbeat and positive. They are completely excited about their new home and are a complete joy to be around. I’ve learned a lot from them. I think we can all learn a lot from Luke and Colton.

For those who don’t have a real good solution, this is the best one we can come up with and frankly I’m excited about it.

You would think we are building a tiny house for this family of four, but I am standing next to Alicia, a mother of three. She alone has taken on the task of building these homes. She spends her off hours procuring materials, organizing volunteers and managing them. She, like myself, just dove in and went to work. All of you who have donated to me, should be proud of your accomplishments. You are supporting Alicia and our dream of building tiny homes for those who don’t have a better solution. We are funding them step by step as we get certain phases done. As donations come in, we are able to fund additional phases of these homes. You are making this happen. You should be proud.

From the first pick-up load of donations we took into the area last October, I had no idea it would grow into what it has today. While we are not running truckloads of supplies necessarily like we were back then, we are still hustling to find solutions.

In the last few days we have purchased cars, propane, food, and insurance. We have paid rent and are continuing to repair cars that made it through the fire. We are paying for medical procedures to be done and fulfilling needs from the most simple to the most complicated. We have come up with solutions for people when no one else could.

I have never looked at anybody’s problem as complicated. I just looked at everybody as an onion. Some just had more layers than others, but regardless we had to meet them right where they were at.

There have been a lot of lows and highs throughout the last five months. Because of your donations, I am still meeting people right where they’re at and finding out how to come up with solutions when there appeared never to be one.

If you feel so inclined to donate, you can. Either through the nursery or by phone. Please feel free to reach out.

I hope I am doing good by you and I thank you for your trust and your support.

Scott

How can you help out those impacted by the Camp Fire?

You have helped out so much! Here is what’s needed – Visa Gift Cards and cash. Gift cards and cash can be delivered directly to the nursery or sent to us by mail. Our address is:

Attn: Nichole
High-Hand Nursery
P.O. Box 2280
Loomis, CA 95650

You can also call us and give us a credit card over the phone. Our number is 916-652-2065. We will turn all checks and credit card transactions into cash.

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