Some say the world will end with fire.

Others say with ice.

From what I've tasted of desire

I hold with those that favor fire.

But if I had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate,

To say that for destruction ice,

Is also great and would suffice.

Robert Frost


"Good things come to those who wait, but, only the things LEFT by those who hustle." - Unknown (at least by me)

"Life is wonderful, without it you are dead." - Hy "Pete" Peterson - Park City and Kenecott Miner

"Don't worry about those people in your past---there is a reason they are not in your present." - Unknown

"Life's tough - it's even tougher if you're stupid." - John Wayne

"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary!" - Vince Lombardi

"If you aren’t living on the edge, you’re probably taking up too much space.” ~ Attributed to Jim Whittaker by Doug ‘Swani’ Swantner, Alaska Smokejumper and Air Attack Base Manager (Ret.)

About Me

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I am married and have seven children and twenty grandchildren. I retired January 1, 2010 after working 39+ years for the Forest Service...NEW CHAPTER IN MY LIFE HAS BEGUN!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Today I got a note in my e-mail from one of my fellow employees. He said when he came to work here he planned to stay 3-5 years and now it has been 10 so it's time to go. He then said January 2 was his retirement date.

This guy is one of the best that I have ever worked with. He can make things happen just by thinking about them. I have only ever seen one other individual that could make things happen like this guy---and he moved away many years ago. I have enjoyed working with him and hate to see him hang it up but I guess we all have to go sometime.

I have spent nearly the last hour in his office talking about the projects that he has done since I have been here---it is awesome to talk about that list of accomplishments. I am going to miss him and this is a TOUGH GOODBYE. He'll still be around the town but it won't be the same.

Friday, December 26, 2008


The day after any holiday is always a disaster. Kids getting ready to go back home and hurrying to get everything loaded. Others wanting to do something else before they go. Anyway today feels like the holidays are over and it is time to get on with life.

I took my truck to a service shop to have it checked out after yesterdays broken line in the transmission. Tough lesson learned. It cost $120.00 to drain the transmission and replace the fluid because I put the wrong type of transmission fluid in yesterday---so all totalled it cost $137.50 for the transmission repair I was so proud of yesterday. Bet I pay a lot more attention to what is in the book for recommended fluids from here on.

It snowed a lot around us but not much here. My mom called and said they got 18" of new snow yesterday. Inklings folks called and said they got more than 24" of new snow. I am glad we live in a valley that only got a couple of inches and most of that has melted this afternoon. The roads are wet but mostly clear now.

We had a great Christmas---wish the rest of our kids had been here but we had a good time and had a nice visit with three of the seven. We were lucky enough to have phone calls from the rest of them. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Today we had a very Merry Christmas. It started out a little strange as one of my grand daughters doesn't do well without all the sleep she can get so we didn't start opening gifts until 10:00 (at least three hours later than ususal). We had a good time watching her open her gifts then play with it for a while before she would open another one. It was fun to watch her. We didn't go shoot the glass balls from the tree yet out to the rifle range so the rest of you can still make it home in time to do that if you hurry. Yeah I know it is red neck to do that---but I'm glad my grand kids like to shoot the glass balls. It is worth a lot to see how excited they get to have their turn with the rifle. No matter where you go or how old you get it is always good to know how to shoot a rifle---and a pistol for that matter.



Today I took my truck out of the garage to go check on the horses. As I drove into the street I noticed a lot of red oil all over the driveway. I pulled the truck back on to the driveway to check it out. I had blown the rubber line off the transmission. If I hadn't noticed it when I first started out I would have burned up the transmission in the time I was going to be gone. I was able to get the hose back on and retightened. Then I took it to a station and added three quarts of transmission fluid---I am sure glad it came off today and not when we were moving the kids home or getting our daughter from Logan---that would have cost a lot to replace the transmission. Sometimes I am also very thankful for my childhood where I learned a little about mechanics from one of my best friends dad. We reconstructed a Model A from the ground up when I was a senior in high school. I learned a lot about what makes things go doing that.....thanks for your patience Bruce.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


My body is in the process of rejecting me. I hate it. Yesterday we replaced the water softener in our house. I helped the guy take the salt container up the stairs. When we got it to the top of the stairs I went to open the door to let him out. As I squeezed by him the disc I have injured many times started to hurt again. I immediately started the ADVIL treatment and put on the back brace. I feel a little better today but it still hurts pretty bad. At least the numbness in my legs has gone away.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


It doesn't feel like liberation---it feels like part of my heart has been ripped out. I know they are still there and that we will see them occasionally but it ain't the same. We took these kids back to their parents yesterday (Saturday). They have been bouncing off the walls since the judge made the decision on Wednesday that they could go home and they couldn't wait to get there.
I took Inklings out to dinner last night at a restaurant---I think it was the second meal we have had out together since May. It was nice and was pretty relaxed but our lives have been forever changed. Their parents stole our grandparent role from us to these kids by their actions that got them tangled up in the courts. I may be able to forgive them for that sometime but it AIN'T T'Day.

Friday, December 19, 2008


We have had five of our grand children in foster care with us since May. They go home to their parents tomorrow if we can get all their stuff in the truck.

Tonight two young mothers from our ward showed up at the door with five huge bags (I'm talking 35 gallon size bags) of Christmas presents for the kids. We have had several other things happen to help out with their Christmas but this one really got to me.

These women that brought the bags are young mothers from the new subdivision just north of us. They told us the entire subdivision decided that instead of getting neighbor gifts they would get our grand kids some Christmas presents. This really touched me because these women (infact about the whole subdivision) have young children. They are not that well off that they could do this without sacrificing and they need Christmas for their kids too.

It is (and always has been) really hard for me to accept anything from anyone and after they left the bags I had a good cry---it was soooo good of them to be thinking about our grand kids. The grand kids were going to have a good Christmas without those presents but now they will probably have the best Christmas of their lives---literally and figuratively. They will have it at home with their parents and they will have lots of presents (and I'm talking about toys they wouldn't even ask for because Santa always ran out of those before he got to their house).

If you don't think that is humbling let it happen to you and see----


This morning I woke up early and laid in bed for two hours trying to go back to sleep---didn't happen---I just continued to get more and more anxious. So I jumped out of bed and went to work. I have now read all of my mail and completed all of the things that were outstanding and needed completion today so maybe the anxious feeling (night sweats) will go away....or maybe they aren't related to work and the anxious feelings will get worse as the day goes on.

We started packing the kids stuff yesterday to get them ready to go home. I went dumpster diving behind the stores in town to find enough boxes to pack their belongings. After most of the day packing Inklings remarked that we probably won't have enough room in the truck to get all their stuff home. It is amazing how much stuff they have accumulated in the seven months we have had them. It WILL all fit in the truck but it will be piled pretty high. Whenever you have things piled high you have to be careful that you tie them down well to keep them from tipping out of the truck. I am truly not looking forward to the trip tomorrow to take them home.

I checked the weather for tomorrow a few minutes ago and we should have a pretty good day. With all of the snow and ice on the roads we will have to cover the kids stuff with a tarp to keep it dry but other than that it should be an easy trip. We will take the truck and the kids van over and come back in just the truck. It will seem very strange to not have two vehicles at the house. TG hated having the kids at the house but she's going to hate more not having OUR car at school. We let her take it because anywhere we needed a car we had to take the van to have enough seat belts for all the kids. Now it will be just the two of us.

As I have been typing this I have been thinking about all the things we'll have to do after the kids are gone. It will probably take us several days to clean all of the carpets in the house. I have to finish the repair of the wall that one of them pushed through with his foot while trying to push the couch out so he could get toys from under it. I have decided I need to just replace all of the toilet seats because they are getting bad and it is easier to replace them than to fix them. We need to replace the water softener---it has started to leak and we probably have some wall problems caused by the leak---oh joy. We need to replace two bathroom floors with tile. We need to replace the kitchen carpet---it is amazing to me how much damage has been done in the kitchen in the last seven months. This is just a start of what needs to be fixed but as you can see the house took a beating. Maybe this list is what caused the night sweats---

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


We just got home from court where the judge decided to let our five grand children move back home with their parents and we are to move them this Saturday. They will remain in DCFS custody for three more months except for the two year old whose custody was restored to the parents today.

Why isn't this good you ask---well in the first place I don't think their parents have prepared themselves for what will occur Saturday. I don't think they are ready by any sense of the imagination to have all five kids returned to them then. I know it looks like a good thing to have the kids go back to their parents but I don't feel like they have paid a big enough price for their actions to have these kids back in their house.

For the record I will spend the next 18 years wondering if our kids are doing what they need to do to keep out of trouble and wondering when we'll get the grand kids back. The judge told them today that this is their last chance---if they screw up again the kids are gone---that means we get them---so see we either worry about them or we raise them---GOOD??????

