The Crotchety Old Blog

Saturday, May 9, 2009

This is a dead blog

This was my first blog, hosted by Yahoo, to my regret. I wish I had started it here on Blogger.

Anyway, I salvaged what I could from Yahoo & put it in here. Yahoo doesn't offer an export tool, nor does Blogger offer a good import tool, so this is a mishmash that was partially exported to Multiply and partly cut/pasted from Yahoo.

This is here for the history, I guess.

My new (Main) blog is here.


Blog EntryMOVING!!Sep 21, '08 4:54 PM
for everyone
This blog now has a new home at Blogspot.

Please update your links. This blog will no longer be updated here.

Blog EntryHOM: Jeepers! OMG!Sep 21, '08 1:11 AM
for everyone
I figured that I would make the most of that autumn and tried to cram as much hunting, fishing & playing into it as I could.

My first purchase for the Jeep was a set of the most agressive tires Cenex was able to stuff under the fenders and the Jeep could handle with its 4.11 gearing and positrac. Like I said, I had plans...

The late 60's and early 70's were the heyday of 4x4 travel here, with tons of roads and trails, no restrictions and not too many people. I did my best to get the Jeep to the end of every trail I could find, and usually succeeded. The failures were a little worrisome though.

Gordon & I went up Peter's Ridge on a snowy trail and all went well till we hit a spot where the trail tilted sideways onto a steepish slope that ended in a gully. When I decided to give it a try, the crew mutinied. Gordon put his foot down and wouldn't let me go any further.

Okay. No problem. We backed out and went elsewhere.

O f course, the next day I went back up there with Paul, tried making it over the tilted portion of the trail - over Paul's objections - and failed. I ended up with the Jeep 1/3 of the way down the slope and sliding sideways towards the gully. Couldn't go forward, couldn't go backwards, finally got stopped.

Paul got out, grabbed his rifle, told me to have fun and went hunting. I got out the come-along and ropes and spent the next hour getting my poor rig back up to level ground.

Gordon called that night and asked if I had gone back to the bad spot - said he had a feeling I would. He also said "I told you so."

Gordon was with me up on Pioneer ridge when the snow had melted a bit. The road was mostly bare gravel till we rounded a bend and found a 30 or 40 foot wide sheet of ice on the road where the melt had run across it and then frozen. Yep, the road slanted toward the outside edge, the sidehill was steep, and I was dumb. I didn't give Gordon a chance to object - I just hit the gas and went for it - and made it, though the back of the jeep got closer to the drop than the front did. I hit the dry ground at the far side with the Jeep going sideways at about a 45 degree angle.

Gordon let me know how stupid that was, but I will never forget the look on his face when the road dead-ended a little ways on and we had to go back over the same icy patch.

He was with me up near Rogers Lake when I tackled a bog. The road went into it, disappeared for fifty yards or so and then reappeared on the far side. I got a run at it and was probably doing 70 when we hit the goop. We made it across, but the I spent the next half hour drying out the ignition system so I could start the Jeep again while I listened to Gordon laugh at me. The engine had drowned out and only momentum got us through.

(My biggest gripe on the rig was the distributor - it was on the side of the engine near the bottom and was constantly shorting out when I went through puddles too enthusiastically. I eventually made a rubber boot to protect it and that helped.)

I didn't have any close calls when Donal was with me, he kept me on a pretty tight rein. I did forget once to put the gas cap on and got water in the tank when I was out at Thompson River with him. Seemed like it took forever to pop and bang our way back into town...

Gordon got a bit peevish with me when I put a leaky five gallon can of gas behind the seat. That time I did listen to him and moved it to the bumper.

Dad & Gordon & I went over to Townsend hunting for a few days. Exploring the roads, we came to another of those infuriating dead ends. When I complained about going in reverse the mile or so back to the last spot wide enough to turn around, Dad pointed over the bank at the edge of the road and said "Oh, just back over the edge and then drive back on to the road."

I did. Barely. Thank God for 4x4 and knobby tires and low gears and a touch of Divine Intervention, otherwise we'd still be there. Apparently I took Dad seriously when I shouldn't have.

The Jeep was a little squirrelly if you were driving on ice in 2wd, I guess because of the positrac axle. Dad & I were way down the Swan on a good gravel road when when a gentle bend led into an icy hairpin curve. When I saw it, I told him to hang on, we weren't gonna make it...

I tried to power-slide the corner and we made it about 3/4 of the way around when the rear end dropped off the edge.

We slammed to a stop with the rear bumper embedded in the far bank of the ditch, the front bumper hanging on the egde of the road and all four tires in the air. I had to dig a hole under the front bumper (Shovel - the #2 purchase for the Jeep) so I could get the Handyman Jack (#3 purchase) under it and lift.

Cool procedure, jack it as high as it will go, push the jack over to shove the rig sideways, rinse, repeat, until all four wheels are on the ground again ...

In the meantime Dad visited with some folks that stopped to watch the show. When I finally got out, a quick check showed that the only damage was to my ego.

Years later I did the same thing in my driveway, with the bumpers on the ice berms from the plow and the tires in the air. Going too fast on ice, hit a bump - I never learn...

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Blog EntryHOM: Jeepers!Sep 19, '08 2:17 PM
for everyone
Part one:
(Stock photo)

The next thing on my agenda was a trip to Missoula with Dad & Gordon in search of a used Jeep since we couldn't find a good deal on one in Kalispell.

A Wagoneer was my dream machine, the first real SUV, go-anywhere guts and a comfy ride for four people, roomy enough to sleep in and heavy-duty enough to haul anything I owned. The new ones had V-8 engines and automatic transmissions and high price tags. I wanted one with a manual transmission and a low price tag.

We found one in Missoula, a blue '64, like new, with a six cylinder 230 c. i. OHC, three-on-the-tree, two-speed transfer case, roof rack and trailer hitch. We had driven down in my little Falcon: we drove the Jeep home. The Falcon was gone.

When we got to Somers, I took a detour and went back in by the old dump to play with the 4x4 a bit. After a while, I made one of those decisions that made perfect sense to me and made everyone else decide I was insane - I deliberately aimed the rig between two trees and put full length scratches down the pristine sides of the Wagon. Dad & Gordon were pretty outspoken about my stupidity, but I did explain that I wanted the Jeep for playing in the woods, and if I had to worry about scratching it, I wouldn't enjoy it. Now I could relax.

Gordon kept everything he owned in immaculate condition, and Dad was careful of his stuff too, so I am not sure either of them really understood, but when you have a reputation for craziness/stupidity, you have to defend it...

I wish I still had this old rig - it had a ton of happy memories riding on its sagging springs. I think that i am going to drop any semblance of chronology and just tell "Jeep" tales for a while. If I could recall all the good and fun times I had in it, it would probably fill a book.

