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Today we got the base map of our land. Each contour is marked on the map along with all the boundaries and other important geodetic information. We were pleased to see the map. Six weeks ago we would have been shocked. Since then, we have grown used to the fact that what we thought we owned is not what we own. No survey had been filed with the County office since 1976.

When we bought our house we knew it was on a tiny piece of land. We thought it was like a pie and we had just under half of the pie. What we have is a slice off of the side of the pie. On top of that, we have huge changes in elevation on the land. We always had those. We built gardens and placed 7 tons of rock and gravel to manage with natural materials the erosion associated with those gradients. The rocks are still there. The gradients are even more pronounced because the fire left no vegetation to soften the lines.

One small stand of trees is left. It is a lovely little glen. It is just about big enough for a picnic blanket for two, or in our case, three—two, two foots and one four-foot (the dog). We are wrestling with how to put a house on our little slice off of the pie and this tiny glen is a touchstone for the project.

It was always a beautiful spot to me although no one else seemed to see what I saw. I can understand why. It was a small spot surrounded by bigger trees and bushes so its uniqueness did not show. I had planned to get up there and tend a garden. Some years back I planted native grass and wild flower seed but that did not do so well. We had a few little flowers struggle up for a couple of years but that was all.

The pear cactus did grow well there. We like them. I love the shapes of the leaves and the various patterns of the cacti. My spouse thinks the flowers are more beautiful than almost any other flower.

We like them in one spot so we know where those little spines are. A few years back I relocated a bunch of cacti to make a patch of ground more dog and human friendly. I learned that cacti liked to wrap themselves around rocks so you have to dig deep and wide to move one. Their root systems were so large, trying to gather their parts to move them from one location to another was a challenge. Sometimes I moved their rocks with them so they could stay with their friends. After a couple of days of picking cactus spines out of my regular gardening gloves and my fingers, I asked my spouse to get me a pair of welding gloves. When he went to the welding supply store and explained what he needed they seemed to be totally bewildered by his request. Nonetheless, he returned home with beautiful blue, thick, leather gloves. I was thrilled. I tromped out to the yard and dove in with gusto. I learned that cacti relocation and welding are very different endeavors. My confident gusto resulted in an hour with tweezers pulling out cactus parts from my parts.

After a while I managed to move the cacti into single spot. I lost only one of them in the relocation project. My welding gloves were quickly cosigned to glove heaven since I could not get all the tiny spines out of them. In my little glen, the cacti are well organized no relocation program is needed.

We have a lovely small spot where the trees did not burn, the cactus grown and the grass is greening up. I have always loved that spot. Before, no one else saw in it the beauty I did. With all of the dross burned away, the loveliness of the spot is there for all to see.