Monday, December 15, 2008


Inklings had some derogatory things to say about my MALL tolerance. She said it was 15 minutes---well actually it is a lot less than that but---I hung in there Saturday while our grandkids were with their parents for an overnight visit for over 3 hours in one mall and 2 hours in another one. We went back to one store three times to look at the same thing---if it were me I would have bought it the first time---but no we still don't have it bought and Inklings gets to have stress over not having it taken care of---OH YEAH I FORGOT TO TELL YOU IT WASN'T AN EXACTLY PERFECT MATCH FOR WHAT SHE HAD IN MIND.

Well the Mall experience wasn't so bad it was the trip both up and back that was bad. We were in a super storm on the way up and at one time all traffic was stopped and we were sliding down the interstate. Inklings said "You're sliding" as we slid toward the back of a huge semi at about three miles per hour. I said "YUP--what would you like me to do about it?" Luckily about then one of the tires hit a small patch of exposed asphalt and we came to a stop just a few feet short of the semi. I was sure glad that I kept my following distance stretched out because of the snow---at a normal distance we'd have hit the truck. Going home was nearly as bad as the snow had been packed to ice and was very slick. There just wasn't as much traffic to contend with.

Friday, December 12, 2008


"Good things come to those who wait---but only those things left by those that hustle." Unknown

I love that statement---LOVE IT. I think it fits a lot of things in life where if you think someone else needs to take care of you then you are going to come up with the short end of the stick. However I have waited patiently for Inklings to finish her blog and reading her e-mail. She never could get on the site good enough to finish either. I came down as soon as she turned the computer off, turned it back on signed in and did all of my stuff then read some blogs then decided I'd gloat a little.

We have waited patiently---well not waited---for the kids to get a chance to go home to their parents---tomorrow they get to go for the weekend. You'd think that would make them easier to deal with for the night---NO CHANCE---they have turned into brats. Every one of them is harder to deal with tonight than they have been for weeks. I know they are excited to go home for a couple of days---but I damn sure am not happy that they are going.

It almost appears that eight months of working on rules and obedience went down the drain when they washed their hands tonight. Hope this works out alright...they'll be broken hearted if things go gunnysack over the weekend.

Hey Inklings the site is back operational now.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


We found out yesterday at the team meeting for my son and his wife that the recommendation is going to be made to the judge to let the grand kids go home this weekend overnight and after school is out (Dec 19) they will get a 30 day trial return home. Guess that is good news and bad news all rolled into one. I asked Inklings last night what we were going to do---she said you are going to go to work and I am going to stay here and go crazy all by myself. NOT AN EXACT QUOTE BUT AN EXACT MEANING.

This is one of the things through all of this that has worried me---what if they fail the 30 day trial---where does that put the kids---if I were one of them I'd be madder than a hornet. Where does that put us---with angry kids---AGAIN---

December 7 - I blew it

I planned on doing a major blog for Pearl Harbor Day and I blew it. Here are a couple of pictures taken on a Brownie camera that was found a few years ago and the film developed. I have a lot of them on my hard drive and look at them and am thankful for what the World War II vets did for the World.
I can't believe the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor but more than that I cannot believe all the death and destruction the veterans saw as they put their lives on the line to preserve our freedom. It was way more hands on battling in that period of time that it is today with all of the technologically controlled bombs and drones and stuff.

I am truly thankful that these men and women put their lives on the line and turned the tide world wide so we could remain a free state, and England could remain free---sometimes I question the actions for France.

There are times when I think about all the people that died storming the beaches in order to win that war. That had to be awful.

When I was a lad I had a neighbor that was an alcoholic. He would sit in front of the bank and drink wine until he passed out and peed his pants all the time. He staggered around drunk every where he went. We teased him mercilessly until one day my dad sat us all down and talked to us about the sacrifice he made in Normandy---when he came home he was never the same again. Dad told us the military called it shell shocked - whatever that meant. Damn I wish I could take those mean things I did back.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Eight crying one carrying she---she's gotta be free. Last night Ashtyn---Lightning Stikes cat---didn't come in when I opened the door after turning out the lights to go to bed. I asked Inklings if she had seen her. She hadn't so we went to bed. This morning I got a call at the office from Inklings telling me she had found Ashtyn and she was dead. All of the kids had seen her dead on the way to school and everyone was upset about losing her. Inklings told me to come take care of her---she couldn't do the dead animal thing.

So I came home from work and took Ashtyn up into the hills to the same spot I buried Sadie (our dog) last spring. I buried the cat right next to the dog---they were good friends when they were both alive so I thought it was appropriate---and since I was the designee I got to choose where she went.

While I was burying her I thought it would be a nice place to have my ashes scattered too. It is one heck of a view of the valley from there.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


This is a subject I have been pondering for a while which anyone that has read my blog knows. I go to leadership meetings and come out of them depressed because of all the new stuff there is out there that I am supposed to be doing. I spend a couple of days in a depression and trying to figure out all the new stuff then decide---I can't do all that stuff but I can do the important stuff (to me) better than most. After that decision I am good for the rest of the month until the next leadership team meeting. How long do you beat your head on a wall trying to learn stuff that you don't think is important? The problem with that is the new wave of leadership really truly believe that you can manage the land with a computer. I dread the day when all of the gray wave (us old folks) is gone and the management of our lands is left to computers.

Don't get me wrong, I think computers are a great thing and can keep track of lots of information that we put into them and they can sort it how we want it and feed it back to us to help determine what is best---but for damn sure computers cannot make decisions---nope---not a single one---they can sort things to where it looks like a decision but it is still just a process that may or may not have any bearing in reality.

Maybe this old dog is too set in his ways to learn the new tricks.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Over Thanksgiving Psychodoctor took a bunch of pictures of fourteen of our seventeen grand children. The other three weren't here. They turned out really good and I have figured out how to print them on my printer so I am really going to enjoy having them. Thanks Bud!!!



Seventeen years ago while I was stationed at Flaming Gorge I started using a day planner. I really like the month at a glance calendars but they no longer make the calendar with just the months. You can still get it but you have to buy all of the individual days with it. The cost is close to $60.00. Well I'm too damn tight to pay that much money for a calendar so I go to a copy center---shrink a normal calendar to 65% onto poster paper---cut it to fit the day planner---put month markers at the bottom of the pages so I can find the month quickly---punch it and install it in the planner---and wah lah---I have exactly the calendar I want for my day planner for the new year.

I did this today while I was on annual leave---if I had been getting paid the cost of the calendar would have been over $100.00---good thing I wasn't on the pay roll. Because I wasn't on the pay roll it cost $2.80 for copies and page labels. Other than that I am sore in the back from leaning over cutting the pages and putting the labels on and I'm also kind of smirking that I got exactly what I wanted for almost nothing---excluding my time.

TAKE THAT FRANKLIN PLANNERS---you'd think they would keep putting out the products that sold well but apparently just using the monthly sheets didn't fit their training module so they quit selling them separately. Since they did that there hasn't been one sale from my district and it serves them right.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Today one of my old friends and an ex Ranger on the district I now have came into my office for a short visit. Four of the people that work for me worked for him before he retired so we had a good visit.

He told me he had never been madder at anyone in his life than he was at me one day in a leadership meeting. He was saying how much money he needed to take care of an administrative site on the district. I made the comment that I could give him the fix for that and threw him a book of matches. I could tell he was mad---but that was over 20 years ago and he's still mad. HMMMM---some memories just need to go away. NOT THE FRIENDS THOUGH---WE HAD A GREAT VISIT.

I told him the four of us visiting with him were just a figment of his imagination because none of us were there. He laughed pretty hard because he had been under a lot of use or lose in his career too.


I have hit the time of year where annual leave either has to be used or today I donated 60 hours to a lady that works for me that has been really sick with cancer nearly all year. She is in her early eighties and works to be able to live. It is a sad state of affairs because she is so sick I don't think she should be working but she just keeps on chugging and coming in and doing her best. There are a lot (and I do mean a lot) of kids out there that wouldn't work as hard as she does if they were fully healthy. There is a great lesson to be learned from this lady. It isn't the work that is going to kill her.

BUT---that wasn't what I signed on to write about. With the donation of leave I have made I will be on annual leave for most of the rest of the year. Even at that I will lose about four days because of the time I will have to go back for meetings and other things. So I'll just pick some other lucky person and give them some leave to help them continue to get a paycheck through their sickness. I remember when the first allowed us to do this. I think it is a great thing for people to be able to give what they are going to lose to someone that is sick.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I have spent the last couple of hours wondering what I ought to do. One of my best friends announced his retirement for Jan. 2, 2009 last Monday. That is only little over a month away. He is a year older than me but we have the same length of service. We have worked together for a lot of years (13 years--nearly 1/3 of our careers).