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Blog EntryDesk ReadingSep 18, '08 4:00 PM
for everyone

Thin Air (Weather Warden, Book 6)

by Rachel Caine

From Booklist:
Joanne Baldwin is a weather warden, who can control the weather and keep it from being more chaotic and destructive than it already is. She is on the run, though, for she is accused of killing a senior warden, which she did, sort of: a thread of corruption runs through some of the most powerful wardens, one of which put a Demon Mark on her and then died. Her only hope now is to get a djinn from her old friend Lewis, who stole three of them^B from the council of the wardens many years ago. As she runs, she picks up a hitchhiker who knows things an ordinary person wouldn't, and who offers help. With djinns and other wardens, including those sent to arrest her, all giving her conflicting information, Joanne never quite knows whom to trust in this romantic escapist romp rife with danger, excitement, and even classic cars. Regina Schroeder
I read the first five in the series last year, got sidetracked, and now working my through book 6 and then on to book 7. Good series, almost as good as Simon Green's stuff. A female protagonist/female author that even this old Misogynist likes!

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Blog EntryHOM: 1967 - Rain & ChangeSep 17, '08 12:27 PM
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Like the old saw states, all good things must come to an end.

Rain ended my time at Ford. The woods were damp enough to lower the fire danger and life was returning to normal, but the free time and solitude had given me a chance to figure out a few things and get a course of action.

I quit the Forest Service - the normal thing for college students at the end of summer - and on a bright September day signed my name on the line at the USN Recruiter's office for a 120 day deferred enlistment.

I broke the news to the folks at supper, and I suppose to the rest of the neighborhood at the same time since Mom had cooked for the harvest crew and they were all there.

When the news that I was leaving spread, I suspect there were some happy faces.

It had taken me a while to decide what to do. Enlistment was a big step. I rationalized it by saying that if I enlisted I could chose my own branch, but I really did it because I needed to.

Needed to? Why serve at all when I didn't need to? Good questions. I wish I knew the answers.

I guess I was responding to something that had been ingrained in me all my life, a mix of patriotism and, though I didn't realize it at the time, the need for a rite of passage. I had enough baggage, I didn't want to echo Vic's note of regret the rest of my life. I wanted to go, and do, and maybe I had to prove something to myself.

Why Navy? I suppose it was because Dad had been a sailor, though fear of heights kind of ruled out the Air Force, lack of Gung Ho ruled out the Marines and laziness & cowardice ruled out the Army. I liked boats and swimming, the Navy had some of the best training, and it offered a chance to travel and see the world, or so the posters said.

Heh - "See the world!" One of my fellow sufferers in boot camp enlisted for the chance to travel the oceans - and spent the next four years at the Naval Air Station in Fallon, Nevada. It didn't take me long long to learn to take ANYTHING I was told with a grain of salt.


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Blog EntryHom: 1967 - Ford 2Sep 16, '08 12:54 PM
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Mixed memories.

The pistol Mom sent up was my old High Standard Supermatic Citation target pistol. I did a lot of plinking and practicing with it. I even got a grayling out of the creek in the back yard with it, after I trial-and-errored the deflection and scored a head shot. It was the basic ingredient of an excellent supper.

While I was still soloing, I got a call from Jim Hutchens, my erstwhile boss, telling me he was coming up the next day for a visit. This was okay with me, but he threw in a kicker - he wanted either fresh cake or cookies waiting for him. When I told him I couldn't bake, he said I better learn because my job depended on it.

I had around 24 hours to learn, so I started in. I wasted a lot of ingredients battling that old gas range and my incompetence and my mistakes all went out in the woods. Mistakes like forgetting to put the flour in the cookie mix...

I did one cake, & I wouldn't be totally shocked to find out it was still in the back yard up there, mislabeled as a meteorite. It was so hard and so gross the mice & chipmunks wouldn't even sniff it. I decided cakes took too much stuff and too long to bake and I didn't have time to play with them any more.

I concentrated on cookies, and finally a batch came out that was basically edible. They were on the table when Jim walked in, along with a fresh pot of coffee. Everything met his approval.

We had quite a visit and put together a bit of mutual history - my Handcock grandparents had purchased their farm from his Jackman grandparents. Then Jim sniffed out the fact that my Mom was a Streit and a sister to Bill & Rudy, who he knew - and then he realized I was Pat Taylor's nephew.

I told him I thought he knew that already, and that was why I had been handed such a cushy job, and after he got done snorting coffee all over he told me I'd have been out cleaning outhouses or some similar scutwork if he'd known in time.

Jim was a great guy, and became a good friend. He became a school bus driver after he left the Forest Service and died a few years back.


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Blog EntryHOM: 1967 - Ford 1Sep 15, '08 11:49 AM
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Life at Ford was pretty idyllic, though the solitude didn't last too long.

The woods were closed, but some idiots still tried sneaking in to hunt or whatever, so Jack Brown and a few other FS guys started patrolling the roads, watching for fires and chasing non-NF-residents out. Jack took the north end, so he & his helper started bunking at Ford.

Jack always hassled me over the coffee I made, calling it dishwater weak, so I made a special pot for him one morning - 1/2 the water, double the grounds, Tabasco added and the whole mess boiled down to mud.

He loved it...

Jack was there for one of my more "Jim" moments. One evening one of the old NF ranchers stopped by Ford and visited with Jack for a couple of hours while his helper & I played cards. Since we had company the generator was running and all the inside lights and the yard light were on and it was pretty cheery there.

Jack was everybody's friend, so this visit wasn't unusual.

Eventually too much liquid intake caught up with me and I headed outside. Now, farmers, lumberjacks, foresters and most folks who work in outdoor solitude are a lot like dogs - pretty casual about where they relieve themselves. I was no different - rather than go the 50 yards to the outhouse I just walked over to the fence in front of the rigs and, uh, went, and then went back in and resumed the game.

An hour or so later, the old rancher bestirred himself and left, with the remark "I guess I better get going - the old lady is waiting out in the truck." The truck I had been standing in front of...

I wish I could remember the name of the the kid I was playing cards with... Oh well. Anyway, he saw the look on my face and asked what was wrong. When I told him he went hysterical, thought it was the funniest thing he'd ever heard, and then it caught my funny bone. Jack walked back in, took one look at us and asked what the joke was - we wouldn't tell him until he threatened violence, then he cracked up too.

40 years later & I still can't believe a woman existed that would have put up with those hours alone in that chilly truck...


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Blog EntryHOM: 1967 - The Summer Of Love. Finale.Sep 14, '08 12:35 PM
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I was in Butte when the Huckleberry Fire blew up that last time. The last thing I saw of Big Creek out the back window of the FS pickup I hitched a ride in was a retardant bomber working the edge of the campground.

It was a free trip - an "all expenses paid" bus ride by Uncle Sam. Free entertainment too, watching lines of naked guys standing at attention waiting for a medic to put them into the humiliating routine of bend, spread, cough, etc.

Yeah, it was a pre-induction physical, the prelude to the Draft telling you exactly how your days were numbered. And yeah, I passed, flat feet, bad eyes and all. Guys that didn't pass wore a mixture of expressions, usually a mix of relief and shame. Faces of the passing specimens showed anything from from fear to pride to ... nothing? I suspect my face was thoughtful, because I had a decision to make.

When I got back to Big Creek the fire was basically out and mopping up was going on. Just north of Big Creek a ways the river takes a right turn and cuts through the line of ridges that the fire was running on. The river, the road, some luck and a lot of hard work stopped the fire at the river. Had it made it across the break it probably would have run north till snow put it out.

