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Rachel and I were about a third of a mile from our property when we took this picture, of the smoke from a fairly large fire. Allen estimates that the fire was about a half mile from the spot where we took the picture . . . which means that the fire was slightly less than a mile from our home.

This is the closest fire to us that we’ve seen. It was put out that same night, so it was probably someone burning off a field, and not a “wild fire.” Still, we know how easily a fire can get out of control, and things are soooooooo dry right now.

Speaking of things being dry, we get our water supply from a river which flows down from Celaque mountain. During the dry season (January through mid-May, more or less) the water levels in the local rivers lower significantly . . . and this year, our river has gone completely dry. At the time we found out that we weren’t getting any more water, our big water tank was half full (see, I’m an optimist . . . I might have said it was half empty).

The rainy season officially starts in mid-May, and we usually start getting some sporadic rains before that date, so we’re hopeful that, with some very stringent water usage restrictions at our house, we can hold out until the water rises in the river again.

We are doing two loads of laundry each day. That’s only a bit below normal, and family members have been advised to not deign an item of laundry “too dirty to wear again” until it’s really too dirty! When the water from the wash cycle is draining out, we catch the water in a large laundry tub, and we use that water for flushing the toilet and watering the plants. After the rinse cycle, we again catch the water, and we use that rinse water for the wash cycle of the next load.

We aren’t using the dishwasher for now. Instead, we’re washing dishes in the sink, and again saving the dirty water for flushing and for plants.

We’re purchasing drinking water in the city. A five gallon jug of water costs about $1, if we reuse the jug. Normally we filter the river water for our drinking water, so this is another way to stretch our water supply.

When we can, people are taking showers at Russell’s house in town. Otherwise we are trying to limit ourselves to sponge baths. That’s by far the hardest part of the restrictions – we’re all starting to feel a bit grungy.

As I’m typing this, we got a sudden cold wind . . . and we looked out to see dark clouds heading out way. We’re praying . . . !!!!!!!!!