I guess through all of that I have determined that retirement would give me twice as much time to do the things I want to do and about half the money to do them with.

HMMMM-still pondering.


Yesterday Inklings had a migrane and was pretty damn sick all day. I got to do lunch for those that were still here---all 12 of us---

It was a shock---we don't have a pan big enough to cook enough packages of Top Ramen at one time to give everyone a bowl of soup. It took three separate times to cook enough soup so everyone got some. I learned that it takes a lot of food to feed this many folks.

I also learned that nobody complained about the food because Grandpa was cooking it. If there would have been complaints they wouldn't have had (got) to eat any of it. I would have seen to that.


We had Inklings mother and father here for Thanksgiving day. Her mother had a breast removed a couple of weeks ago because of cancer. Her dad can't drive long distances or at speeds above 40 so she drove over and back. It made me hurt for her just thinking about the drive but she never complained one bit.

I think she's a lot frailer than she wants anyone to know--BUT--She's Tuff Enuf.

Friday, November 28, 2008


One of my employees brought in the quote from Edna StVincent Millary that is now near the top of my blog. He said the quote reminded him of me and he couldn't wait to show it to me.

YUP---that is absolute fact.


TURKEY DAY IS HISTORY at our house and all that is left is to eat up the left-overs---yup---even though we had nearly a house full we still managed to have some of the good stuff carry over for dinner and for the day after meals. I really do like left over turkey, and turkey sandwiches on hard rolls, and stuffing with cold turkey.

Thanks for coming to all that did---and we missed you to all that didn't.


Thursday, November 27, 2008


1. That we live in a nice warm (or cool) house depending on the weather.
2. That we have electricity in the house that lets there be light in the dark.
3. That I don't have to work underground as a miner.
4. That there are those that work underground as miners so we can have the electricity I was thankful for above.
5. That I am pretty healthy for an old guy.
6. That we live in a free country.
7. That the people in the military are there to protect me and my way of life---even though they don't even know me.
8. That we can go through a change of power for our president without a military coup.
9. That the price of gas is dropping back to the figure that we have been living with for a long time.
10. That I have a job that I love.
11. Family
12. Friends old and new
13. Good roads
14. Good cars
15. Rain instead of snow
16. My education
17. Inklings
18. My life experiences - both good and bad
19. Good food
20. Being able to blog this


How can 23 people in a house for Thanksgiving feel like the house is empty?

HERE IS HOW---we have seven kids (with four spouses) and 17 grandkids---four of the kids, one of the spouses, and fourteen of the grand kids will be here along with one set of their grand parents for dinner today. Along with me and Inklings that makes a total of 23---so why the empty feel?

We will have three kids, three of their spouses and three grandkids that won't be there. That makes a huge hole in the family and makes it feel like the house is empty even though it is overflowing.

Oh well we had them all last year for the first time in quite a while and even had Psychodoctor take an impromptu picture of our kids with Inklings and I. It turned out really good. After everyone left we thought we should have taken another one with all of our kids, their spouses and us.

Ain't it interesting how hind sight is allways 20/20 or better? Maybe we'll get to have all of us together again in the near future. In the meantime there is a huge hole in our house today.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I made it out of the coal mine with no bumps, no bruises and no panic attacks so I'm tuff enuff---not tough enough to be an underground miner though. It was quite an experience and it made me very, very, very thankful that most every day I see the sun at least for a few minutes and that where I work is well lit and I don't have to have a headlamp except when on fires at night. Even then I can meander around and see where my feet are going and can see my hand in front of my face without the light.

I learned yesterday that 50% of the electricity in Utah is generated using coal from that mine. Pretty big number and makes you think how closely we are all tied to those TUFF miners that are extracting the coal. Give a little Thanks to them for your power this THANKSGIVING DAY. Have a good one.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


For the last three nights I have had night mares dealing with confined spaces---yeah ever since I got stuck under a shed trying to retrieve a cat when I was five or six I have had this terrible fear of tight spaces.

I have woke up in a sweat of terror several times each night due to dreams of being stuck in tight places. Today I am going underground into a mine on the District so I am hoping the night TERROR goes away after (if) I make it out.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Tuesday was Veterans Day and a National holiday so I had the day off. I went down to check on the horses and one of my employees was feeding them. I stayed to visit and Inklings came home. When we were finished feeding the horses we went for a coke and a fairly long visit.

We talked a lot about what Veterans day was all about and how thankful we were that World War II was fought across the Ocean. We talked about all of the veterans of that war saw and sufferred. Where I grew up we had several WWII vets that drank themselves to death and never---no---not once talked about all of the horrible things they witnessed.

Today we have another war being fought across the ocean and we should be thankful for the service men and women that are protecting us again. Yes US--Not the Iraqi's.

I came home and put our flag out for the world to see that I do support our troops and am thankful for their protection.


I have been thinking about this blog since Veterans Day and decided I needed to share it with you.

I was in West Virginia on a wildland fire a few years ago. The close out for the fire was scheduled at a motel in Washington D.C. so we could finish up the close out and fly home easily. We generally have about a half day to see some things following a fire so we went to the Mall near the Capitol.

I loved the Lincoln Memorial and we took the team picture with all of us on the steps. Following the team picture we were given instructions that we had two hours to look around and then we were to be back at the Lincoln Memorial to catch the bus to the motel.

I had a very good high school friend who was killed in action in Viet Nam so I dedided I would go to the wall and find his name. Many people told me that visiting the wall was a religious experience for most people that went there. So here's the story:

I went to the wall and there are books of names giving the location of all who died by date and a location of their name on one of the blocks of granite by number and the row on which the name is carved into the coal black granite. When I started looking at the book there were just over 100 people at the wall and the entire next graduating class from Anapolis, who were there to see peoples reactions to the memorial.

As I left the book there were no people (zero) on the walkway to the wall and the entire graduating class from Anapolis was no longer there. I walked to the wall and found my friends name. I sat down at the wall and got a piece of paper out and a pencil and rubbed a copy of his name from the monument to take home with me. When I finished I looked up and the entire Anapolis class was on the overlook deck looking down at me. There were still no people on the sidewalks in the memorial.

I started to walk out and one of my friends met me. He asked me what I had done to run all of the people out of there. I told him I hadn't done anything---it just turned out that way---he laughed and said "I don't think so---you had to have done something. People don't just abandon the wall like that."

We walked perhaps 100 more feet and the memorial was full again. So I leave it with you with a question. What happened that day in the Viet Nam Memorial? I will tell you that I was reunited with my friend for about five minutes. It was more than a religious experience and this is the first I have shared it---if you are ever in D.C. stop in at this memorial. It is a sad remembrance of all that were lost but there is more to the granite wall than anyone knows. You see pictures of people touching the wall with a soldier inside the granite touching their hand. I assure you that it is that close.

Hope this leaves you thankful for all those that fought for our freedom and especially for those that died. Even those in the thankless Viet Nam War.

I wish I could go back and do it again but if I ever do I would much rather visit the World War II exhibit which was not there at the time and which recognizes a whole generation that gave everything to assure we remained free---and not only us but England, France and the rest of the free world---GOD BLESS YOU!!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Here are photos of the winning band---not really---but at least we were good sports. The singer is my Forest Supervisor and he's also the left one on the apple bobbing in chocolate pudding---Native Minnow you'd love this one---I did it a couple of years ago and it ain't all bad.


Today is one of the most important days in American History---always---it is the day we get to vote for who will represent us in our government for the next 4 years for president and 2 years for house of representatives and 6 years for senate--if they are up for election this go round. If you voted you can bitch for the entire four years---if you didn't please keep your mouth shut.

No matter who gets elected or what happens the rest of today---this is the DAY that sets apart from the rest of the world---we are so lucky to live in this great country---we are so lucky for our military heroes and also for those that died to keep us free.


Friday, October 31, 2008


Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the fire and fuels folks burned a 500 acre block. It was a good three days and I enjoyed very much watching them pull off the burn. Last night we smoked in a mine and tripped 17 CO detectors which makes the miners very nervous. We went up today and worked out the problems this caused with the mine managers. We also showed them what we are trying to accomplish and told them we weren't going to quit burning but that we were probably done until spring. I should have posted some pictures but alas like all times I didn't take a camera with me. Suffice it to say the crew DONE GOOD!!!!!!!! I love this job.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I am not smart enough to post the picture and then add words to it but I am smart enough to know it can be done. So this goes with the picture below. It was (IS) a good old truck. It (795) carried me many, many miles safely. I never worried when I went somewhere in it that I could be left walking. It had well over 250,000 miles on it when L* got it. My oldest son raced it down B Hill off the road and it still ran---it needed work but it still ran. the guy that owned it before me chased wild horses with it on the desert so it had many, many days of abuse. It was a Milford truck and no one should ever buy a used vehicle from Milford---but I did---and it was a good one mechanically.