The camp ground was left in ashes, the crews had gone to other fires, the woods were closed to all but residents and USFS personnel and my thinning crew was scattered all over the district.

There wasn't much debate as to where I was going when I got back. As soon as he saw me, Jim Hutchens walked up and asked if I could cook. When I told him no, he said I was gonna get pretty hungry if I didn't learn...

A few hours later I found myself alone at Ford station, with orders to stay within earshot of the phone & radio in the little cabin. My job was to act as a relay - two lookouts could only reach Ford to send and get messages - one only by radio, one only by telephone. One of the lookouts was in the park, one on our side of the river. One was Numa, I think the other was Cyclone. Maybe Larry can confirm the name of the other. (EDIT: It was Hornet Lookout. Thank you, Larry.)

I had to field their daily reports and any emergency messages and pass them on to Big Creek over the phone, and also pass Big Creek's messages back to the lookouts. They could not talk directly. (By "phone", I mean one of those old wooden 1920's hang-on-the-wall, turn a crank and yell alot contraptions.)

In some ways it was paradise - a neat little cabin in a beautiful part of the country, a stream stocked with grayling literally by the back door, deer in the meadow, Mother Nature at her most charming.

Learning to cook wasn't a big deal - they gave me a Lookout's Cookbook, the gas range & freezer worked fine, the pantry was well stocked, and I had a frying pan.

I have never minded being alone, so that was okay. I have rarely had problem with boredom, so no big deal there.


I read the cookbook, a chainsaw operator's manual, a couple of pamphlets, the backs of all the cereal boxes and the labels of most of the cans. I'd never been without books before, and it was awful!

I slipped a message out to Uncle Pat, and a few days later he showed up with my packsack. He'd talked to Mom and she'd grabbed my pack, took it in my room and filled it with books. Covering a knife. And a pistol and a couple of boxes of ammo. When Pat got the pack from her and delivered it, my Holiday in Paradise commenced!


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Blog EntryFrom Larry O.Sep 13, '08 2:41 PM
for everyone
Larry is a great Contributing editor:
I just got done reading your story on the Huckleberry fire and about those Indians in the fire camp. That same thing occurred in 1961 when I was down on The Salmon River on the Corn Creek fire.

We had our fire camp at Lantz Bar then and there were two different tribes of Indians there in the same camp. During the shifts, they always left a couple of great big-and I mean BIG Indians guarding their areas. Those fellows sat on their behinds with their arms folded across their sumptuous bellys watching each other all day long.

I was the radio operator there and got to watch all this malarkey.

Everything went pretty good until one afternoon one of the young bucks got a big water snake that was all covered with wet sand and did look like a Rattlesnake as there were lots and lots of them critters down there. He let out a loud yahoo and tossed that snake into the other tribe's area. You never saw a bunch of Indians move so fast.

That kid was really laffing it up until he got caught and it took the Camp Boss and several other "White Eyes" to break that up as that kid could have been severely beaten up. Anyway, that kid got shipped out damn quick.

A note in passing, that fire was the first one that I got to ride down the Salmon River in a Jet Boat. Man, what an experience. That was how all the fire fighters got down to the fire then. The only other way was by trail which had lots of buzz tails on it all the way so little ol' me was glad to go by boat.

Just thought that you might like to know that different tribes don't mix well in close quarters.

Blog EntryOn My Desk:Sep 13, '08 1:57 AM
for everyone
Finished with Askins, time for a change of pace.

Anansi Boys

Anansi Boys (Hardcover)

by Neil Gaiman (Author)

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Charles Fat Charlie Nancy leads a normal, boring existence in London. However, when he calls the U.S. to invite his estranged father to his wedding, he learns that the man just died. After jetting off to Florida for the funeral, Charlie not only discovers a brother he didn't know he had, but also learns that his father was the West African trickster god, Anansi. Charlie's brother, who possesses his own magical powers, later visits him at home and spins Charlie's life out of control, getting him fired, sleeping with his fiancĂ©e, and even getting him arrested for a white-collar crime. Charlie fights back with assistance from other gods, and that's when the real trouble begins. They lead the brothers into adventures that are at times scary or downright hysterical. At first Charlie is overwhelmed by this new world, but he is Anansi's son and shows just as much flair for trickery as his brother. With its quirky, inventive fantasy, this is a real treat for Gaiman's fans. Here, he writes with a fuller sense of character. Focusing on a smaller cast gives him the room to breathe life into these figures. Anansi is also a story about fathers, sons, and brothers and how difficult it can be to get along even when they are so similar. Darkly funny and heartwarming to the end, this book is an addictive read not easily forgotten.–Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Blog EntryHOM: 1967 Intermezzo.Sep 12, '08 9:00 PM
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At the moment the well of college memories is pumped out; Time to dig into fresh ground.

1967: The summer of fire and change.

By then, Viet Nam was the hot topic in the under-30 age group and in the news. Several good friends had died there, I'd heard horror stories from a couple of returnees, and the Draft was hot on the heels of others I knew.

Potential draftees: a few of them headed for Canada, others got married - and a favorite quip from recruiters touting service over marriage was "Better four years than life!" A few enlisted.

I was 21 and in school and getting passing grades so I felt safe, but in the middle of the summer I got a letter from the government changing my classification from 2S (Student) to 1A (Cannon fodder). I called NNC and found out that they had sent in the wrong form confirming my standing as a student. "No sweat", they said, "Easily corrected!"

I figured I was truly off the hook, but I wasn't sure if I was really glad or not. I grew up around WWII vets, reading G.I. Joe & Sgt. Rock comics and playing war games. I had Heroes: The Sullivans. Alvin York. Audie Murphy.

I remembered Dad & Darrel, Gordon, Herb Hegg, Uncle Paul, Charley Taborski and other WWII Vets and the unspoken but always present "I was there" cachet they had. This cachet, this bond, was even stronger among the Vets who had actually been in combat.

I remembered Vic telling me of the war years, and his lifetime regret that, sidelined by a heart murmur, he could not go and serve with the rest of the "boys".

I told the school to not bother.

I didn't tell the folks my decision.


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Blog EntryHOM: 1967 - The Summer Of Love. Not. Part II.Sep 12, '08 2:57 PM
for everyone
I didn't mind being off the fireline - running the radio was more interesting. Being on the fireline is like being in a battle; all you see is what is around you and the big picture is a blank. Command headquarters is where the overall progress is tracked and strategy planned, and the radio operator is in the thick of it.

Uncle Pat laughed a bit at Jim Hutchens, the fire boss, and made a few remarks about old fire horses responding to the sound of the bells. Jim was in his element when things got bad and kept the radios and the phone line busy.

There were hotshot crews and firefighters from all over the U.S. at this Huckleberry Fire, and a lot of them were camped at Big Creek. The mix of personalities and nationalities made for some humorous moments.

Mind you, these were hear-say, gathered from the radio and the office gossip.

There were a group of black firefighters camped along the creek by the station, and there were several bears that hung around the station, attracted by the dump behind the station. (Yes, in those benighted times, bears were accepted as neighbors and generally were pretty good ones, educated that they weren't the dominant species and thus careful in their forays. Having them frequent the dumps was not seen as a bad thing.)

