Clyde and I are waking up this morning to a much different scene than we did just one short week ago. I have to admit we are still trying to wrap our minds around what happened last Friday, but I can tell you one thing: without all of you out there, we would be curled up in a ball in bed, crying over our woes. Now the tears we have are those of gratitude for everyone’s kindness and concern that has been shown to us over the past week.
So many of you have asked about what happened and what our plans are, that I wanted to update you with as much as we know. Plus, if you haven’t seen the ruins of the winery on facebook, I’ll share a few of those shots below. (If you just want to remember Peaceful Bend as it was, I’ll give you a warning later before we get into the pics.)
Many of you know already that Clyde and I have been living and taking care of his Mom in the cottage on our property for most of this year. Last Friday, I woke up early – somewhere around 3am – and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I decided to just get up and head to the winery to get a jump start on the day. When I stepped out onto the porch of the cottage, I could see the winery completely engulfed in flames. I ran inside, woke up Clyde and called 911 at that time.
By the time the fire crews arrived, the building was basically gone and fire had spread into the woods uphill from the winery. They were able to quickly contain the forest portion and also limped our tractor out of the way of the burning building. By around 5 or 6 that morning the firemen had put out the worst of the hot spots and left saying that what was still there would continue to smolder for several days. It was too hot and still dark, so there was little the fire marshal could do to investigate at that point.
We ended up going inside and sitting, numb to what had just gone on, for at least an hour or two. My parents were staying over at Murphy’s Place, so eventually I went over to tell them what happened, and to use my neighbor’s computer to let you all know too.
That day and throughout the week, you all flooded in messages of support, love, encouragement, and condolences. Our facebook page and our email was filled to the brim, and neighbors began stopping by to offer us anything they could. I don’t know what we would have done without each and every one of you that reached out in any manner.
You’re messages were the lifeline out of our despair. Because of your support, I can say that we will rebuild. I don’t know how or when yet, but we will rebuild.
The insurance fire investigation began on Tuesday and is still open, so there isn’t anything we can do for clean up yet. We’ve spent the week getting things like bank cards, driver’s licenses, instructions for what to do next, etc underway. We do have a phone hooked back up to the winery number. It goes directly to voicemail for now, but will try to return calls as quickly as we can.
So many are wanting to know what you can do, so I am sharing two fundraisers that are going on. If you are ok with giving money and you live nearby, our friend Lee Watson is hosting an evening of music, food, and a silent auction at his barn in Cuba, MO on December 17 starting at 3pm. For more information about that, please click on over to his facebook event page here. For those who aren’t nearby, another friend named Lea Baker has set up a GoFundMe page to collect donations here.
For those of you who can’t give money for any reason, but still want to do something for us, I do have a huge favor to ask. I can’t tell you how much it’s picked up our spirits and propelled us forward to hear from you all during this dark week, and I’m guessing that we’ll still have some hard days ahead. Could you choose a day in the coming weeks/months ahead and send us a note, email, fb message, phone call or stop by if you’re in the area? If you don’t know what to say, you can share a memory, you could encourage us, drop a line saying ‘just checking on you’, let us know what you’re up to, relate your favorite bad pun, or tell us to get off our butts and get more wine ready for you dangnabbit!
Thank you in advance.
Ok. I’m about to share photos. For those of you who want to remember the winery as it was, don’t scroll down.
The view from the driveway.
What’s left at the top where the front porch, tasting room entrance, and crush pad used to be.
Looking down into the main wine cellar from above.
Looking at the section of the building that faced the lower wine garden. Friday we had a recycle bin, but by Saturday that had burned away along with the bottom of the steps.
A wider look from the lower wine garden. As you can see, Maggie and Pepe have not let the fire dampen their spirits!
Our new tractor. UGH! Clyde loved this thing. The fire crews were able to start it and move it out of the way, so we have hopes this can be repaired.
What’s left of the 2016 vintage.
Two pieces of pottery that my mom gave me years ago somehow survived falling through the storage room floor into the wine cellar. Plus this melted piece of ??aluminum?? looked like modern art, so we might save it. Call it our Phoenix.
As tragic as all this feels, the sunlight is still golden in the wine garden, and the pavillion is intact (plenty of chairs even!). Friends and family are even more precious to us now.
Pepe’s bed is still intact, but he’s definitely been missing his dose of treats this week!
And my sense of irony is still intact. I found this in the hay field above the winery a day or so after the fire.
I think that’s all I’ve got for now. We meet with the fire marshal this morning and after that, I’ll try to get an email out to our newsletter subscribers. Again, I can’t thank you all enough for everything – we are truly blessed to have you in our lives and are looking forward to toasting you with a glass of our wine again.