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 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.....