L* hope it wins you another battle when you run it next time---not many vehicles get to run in two demolition derbies. Way to go!!!!



I bought a 1978 Chevrolet truck in 1984. It was a mess - had dents all over it and the doors wouldn't work right and the paint was really bad - but the price was right and it was a 4WD. I had wanted a 4WD for a long time so it was OK that it wasn't perfect. I spent many hours with the truck of many colors (as inklings called it) getting rid of all the dents and fixing up the doors and windows so that everything was good. The last think I did was re-upholster the seat. I did that with some really nice brushed red cloth and it was really nice. Then I painted it a light tan so that all the little dings and mistakes in body work didn't show.

It was a really good truck---we seldom had any problems with it and when we did I could fix them because it was still an all American Truck. All the regular tools fit and you could change everything on it with a 9/16 and 5/8 inch wrench---well almost everything. One year while the boys and I were hunting we turned it on it's side on top of a tree---which if it hadn't been there we'd of had a really good roll down the hill. We just hooked a chain to the front differential and hooked the handy man jack to another tree and jacked it back onto its wheels and drove away. No problem-no injuries-no sweat.

I did everything in that truck for ten years---I really liked it---even if it did rust out everywhere. It had the best mirrors for shooting that were ever put on a vehicle.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I am on a Forest that goes way out of their way for the Combined Federal Campaign. They sell votes for $1 each or 6 for $5 and vote for people to do yucky stuff. They take the top 6 and they have to perform whatever disgusting thing the organizers come up with. Today is the last day for posting tickets so I waited patiently and bought myself out of the play near the end and snuck back to my office. Five minutes later I was twenty seven votes above the next closest nominee and many more than that from the rest. So it would have been over $300 to buy myself out a second time---so I just decided I would have to do whatever.

An hour later I was sixth highest with quite a few close so I bought myself out again for $10. Right---as soon as I had put up my stickers another 20 were put on my name---hence $120 to buy out---guess I'm stuck doing whatever. I'm happy to participate in this because the money goes to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT---a very worthy cause. And on top of that is fun to have this many people laughing to spend their money.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Inklings went to the team meeting yesterday to determine where we are going with our five grand children and their mom and dad. They finally figured out that 12 months from the time of the pick up is December---NOT NOVEMBER---so we have a little additional time for the parents to get their lives together. Yeah another whole month. That is a good thing.

So I believe it is December 17th that we go to court now to determine what is going to happen with the rest of these little kids lives. The only one that really has any idea is the Judge and he has had some pretty harsh things to say in court. Guess only time will tell but I hope this works out for the best. The hardest part about that is that no one will know until it is all over what the best is.

Monday, October 20, 2008


After all the planning and getting ready everything looked good for the burn last night when I went to bed. This morning very early I woke up and headed for work---it had rained a little in town so I got to work and drove to the road junction near the burn site to see if it had rained out there. It had not rained so we eventually got everything in motion to do the burn.

As soon as we all arrived a cloud passed over us and sprinkled across the burn unit---not even a measurable rain---just a sprinkle---that shut the entire burn down for today and maybe for another year. If it warms up for a couple of hours today it will dry it out and we will be able to burn it tomorrow. We'll give it another try then.



Last Friday I had lunch with a guy that used to work for me. Twenty three years ago he had a massive heart attack and it took me over two hours to get him stabilized, into a truck and driven to the hospital. I put him in the front seat of the stock truck (with all its manure and everything in the back) because that was the closest one to us. I drove him to the hospital and parked the truck in the ambulance entrance (duh my passenger had just had a major heart attack). The emergency room nurses threw a fit that I had to get the truck out of there---I threw a fit that they needed to get the guy in the truck into the emergency room---I WON BUT IT WAS A TOUGH FOUGHT BATTLE.

After many trips to the hospital in SLC and much concern that he wasn't going to make it---HE DID---and contrary to all of the predictions he is doing great. He went out on a medical retirement because all of the doctors said he would never be able to go to 10,000 feet again and more than half of the District was above 10,000 feet so he worked until he was eligible (about 18 months) and then went out. He has worked very hard at keeping in shape and doing what he needs to do to stay healthy. He was finally able to get back to 10,000 feet.

Two weeks ago he shot a six point bull elk on one of our favorite areas on the District. It is at an elevation above 10,000 feet and we spent many memorable days together near where he got the elk. He brought some great pictures of it to the lunch and we had a great visit. I am SOOOOO glad he is OK.

Everyone has someone that worked for them that they use to rate everyone else against---HE IS MINE---and has been for 27 years. I hope we have this friendship for another 23 years and more if possible.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I spent this afternoon out evaluating a prescribed fire on the north end of the district. It is ready to burn and all the parameters are in prescription. We are going out on Monday and torch it. There are a few deer hunters in the area that will be upset but I have missed this burn window for the past three years. I'm not missing it again. It will be a great burn to improve wildlife habitat but it will take two years for people to see the improvement.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I spent part of today up on the mountain determining how we are going to do two projects to help mprove things for wildlife and water quality on the district. It was a great day---there were eight of us looking over the project and kicking ideas around on what we wanted to accomplish with the two projects. We had a great day and came to an agreement that was better then any of us thought we could do. It was also better than any of us had thought about on our own.

Not every day is that good or even close to that productive but it always feels really good when things come together. I have been doing this for a very long time but I still get excited when we finally get around to making a project happen. Yeah I know I'm an adrenaline junkie and like to win but it still feels good.

I have said many many times that there is noting that smells as good as fresh dirt and diesel smoke---can't wait to see the smoke rolling.


Sunday was my birthday and a good day it was. I always said I would never get older than thirty so I am now 30-30. It sucks to get old but that is better than the alternative I guess.

I got a note from one of my friends regarding aging---he said it isn't for wussies. He's right everything I got hurts except what doesn't hurt doesn't work.

Inklings made me a birthday cake and even the candles on it were tired---they kept laying down on top of the cake to take a nap. She bought the number candles because of an incident earlier where the candles burned down and put wax throughout the cake. That happened at our party at Logan when we were moving away and the fire guys all thought it would be funny to do a birthdy cake and dress up in their fire clothes to present it---it was pretty funny---but---the cake was ruined.

Friday, October 10, 2008


T'day was a good day out in the boonies---we found a dozen or so cows that should have been off so we booed them a little and started them off at a dead run. While booing them I ran a few meters and got my feet tangled up and did a header. Glad no one out there SAW that because I sure felt stupid.

Things looked gloomy on the stock market this morning but things have picked up and look a little better this afternoon---I'm telling you AIG is a good buy today....Sorry not good enough for me to risk any money on it though. Inklings will be happy with that---MAYBE---but when AIG gets back to full value we'll all say I wish I'd a done what Dee Ice Hole said a few years ago---I could retiure a millionaire. YUP---NO GUTS---NO GLORY. No matter how you cut it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I just read Inklings blog and she is right. There are things out there that are way sacrier than ghosts and goblins.

I don't know if the presidential race is that scary. It has always been the case that the only difference in the political parties is that one is in and the other wants to be in. For the past fifteen years there hasn't been a single congressional session where they have accomplished anything---they are too busy playing party politics to be worried about what is going to happen to the NATION. VOTE 'EM ALL OUT.


I have written several times about retirement and planning to do so. Today is one of those days when I think about what it all means and what will happen to me if I do decide to go out the door.

Just for the record I pulled most of my 401K out of the stock market when the S&P was above 1400 and put it into the no risk area. But the gambler in me says today is the first day in the rest of my life and if I take the jump today when the market is at the bottom I could make millions---I know for sure that these are the times when millionaires are made but I can't for the life of me make the leap. If I was sure I was working five more years I'd make the leap and hang on for dear life.

Does getting older make you wiser---nope---just, perhaps, a little more cautious. But if I were a youngster today I'd buy $2000 worth of AIG stock. The FEDS have already demonstrated that they won't let them fail by loaning them $123 Billion---heck I'd settle for 1/10th of 1% of that. See I'm not too greedy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I have spent a good share of today in contemplation of what we have given up for the past five or so months in order to care for our five grandchildren. Most of it doesn't matter and is just related to money. The one thing I miss the most is being able to take Inklings and go somewhere---even if it is just a walk around Wal Mart---

You're a good woman Inklings!!!!!!!!!!!


We have been home a total of 30 hours and I bet the kids have had more timeouts in that amount of time than they usually get in a week. They have easily forgotten more rules over the weekend than we will be able to reteach them in a month.

Maybe little get-a-ways aren't all they are cracked up to be---or maybe we made the wrong choice of where to leave them.

Monday, October 6, 2008


We headed out Saturday morning to a demolition derby where my daughter and her husband were going to demolition derby my old truck that I gave them after I bought their truck. We got to nearly Salt Lake City when they called and said the derby was cancelled.

We had made arrangements to leave the kids at their aunts and grandmas houses for the weekend so we just kept going anyway. Even though I didn't get to see the truck demolished I had a lot more fun seeing my kids and getting away for a few hours. It was a good trip.

Friday, October 3, 2008


Yesterday was our 39th anniversary. It is unbelievable that we have been married that long but if you look our oldest son is 37 so guess it is true. For those 39 years Inklings has been my best supporter. She has been willing to go wherever I thought I needed to go to get on with my career. That has led us through a lot of places. I started out planting trees on the Escalante District, went to fencing on the Teasdale District, then to thinning on the Cedar City District. The next year I worked on the Panguitch Lake District (that no longer exists) and the Powell District. Then I worked on the Powell District, came back to work on the Escalante District then worked again for the Powell District before I got a permanent appointment. These Districts are all on the Dixie NF. While I was working here I did an awfully lot of fire suppression. I went to Idaho and Montana almost every year for the duration of their fire season. I found that I loved doing the fire suppression thing and worked hard at learning what fire does. That knowledge has served me well through all the rest of my career.

We moved to Montana in the fall of 1975 to Libby, Montana. From there we went to the Cabinet District in Trout Creek, Montana. Both of these Districts are on the Kootenai NF. In 1978 we moved to the Philipsburg District on the Deerlodge NF. While we were in Montana we spent a lot of time homesick and wishing we were closer to family.

In 1981 we moved back to Utah to the Beaver Ranger District (Fishlake NF). In 1992 we moved from there to the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area (Ashley NF). In 1997 we moved on to the Logan Ranger District (Wasatch-Cache NF) and in late 2001 we made our last move to another District.

That is a heck of a lot of dragging around and through the world. Inklings was and continues to be great to support me through all the ups and downs associated with my career. I believe there were 26 moves included in that. I know Inklings says she has moved 28 times but I think I have the right number of moves during our marriage. Any way you look at it if three moves are as good as a burnout we have burned out almost 8 times.

Through all of that we have been lucky enough to raise seven great kids. Some have had serious problems but they are still great. Our life together has always been good but it has never been easy.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I have sat here thinking about what is going on with the financial crisis in America today and have been trying to sort out what it all means. I have come to this conclusion:


I hate to say it but I can't see any other alternative---


T'day is the end of the fiscal year (2008 is in the bag)---and as usual Congress has not lived up to their job responsibilities---we have no budget to work from--so we are probably going to be on a continuing resolution for a good part of this year. What does that mean---well for one thing we will never really know what our budget is for the year and hence we will never really know what our targets are for the year and hence we will never really know if we can hire people to do the job or not and hence when the year has ended Congress will go on record stating that the DAMN LAZY GOVERNMENT WORKERS DIDN'T DO THEIR JOBS AGAIN THIS YEAR. Damn I'm glad I don't have long left to work. I am highly concerned that our representatives cannot get anything done at all---no matter how small there are always those that are opposed to it just BECAUSE.

It is a really good thing that our Money says "IN GOD WE TRUST" because right now there are no and I do mean No politicians out there that are worth a DAMN. NOPE NOT A SINGLE ONE!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I was thinking about the horse I have been using since we moved here. He was a nut case when we got here but was a beautiful Palomino. I figured if I could work with him a few days he'd be alright. I had some terrific rides and some to scare you to death for the first two years but now he's one of the horses we can DUDE. That means anyone can ride him and he'll take care of them. He's turned out to be one whale of a good horse.

Only trouble with that is I just realized he has to be over 12 years old now which means he is over half a useful lifetime old for a horse. I can't believe how fast time is going. It seems like only yesterday that we came here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Yestrerday I went out to look at a few projects. While I was driving around I noticed that the colors are really starting to come out. By next week they will be past full colors and the leaves will be falling off. If you plan to take a leaf drive to see the colors I'd say you better get 'er done before next Saturday or you'll have missed the peak.


This morning the old pony was up and well---guess we did something right. Last night I was pretty sure we'd find him dead this morning. He's pretty tired and awfully hungry since he hadn't eaten for three days but he's good to go right now. Guess we'll keep him here a few days to watch him then turn him out to pasture for a few weeks.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Shock and Awe is still alive but isn't well---he is currently on his way back to the vet to hopefully get another relaxation shot and maybe he will be OK. He is a Missouri Foxtrotter and one of the best horses I have ever been around---hence---he has a very high chance of dying. The good ones die the bad ones don't even get sick.

One of the things I was told very early in my life is that if we could keep the death in the corrals we were fine---I still hope that the vet is able to save this horse. I really do like him.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I have had more sick horses with cholic this year than ever before in my life. We have taken many of them to the vet who has treated them and tried to figure out why we are having so many. I told my range cons that my Grandpa always said that was the first rule. "THOSE THAT HAVE MUST LOSE." So if you aren't familiar with cholic in horses it is a very serious ailment and if the horse doesn't relax its muscles and pass it's bowels it will die. One of my range cons spent all night with this horse (named SHOCK AND AWE) walking him around and around the corrals trying to keep him alive. We got him to the vet right when he opened this morning and he gave him some big time muscle relaxers---he's fine now.

The vet asked us where he was getting the sand he was eating---well we filled the holes in the corrals with sand to keep the horses out of the water when it is wet. Tomorrow we will spend part of the day rototilling the sand into the ground at the corrals to prevent us from having a horse die from eating sand. Who'd a ever thunk a horse would eat sand?

Monday, September 22, 2008


Today is the first day of fall---my favorite time of year---bar none. The mornings are cool---the days are quite warm and the evenings are great. I love fall.

Yesterday we took a ride over Cedar Mountain to look at the colors---there are very limited colors on Cedar Mountain---because---it hasn't frozen hard enough yet to color up the aspen.

It was a good trip anyway because Inklings got to see her mom and dad and I got to see my mom. Not for very long but at least we got to see them. We haven't made that run since July so it was really good to get there.

This past week I got to see all of my kids except Dr. Psycho---would have seen him too but he wasn't home when I went up and I came back really early in the day so didn't stop. Sorry Bud but I didn't have a clue what was for sure up until Monday morning. I had a good trip and saw a lot of folks.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Yesterday was officially my last day on an Incident Management Team. It feels really strange to not be connected to a team. The last three years I have done Type 2 rather than Type 1---which does the most complicated incidents because I really liked the IC that I went over to and wanted her to be successful. SHE WAS SUCCESSFUL!! But with Type 2 Teams at the end of the three years they are disolved and have to be put back together in the spring---with type 1 you run through the entire year and are prepared to go to anything---so for the first time in 20 years I am officially off. Could be for the season---could be forever.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I left the house Tuesday on my way to teach what I thought was one class at a High School North of here. I arrived and the teacher informed me that he had me scheduled to teach Biodiversity to all five of his classes that day. It was kind of fun and I have to tell you those kids are pretty damn smart. They knew within five seconds that it wasn't going to be a day where they played around with the new person in class or the sub or whatever you want to call me. I thought it was funny because one kid started right off the get go and all I did was stop talking and look at him---in total silence in the room---for five full seconds---no one else wanted to go there so I had a pretty good day trying to show them how all of the biodiversity stuff enters into Forestry. After I finished that up I drove to a University North of here where I participated in a panel discussion on what you need to do to regenerate aspen. I had no idea I was considered to be one of the people that knew how to go about insuring that aspen came back and survived---all I have to offer is that if you treat aspen stands where there are likely critters (both domestic cows and elk) then you need to fence the project with an 8 foot fence for three or four years---spendy? YUP but compared to a failure of a treatment it is cheap---try sometime to get an aspen to grow and think about doing that same thing on 500 or more acres---

While I was there I took our daughters and one son in law and three grandkids out to dinner. It was fun and I really enjoyed seeing my new granddaughter for the first time---she is three months old. She is a doll and is one of---if not THE---happiest child I have ever seen---she doesn't cry---when she's hungry she fusses a little but I wouldn't call it crying. It would have been more fun if Inklings had been with me.

Monday, September 15, 2008


I got a call early this afternoon asking me to go to Beaumont Texas to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. I went to the aftermath of Rita and swore that I would never, not ever, do a hurricane assignment again. I went to Rita and worked hard for 23 days and nearly missed Christmas at my house because of it. I went home and spent all day Christmas day sitting on the couch thinking how terrible it was that all those people I just left (I came home December 23) were not only not going to have Christmas presents they had no shelter or nowhere to go to celebrate it. Needless to say it was a totally wasted Christmas (much of it spent with tears running down my face) for me and I don't intend to ruin another part of my life.

I am surely sorry for the impacted folks but I know from experience that there is really nothing I can do to help them---there is too much red tape in the government to help them---quite frankly all of the work we did while were doing Rita (and it was a lot) simply went into a box that allowed for the cleanup of the debris from the peoples property---it didn't clean anything up and it didn't provide anywhere for the people to live---I have never been so disgusted in my life. I understand that before you can do anything on peoples property you have to have permission to do it but I don't understand why you have to have every single person in a community agree to the work before you can go to work----'nuff said---I'll be at home.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Today I came to work in the hopes that I could round up a few extra dollars for doing business on the District. I have everything in a pile to send forwrd for the purchases but so far the powers that be have not approved the money. Oh well guess I'll call it a day. At least I am going home knowing that if by some small chance the money would have been approved I would have been here to take advantage of it.

I told the contracting officer when he asked me why I was at work that when money was being passed out I was going to be sure I was at home base with my catchers mitt on. Let it never be said I let any money get away because I wasn't working.

Thirty nine years I have played this game---and rest assured I am good at it and know the rules perfectly. Monday will come soon enough and we'll be back at business as usual after an early morning budget frenzy. Betcha I get my share!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I got to work only seconds after the first plane flew into the first tower. One of my co-workers had the computer up showing what was going on and told me his wife had called and told him what had happened. We watched a few minutes as the smoke billowed out of the tower. We watched in disbelief as the second plane cruised around in a left bank and flew directly into the other tower. It was crazy that this was going on---in AMERICA---we were in awe that this had happened---then we watched as the announcement was made that a plane had flown into the Pentagon and then the field (I can't remember where the field was but I do remember the HEROES that were aboard). We had a co-worker working just down the road fron the Pentagon at the time and our concern level rose considerably (we learned later when she called to let us know that she was OK that she had watched the plane fly into the Pentagon but she was totally safe).

We continued to watch the activity on the internet---it was crazy---people were jumping out of windows more than thirty stories up in the Twin Towers to their death. We were all sure that the buildings were properly constructed and would be OK---then in a huge cloud of dust they began to crumble. I will never forget the looks on the peoples faces as they ran past the cameras in their retreat from the crumbling building. It was awful---thousands died inside---thousands died outside---and thousands (that were the firefighters and police) died from whatever it was they breathed while they were trying to save some people. It has always amazed me that as others run from the fire or other types of incidents for that matter firefighters run toward it to try to make others safe.




It is always amazing to me to see what happens when the crunch is on and people are looking for additional target completion for places to put money at the end of the year. Today I got a large sum of money to refurbish my spray program for noxious weeds simply because the district did a whale of a lot of weed spraying this past summer.

Tomorrow I expect to get a huge sum of money for fencing a project that is planned for burning next spring and fall. I had the money once this year but the powers that be took it back to cover fire suppression costs. The final look at that today resulted in a bunch of money that can be returned for project work. I fully expect that those dollars will return along with others that I haven't even thought about yet.

This should be my favorite time of year---BUT IT'S NOT. I believe this kind of thinking meets the 6 P's---PRIOR PLANNING PREVENTS PISS POOR PERFORMANCE---guess that's the price paid to you for being credible---sometimes it even feels good.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Adrian Dantley, former Jazz guard, was inducted into the hall of fame on his sixth run at it. Why did it take six tries to get one of the best players of all time inducted? My guess is that the TEAM never got far enough into the play offs while he was trying his guts out for him to get the credit he deserves.

I believe that without him and what he did the Jazz would not be in Utah today. He gave his best shot every night on the ball court, as he does now as an announcer. Congratulations A.D. Sir.

I am tickled he got there---he was a great player and is a great man.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I have been telling everyone for the past nearly five years that I am going to retire when I have one bad day in a row. Last Saturday (the last day on the fire) was nearly it. It is a good thing that the afternoon went well or I'd be outta here---and I'm not kidding---and everybody knows I'm not kidding.

I have always wanted to be the WalMart greeter.


Today was my first day back to work as required by the work rest ratio for firefighters---so I went in thinking I'd be in the office most of the day.

One of my range cons came in and invited me to a meeting with permittees on an allotment on horseback. How do you pass that up? Well I didn't---but it was a tough day. I have only taken one short horseback ride this year and that was in April. When I got home I could barely walk and my back still hurts like H _ _ _.

My boss laughed when he saw me walking into the office late today---he did the same thing a week ago. One of my grandfathers favorite sayings was "NOTHING IS AS EASY AS IT APPEARS AT FIRST GLANCE." Truer words were never spake when it comes to riding horses---long distances=sore muscles.


I really love it when the blog I wrote doesn't publish and I have to do it over---I never get it the same but here goes.

Monday I got a call from the Ranger of an adjoining Ranger District asking if I could go fly with him to look at a fire on his district that he was considering letting burn for resource benefit.

I hurried down to the helipad and flew to his airport where we picked him up and flew to the fire. We looked it over carefully and took a few pictures of the fuels and potential for running in the basin. Then I asked the pilot to get me a high view so I could determine if the fire had much potential for coming to town.

We determined that even if the fire got running good there was very little chance of it coming to town so he decided to let it burn for resource benefit. He got all kinds of support for that call and it was a good call. Even if the fire doesn't do anything he had to go through the gut wrenching of making a decision to let an uncontrolled force of nature do it's thing. Takes GUTS lots of GUTS.

He has his first one in the bag now no matter what happens-0--I hope he calls me for help next time too---I love doing that---I also love letting nature do HER thing. See first line of my blog site.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I got home Sunday night about 8:30 p.m. It is way good to be home---I spent part of yesterday washing my gear and repacking my fire kit. Our team goes up again Friday Sept 5. I told the IC that I can't go out again until Sept. 9. This is a tough time to not be available to go since if the team gets called it will be the last go for that team---ever---the three year term for teams will be up and the rotation schedule ends the first of October.

I don't want to wish the team any bad luck but I really hate to miss the last go round so I am selfishly hoping they don't go or at least don't go until the 9th.

This is the time for every fire team when I start to wonder if I should take another run. I know I am getting older and I know I get more tired than I used to but in my mind I can still GET 'ER DONE. Makes you wonder sometimes where the time went for your life.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I have been contemplating the end of the Olympics last week and am feeling like I was cheated out of them again because of the choices I have made to do Incident Management.

I was really enjoying watching them every night after work and seeing the athletes perform---then came the call to California and we headed out. The news in the papers was way less than satisfactory---I flat missed seeing the athletes perform.

So this is the second Olympics I have missed due to doing incident management. I missed the 2002 Winter Olympics because I was doing Logistics for the Downhill Ski Races---with that I didn't see a single race but I did get to see the news every night and some of the re-runs. Here I just flat missed everything.

Kind of like the family things---I think in the last 39 years I have made a couple of the summer things---guess there is a price to be paid for every choice you make.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


We have come close to getting through with all of the fires around Hayfork. As of right now we will be pulling the plug on them Saturday at noon--we'll go to Redding and go through the typical close out where we discuss the good the bad and the ugly with the forest---then we'll have a team after action review and spend the night in Redding---with those kinds of arrangements it is likely that I will not get home until Monday---maybe---Sunday real late.

It is always fun to have so much certainty in life---good thing all my clothes fit in the bag and all I have to do is l0ad it in the truck. Regardless of all that it will be good to get home.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Friday we had two Dozers slip down the fireline near Rat Trap Gap. The Ops guy brought in another dozer to pull them out. During the pull up the lower dozer slid down the hill pulling the one the it was hooked to over the lip of the canyon. They all remained upright and no one was injured but it took three days to get them out. This results in us being extended until Saturday morning.

I thought it was kind of cute though that one of our guys said that we had three cats in the rat trap.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I have to confess that I am basically a coward. I left Inklings with five kids to take care of and went on a vacation alone to fire camp where I was to be responsible for about 1000 people. I went with absolutely NO FEAR---it is way, way, way easier to take care of a fire camp than it is to take care of those five. Thanks Inklings.

I didn't say I was wrong---just that it is easier to be a coward!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008


We got word today that the powers that be want us to wrap this incident up post haste---we can do that---we will begin right now to get everything we have here gone by Wednesday 8/27. We won't be finished with the work but I guess that doesn't enter into this decision. Someone else will do it. It will be good to get home couple of days earlier than we thought we were going to get there.

In the meantime I hope the heck everyone else is good. See ya all later.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gettin' Bigger

Our fire grew from 64,502 acres to 98,715 acres in the last 24 hours. Not because of any fire runs but because we got assigned another whole complex in addition to what we already had. Turns out to be not a great problem as we were able to completely demobilize one camp yesterday and move everything into ours for today---that is a big deal because the savings from that is over $100,000/day. 'Twas a good decision and with the help of the team we replaced we were able to pull it off without a glitch---we're pretty puffed up about that (both teams)---and the folks on the fire don't even know that it happened.

We have a spike camp at Rat Trap Gap---say that five times very quickly and you'll understand why we call it RAT HOLE. Anyway all ya all that is about all I have going right now but I'll for sure be home before Christmas. It feels pretty good to be here and put to bed ten fires---I love being on this TEAM.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I left home Friday for another bout with the California wildfires. We are currently assigned to the Lime Complex in Hayfork, California. We are also going to take over the Yolla Bolly Complex in Hope, California. That is a lot of fire for us to be dealing with. We will be trying to get everything bottled up and sent back home. Should be a busy assignment. Sometimes I wonder why I would even consider doing this job---then we have our section meeting and I laugh until I cry---then I remember. It is great to have good friends to work with.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Today at work I got my new 24" monitor for my computer---I can read it from clear across the room and I DON'T NEED GLASSSES to do it. It is way nice and a huge improvement over what I have had.


Yesterday I went on a tour with the Federal Highways to look at the next 10 years of projects. Spent all day driving 225 miles through the absolute best areas teh forest has to offer. When I got home I was too tired to park my truck inside the fenced parking area so thiss morning I put it in there before anyone got to work. Tough job---but somebody's gotta do it!!! EAT YOUR HEART OUT

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Here is a picture of a fire column with the shadow from the column on the smoke. The ice cap that is lighter colored in the lower left is the column and it is over 20000 feet high---the shadow not only showed in the sky but it darkened the fire camp just like the sun had set.

Terrible News

Two days ago we had the worst air disaster in the history of wildland firefighting. A Sikorski S-61 crashed with 13 on board. Nine were killed and four are in burn centers in California. Right now the reasons for the crash are unknown---what is known is that nine people are dead---this raises to eleven the deaths we have had this year---that is way, way, way too many. The majority of the fire family doesn't know these people but our hearts are torn because of this loss. Our prayers go out to the families that have lost their loved ones. Here is a picture of why firefighters choose this dangerous occupation.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Here is a picture of the largest Cutthroat Trout I have ever caught---I caught this one by hand---in a fish trap. So much for ETHICS!!!


Just for the record L says I never post pictures---that's because I never take any that anyone else would like to see---so here are a couple my daughter took and texted to her sisters. I think it is the nicest door I have ever had on a home. I love it.


Yesterday we went to court to see where we stood on adoption of the grandkids---the judge---bless his little heart---gave our kids 90 additional days to get their lives straightened out. That is good. I like having the kids around but it is more than I bargained for to be responsible for parenting these little kids.

Just for the record they are getting better and are hanging in there pretty well. They have finally figured out that I am serious as a heart attack when I tell to do something---they have even figured out that they lose if they throw a fit in Church---later in the week they lose privileges---like game boy---TV--anything to do with a screen.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


We are in the process of putting a new front door in the house. Last night we stood it in the doorway and set most of it. Today we will finish the installation and put on the handles and locks. It is way nice to have a friend that can do this type of work---sometimes he is a little overworked and is always slow getting it worked into his schedule but when he is done it is always first class. I love the way it looks even before it if fully framed in. Some of you will need new keys!!!!

1500 Visits

I checked my blog tracker a couple of days ago and I had 1501 visits---I looked a little closer and 1500 of them were from folks I was OK with---ONE was from OPM in Washington DC---guess big brother is alive and well somewhere.

It seems amazing to me that there have been that many visits to a meaningless web site. It is fun though to see who is reading the blogs and really fun to get the comments when there are any.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Today I completed, for the first time, a designation of beneficiary, which means as soon as the paper work clears the office that what remains of my income upon my death will go to Inklings if she is still alive---if she's not it will go to L* for distribution evenly between her siblings---she already blogged about her being so nice she will let each of her siblings have one of the grandkids we currently have custody of and she'll go without because there aren't enough for each sibling to get one.

Just for the record I laughed my A _ _ off when I read her blog about that---it was really big fo her to think about her siblings first----think wahahahahahah.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Preparing for Retirement

I have spent a little time this week trying to get all of the stuff for my retirement correct. What a pain that has been---not only did I need to straighten out a few things---there were other things I had to do before I could fix the ones I was aware of needing fixing. So by the end of today I will have proof positive that I have paid back everything that I have ever owed the government---and I have bought back my seasonal time which gives me three years more service---and I can prove that with receipts from the Office of Personnel Management.

I will also be in posession of all of the papers I need to file for designating my beneficiary which everyone knows is Inklings---right---well that is correct, however, if I don't designate her, with all of the proper forms, then all of the things she stands to inherit will have to go through probate court---which sometimes takes up to two years to get through. I can't imagine how anyone could ever get through two years without what they own and deserve.

I won't get those papers in the mail today though because no one can tell me the address and person I need to send them to---since we reorganized and sent all our personnel activities to Albuquerque.

So the rest of you take a hard look at what this means to you and if you want everything to go through probate court---let your stuff go through the other normal lawful process---as for me I want Inklings to have what she deserves as soon as she can get her hands on it.

I probably should have titled this PREPARE TO DIE.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I arrived home Saturday night about 6:00 P.M. after a 12 hour drive. It was good to get home. Things are a little crazy there and I was really tired so was probably really grouchy---anyway I think I have recovered from the trip now and I hope everyone else at home has recovered from my return.

I went in to work Monday for a couple of hours to try to catch up---and got home at 4:00 P.M. but I did mostly catch up with at least the major stuff. I still have a lot of things to take care of but will catch up this week at least at work.

Last night I weeded the garden and tonight I will mow the lawn---that should just about take care of the outside chores that I should be taking care of...last go round the Little Prince had to do them for me---thank you very much.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Well I got Home Saturday from a three week tour of Northern California---I was on a complex for fourteen of those days (two days were spent travelling on each end). When I left for home and the two day drive back the acreage was 14, 036 acres and the containment was 14%--at the current rate of control the fire will be taken care of October 6th and the acreage will be about 100,000 acres. I would guess that those numbers will be close to where it finishes up unless it rains like H _ _ _ in the next few months.

I had a good run---we had three minor accidents with all the folks we had on the fire---we got most of the resources we asked for---we all came home safe and sound---what more can you ask!

As I was driving in to Redding I called my firefighter friend referenced by Inklings and said "We may not be in such a good spot."
He said "Why do you say that?"
I said "Look out your left window and you'll se a tanker dropping retardant---look out your right window and you'll see a tanker dropping retardant."
He said "With all the smoke I knew it was bad---but I never considered it would be this bad."

We made it into Redding and had stopped for gas when they closed the road---I think we made it through with about three minutes to spare. I've always said I would rather be lucky than far I've been consistantly lucky.

Monday, July 7, 2008


And from that quote you can tell our fires aren't. We have steadily gained acreage since we arrived---we are currently at 9731 acres and by tomorrow it will be over 10,000. The Klamath Hot Shot crew is doing an exceptional job of a burn out this afternoon and haven't lost any acres outside the line so maybe we are going to finally have some success. Guess we have had a lot of success already since we've burned around a lot of houes and structures and so far haven't lost any---time will tell but I think we may be close to winning the day we leave---we won't win in our tenure....too much fire and too few crews and engines.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


'Tis another day in the sunny state of California and the wind is blowing so the fires we have may just get up and go....Arnie announced that he is mobilizing another 200 National Guardsmen today---that guy is a shrewd politician---they can't even get trained up in time to help. I am fully recovered from whatever I had yesterday and am doing fine. Amazing how that happens.

We went cone gathering this morning and picked up a few sugar pine cones. They are the longest of all the pine cones so we got a few for those on the team that wanted some.

We think we will be replaced Tuesday and drive home Wed and Thur----so I'll have Friday and Saturday off before the team goes back up---we'll most likely go right back out somewhere when we go up. It's going to be a hell of a fire season.

Friday, July 4, 2008


Today in fire camp I got sick---kind of a flu and I have tossed my cookies many times. Think about how bad that would be if you had to upchuck in one of the standard blue outhouses filled with blue water----now you've thought about that it is never going to happen to me as long as there is land outside the hut but that doesn't make me feel a lot better.

I am now in the recovery mode and will be fine. This is the very first time I have been really sick in fire camp---Inklings thinks these things are happening because I am too old.....she might be right....but I don't plan to quit the team anytime in the near future. YUP Native Minnow is right I do love doing this stuff.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


I have been working in fire camp for just over a week and we are starting to get acquainted with the people that work for us. Just a few minutes ago we were in ground support talking about the Yurok Tribe that one of the ladies is a member of and I asked her if by chance she knew my friend Lynn. She said she didn't but the guy sitting there asked if I was talking about Flies Without Wings mother. I told him yes that was who I was talking about---he told me he was her brother and wanted to know some things about FWW---I showed him his blog site and we visited a few minutes---It is amazing how small the world really is---he is working for us as a driver.

He really got a chuckle out of the pitures FWW had posted on the hair cut.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I am still in fire camp about 30 miles south of Happy Camp---there is an awfully lot of fire round these parts right now but none of the fires are ripping. We lost a little part of line last night with the burn-out so will spend most of today securing that before we move forward. Hope Mother Nature behaves herself today and gives us a shot at securing it---like my title says---she has the last word anyway.

The camp is still at 400 people and our 6 fires have burned 6358 acres as of nightfall last night---we are currently estimating 5% containment and a containment date of October 1---that's a while off---we'll get to go home before that as the rules are 14 days with travel outside those days or with an extension 21 days with travel included.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Arnold Swartznegger stepped up today and activated over 200 National Guard members to help deal with the fires. Only problem with that is they aren't trained to do what we do so we'll busily train them to fight fire for a couple of weeks before they can fight fire safely---then they will fight fire for 14 or 21 days and go home---it is way too bad that the Forest Service can no longer supply the troops they once did to these types of incidents but you can thank Congress and the Senate for that---and by the way OMB for sure knows everything.

The situation here is not as bad as it is in other parts of California, but we still have all the fire this team wants to handle.

Monday, June 30, 2008


I am currently the Mayor (appointed by the Incident Commander and I don't have to run for re-election) of a small fire town (400 firefighters) about 30 miles north of Hoopa, CA. The town we are by is called Orleans. We are currently taking care of seven fires that are expected to burn together into three before we can get around them and put them down. There are 24 Incident Management Teams assigned to 321 fires in California today. This is where I do my very best work---nobody ever tries to stop me from doing whatever I want to do in these scenarios---it is a good feeling to be respected by your peers.

I am having a tough time getting on the internet as much as I want to so this will have to do.

We are doing great out here but these fires will go on a long while (a long, long while). My folks got more stuff than all the others combined so we are setting good---in this occupation posession is 9/10ths of the law. We don't know for sure but we should only do the 14 day plus travel so we should be home by the 16th---if everything goes well.

You guys keep your blogs up to date--it makes it easy for me to see what you are up to.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


1. Where is your cell phone? Belt
2. Your significant other? Creative
3. Your hair? Gray
4. Your mother? Old
5. Your best friend? Smart
6. Your favorite thing? Naps
7. Your dream last night? Forgotten
8. Your favorite drink? Coke
9. Your dream/goal? Retirement
10. The room you're in? Basement
11. Your children? Grown
12. Your fear? Failure
13.Where do you want to be in ten years? Somewhere
14.Where were you last night? KMart
15. What you're not? Wimpy
16. Muffins? Blueberry
17. One of your wish items? Money
18. Where you grew up? Haven't
19. What you read last? Parker
20. What are you wearing? Wranglers
21. Your tv? Sports
22.Your pets? Siamese
23.Your computer? Slow
24. Your life? Screwed
25. Your mood? Pissed
26. Missing someone? Kids
27. Your car? Pickup
28. Something you're not wearing? Earrings
29. Favorite Store? Dollar
30. Your summer? Fires
31. Like someone? many
32. Your favorite color? Blue
33. Last time you laughed? Morning
34. Last time you cried? Afternoon
35. Your favorite thing? Family


This has been kind of a tough weekend for me. We really can't go anywhere because we don't have great transportation and the only time we go is to see the kids parents as required by DCFS. I also wonder if it was this hard to raise our children. I don't think it was but I was gone a heck of a lot when they were young and Inklings did all of the hard stuff. I do know that our children were taught what our expectations were and they lived up to them most of the time---when they didn't there was a price to pay and they paid it.

These kids don't seem to understand that the rules are the same today and tomorrow and always---they seem to wake up in a new world every single day with the rules given to them again and again. Maybe someday they will realize that without these rules no one will want to be around them.

It sucks---Grandpa's aren't supposed to be the bad guys that teach kids life lessons---but I am and that is the best that can be made out of this situation.

Guess it is true.....LIFE SUCKS AND THEN YOU DIE!!!!

Monday, June 16, 2008


I have been debating writing this for over a week so here 'tis. It is an election year and so every damn elected official in the United States and some that aren't elected yet are on the stump. They are yammering about this and that and anything that can get them on the spot for a few seconds. My point in this whole blog is BIG BROWN.

They are in the process of setting up a Congressional hearing regarding drugs on the race track---are there drugs on the race track? DUH!!!! Do people try to get by with using them when it is illegal? DUH!!!! Do they get caught? ONLY IF THEY RUN IN THE MONEY!!!! Do the others matter? Probably but no one cares if you lose.

So what the hell is Congress getting involved in this whole thing for? Because we all hoped Big Brown would pull off the first Triple Crown win in thirty years---didn't happen so all his other runs had to be drug influenced---GET OUTTA HERE---CONGRESS GET THE HELL TO WORK ON THINGS THAT MATTER---LIKE THE BUDGET WHICH YOU NEVER SEEM TO BE ABLE TO PASS SO WE GET TO SPEND THE WHOLE YEAR ON A CONTINUING RESOLUTION---OR BETTER YET TAKE A SUMMER RECESS FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE YEAR AND STAY OUTTA OTHER PEOPLES BUSINESS---GIVE ME A BREAK.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


OK now we know Big Brown did not break down but we have all kinds of issues out there in media land and lots of questions regarding the ride he got from the jockey. Here is my take---for what it's worth---the horse took a beating getting to the outside from the rail---both on the front legs and the back legs getting to the first turn. No matter what the outcome of all the Bull S_ _ _ and all the Congressional hearings and all of the other stuff the jockey rode a good race---the horse got in trouble and ran up on the horse ahead before the first turn and then bumped another horse hard getting to the outside. Call him a wimp if you want to but Big Brown is just a horse---a great horse but---just a horse. He isn't the first and won't be the last to quit a race because he got smacked around---it is a good strategy for the jockeys to box him in and make him earn an outside hole---in doing so you often take the heart out of the horse---which is what I think happened.

MY $0.02---There has never been a single incident in the history of the United States where a congressionally mandated solution has ever, and I do mean ever, been the correct solution---so my vote is they get out of the spotlight and let the racing commission run the races---


This is a really busy week at work and I have been in meetings or trainings for most of the last four days---I just finished up another one and decided to walk away for the day.

I have been personally sued for not hiring someone and for trying to do some work this week but the agency will defend me on both counts---it sucks to see your name on the complaint no matter what---I never thought that would bother me but it does.

Right now it is really tough for me to blog because my mind is a complete blur with all of the stuff that is going on both at home and at the office so you'll probably see some stuff here that doesn't make sense to you---I assure you it made sense to me when I wrote it.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Last night I made a run to a town 60 miles south of us to meet our grandson's foster parents and finally bring him home for what ever time we have them. It was a good feeling to finally have all of them in one place. I think he was happy to finally be with his brothers and sister again.

It was nice of his foster parents to bring him over. It saved me about two hours of driving and got me home before dark. The wind on the Interstate was bad---real bad---it was blowing ash up from the big fire last summer that burned from Minersville to North of Fillmore---biggest fire in Utah history---anyway it was blowing dust everywhere and it looked like we were driving into a storm until we got there then it was just dust and ash---the automatic lights on the car came on it was so dark---

Monday, June 9, 2008


Big Brown didn't come through as predicted earlier---in fact he failed to even really start the race. The jockey said when I asked him to run I didn't have any horse---if you don't know what that means it is that the horse was through. In my experience which isn't vast but I have ridden a few---the bumping he took in the first part of the race to get to the outside is enough a lot of times (and may be what went wrong this time) to make a horse quit trying. He ran up on the back legs of one horse---which is a very scary thing to do since getting the front legs tangled almost always results in a crash---the back legs tangled will result in a horse missing a couple of steps but the fronts will put you down. Then he bumped hard trying to get to the outside---one more tough thing for any horse is to keep getting bumped.

OK enough of that already---he didn't pull it off---it's a damn hard thing to do. He's still my pick for colt of the year---Nick Zito also should get trainer of the year 'cause he knocked him off with a 38-1 long shot. Luck? I don't think so---look back at the number of triple crown contenders he's knocked off at the Belmont---he's a pretty damned good trainer.

If I ever have another good race horse his name will be LAST BY TEN---think about how that will sound as the horse rounds the final turn in first place---I have wanted to name a colt this for at least 35 years.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Thank God it didn't Break

TG had a long boarding accident over the weekend. She got tore up pretty good and has a lot of scrapes and bruises. She finally went to a Doctor to see about her torn up hand. They sent her to X-Ray to make sure it wasn't broken. It wasn't---thank God.

Guess I'll be a little more careful on my choice of words from here on!!!!