One of the firefighters near the creek woke up in the middle of the night to find a young black bear happily licking the dried sweat off of his arms. He screamed, the bear took off one way and he took off the other. The Fark factor was that you can't run in a sleeping bag ... he ended up in the creek, bag and all.

I heard that a couple of the Indian crews had problems too. Several of them were in the back of a pickup being transported to a new hotspot when a young bear trotted across the road. The crew bailed out with axes and chased it into the timber - where the Mommy bear was! The crew returned to the truck faster than they left it!

Another mentionable incident was the result of bosses putting crews from two different tribes into the same small camp. Two tribes with rivalries... Some bloodshed ensued, but no deaths.

I guess this must have been at another fire where I was the radioman, beacuse no civilians were allowed up the North Fork at the time. A grade school class and teacher on a field trip were at the fire camp and gathered around the radio when they got more of an earful than they planned on.

The FVCC frowns on profanity on the airways, even USFS airways, but about the time every little ear was cocked toward the radio listening to a fire boss give a situational update, the FB had a very close call. A burning snag fell and nearly nailed him, and he was pretty verbal for a bit. He described the tree & its ancestry, the ancestry and lineage of the guys that hadn't either cut the snag down or warned him it was burning, and everything in general with a lot of other colorful adjectives, and all of it over an open mike.

The teacher almost sprained an ankle gathering her shell-shocked little brood and getting out of there.

I missed Big Creek's most hectic moment, when the fire blew up, the campground - rated as one of the most beautiful in the state - burned and the station itself was in danger. The guy in the lookout on top of Huckleberry was evacuated by helicopter, and the crews had to pull back.

The fire made a real run to the north at the same time and if it had not been stopped and held at the river would probably have burned clear into Canada.

When I got back, the worst of the fire was over and mop-up was in progress. The woods were closed to all of the public and all normal work was suspended because of the extreme dryness.

My next chore was to babysit a cabin & the radio and telephone in it. Stay tuned.


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Blog EntryHOM: NNC FlashbackSep 11, '08 3:32 PM
for everyone
I have mentioned rabbit hunting.

Idaho was overloaded with jackrabbits at the time, a high point in their cycle, and in some places it was impossible to drive at night without hitting some. We spent a lot of time out hunting them.

Night was the favorite time, slow-cruising the trails in the desert with headlights on and one or two of us sitting on the hood with rifles.

Tip: Never slam the brakes on with someone riding the hood - when they slide off they get mad and they are armed!

Anyway, it was a challenge to try to hit the jacks as they ran. Lots of fun, lots of misses, and little damage to the rabbit population.

Tip #2: make sure you know the area! We broke that rule once, meandering over a mix of ruts and trails along a ridge top till we came to the edge of a field. I stopped, trying to figure out which way to go, and suddenly we were pinned by a spotlight from two ridges over. Someone yelled, an engine started, and I made a fast circle and dove back into the trail we had been on, with the lights out. coming in, we were going at a walk - heading out, the chase was on, we were at full fearful bounce and we knew what the rabbits felt like!

I had a head start, but the pursuers spotted my brake lights. I took a wrong turn and found myself in another field, so I headed out across it at full speed, still with no lights. One of the guys with me yelled at me to turn on the lights, so i did - and swerved - just in time to avoiding running end-on into an irrigation pipe setup.

We saw a house across the field and headed for it, slammed to a stop in their yard. The pursuers stopped back in the field as the owners of the house came out. We explained - breathlessly, I suspect - what happened, and they directed us to the road and we vamoosed.

The next day I drove back out, alone, and located that house, then went up and talked to the folks there and offered to pay for any damage we had done. They were very nice about it and filled me in on what had happened.

The pursuers were their neighbors, who had been losing gas from a big tank they had at the edge of the field just below where we popped out. Vigilante justice was still somewhat of an option there and they were sure we were the thieves, till we headed for that house.

I never really felt much like hunting rabbits in the dark after that. Chasing girls was much safer.


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Blog EntryHOM: 1967 - The Summer Of Love. Not.Sep 10, '08 2:43 PM
for everyone
That August was pivotal in many ways. I was back on the TSI crew thinning timber.

This is a bit from the USFS on the big event of that month.
" During the evening of August 11, 1967, dry lightning that crossed the Continental Divide and continued in the early morning hours of August 12 inaugurated Glacier National Park’s fire season. Fire spotters counted more than 100 ground strikes, the first at 6:25 p.m., with the first new fire reported at 7:05 p.m. The sparks started twenty new fires, burning in total more than 12,000 acres of timber. One of the most aggressive fires, the Flathead Fire, was discovered about halfway up the Apgar and Huckleberry mountains. The fuels of this fire were lodgepole-larch reproduction with heavy snags, the result of the major 1926 fire in the region. By early afternoon on August 17, the fire had spread to 650 acres. It doubled in size in the next seven hours, with a strong convection column angled up the slope. A cold front changed the direction of the wind, and by 10:30 p.m. on August 18, the fire had jumped the North Fork of the Flathead River, reaching the Flathead National Forest. It continued to spread downhill until August 20, when the center portion of the fire burned out and created two smaller fires, one on the northwest part of a ridge and the other on the southeast. By August 22, more the 4,645 acres of timber had burned.

The situation turned worse on August 23. The Weather Bureau issued a red flag weather alert, predicting that a weak Pacific frontal system passing through the area would bring high winds and dry lightning storms during the subsequent twenty-four hours. In response, the park tried to tie in bulldozer and hand-dug fire lines before the winds arrived. By 3:00 p.m., before the lines could be joined, the winds accelerated to between forty and sixty miles per hour. Firefighters were forced to retreat as the fire rapidly spread. Individual fires could be found as much as a half-mile in front of the main fire, with embers thrown ahead by the force of the wind. By the end of the day, another 3,500 acres of vegetation had burned.

Fires continued for another month, a result of the dry conditions, and when they came to an end, suppression advocates pointed to their successes. Throughout the Northern Rockies, fires had been controlled and a comparison with the terrible fires of 1910 highlighted a stunning contrast. Instead of the roughly 3 million acres of timber that burned in 1910, the 1967 fires only covered a total of 90,000 acres. Fatalities dropped from seventy-eight to three, with one resulting from a heart attack. Technology played an enormous role in this success. Aerial infrared scanners, oblivious to the smoke plumes that obscured vision, mapped fire perimeters. Fires that would have burned for days in 1910 were detected early and control efforts began within hours. Radio, telephone, and teletype networks provided instantaneous communications, allowing for immediate knowledge of new fires and coordinated responses. A national infrastructure also contributed to the 1967 success. The region was declared a national disaster area, and the federal Office of Emergency Preparedness joined in suppression efforts. Full closure of the national forests, a status akin to martial law, was enacted, keeping visitors away and limiting the chance of additional accidental fire. The response was impressive; the damage – with the exception of the 56,000-acre Sundance Fire in northern Idaho – was minimal. Suppression, most observers agreed, worked."

I knew the "Flathead Fire" as the "Huckleberry Fire", so just interchange the terms as you wish.

