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!

Monday, December 31, 2012

S'LONG 2012

2012 is just about to go out the window and 2013 is set to start.  All in all 2012 was a very good year.  We had good health and bought a new car.  I went to five different fires and had a good season   After fire season ended I was asked to inspect the rehab contracts for three different fires.  There was one for seeding and one for flying wheat straw mulch onto the worst burned areas.  It was a good part time job.  I worked on the preparation part for two weeks in October, the seeding contract for two weeks in November, and the mulching contract for two weeks in December.  That was a lot more work than I expected but it was good to do it.

We had all of our kids home for short visits for Christmas and 11 of our 20 grand kids too.  Would have been nice to see the rest but I just count my blessings that I got to see some of them.  Taking everything into account 2012 was good to us.


Friday, December 21, 2012


 Down on the beach.
House in the middle of the swamp.
Holly Beach before and after.

In December of 2005 I went on a Incident Management Team assignment to Hurricane Rita Recovery and was assigned to Cameron Parish, Louisiana.  The damage and destruction that we saw was almost overwhelming.  Our Incident Command Post was at the Cameron Court House because that was the only building in the Parish that did not have extreme damage.

We were near a school that had the walls knocked out but the roof and supports were still standing.  We recovered the wrestling mat in tact over 50 miles away.  This was the hardest assignment I ever participated in.  When I think back about it I still get choked up and teary eyed.  This entire Parish (County in the west) had a total population of less than 10,000.  The destruction from Rita was unbelievable.  Politically this poor Parish suffered greatly.  They did not have a lot of pull as they were competing for assistance with places like New Orleans that had lots of people affected.  The locals called it the "FORGOTTEN PARISH."

We were assigned there almost three weeks and returned home on the 24th of December.  Our team took up a collection of money to buy some gifts for the displaced kids for Christmas.  We did pretty well and collected about $5,000 which some of the team went North to an unaffected town and purchased as many gifts as this would buy.  They were delivered to a school that had less damage than the rest of the area with Santa on a fire truck.  It was awful to see the kids faces when the truck missed the road and had to continue quite a ways to find a turn around and come back.  It was great to see their faces when the truck returned.  It brought a lot of satisfaction to us to see how happy the kids were to be getting something for Christmas even though it was not a lot.

I always go through a withdrawal when I return from an assignment but never like this one.  I sat on the couch in our lovely house, looking at our tree surrounded by lots of gifts, with our kids and grand-kids gathered for this great celebration and cried.  I have never had an assignment take as much from me as this one did.  To this day I refuse to participate in team assignments to hurricanes because I cannot face seeing the suffering of so many at one time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Inklings told me she was not going to write about this incident and that I needed to do it since it was part of my experience doing the fire rehabilitation. It is really hard for me to write these things down but I decided she was right SO HERE GOES.

While I was doing the rehabilitation on the fires I had one of the straw brokers grand kids come out to visit over the weekend with his dad who was operating one of the straw handlers. He was a cute little four year old that wanted to hang out in the building where I did all of my paper work and filing. I also ate my lunches in there because I had a propane heater in there to keep it a little warmer.

He sat across the table while I was eating. I usually have crackers, a lunch meat, cut some slices of cheese and maybe some potato chips. When I do this I usually take extra sharp cheese because it tastes pretty good when you are working out during cold weather. He told me he really liked cheese so I cut him a slice and gave it to him along with some sliced ham and a cracker. I told him the cheese would bite him back but he would like it if he ate enough of it.

He took a couple of bites and pulled a face each time. His dad came in and he told him it was nasty so his dad told him to throw it in the trash. Which he did. A little while later he asked for some more so I gave him another slice with some more sliced ham and crackers which he ate. I also gave him and his brother a snack pack pudding which they both ate. I really got a kick out of seeing him gobble down the sharp cheese and ham slices after he got cold. He told me he really liked both of them.

The next day he came in while I was eating lunch and sat down and ate with me. I was having the same thing and he asked for some so I gave him crackers several slices of ham and cheese and he ate it right along with me. I'm telling you sharp cheese does taste a lot better when you are cold and hungry.

He left to go play with his brother and another boy that was visiting the project with their families. There is a small stream that runs by the property. About an hour later one of the straw handler operators told me he had heard a child yelling for help and had got off his machine to investigate. He told me he had found this little boy in the creek above his waist hanging onto a tree branch and screaming for help. They had taken him into a camp trailer and changed him into dry clothes but couldn't get him to stop shivering (which is a sign of the later stages of hypothermia). His dad started their truck and got it warmed up and took the little guy home to give him a warm bath. That worked and the kid is fine.

We were sooooooo lucky that the guy on the handler heard him screaming for help. Even if the boy hadn't drowned hypothermia would have taken him in just a little more time. This incident scares the crap outta me. It reminded me how fast tragedy can strike.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012


I have been gone for about three weeks working on a fire three fire rehab projects. It was a little tough this go round and there were some problems with the aircraft but all in all it was another great experience.

All in all we flew 2808 tons of straw mulch onto 3609 acres and 246,047 pounds of seed onto 17,155 acres on the three fires. It was a great experience again although somewhat cold. We didn't have a lot of snow to work through and everyone made it home with no problems.
Heading Home in a cloud of dust.
The view from Lost Lake.
Nice coveraqe.
3 of 4 stacking up for loads.
Tail back on.
Tail off.
Almost sunset.
Upper landing getting a load on wheels.
Great coverage.
Straw bomb.
Hittin' the ground.
Fillin' a hole.
Nice drop.
Straw train.

Ground stack.
Delivering to the ground stack.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Started on the mulching contract today---got 140 acres of the 3609 we are doing taken care of. I am really tired tonight but wanted to put a picture on here of the rehab I am doing this fall/winter. Seems like we ought to be a lot closer to being done than 4%.