Paperwork Important To Keep Fuels Grant

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Beauty is where we find it.

It is also the appreciation of beauty that makes our days all the more worth living. To tell the truth, I am tired of winter and snow and cold. And when I am grouchy, it is hard for me to appreciate the beauty around me.

This week began with 2-plus inches of snow that totally covered the greening grass in my front yard. As the sky darkened and the rain and snow started, my attitude likewise darkened. But beauty lurks in the dark moments as well. Certainly Tuesday morning’s landscape came straight off of a calendar page. It was pretty, but it was here. Some beauty is better appreciated from a distance — like a hundred miles or so.

Beauty also lurks in the emerging green grass and the crisp iris leaves. Memories of spring’s past color in the gaps — literally. Soon the desert hills will blossom forth; the mountain lilacs will offer tender flowers and fragrant scent. Today I have to live with my geranium that has gone absolutely crazy with huge red bunches of blossoms. It is a good thing, because I am tired of white snow.

Say it ain’t true!

Well, the good news is that it is not true. A rumor has been bandied around town that the fire department’s free pick-up of trimmings and needles was coming to an end. I hustled to the station on Hardscrabble in Pine and had a chat with Jay Wailes who is the fuels manager for the Pine-Strawberry Fire District. He explained to me how the program works.

The federal government offers state governments grants to reduce fire hazards and promote fire prevention. The Rim Country is one of the most endangered fire areas in the state and the state has sent along grant money to our fire department to help keep us fire safe.

That money is spent on equipment (truck, trailer and Bobcat), their maintenance, gas (no small matter these days!) and manpower to collect our tree trimmings and pine needles at no extra cost to us. The fact of the matter is that fuels need fuel to burn. When we remove the fuel, we control the fire hazard. Fire fuels include overgrown trees and shrubbery and thick mats of pine needles underfoot.

What is true is that this program is actually a partnership between the residents and the fire department. We residents clean up our lots and pile the debris at the side of the road and the fire department gets it picked up and makes three trips a day to the landfill with it all. But there is more to our part of this partnership.

Like any other subsidized program, there is paperwork to prepare. That is also our job, for if we do not take care of the paperwork, the grant won’t be funded, the money stops and then we are on our own with regard to yard cleanup. This is a wonderful program to help keep our communities fire safe.

Do your part. Clean up and do the paperwork. Get your form from the fire stations in either Strawberry or Pine and go online at www.pine-strawberryfire.com to learn more. And while you are at it, remind your part-time neighbors of their need to participate as well. No one’s home is safer than the worst kept yard in terms of fire fuel. We have a lot to lose if we fail to do our part.

Whizzing on by ...

Those of us who live here full-time are often apt to whizz right on by businesses that cater more to visitors than residents.

One such business that caught my eye this week is Pine Country Antiques, right at the curve on the north end of Pine on Highway 87. What a plethora of items are offered! Lorna Piestrantonio and Maureen Garlauski developed this business in 2005. Certainly you can find antiques there, but there is much, much more! Salt water taffy and old-time candies. Collectibles and furniture. Candles and gifts. Soaps and incense. Olive Branch coffee from New Mexico. New and retro toys and old tools. Jewelry and trunks. Cast iron ware including Dutch ovens.

One of Lorna’s favorite pieces is a cast iron skillet around a hundred years old. If you are a Duke fan, there is quite the John Wayne collection. I even found my very favorite emu lip balm. Now it comes in flavors — mint, natural and lemon. It is much better (my humble opinion) than the famous tube for chapped and sunburned lips. The best seller is old keys.

Pine Country Antiques is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays they close at 4 p.m. Stop on by. Lorna says it is worth the trip to Pine. I’d have to agree. It was a fun stop.

Strawberry, Pine doin’s

Check out the children’s programs at the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library in Pine.

Spring break ends as you read this. Hope your break was refreshing.

Softball games against Beaver Creek on Tuesday, March 29 and Camp Verde on Thursday, March 31.

Contact me at spcolumnist@yahoo.com. Have a great week!

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