When the fire was at it worst, when the planes were dropping retardant on the Big Creek camp ground, I took a couple of days off. I'll cover that interlude in a later post.

I was drafted as a radio operator once again, sitting in the Comm Shack at Big Creek and playing radioman. I liked the job - safe, secure, and in the middle of everything going on. Ike Weaver was a great boss, as was Jim Hutchens. the fire boss.

Not too many incidents stick in my memory any more. I know I put in long hours - over 12 a day - slept in a USFS-issue sleeping bag under the tree across the driveway or by the door to the radio shack, and lived on Bill Anderson's coffee.

On one of the quieter afternoons Art Vlasak came in and dropped a fancily knotted rope on the desk, saying "That's a hackamore knot. Let's see if you can tie one." It took me two days of puzzling before I copied the knot by carefully weaving the strands. When I showed it to Art he was impressed till I told him I still didn't know how to tie it.

He showed me the trick.

The center, in step 4, is placed over the horses nose, the loop goes behind his ears, and the loose ends work as reins. Insta-hack!


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Blog EntryBest Book BlogSep 9, '08 3:44 PM
for everyone
Best I have found, anyway.

Maybe someday i too can qualify as a "Bastard with a Bookshp"!

Excerpts from the blog:




"A similar tale is set in 1965 in a provincial bookshop where trade is slow. The dealer has a sale of the books upstairs, lesser books but useful stock--even after severe reductions there are 10,000 books left. Rather than haul them down to the dump he decides to give the whole lot to the young girl who comes in on afternoons when he is out doing house calls, fishing, watching cricket etc., She graciously accepts them and says she will arrange to have them out as soon as possible. He sets off to a local auction and on his return is greatly surprised to find all the books have gone. The girl explains that a guy came in from a movie company needing 10000 books - for the book burning scenes in Fahrenheit 451 that they were filming nearby. She only charged £1 per book."

Overall, lots of info on rare books, stories from dealers, and a lot of great information.

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Blog EntryHom: Tommy RiedelSep 8, '08 3:42 PM
for everyone
Tom and his wife Mary owned the farm to the south of ours, which now houses Dennis Carver's proud new subdivision. (Mary was an Emmert, related to Mike Emmert, who Dad purchased the farm from. Her nickname was Pat, which I guess tied in with Mom's childhood nickname of "Pete". I don't know the story behind those nicknames, but I think they had something to do with dolls that each owned.)

When I was a freshman or sophomore I used to walk to Riedel's corner to meet the school bus and usually visited with Tommy while I was waiting.

Tom was a great guy. He started my ammunition collection by giving me a .30M1 carbine cartridge. He used to tell me stories about his growing up in Kalispell - I wish I could remember more of them.

One that stuck in memory was when he and some friends went into the old Kalispell Mercantile. The KM was the main store for everything from tools to toys back before WWII, so they wandered around and into the sporting goods, with Tommy pulling a little red wagon like an innocent little kid.

When the clerk's back was turned, they dumped a case of .22 rimfire ammo into the wagon and walked out.

Country kids, .22 rifles and five thousand rounds of ammunition made for some interesting times! They packed their guns and their loot up near Foy's lake and proceeded to shoot up every target of opportunity they could find. When that got boring, someone suggested playing cowboys and Indians.

Tommy thought it was a lot of fun till he peeked over a rock and got a faceful of chips from a very near miss. Then he decided he could hear his mother calling and went home.

To the best of his memory, nobody got badly hurt and no one was able to prove they did the theft, but they avoided the KM for a long time afterward.


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Blog EntryThe Book List 9/8/2008Sep 8, '08 2:39 PM
for everyone
The Bedside Book: "Long Way Down" was excellent, but too short.


Silks (Hardcover)

by Dick Francis (Author), Felix Francis (Author)

From Publishers Weekly
After collaborating on Dead Heat (2007), bestseller Francis and his son, Felix, deliver another gripping thriller with a thoroughbred racing backdrop. Soon after London barrister Geoffrey Mason, an amateur jockey by avocation, starts receiving a series of threatening messages from a former client, Julian Trent, whose conviction for assault was overturned on appeal, Mason reluctantly accepts the defense of a jockey, Steve Mitchell, accused of the pitch-fork murder of fellow rider Scot Barlow at a steeplechase event. Mitchell and Barlow had fallen out over Barlow's sister, a vet and Mitchell's former girlfriend, who took her own life just a short while before. When unknown parties order Mason to lose the case, he must balance his professional ethics and his sense of self-preservation. The solid writing and engaging lead will carry readers along at a brisk pace, though some may find the dramatic courtroom revelation of the murderer overly theatrical. (Sept.)


Unrepentant Sinner

Unrepentant Sinner (Paperback)
by Charles Askins

Product Description
Colonel Askins is an adventurer. Whether it be fighting his way out of an ambush, hunting tiger in Asia or sniping along the Rhine, Askins has done it with gusto. Here he recounts his early days as a forest ranger, his decade of slinging lead on the Mexican border, his astounding success as a competitive pistol shot, his combat participation in World War II, his adventures as a paratrooper in Vietnam and his career as one of the world's leading big-game hunters.

Blog EntryThe NWMACA Fall Gun ShowSep 6, '08 2:33 PM
for everyone
I wandered in there this morning before it opened to the public - and got detained by security for not have a dealer's badge. I had to hang around the door till Paul Willis, show chairman, showed up.

Paul gave me a dealer's badge as he says I am a "Dealer Emeritus" - a reward for 25 years of setting up at every show. He also told me I looked "Elderly". I couldn't shoot him - too many witnesses and no ammo!

It was neat to wander the show and visit with old acquaintances., with a little bitter-sweet mixed in because of the missing faces like Les Bauska's. I miss being able to get a table and be a real dealer, but at least I don't get so foot sore this way -when I have a table, I rarely sit behind it - I pace around in front of it and end the weekend tired out.

Bought a couple of things from Maynard Denna. He gave me a box to put the stuff in, so I asked him if he'd turn his back while I loaded the box. He did ... it took all the fun out of joking.

Being trusted is a two-edged sword - makes me happy but disgruntled. Being trusted by someone means you can't take any advantage of them at all. Oh well, I spent a long time building that trust here so I suppose I might as well enjoy it.

Lots of fun stuff to drool over. Most tempting was a conversion kit to let you shoot .22 lr ammo in a Ruger mini-14. Since it takes me about 30 seconds to disassemble a Mini and 4-5 hours to get it back together, my innate laziness made me pass on it.

There were a couple of beautiful rifles there with gorgeous wood and ungodly prices - each of them cost more than I have ever spent on a vehicle! I looked at oddball stuff and for cheap stuff that might catch my interest, but there wasn't much there in those categories.

I might go back tomorrow & visit a bit more.

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Blog EntryBlogging: Good IntentionsSep 5, '08 10:41 PM
for everyone
And poor carry-through.

And too many distractions...

I think I am getting the end-of summer rush here in the store, plus I am seriously weeding down a few categories of books to make the place a little more navigable.

Pump problems out on the farm added a little tension. Calls from friends needing computer support added a bit too, and took up a chunk of time.

Add laziness/inertia into the mix and you get a blank blog. I am about 1/3 of the way through the re-reading of the HOM and hopefully will get some time to mull over the contents.

Doing the HOM is time consuming - not the actual writing, but the remembering and the organizing I have to do before I try to write - changing the names to protect the guilty, etc. Once i get on a roll with it, though, a lot of my lay-awake-for-hours nights get filled with the memories and associations and help fill the pages in here.

Hopefully this doodling around will help me get some momentum going. hang in there!

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Blog EntryREADING!Sep 3, '08 11:38 AM
for everyone
As usual, I have several books going.

Long Way Down by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman (Hardcover - Sep 4, 2008)

On 12 May 2007, Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman set off on a 15,000 mile trip from John O'Groats to Cape Town. This is their story. I like reading motorcycle travel and general adventure travel books.

Truck/Van (A copy in each)
In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson: Book Cover
In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson (Paperback - May 15, 2001)

Treo PDA:
King of the Khyber Rifles by Talbot Mundy (Hardcover - 1916)

The Buffalo Rock by Bob Faulkner (Paperback - Aug 8, 2008)

Bob is an old friend & neighbor, so I am dumping in the entire article from the Daily Interlake:

Ex-policeman pens novel about Pony Express
Posted: Monday, Sep 01, 2008 - 11:48:57 pm MDT
By CANDACE CHASE/Daily Inter Lake

Author Bob Faulkner, 67, spent 20 years as a Los Angeles policeman, but his new novel “The Buffalo Rock” has nothing to do with modern urban crime.
It details the thrills and adventures of an early priority mailman — one Tornado Tom Thomas of the Pony Express.

“I had this story rattling around in my head for years,” said Faulkner, a lower valley resident.

About four years ago, he began researching and spinning the tale of young reporter Grant Collins who, in 1923, seeks out the last living Pony Express rider, the aforementioned Tornado Tom.

Collins finds him living in Fort Benton then begins chronicling his adventures, including his stint with the Pony Express in 1860 in St. Joseph, Missouri. Faulkner laughed as he recalled the advertised qualifications for riders.

Originally, he said he pictured riders as looking like Wild Bill Hickok. Through research, he learned Hickok was too big so he became a station agent and wrangler for the Pony Express instead of a rider.

“They were specifically looking for small, skinny guys — orphans preferred — because they didn’t know if they would come home,” Faulkner said.

To overcome that rather dismal prospect, the Pony Express offered riders $100 a month, a tremendous wage in that era. Riders also were issued weapons to fend off frequent attacks although most opted not to carry the heavy pistols.

“Company policy was ‘don’t fight — run for it,’” he said.

Riders galloped 10 to 15 miles between horse changes, sitting on a “mochila,” a sort of blanket thrown on top of the saddle that held letters and packages locked in pouches. Express riders crossed the country to Sacramento, Calif., in about 10 days.

Faulkner said he remains intrigued by how the Pony Express continues to fascinate the nation, considering the service— made obsolete by the telegraph — folded after just one year.

“One of the last big things they did was carry Abe Lincoln’s inaugural address to California,” Faulkner said. “That’s what kept California in the Union.”

He dropped a clue that this historic event plays into the foundation of his novel.

Faulkner took the name of Tom’s Montana ranch, “The Buffalo Rock,” as the title for his epic 615-page story published in August by Stand Up America, USA, the Flathead Valley multimedia company founded by retired Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely.

A national political commentator and author, Vallely praised Faulkner’s book

as “one of the best yarns I have read in years.” The book also was reviewed and recommended by Gerald Molen, the Academy-Award-winning producer of “Schindler’s List” and by prolific writer Bill Brooks.

Brooks, author of the recent “The Stone Garden: The Epic Life of Billy the Kid,” compared the book to such classics as “The Virginian” and “Little Big Man.” He complimented the book’s humor, history and insight into the character of men who become legend.

For Faulkner, Brook’s praise was especially gratifying since he admires his writing.

“I’ve read a bunch of his books,” he said.

A self-described voracious reader, Faulkner said he grew up in Indiana with an insatiable appetite for the written word, particularly history. He ended up in California as a young man after serving in the Marine Corps.

That’s when an ad in the Los Angeles Times for police officers jumped off the page at him.

“When I was a kid, everyone watched ‘Dragnet,’” he said.

He applied and was accepted for the police academy. A career of almost 20 years followed with the Los Angeles Police Department.

“Those really were the good old days of being an L.A. police officer,” he said. “I have a thousand police stories to tell.”

He retired in 1983 but continued working for a time as a private investigator and then a representative of the National Rifle Association. Faulkner moved here about 15 years ago, and his literary career blossomed.

“I had the ambition for years to become a writer,” he said.

Faulkner joined the Writers of the Flathead to work on his book idea. Through their meetings, classes and seminars, he refined his novel’s plot, fleshed out his characters and researched the eras of his story.

A stickler for accuracy, Faulkner checked out everything from guns to iconic western characters. He even made sure he described his street scenes correctly.

“I had to dig up the history of when streets were paved,” Faulkner said. “Fort Benton had paved streets in 1923.”

As Tom, his niece Dixie, the young reporter Grant Collins and many other characters evolved, the author developed flow charts to keep track of how they were all related. As he wrote, he said they became very real to him.

“I even had dreams about them,” he said.

Readers who would like to meet his characters may purchase the book at Borders,, or The price varies.

Those who would like to meet the author and purchase “The Buffalo Rock” may do so at a book signing from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 7, at the Vista Linda Restaurant Pavilion located just north of MacKinaw’s Grill in Somers.

Along with Faulkner, Vallely also will autograph his books “Endgame” and “Baghdad Ablaze” at the reception that features wine and hors d’ouevres.

Even as the print dries on this novel, Faulkner has new works in development drawing from those thousand stories from his career as an L.A. policeman.

“I really do enjoy writing,” he said. “It always was a desire. Now it’s an absolute passion.”

Reporter Candace Chase may be reached at 758-4436 or by e-mail at

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Blog EntryIt's Labor Day, September 01, 2008Sep 1, '08 11:57 AM
for everyone
So am I laboring? As much as I ever do! The door is unlocked, the lights are on, the sign is flipped to "OPEN", some paperwork is caught up, and some books shelved. Normal day - pfffft to holidays!

I tend to ignore holidays. I hate crowds and the weather is usually crappy, so I come in, open the store, grab a cup of coffee & a good book and proceed to thoroughly have fun for the day.

And yeah, now a hectic summer is winding down, things that needed to be dealt with are mostly done, and things in my life are settling down. I am going to try to resurrect this blog and resume the autobiography - maybe.

First item on the agenda is to re-read everything I have written - so I don't start repeating myself in a repetitiously repetitive & redundant manner - and see if any further worms of overlooked memory crawl up onto the surface to be plucked and immortalized in here.

So, if any of my usual two readers still check this space, there might be material coming. If not bio stuff, than other stuff. Hopefully the next twelve months won't hold quite the drama and tension of the last twelve.

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Blog EntryHOM: More on Pat, from Larry.Jul 4, '08 11:16 AM
for everyone
Got to thinking-Yes I know that can be dangerous! Did I ever mention huckleberries? Well when they got ripe back then, there were not as many folks out getting them where they were big and tasty as these types were way off the roads, beaten paths or whatever. When we would be out marking timber, we always had to eat our fill. I remember one time when Pat was recording and I was marking and measuring and found a bush that had berries on it that, honestly, were so damn big that you could take 4 bites out of one and throw the core away! No lie, just fact! Anyway Pat would holler "Hey where are you?" And I would holler back "I got a problem and have to eat my way out of it." Then he would find me and we would just have to eat our way out from under that bush.

Well, anyway back at Big Creek, Bill Anderson would always make us show him our tongues before supper and if they were purple, then he would wiggle that stub of a cigar around and tell us "No pie for you clowns tonight." So we got to where we would pack our dinner buckets with berries during the day and give them to Bill that night and then the next night he would have FRESH huckleberrie pie for the crews. That worked real well and got Bill off our backs. Of course there was not only me and Pat, but also Fred Young, Bob Wynecoop and Dick Lukes what were involved also.

About this same time of year, Grouse season was starting up. Back in those days you could pack iron. One day when Pat and I were heading up a fork in the road up Coal Creek, a chicken was in the road. Pat stopped and I got out and got down on the ground in my hands and knees with that old Colt that I have and I started sneaking up on that chicken. Pat kept whispering "aim for the head, aim for the head we don't want to cook that thing with a hole in its middle!" Well, just as I was getting ready to draw down on that poor grouse, I noticed a movement off to my right and here was Vance Conn, the Engineer, on the other side of the corner, sneaking up on that same chicken with fried grouse in his mind also. I think that bird got the hint and it flew so neither me and Pat or Vance and Flip Darling got any grouse for lunch that day.

There was almost always some lucky soul up there that would have a moose permit back then as those permits were going more to us locals than to rich Doctors, Lawyers or whatever from out of state. We had a special code that we used on the radio to let the station-Red Rogers-know where we were and that a moose was present. Then the Brush Crew or whoever had the permit would get their butts to where the moose would be at. The rig that had the fellow with the permit always had a rifle with them. That night, we all ate moose for supper. That way, the entire station got to savor the goodies and the shooter still got one hell of a lot of moose meat. We all seemed to like the liver, onions, mashed potatoes and gravy the best.

Boy things have sure changed in the Forestry Circus as now if they found out that there would be a firearm, of any kind in a rig, oh boy I sure hate to think of what would happen to the crew and/or the owner of that gun. That was back when it was a pretty well known fact that we all were responsible adults when it came to firearms. Not like some people would lead one to believe nowadays!

Just another fleeting thought of the moment that I thought that you might like to read about.

G'dy mate!

Everybody has a scheme that won't work.

Blog EntryI feel like Mark TwainJun 28, '08 12:46 PM
for everyone
The reports of my death have been exaggerated.

When Pat Grizzard died, (see below), the obit in the Interlake said he "managed" Blacktail Books. Somehow the word spread, not that Pat had died, but that "I" had died, resulting in phone calls and visits and a few massive double-takes from folks that walked in expecting me to be gone.

So, to all those who expressed their concern, Thank You. To those who were celebrating, My Apologies. To those that told me I hadn't been looking good lately, PFFFTT!! And to those who were worried about the book credit they had here, Safeguards Are In Effect. My dying won't cancel things out.

This has been educational. . .

Blog EntryCaddisJun 17, '08 7:57 PM
for everyone
From the Shelter, Saturday:

© All rights reserved.

A 2 yr old chocolate lab X, who instantly fit into Kathy's life.

Blog EntryRIP, RockyJun 12, '08 12:06 PM
for everyone

© All rights reserved.
Kathy's Best Friend: In her words, but i echo the sentiment:
Rest in peace my best friend Rocky. Rocky died in the evening of 6-11 at the vets of acute pancreas. On Sunday we went to JIms farm and he found a old bone and ate it be for he could be stopped. He started getting sick on Tuesday after noon. Wensday mid morning I took him to the vets where we discovered he had a bad temperature of 106.5. He got hooked up to a I.V. and they ran blood tests which most of it came back bad. The X Ray they took also came back not good. The vet started thinking that it was acute pancreas. They ran a test and it came back positive. The Vet said that if he got threw the first 24 hours his chances would improve but he was very, very sick. I stayed there until about 12:15 p.m. then I had to leave. I got the call from the Vet about 11:50 p.m. As soon as I heard her voice I knew that he was gone. The Vet thinks that he died right after she left after 8:00 p.m. cause she found him in the same position as when she left.
Good bye my loyal friend. For almost 12 years you have been by my side and with me almost all the time. You went with me to work, you'd go with me at night time if there was errands to be ran. I fixed the back of the truck as comfortable as I could for you with dog beds to lay on and sleep, a bucket kept in the back that had water in it for you to drink, and a rope for you to be hooked on to get in and out of the truck if you wanted too. There was times I'd unhook you so you could run around and play. In the summer when it got really hot I'd unhook you and hose you off with water from the hose to cool you off (which you hated and couldn't understand why I did it). I kept the sliding window open for you in nice weather so you could get fresh air blowing in as we drove down the road. I'd look in my side view mirror to see you with your head out looking in front of us as if to see where we were going or I'd look in the rear view mirror to see you sitting in the back looking up front and threw the front window. When you'd see me walking towards the truck from the side that the sliding window was on you'd stick your head out and I'd stop to pet you.
Never again can I pet you and you put your paw across my arm.
You were one of the most loyal and happy best friends and companion that I could have. I hope you know how much I love you and what you mean to me.
Home and the truck (or as I would call the truck Rocky's moving house) will be empty and lonely with you not here. With you gone there's a emptiness now that can never again be filled. With you gone a part of what made me happy is gone now for ever.
I wish I could've been with you to hold, comfort, pet you and tell you I love you one last time as you went into your final sleep. Maybe you left me the way you did to save me the pain of having to go threw that. Showing and telling me one last time that you love me.
I love you and miss you always. Know that I will always love you and you'll always be with me inside my heart. You can never be replaced nor will you ever be forgotten.
I love you and miss my loyal friend.

Blog EntryRocky: Life or DeathJun 11, '08 11:19 PM
for everyone
Kathy's lab ate something that gave him a massive bacterial infection. He has been in ICU at the vet's for the last 14 hours, and she said she would check on him again at midnight - if he is worse, she will put him to sleep.... At 20:00, his fever had dropped a degree or two, his stools were firming up, and he had done some massive vomiting - hopefully getting rid of the bad stuff, but he is very, very weak...
Vomiting, diarrhea, fever, weakness, since Monday afternoon - guess he ate something bad at the farm Sunday.
Prayers, good thoughts, whatever, appreciated.
Hoping he makes it. Rocky is a special guy, and I don't really want more guilt & loss for a while - still not over Dad or Woof..

Blog EntryYahooJun 10, '08 1:43 AM
for everyone
Appears to be screwing with their Geocity Blog settings.

Hopefully they get past this soon.

Blog EntryRIPMay 30, '08 6:47 PM
for everyone

Patrick ‘Pat’ Grizzard, 63 Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2008 - 11:07:37 pm MDT

Patrick “The Leprechaun” Grizzard, 63, passed away Sunday, May 25, 2008, at Brendan House in Kalispell. He was born March 17, 1945, in San Diego. Pat ran track in high school, focusing on the 440 and the 880.

During his career, Pat worked for NASA, hosted a radio talk show in California, and worked at the Blacktail Bookstore in Kalispell.

He moved to Kalispell in 1996 and graduated from Flathead Valley Community College with an associate’s degree.

Pat enjoyed photography and many of his pictures won prizes. In his early years he enjoyed surfing, fishing, camping and loved to travel. He was an avid reader. Pat will be missed.

Pat was preceded in death by his wife, Linda.

He is survived by many dear friends.

Memorial services for Patrick will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 7, 2008, at Big Sky Manor, 110 Second Ave. W., in Kalispell.

Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home and Crematory is caring for Patrick’s family. You are invited to go to to offer condolences and sign Patrick’s guest book.

Blog EntryNOTE TO SELF:May 20, '08 11:53 AM
for everyone
DO NOT turn off the computer when it is writing to disk....

Reinstalling Windows - again - but at least with all the recent practice it is going faster.

Blog EntryApologiesMay 17, '08 11:57 AM
for everyone
for the mental vacation.

Events/emotions over the last six months have distracted me, having trouble concentrating on past events or even current ones, so I have taken some time off to retrench and concentrate on photography again, neglected it since Woof died.

Besides, the weather is too nice to be writing....

Blog EntryHOM: Flashing Back AgainMay 8, '08 3:59 PM
for everyone
Writing about that Topcon camera dredged up a few historic points.

Dad's camera was an old Kodak with a bellows lens and a leather & metal case. I still have it....

Paul's old camera was a Mercury II Model CX Half-Frame 35mm Camera, it used 35mm film and we mostly had it developed as slides.

Grandma Striet was interested in photography too, and I still have her old Brownie camera. Mom's last camera was an Ansco ultra-compact Vision Twin-Lens in an offbeat film size.

We found it a few weeks ago with film in it - but it was too old to develop properly.

We took National Geographic magazine when I was in Hgh School, and I spent a lot of time drooling over the ads for the Pentax Spotmatic camera - I got a used one some years later.


And now, from the past...

Did I mention Uncle Tom using a match to check the level of gas in the tank on the hay baler? He was lucky - it wasn't empty! All he lost was eyebrows.

Then there was the time Ian was courting Mom and stopped over to visit the Streits. He was out in the yard visiting with Grandma & Mom & her sisters when their old dog walked up behind him and peed on his leg. I can only imagine his embarrassment.

Vic. He found his neighbor up at the old farm alongside the path, dead of a heart attack. He called it in, and said he would NEVER do that again. He was treated like a murder suspect at the time and never did forgive the LEOs for that.

More later.


Blog EntryHOM: Check!May 6, '08 1:05 AM
for everyone
My picture taking started in grade school, and was an inherited interest; Ian took pictures, and so did Mom. My first camera was a Kodak Brownie in grade school, my first good camera was an old Mercury split frame (72 1/2 size pictures on a 36 exposure roll) that belonged to Uncle Paul.

Mom had kept it for him and used it herself and then I used it, so when Paul came home, I talked Mom into buying him the tape recorder he wanted in trade for the camera.I had a lot of fun and a lot of frustration with it.

Total manual control was all the camera offered, and even when I got an exposure meter I had more bad pictures than good ones.

My first Forest Service paycheck went to Guest's Photo Art for a single lens reflex camera with automatic exposure control - a Beseler Topcon Auto 100.

To Quote the brochure:
Congratulations, on your choice of the BESELER TOPCON AUTO 100 camera which has been designed by our engineers and optical scientists to give an ideal camera fulfilling the following basic requirements:--
1. Single lens reflex--for viewing and focusing of the exact subject image as it will be captured on the film.
2. Electric Eye automation--for automatically setting the correct exposure to the camera simply by pointing it at the subject.
3. Complete lens interchangeability--for changing from the standard to the wide-angle or telephoto as the requirements of the picture may demand.
4. Superior UV lens coating--for producing crisper black-and-white shots and true-to life color pictures.
But, besides these basic requirements, the camera also incorporates all the complicated mechanism that make picture-taking completely automatic, such as:--
1. Fully automatic instant re-opening lens diaphragm action--for holding the lens at wide aperture, for view-focusing ease, but stopping it down automatically to the selected aperture for the shutter action and then re-opening it once more to wide aperture.
2. Quick-as-a-wink mirror action--which, in coupled action with the automatic lens diaphragm action, swings the mirror up and out of the way for shooting and then snaps it down once more, quick-as-a-wink, for view focusing.
3. Single stroke film winding lever action-- not only advances the film one frame, but advances the exposure counter, charges the shutter and sets up the automatic lens diaphragm action.
4. Automatic re-setting additive exposure counter.
5. Automatic pop-up rewind button.
And, as an additional bonus, the camera also has:--
1. Complete electric eye automation with all interchangeable lenses.
2. Special UV filter effect on all interchangeable lenses.
3. Aperture scale visible in finder, even with electric-eye automation.

My second paycheck went for a pair of White (Brand - not color!) boots for work.



Blog EntryHOM: CloseMay 2, '08 6:09 PM
for everyone
The closest call I had with the USFS job didn't happen on the job.

Several of us carpooled, and one fine day the guy we were riding with got fired.

Like a lot of folks, he took his anger out on the car and the road, traveling fast and cutting things closer than he should. He missed turning south at the Blue Moon so we flew over to the US-93 junction. The driver - also named Jim - came very, very, close to a head-on when he tried to pass a car and misjudged the traffic and the scare got him to slow down. But it was VERY close...

Another car-pooling incident that sticks in memory was funny. Kirby Jacobson was dozing in the back seat & I was riding in front, and out of boredom idly pulled open the seat belt latch and let it snap shut. Instantly Kirby was awake and leaning over the seat going "Beer?" "Beer?". I guess it sounded like a pop-top. anyway, he was disappointed.

We rode in two 4-door crew cab pickups, catch as catch can, no assigned seating. This worked pretty well till a windy day, a front seat passenger with a passion for Copenhagen and a crabby back seat passenger who liked having his window open.

Ever time the chewer spit the guy in back had it blown into his face, and the chewer didn't quit till he was told that even if it cost him his job, the back-seat guy was going to bust his jaw for him.

The funny sequel happened a few days later when the Copen-spitter, sitting in back this time, decided to empty a load out the window - and forgot it was rolled up! He got a lot of static over that, beside a faceful of his own slobber and the job of cleaning the truck.

We saw a lot of game on the trips in and out from the thinning areas - muleys, whitetails, bear, fox, and moose. No elk though, and no Grizzly.

A few times guys brought rifles along, with the understanding that if they shot any game, they had the day off without pay. Times were freeer then...


Blog EntryHOM: ThinnerMay 2, '08 1:21 AM
for everyone
I guess it is a bit of serendipity that thinning thins the thinner.

(Hmm, so if you become a treehugger, you "Repent, and thin no more!"???)

Sorry - that sorta slipped out. