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

My photo
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 30, 2009


Last night Inklings and I were on our way to the local shopping center and were walking from the parking lot into the store. There was a big red Diesel truck idling along just behind me and to my right. I could hear a tiny voice but couldn't understand what it was saying over the noise of the truck, and it didn't register that it could be directed at me. The truck just kept getting closer and closer to my heels so I finally stopped and looked over my shoulder. The driver of the truck was a friend of mine who is married to a woman that works with me. The little voice belonged to their little girl who has been terrified of me for the past year. I have been working really hard to get her so she wasn't afraid of me.

Her dad was laughing and said to me did you hear what she is saying. I told him no so he told her to say it again. She said---"There is Dee Ice and I am not afraid of him anymore."

Her dad told me she started saying that when I got out of the car and kept saying it right up until I stopped by the truck. I think both he and his wife are happy that I make a big fuss over their little girl. I was tickled first that she recognized me and second that she isn't afraid of me anymore.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


My kids have been working at getting me some new clothes for every gift day (birthday, Father's Day, etc.)since I outgrew all of my other ones. They culminated the year with a new suit for Christmas. I really like it and the rest of the black clothes that go with it......

Saturday, December 26, 2009


We established a Christmas tradition four years ago of going to the rifle range the day after Christmas and shooting Christmas balls. It has been a lot of fun. Here are pictures of todays shoot. It was 4 below zero and teh wind was blowing about 5 mph from the west. It was cold as witnessed by all the coats and things.

MJ shooting at the balls


Line of balls waiting to get shot. You can see the tarp under the backstop pretty well in this shot.

Look really closely at the middle of the picture and you can see the shadow of a shattered ball falling onto the tarp that is set under the backstop to catch the broken glass.

Friday, December 25, 2009


This is the sequel to the last post.

After playing war with the rubber bands for quite a while we began to get B-B guns for birthdays and Christmas and such. It took a while until everyone had their own air rifle but it did finally happen. One day we all showed up at the barn for war with our rubber bands AND our B-B guns. We played the first game with the rubber bands but then got talking about using the guns instead. We tried a few running shots at each other and found out if you got hit it didn't hurt all that bad (not much worse that the rubber bands) - but it did hurt. YEAH we had all been taught that you don't point guns at people but y'know this is just a game and we won't point at heads or eyes or anything that could really hurt you.

Everytime a parent would talk to any of us about the air rifles it was always the same. DO NOT POINT GUNS AT PEOPLE. DON'T SHOOT AT PEOPLE BECAUSE IF YOU HIT THEM IN THE EYE YOU WOULD BLIND THEM!

Well we played war with air rifles for many weeks with no problems and no serious injuries other that people jumping off the loft in the barn to keep from getting hit and breaking an arm or sliding off the peak on a rope for the same reason and getting bruised up a little or breaking a leg - and then it happened - one kid was looking through the poles on the barn and part of his shoulder was also visible. I don't know who shot and neither does anybody else but the B-B hit the pole and ricocheted right into his eye. There was blood and everything running out of his eye and we all knew he was blind. We were all scared to death and knew we were all going to die when our parents found out.

After the visit to the hospital and the Doctor fixed him up he wasn't blind but we were all a little wiser. We went back to rubber bands for war after that (you know they won't blind you if they hit you in the eye - RIGHT).

Thursday, December 24, 2009


When I was a lad everyone in town had livestock behind their house. Many had milk cows and pigs. Others had chickens, turkeys and ducks. Several had big barns for their livestock and to store the hay they fed them. One of the barns also had two milking stalls where it was always dry no matter how much it rained or snowed. This story is going to be about two of these barns. There was one south and east of our house about 150 feet and one directly east about 300 feet. There were a lot of fences and a few chicken coops also in the area at the center of the block.

We played war in and around all of these structures with rubber strips cut from inner tubes (the real red rubber tubes from Brazil were by far the best but there weren't many of them available). We would wrap one end around our index finger, pull it back as far as we could, aim it at someone and let it go. If it hit you when you were close it hurt like HE_ _, if you were far away you just knew you were hit. If you were hit you were dead and couldn't play until the next game. Sometimes you would see someone hiding inside the barn and only a small patch of them would be showing through a hole in the siding or through the poles. When that happened you would just pull back the rubber strip and let them have it through the hole but not release the strip. It was always fun to get this shot because there was never any doubt that they were hit. Anyone on the block could hear the scream from the one that got it. The head and neck were off limits for aiming points---if you accidently got hit there it was still a kill shot---no penalty for hitting an off limit aiming point---unless the dude just beat the he_ _ out of you for shooting him there.

I don't know how many hours were spent playing this game but probably about the same amount as we spent playing baseball (another story there too). Everyone on the block and all of their friends would come to play war when we were playing it...even the kids five or six years older than us. We would choose up sides and one side would be inside and one outside the structures. The game would continue until everyone on one side had been hit by a band. As soon as that happened we would re-choose sides and go at it again. This would continue until your parents called you home to do your chores (nobody ever walked away from a game---no matter how many welts you had---that would have been cowardly). If there were enough left to continue playing then the game went on until there weren't enough players to continue.

This was a great game and continued to be played for several years---then we got B-B guns. Everyone knows you don't shoot B-B guns at people right...STAY TUNED...THE WAR GAMES IMPROVED AS THE WEAPONRY IMPROVED.

This started out to be a story about what happened to the barns but it triggered a different line of thinking so you'll have to stay tuned for those stories too.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I have been working every day through December for the first time in over 30 years. I have a lot of leave that when you are working you have to use by January 1 or you lose it. In my case I will get cashed out for the leave when I retire. That's a pretty sizeable check since I will get paid for 458 hours---yeah---a lump sum check for about 11 weeks work. That'll carry us over until we get the retirement checks started correctly. The first checks they send are about 50% of what you really have coming and it takes about three months for everything to settle in and the right amounts to be paid so this will carry us over pretty nicely.

So what's the pain? It is way hard for me to work when I have family at home, and for most of my kids lives I have basically taken the month of December off and just worked a few hours here and there so that when the new year rolled around I wasn't too far behind. This year I won't be behind at all because I won't be starting the new year!!!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


When we were young my Mother would try to teach us not to fight but she had a pretty tough go at that. So in her desperation she would take the fighters into the back yard and cut three willows from the lilac bushes in the back yard. She would give one willow to each fighter and keep one for herself. Then she'd tell one of us to hit the other with the willow--if we didn't she hit us with her willow--if we did then it was the other ones turn to hit with his willow. I'm not really sure how many times she did this but it was enough that when we were fighting and she came home all the neighbor kids would climb up to the peak of the old barn to the east of our house where they had a birds eye view and watch the proceedings.

Maybe that's why the barn burned down???? But I guess that is another story....

Monday, December 21, 2009


I grew up with three brothers. I was the second and from the oldest to the youngest there was only five years difference in age. It goes without saying that four boys in five years is enough to drive anyone nuts - right? Anyone except my Mother that is.

My Mother was a wee bit of a lady. She was about 5'2" or 3" tall and weighed about 130#. She wasn't tiny but she didn't have any fat on her either so didn't look fat. She was as strong as a horse and could do many jobs that most men couldn't do. She said her strength came from being her Daddy's boy. She grew up with three sisters and no brothers and being the oldest she got most of the farm chores assigned to her. That didn't bother her at all because she was with her Dad and always got to ride Pansy (a Kentucky bred race horse that her Dad bought as a foal because her mother died on the train in Paris, Idaho) or Tux Pansy's first colt. Both horses lived to ripe old ages and I can remember riding both of them when I was young.

My brother that is just younger than me is a powerful man. He won the NCAA weight lifting while he was in college in his weight division and in the division above him both on the same day.

The information above is just a lead-in for this story.

When my Mother wanted us home when we were in High School she would get in her car and drive down Main Street in our home town and then go home. Her expectation was that we would see her and beat her home. We did, most of the time, because we didn't want to be embarrassed by her telling us to get in the car it was time to be home in front of our friends.

One night my brother saw Mom driving down main street and told his friends it was time for him to go home. One of his friends asked him why he didn't just tell his OLD LADY to go to hell. He told the group - Have you ever seen my MOTHER pick up a hundred pound bag of spuds? She picks it by the ears---that's why I don't tell my MOTHER to go to hell, and he went home. From that point on there wasn't any questioning from his friends when he told them it was time to go home. For that matter none of our friends ever questioned what we were going to do when we saw her driving down main street either.

Friday, December 18, 2009


OK it has been over a week since my Mother was buried and I am still having a little trouble accepting that. All of the rest of my family have blogged about her but I am really struggling trying to put this together but here goes.

My Mother lived until she was almost 93 years old (92 and 10 months). Thirty-five of those years she felt like she should have died before she got that old (her Dad died at 57 and she thought she was destined to do the same). Just after her 57th birthday she and my dad drove up to Montana to visit us. I thought it was nice to have them come but they only stayed a few hours and then went home. I found out the next day that my Mother had a bleeding ulcer and thought she was going to die so she had come clear to Montana to say good-bye to me and my family. She got home and they put her in the hospital for a week or so and they got the ulcer checked and the bleeding stopped and she was good to go again.

This is going to be a random post about my Mother and I will probably do a few more but this is one recollection from my school years.

My Mother was as school teacher and taught for 45 years (four full generations of kids) in the same town. She taught me in fourth grade. One of the girls in the class told her Mother she was sorry for me because my Mother liked all the kids in class better than she liked me. The fact of the matter was that she could help me with the work at home after school so didn't want to be bothered by me during class.

We had an Indian boy from the Hopi Nation come and live with a family that lived on a farm outside of town. He and his little brother came there so they could get a better education than down on the reservation. George and I had a lot of problems with each other--I'd push him and he'd shove me. We both just kept it up all through class day after day after day. My Mother would separate us, make us appologize, keep us on other sides of the room, etc. She tried everything she could think of until it about got her down. Then one day she decided she'd fix it for good.

She dismissed all the class to the playground except for me and George. When all the class was outside she had us move the desks to the wall and then told us to get after it and fight it out. Then she locked us in the room and went out on the playground to make sure the rest of the class was OK. She came back about every ten minutes to see how the fight was progressing. We were doing lovely. He was beating on me and I was beating on him and we were both getting bruised up and sore but neither of us was going to quit---no matter what---I think we fought for about forty minutes. By then we were both beat up and so tired we couldn't do much.

Mom came back into the room and asked us if we were finished. We both said yeah. She made us shake hands, put the desks back out in the middle of the room and go to our desks then she brought the rest of the class back in and we went on with lessons.

From that day on George and I were good friends. I would spend the weekend with him on the farm or he'd spend the weekend at our house. He went to school with us for two years and then never came back. I missed him a lot after they went home to stay. I can also tell you for sure that there was never anyone that beat me up as bad as George did---NEVER---not saying I never lost a fight but I took a beating that day. A LONG AND WELL REMEMBERED BEATING.

Today if a teacher did that they would terminate them on the spot---the point of all this is to let you know that my Mother understood that when boys fight it out they are generally good friends after it is over. Probably not a good thing but that's the way it is.

Monday, December 14, 2009


This is one of my favorite days in my whole career---there were nine of us on the mountain clearing trails for a range ride when the clouds just settled down on top of the mountain. I know it looks cold and rainy but it wasn't it was just a little eerie. We stopped right next to where this picture was taken and ate our lunch---during lunch the clouds lifted and we could see where we were going again.

Friday, December 11, 2009


It has been nearly a week since I posted a blog. It has been a very busy week. I watched my youngest daughter get the prestigious A pin from USU and I buried my Mother. We travelled about 800 miles total for those two events and they were on back to back days so things were busy.

Last night coming home from the funeral I was cruising through the canyon when a deer appeared in the headlights---I realized when I stepped on the brake and tried to get stopped that it wasn't going to work and I was going to hit the deer broadside. I swerved to the right to miss it and missed it by about two or three inches - then turned back into the lane and continued down the road. If the deer had moved at all---any direction---I would have hit it. It has been a long time since I saw a deer stand totally still for any period of time...I am thankful I didn't smack it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Nene's blog yesterday stirred some memories of travelling through Atlanta so I decided to share one. I said in a comment to her that there is always some type of delay at Atlanta---this is about one that happened to my fire team on the way home from a Shanendoah National Park fire (West Virginia). We were called in and told to put it out as soon as possible because the smoke prevented the President from flying in his helicopter.....anyway on with the original story.

We flew out of Ronald Regan Airport on the Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving in lots of fog and bad weather...we were somewhat delayed in taking off and needed to change planes in Atlanta for the flight into Salt Lake City. When we landed in Atlanta there were lots of people sitting around the airport that also had delays and there was a grumpy feeling in the airport. As we walked into the airport we were informed that we had missed our connecting flight. Now you need to understand that there were about 50 of us all dressed in the same pants and tee shirts and baseball caps and we are a pretty formidable group when encountered even on good occasions.

Delta Airlines in their wisdom had called in a team of people to help manage the anger at the airport---and rest assured there was anger with that many people delayed---not just us but everyone there.

As we walked down the walkway from the plane I was giving one of the guys with us a bad time about missing Thanksgiving and several others were giving team members a hard time and saying---I knew we were going to be close to missing Thanksgiving with the fire but we worked damned hard to make sure we made it home and now we get this---and we were all laughing and joking about how funny it was that we had put the fire out in time to make it home but then couldn't make the flight. Some were saying if you have time to spare go by air and laughing...anyway we weren't too upset because we still had another day to make it home if we could get off on a connecting flight.

We continued to harrass each other and laugh and have a good time. I hadn't noticed any change in the atmosphere at the airport but the leader of the Delta Anger Management Group came over to me and asked "Who are you guys?" I told him who we were and what we did and he asked me "How can you guys joke about missing Thanksgiving like this?" So I told him we still had one more day to make it home and that the team was a lot like family so we just tried to make the best of bad situations and do what we needed to to get by. I also told him that we were used to managing bad situations so this was just another one of those.

He then said "Delta would like to buy you all a drink--we were called in to the airport to help with all the angry people that are here. When you guys came in here and remained happy and light hearted with your situation--which is much worse than the rest of the delayed people and they are all aware of that---the attitude of everyone changed. The drinks from Delta are because since you guys got here the attitude of the whole airport has changed. The anger is gone and we get to go home to our families."

We were there for just about four hours when an unexpected connecting flight to Salt Lake City showed up which we boarded and headed for home---I'll never forget that trip---we made it home for Thanksgiving - but barely - I got home early Wednesday morning. Many members of the team didn't make it until late Wednesday afternoon.

Friday, December 4, 2009


I love this picture of Musinea Peak on the Wasatch Plateau with the smoke from a fire in the background---This picture was taken a couple of years ago with the spacing intentional---the smoke in the background is from the Jungle Fire which was prescribe burned in either 2006 or 2007. The smoke in the background was more than twenty miles from the peak.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Pictures of me and the IC wrapping presents from our Incident Management Team (IMT) to the kids of the Parish...not much but better than nothing!!!!

The Incident Commander

Me on the right


Someday I will figure out how to properly load photos these are from the finish first to the start last---sorry about that---


Thought I'd share a few with you.....

Courthouse is in the middle

Floating House in the Bayou

One of many damged refineries

Destroyed community on one of the beaches - can't remember the name.


I woke up this morning and put on my Tee Shirt from the Cameron Parish incident related to Hurricane Rita...mostly to remember the folks that lost everything...and the government that forgot they existed.

I flew to Cameron Parish on December 1, 2005 getting to the courthouse about 1:00 a.m. Cameron time on 12/2....the drive from the airport to the courthouse was devastating. There was destruction everywhere and there were no structures left standing intact although you could see where they had been and could see the piles of rubble. I passed a house nearly intact sitting about half way on the road---when I got to the courthouse I found out that this house had been located about a block south of the courthouse. Where I passed it was about a hundred road miles from the courthouse but was only about thirty miles from it's original location as the crow flies.

I noticed that there were a lot of power line crews working along the road trying to restore power to the area...I also noticed that two of the crews were from the power company that services the rural area around where I live. I stopped and asked them what they were doing there. They told me their company had sent all of their crews except for one that they held for emergencies at home to Cameron to try to get them back up and running. I asked them if the government was paying for that and they told me NO WAY---this was their and the companies gift to the parish that the government forgot existed. They completely restored the power to this area of Louisiana by 12/19.

I really hated this assignment because the few thousand people in Cameron had to compete with the few million people over by New Orleans that were also left with their lives in a shambles---the difference is the folk in Cameron Parish really didn't get much help---none until mid November---I tried to find their web site this morning on the rehab from the hurricane but couldn't find it....but will continue to look for it---I did find a web site regarding the parish but it didn't have the Hurricane rehabilitation on it.

I flew home from this assignment on December 22 and most of the work toward recovery was yet to be done. I felt like I abandoned them---just like the government did.....

Thursday, November 26, 2009


This morning I have been thinking about a lot of things---kind of nostalgic---but I am 61 years old and have worked 53 years of that. I started young because my parents owned a store and they worked me and my threee brothers so they knew where we were. I also worked for my Grandpa and he paid me well (when I was working for him he paid me the same salary he paid his men $20.00/Day).

He was a cattleman and had lots of steers in feed lots around the country. He would take me with him to the feed lots and while he was talking to the owner it was my job to follow the workers around the lot and look at the steers and listen to what they said as we walked from pen to pen. I was just a kid---right---so they would talk about a lot of things as we moved through the yard---but mostly they talked about how they were taking advantage of Grandpa. Part of the job was to get the weekly gain slips for the pen and the weekly feed bills for the pen---the other part was to report out where he was being taken advantage of.

When we got in the car to leave it was my job to tell Grandpa where they were taking advantage of him and what the weekly gain of each pen of steers was and what the cost of the gain was...both of those were simple math...take last weeks pen weight away from this weeks pen weight and you've got the gain---divide that into the weekly pen feed cost and you have the cost per pound gain. If a pound gain is costing you more that the market is bringing you are losing money if it is less then you are making money. You can do a little more simple math and figure how much you are making or losing each day for each pen.

Anyway the reason for this blog is to let you know I didn't have a very physical job working for Grandpa but he damn sure taught me how to pay attention. I still think that is one of my greatest assets.


5 Mondays

I only have five Mondays left until I retire. The problem with that is these are the Mondays that I usually take off to use my leave. It is highly likely that I will be the only one in the office during this time. I haven't been a real good one to use up all my leave so I have donated a lot of it to people who are sick. This year I am going to take it all---yup all of it---in the form of a lump sum check for what is left---the plan is to have the check be for 472 hours (almost six weeks)---that should get me through until the first retirement check shows up.

It is going to be really strange to get a single pay check per month since we have been getting two a month for almost 39 years. It is going to require rethinking our spending habits because it is a huge change. We also don't really know how close it will be to what we are getting now but it should be realy close because I won't be paying into the retirement fund or into our 401K anymore.

It is starting to seem weird to me that I will be getting paid for what I did in the past and not what I am doing now---getting paid for doing nothing is a new concept to me.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I posted a new quotation today from an old miner---I thought it was profound---it is absolutely true---and there aren't that many absolutes in the world today.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Here are a couple of badges Twist made for me. I have said hundreds of times that I want to be the Wal Mart greeter....see the badge....when I have been telling people that I was going to get even with them I always said BE A FRED---BE VERY A FRED. So he sent these badges for my retirement.

Friday, November 20, 2009


I decided today to vent about my lack of retirement planning and maybe that will help some of the young ones that read my blog to figure out that the time to start putting money away for retirement was a few months ago - not a few months in the future.

If you start when you are 21 and put money away for retirement consistently at 10% of your salary you will be able to retire with a lot of money. I firmly believe that you should pay 10% of your salary to the church first then pay 10% to your own savings/IRA/ROTH or whatever you are doing to save for retirement. If you can't put away 10% put something away and don't touch it---DO NOT TOUCH THIS MONEY---NOPE---NOT FOR ANYTHING. In addition to this you need to put $500.00 minimum into an account for emergencies--$1000 is better but $500 will cover nearly 95% of emergencies. I believe that if you can't do this you are living beyond your means and need to figure out a way to either cut your spending or increase your earnings. Those are the only two ways to fix this.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I read today that the Corps of Engineers has been found liable for the flooding in New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina. Due to lack of maintenance of the levees. So the government is making a huge court ordered payout to a few people that sued---now what do you expect to happen? RIGHT the rest of the folks will now sue---the precedent has been set---dig deep into your pockets---there will be more and bigger payouts in the future.

I will not defend the Corps of Engineers but I will take a shot at Congress. I am not close enough to the Corps to know if they were funded to take care of the levees or not but I will bet they weren't even funded close to what it would take to maintain them properly. I am pretty sure that there is nothing that the government is responsible for that is funded to the level that it can really be taken care of to the level it needs to be.

What this says to me is that the government is into a lot of things they shouldn't be into---and they aren't funding those things properly either.

So today the Senate debates Health Care---wish it was a public forum and I was on the Hill---I would love to ask them how they propose to meet the funding for what we are already responsible for before they add on a significant new program---my bet---IF IT PASSES FUNDING WILL BE TAKEN FROM PROGRAMS THAT WE ARE ALREADY RESPONSIBLE FOR AND WHEN WE CAN NO LONGER MAINTAIN THEM THEN THE COURTS WILL AWARD PAYMENTS TO THOSE THAT SUE..

I try to stay positive about things so---I am absolutely positive that if health care passes we will be a huge step closer to bankruptcy in this country---I already know that with the national debt if we tried to pay it off we would be sunk so where does the money come from.....

Monday, November 16, 2009


T'Day at 10:00 a.m. WE officially became the owners of our home---WE now own the sucker outright---taxes are paid for a full year and the insurance is paid up for a full year. WOW WHATTA FEELING.

I will have one month free of house payments before I retire (WOO HOO)---probably shoulda done a better job of planning that---but such is life. At least I won't have to make a house payment in retirement. It has been really hard to get this paid off in time to retire and Inklings goes into much deeper details of how we chose to do it if you want to read them but---through the choices we made on paying this sucker off early we saved ourselves over $40,000 in interest (FOURTY THOUSAND REAL DOLLARS)---my Dad was right---INTEREST NEVER SLEEPS---never it just keeps on adding on.

It took us longer to pay the last payment today and make sure everything was taken care of than it did to borrow the money for the house eight years ago in the first place---granted the guy making the loan knew we were coming in and the lady closing us out didn't but I think it is really funny to see how much happier the banking industry is when you are borrowing money than they are when you are paying it off---SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE---THEY GET PAID FROM YOUR INTEREST.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I just reviewed the cost estimate for putting 40,000 additional troops into Afgahnistan and they are saying it is $40 Billion - who does these estimates??? That's a million dollars a year cost for each individual troop sent over---somebody needs to sharpen their pencil on the estimate - or cut the pork out of it.



I hate it when I can't sleep at night. HATE IT!!! This morning early (3:30) I had a panic attack---no clue what the panic was all about---but it was bad enough that I got out of bed and stood up to breathe for a few minutes. Inklings asked what was wrong so I told her. I got back in bed and tried to get comfortable and---right the panic attack hit me again. I got up and got dressed---Inklings told me I needed to go back to bed because I would wake the whole house---that may be true but right now I doubt it.

Yesterday we went to the funeral for Inklings Uncle. He has coached baseball for as long as I have known him. HE LOVED BASEBALL---and fully understood every aspect of the game. When I was younger, probably around 11 (50 years ago), he and his family moved to my home town. He started Little League for the community as soon as he got there and kept messing around with it until he died. He also coached baseball at the high school---right up until he died. I don't know how many State Championship baseball teams he coached but it is quite a few.

He had on his program that the honorary pall bearers included all the young men he had coached. At the end of the funeral they called for the pall bearers and the honorary pall bearers to come forward. I was impressed to see about three entire rows from the chapel empty as the people he coached (I was going to say kids but that doesn't work) came forward to direct the coffin to the hearse. They ranged in age from about 16 to over 60. I thought it was awesome and a great tribute to him to see that many at the funeral.

He didn't have much peace in this life so I hope he is resting in peace today.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


That's what happens when you start getting OLD - your friends start to die.

Yesterday I went to the funeral of a good friend and a man I had worked with for quite a few years on and off. He was an Engineer and I am a Forester - which by the way is a very bad combination since neither occupation sees any need for the other one - but we got along pretty good and had a lot of projects we got taken care of while he was the Forest Engineer. In his early years with the Forest Service he lived in my home town and helped my Dad cut meat after work and on week ends. His wife told me yesterday that they would have starved to death without my Dad's helping them out with that job. I doubt they were that bad off but I'll bet it helped a lot for Christmas.

When I got to the chapel I sat down by the retired ranger from this District and we visited for a few minutes. When I looked up I noticed a blonde lady just in front of us and there was another dark haired lady and a guy that from the back reminded me of one of the Fire Incident Commanders (IC) I had worked for. I was pretty sure I knew the blonde lady because she was a Planning Section Chief for the Fire Team. I just couldn't stand not knowing so I got up and walked forward until I could see the peoples faces---it was the IC, his wife, and the Planning Section Chief (PSC). Both the IC and the PSC are engineers on a forest quite a way North of here. I shook their hands and welcomed them to the funeral. NO SHAME IN BEING NOSEY FOR ME!!

After the funeral Inklings and I went to lunch with them---it was a pretty laid back lunch and we visited for about two hours. It was really good to see both of them. I learned that the guy we were having the funeral for had hired both of these engineers and that was why they had come the long distance to the funeral - I am sorry we had to have a funeral to see them though.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Here is a copy of the tracing of Jim's name from the Viet Nam Wall and a picture of me and my friend at the wall---I am pointing out his name on panel 22 West, Line 98. Double click the picture to see it larger--you can actually read his name by my finger if you have a mind to.

I have seen a picture of a person with his hand on the wall with a drawing of a soldier in full field gear touching his hand with his palm from inside the wall---let me tell you for sure there is something there. The experience I posted earlier was more than spiritual---WAY MORE!!!


I tried to get to the panel on the wall that has his name but couldn't figure out how to do it. This is my high school friend who gave his life in Vietnam for the USA. The note from his platoon sergeant is good. The note from Mike says it all. I miss you too---both of you.

When I was on a fire in West Virginia we spent the night in Washington D.C. getting ready to come home. Several of us visited the WALL. I had an experience and may have blogged about it before but here 'tis again. I went to the book to look up the panel where his name was and there were hundreds of people along the wall - including the graduating class from Annapolis in full dress uniform. One of my good friends was with me but stopped when I started down the wall---as I started down it I was the only person left along it (I have no clue where the others went). I sat down and etched his name onto a piece of paper so I could bring it home (I couldn't find the paper today or I would have put it here too).

When I finished I looked around and realized I was alone on the Wall - I looked up at the deck where you can look down on the wall and the entire graduating class from Annapolis was standing along the rail looking down watching me etch his name onto the paper. I hope they understood the pain I had while etching his name as they were soon to be our newest Military Leaders. As I walked back up the wall my friend joined me and asked "What did you do to make all of the people leave the Wall?" I told him I didn't have a clue but they must have understood that I needed to be alone for a few minutes---I hope someday I either go back and re-do the etching or find the one I brought home that trip.

This post brought many tears regarding my loss - all of our loss for that matter.


Today is a day set aside by our great nation to celebrate what VETRANS have done for us. While you contemplate this today remember that we are the greatest nation on the earth and that we have the highest standard of living that ever existed and we are FREE.


Sunday, November 8, 2009


This road has been under construction in phases since the day I got to the District. Last week we accepted the second paving contract. Here are a couple of photos of the really sharp turn and the road below it. I am very tickled at how good it turned out and think this is probably the last pavement the road will ever see. There are still two grading phases left but I doubt they will compete well now that the competition has to go state wide starting in 2012.

I am happy that we got as far as we did during my watch-it is an amazingly nice road.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


This is in fact how you feel when you have it.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Fall cleaning is different than Spring cleaning. It entails preparing the house for winter which includes cleaning out the rain gutter and making sure there are no plugs in the down spouts. It is a relatively simple job but it seems to be getting tougher each year. I am not as nimble as I once was and getting close to the edge of the roof makes me nervous now where it didn't before. Stepping off the ladder onto the roof is now a little tougher but now it is really, really tough to step from the roof back onto the ladder. NO GUTS NO GLORY!

I got this all taken care of today and the gutter was completely filled up with decomposing leaves and twigs - problem is there are still a lot of leaves on the trees that will need to be cleaned out after they fall - oh good - I have another job that I can do for Thanksgiving.


As of today I have 8 Mondays left of my career. EIGHT. I have also made the decision that I am not going to work an Fridays during that time. It is nice to be able to work on a flexible tour. What it usually does is insure that you work more hours in a pay period that you get paid for. It is easy to do that and for me it has been easy to give the extra hours just to know that I don't have to be there. I could stay away if I wanted to.

For the past couple of weeks I have been reminiscing what has gone on in my career. I look back at all of the things I have done and am very very thankful that I have had this job. I have taken on some projects that no one else would and most have turned out very good. There are a couple that people have said they are going to improve on what I did and they have been saying that for 14 years. Guess one of these days they are going to get enough guts to take the chance. I will say when we did the cut through at Flaming Gorge that made the land mass surrounded by Horseshoe Canyon and island instead of a peninsula we were very lucky. We couldn't do the job until December when the water was down and the reservoir freezes solid in January....YUP WE WERE VERY LUCKY TO GET IN AND OUT IN THAT TIME FRAME---EXTREMELY LUCKY

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Yesterday I turned in all my wildland fire gear - all of it. I turned in my flight helmet, flight suit, and gloves as well as the fire shelters and pants and shirts and red pack. Everyone was shocked to see all of the stuff turned in. I may do fire in the future but if I do I will have to pick up new gear.

It has been 39 years since I picked up my first set of clothes to fight a fire to the south of Enterprise, Utah. My job that day was defending a guard station from a fire coming from the south - I was left there alone with no vehicle - that relates to no escape zone. It turned out OK and I was able to keep the fire out of the guard station yard with a lot of work and some fear - but I swore at that time that I would never allow another person on a fire I was on to be put in that position. I have made sure everyone could get away if they needed to.

Well that went a different place than I thought it was going but it feels good to me that I was never associated with a fireline fatality in a leadership position. When I was just starting out I witnessed several fatalities that should never have happened that would not have if people would have paid attention. One of these was a man being run over and killed by an engine while he was sleeping in his rule from that experience was....There are only two rules... 1. No parking in the sleeping area and 2. No sleeping in the parking area We had another fatality just like the one I mentioned earlier this fire season.

Guess my College History Professor was right - he said the only thing we learn from history is that we don't learn from history!!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009


This last week I have spent some time cleaning out my desk and packing my stuff for removal from the office. It seems a little weird to do that but I have way more stuff at work than I had imagined. I know we took ten boxes out of an office I worked at before and I have not once looked back into those boxes. I guess I just need to clear out another place next to those to sit these boxes until I can bear to throw them away.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I have been thinking about the retirement stamement I have been making and it is entirely wrong - and the correct day has now bypassed me.

Instead of saying the date or when I had one bad day in a row I should have been saying the date or when I have a perfect day. Lookin' back that would have been Monday - I got through all that crap I had to do Monday and did the fun horseback trip to a good situation for a perfect ending to a perfect day. Then I came home and ran over my cell phone and destroyed it. Shoulda been the day --- a perfect day and then cut all communications.



Well it was inevitable that this should happen some time since my favorite saying is "TECHNOLOGY - DESTINED TO FAIL - AT THE WORST POSSIBLE MOMENT." I think you are all aware that Murphy was an optimist also. I have had this particular cell phone for about five or six years. I can't remember for sure but it has been a great phone and has a huge memory for numbers and information. YUP you are right I have taken full advantage of that memory. I had over 600 work and personal related people stored on the phone and some of them had as many as four phone numbers stored in it.

Saturday night I was sitting at the computer and had the thought "you should type all these numbers into the computer so when you retire you will have them." I went good idea - I'll do that one of these days.

Monday I went back to work and had one of those days where everything goes right. I accomplished every single thing (over 20 major loose ends) and got a huge WIN on all of them. You know the kind of day you have seven or eight times in a career. My last one for the day was to check out a trespass and assure it was closed out - it was - but it required a horseback trip to check. It was a great trip - the horses went good, the sun was shining, the weather was cool (not cold - no coat required), the birds were headed south, and the cows were headed home. You know one of those really nice fall days. Anyway we got home safely and unsaddled the horses, put the tack away and fed them then got in our trucks and headed for home.

I drove out of the yard the way I always do - around the tack shed to make sure all the doors are locked - they were so I went on home. As I pulled into the garage I needed to make a call so reached for my cell phone. It wasn't there. I knew I had it when I was in the yard because someone had called me while we were there so back I went to retrace my steps - NO SWEAT - I AM REALLY GOOD AT DOING THAT - THE THIRD PLACE I CHECKED (RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE TACK SHED EXACTLY IN THE TIRE TRACK I HAD CREATED WHEN I DROVE OUT) I could see the belt case and phone lying right there on the ground. Relieved I picked it up and noticed a tire track dead center across the case. I quickly opened the case and yup the screen on the phone was crushed - exactly in the middle - and there were no lights - there were no tones - there was no way it would turn on - the phone was DEAD. DEAD. DEAD. Inklings said it best - she said it was resting in pieces. I was livid - I had lost the opportunity to retrieve those people and numbers intact - and I feel a little disconnected without the phone.

I am sick about ruining this phone because it had been such a good one. I am sick about losing the people and numbers. I am mad that I didn't listen to the little voice Saturday. But I am glad that I have had the phone so long that I was entitled to a free upgraded phone - which will be here in a couple of days. When it gets here I will see if my provider can take the chip out of the ruined phone and transfer the data to the new phone - that would make me a believer in technology. Will it work? NAH - SEE THE FIRST SENTENCE OF THIS BLOG.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Well I am starting day four of the S'Whine flu and am really feeling a lot better. I felt pretty good yesterday afternoon so painted another room - now there is only one left and I can live with that - even if it doesn't get painted for a few weeks. I couldn't stand having five undone.

This is the first time we have used the satin finish paint and I am not sure if I like it or not. It is hard to tell where you need to add paint and where you are ok. The finish is weird when it is starting to may be nice when it is dry though - and since I have already paid for it I'll use the rest even if I don't like it.

Inklings and I both had a rough night coughing our heads off every hour or so. Sleep wasn't really possible during those bouts so I think she will be really tired today.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Who knows - but I do have some variant of the swine flu. I came home at noon Wednesday feeling a little queasy. By night I was sicker than a dog. Yesterday I went to the Doctor and he told me yup you have some variant of the swine flu so here are your meds - take them along with the other meds you are on and take those as directed too - and you have to have a chest x-ray to make sure you don't have pheumonia - because you sound really bad in there.

He called about the chest x-ray about three hours later than he said he would but there is no pneumonia but lots of inflamation and trapped air and other stuff.

I came home and took the meds as instructed - seems like an awfully lot of meds to me: one inhaler twice a day; one inhaler four times a day; tama flu one pill twice a day; and some other pill for asthma one pill three times a day. (help I can't keep track of all this stuff)

Just for the record I am into this medication cycle only sixteen hours but I feel a whole lot better - probably just the drugs - I have a guy that works for me that always says it is "BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY." YUP he is correct....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


We have finished painting three of the five rooms that Inklings removed the wallpaper from the past month or so - today when I go home I am going to start on the fourth one. I should be able to finish the first coat of paint on that room today. It is a very small room. I am turning into a lazy man. Time will tell if I get that far along today. I chose not to start yesterday.


I just checked my retirement calculator and it is down to 6,285,383 seconds left before I retire. To keep this in perspective I will have been working for 1.2 billion seconds in the 39 years I have worked when I retire. That is 0.0012% of a trillion - just wanted to make you think a little about how much money we have spent in the bail out this year---I can't even think that high!!!!!

I can say and spell trillion though, just like our politicians.


I awoke at 2:00 a.m. and tried to lay still and go back to sleep. I layed there until 3:15 a.m. with all the aches and pains starting to show up. I decided that 3:00 a.m. was just two hours earlier than I usually get up so I got up and went to work. Inklings sat up in bed as I was dressing and said you are crazy to even think about getting up at this time of day - yup I am crazy - but ya'all already knew that. I got an amazing amount of work done from 3:30 to 4:15 - and I am serious about an amazing amount. I didn't have one single interruption in that time - nope not one - and I didn't get any new messages I needed to respond to either.

I only have 10 weeks left maybe I'll start work from now on at 3:00 a.m.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I didn't post a blog on my birthday but just for the record - we did a lot of stuff - most of which wouldn't be considered celebrating a birthday. I stopped doing that when the body started to hurt more each time. Anyway just for the record it was a very good day. It's always a good day when you have your birthday and a holiday the same day.

Just for the record, I have eleven weeks of work left until I punch the clock the final time. SOOOOOOO - LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT DAY!!!!!


These photos are loaded backward from what we saw while we were checkin' out what has been going on this month. We had a great trip and covered a heck of a lot of ground in the six or so hours we were in the truck. Both Inklings and I were stiff from the ride across the rough roads. It was a beautiful fall day.

Then on to the red road - wonder why they call it that?

Then we checked the fencing around the horse pasture - what a nice fence.

Continued checking obliterations.

Started today checking on road and trail obliterations - looked really good.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


We have been re-doing five rooms in the house. Inklings pulled all of the wall paper off from them and now we are in the process of painting. This morning I got up and finished one room and re-hung all of the wall mounted stuff. I also finished the first coat on another room that has been a pain to paint. Now we are out of paint so if we are going to go further this weekend we need to go buy more.

*L* tell your hubby we just ran out of that five gallons of paint he gave us when he finished painting the assisted living center. It was really, really good paint. We painted four rooms with it.

The room that we have just finished looks really good - can hardly wait until the other four are finished too.

Friday, October 9, 2009


One of the ladies that works with me had a little girl about three years ago. She brought her to work with her for six months. She would come in my room and sit on my lap and type her mother notes on my computer and we'd send them to her via e-mail. It was cute and it was fun to have her around.

At six months we require that they retire and go somewhere else for day care. I guess that makes some sense but as far as I am concerned the kids could just as well stay at the office. When she went away she didn't come in for a few months and when she did she was scared to death of me. I keep trying to get her to come see me but she screams and runs until she finds her mom.

Her dad was with her today and she ran screaming to her mom...he laughed and told me "This is so funny that she acts like this when she sees you - when we are home she pretends to be talking to you on the phone all the time." He said it is hilarious to hear her talk to me on the toy phone because she just carries on this little one sided conversation for a long time.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Last night Brett Favre got to play his old team the Green Bay Packers as the quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings. All things leading up to the game had Favre saying it was just another game. He had nothing to prove. He could only hope that the team would do everything they could to win.

I called Native Minnow last night when OLD NUMBER 4 scored the fourth touchdown and the score was 28 - 14 Minnesota. He is not a Favre fan. NOPE. NOT. AT. ALL. He is absolutely convinced that Favre should have stayed retired. Me - well I think that anyone that is older (Favre is now 40 - OH MY) that can still do the job should go ahead and do it. Guess Minnesota thought he could continue to do it because they signed him for $25 million for two years. That isn't the highest pay in the NFL but it sure beats HE _ _ outa my paycheck.

So here is the deal - anyone believe that Favre can win a playoff game this year? If he does he will be the first 40 year old in history to win one....if you think he can please respond - IF YOU THINK HE CAN'T PLEASE KEEP IT TO YOURSELF - I don't want you to bust my bubble.


Saturday, October 3, 2009


Yesterday we spent some time cleaning up the mess that the frost left us. We pulled everything out of the garden except the tomato plants (that only got frosted on the tips) because we are covering them and the cucumber plants that we have been covering. Everything else bit it, but what do you expect at 21 degrees farenheit. I think we will be able to get a few more tomatoes and cucumbers before the winter season takes it all away.

This has been a good garden even though it started really late because it was so cool and wet this spring. I don't think we took more out of it than ususal but we have really enjoyed it and have eaten a lot of stuff out of it. This was a really good garden - I hate to lose it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I was talking to my college room mate a few weeks ago and we were kind of laughing about what has happened with our lives since we left that college way back in 1968. He said on August 15 he and his spouse will have been married 40 years - I laughed and said well on October 2 we will have been married 40 years.

Neither of us knew when the other got married since we lost track of each other for all of those years and didn't reconnect until two years ago on Christmas day. I googled him and actually found him and his wife who I also knew. There were about 350,000 hits on his name the third way I tried it and I decided I would look as far down that list as I could stand to - they were on the second page. I was tickled and immediately called them - but - no one was home.

I left a message and hoped to hear from them sometime over the holidays. Christmas night late they called and we visited for quite a while and had some good laughs and talked about old times, our kids, our grand kids, our lives, where we had lived what we did for a living and all of that stuff. Anyway that is just filler for this blog. But wanted you to know we had a good reconnect call.

While we were talking this time I laughed a little and said "Who would ever think that the two of us and our spouses would be the ones in all of the folks we went to college with that would stay married for 40 years."

He laughed hard and said "Dee Ice, at the time we were running around together you could get a bet any night of the week that we wouldn't live to be 21." Guess we beat the odds on that.

Anyway tomorrow marks the fortieth year that Inklings has put up with me. I was lucky to get her and am extremely happy that I did. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY INKLINGS!!!!


Today marks the official end of summer, at least here, because today it froze in the valley with temps predicted at 21 degrees F. It is also predicted that the next five days will each have temperatures below freezing. SO - we'll try to cover and save the garden but I would say chances are 95% that we will lose it. The really bad part about that is after we freeze hard and lose all the gardens in the valley it always warms up and we have a very nice fall for at least four more weeks. Probably won't happen this year because of the hunting seasons but I would bet it does.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I couldn't resist putting some of the long distance shots on here. It is a little tough to appreciate the size of the view but this was a pretty day.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Today we had a great leaf are a few shots of the day. Don't wait too long - our Mountain is beginning to lose the leaves when the wind blows.


I was WR_ _ _ on the time left to see the leaves. Inklings and I took a drive yesterday to see the leaves - they were pretty but they certainly weren't at the prime. It looked to me like we have at least one more week until they are at their best (SOME PLACES). We were a little surprised to see that the leaves here are ahead of most of the other places where we go to enjoy the fall colors.

Figure it out and take a leaf drive - YOU WON'T BE SORRY!!!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Big Buck 2009

The Bull almost ate the Bear

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Random Pictures

This is me standing to the side of the Skalkaho Falls on the Pintlar District in Montana - when I was stationed there it was the Philipsburg District.

This is an awesome shot of some jets flying in a UNIQUE formation.

These are pictures of the new Bear Lake overlook at the top of Logan Canyon. I was involved with every step of this except the construction. This is the first time I have seen anything of it. Turned out nice as far as I can tell.