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!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Yesterday I got up early and came to work. When I walked out of the garage to take the trash to the curb for pick-up day I noticed that O'Ryan was fully up and hunting again. He has been gone (not visible because of daylight) all summer but he has returned. That is a warning to y'all that it is time to fill your freezers for the winter 'cause it ain't far away.

By the end of December he will be going down in the west at the same time he was rising in the morning if you are really interested in following O'Ryan you can watch his progression across the sky.

A few years ago (15 to be exact) I was working on a project at Flaming Gorge. The project was called the Cut-Through and what it essentially did was make an island out of the peninsula that creates horseshoe bend. We started digging on the project on the 10th of December. Because everything to do with the project required boat access and we were so far from any services and were working in the coldest part of the year we decided we really didn't dare shut the equipment down for the night. This was partly because we were worried that it may not start in the morning and we wouldn't be able to get what we needed out there to recharge/replace the battery on the machines and partly because we had to finish the project before the lake froze over or leave the equipment in place through the winter (a pretty pricey consideration) and we still wouldn't be able to finish the project until the water was low again the next winter. This in essence gave us three eight hour work periods per day so we figured we would get at least three times the work done each day.

Turned out to be a good decision. We had estimated the project would take 24 days to complete. We started on it on December 10th so that would have made the completion date January 2nd if we had worked through Christmas and New Years (which was highly unlikely). It was a pretty tense time line for me because we had to have the equipment off before the ice set in or I had to pay the monthly rental on it until we could retrieve it in the spring and the job still wouldn't have been complete.

What does this have to do with O'Ryan - well I worked the night shift and when I went to work in the evening O'Ryan was already up when the sun went down and when the boat came to pick me up in the morning O'Ryan was going down - so I went to sleep the same time O'Ryan did through this project.

We finished the project on December 18th and everyone went home for Christmas and New Years and returned on the 6th of January to watch the National Guard retrieve the equipment. I broke Ice with my little boat on both the 6th (we also started all of the equipment on the 6th just to make sure we were going to be able to load it on the barge) and the 7th in order to get the barge in to the site (My good friend with the UDWR followed me in his jet boat just in case I sunk the little boat breaking the ice). It was a little tense but we made it fine.

On the 7th we loaded all of the people (including our families) onto the barge and went out to retrieve the equipment. Everything went well and we did good getting it loaded. Before we got to the boat ramp it started to snow. That wasn't a big deal and we were able to get all of the equipment on solid ground and the two pieces of contract equipment loaded onto the low boy for transport home and get all of the National Guard equipment packed up. Then it turned really, really cold and the snow picked up - a lot - as we were standing there you could watch the ice freezing out into the bay and the snow start to build up on it. By the next morning January 8, 1995 the entire reservoir had frozen over. I've always said I would rather be lucky than good - this is a case of being extremely lucky.

Would I take this project on again? I doubt it - had I known how much this project would take out of me personally I don't think I would have done it the first time. Am I proud of the project - YOU BETCHA - lots of folks have talked about doing it both before and after we did it but nobody was able to put all the resources together to do the job. I wouldn't have been able to do it either if it hadn't been for two really good contractor friends that came and brought their equipment a very long distance mostly just to give me a hand. Sure they made a little money but no one else would take the risk of having their machines out of work through the winter. I LOVE THOSE GUYS!!!!


MJ said...

The first time I was able to find that constellation was after Ryan went on his mission. I don't know if someone told me this, or if I just thought it myself, but I always thought it was Ryan watching over me. :)

Although I'm pretty sure I told Mom that and she told me that I could pretend that was him until he got back. lol

MJ said...

That's also the only constellation I can find besides the big dipper. :)

Amber said...

cool story! :)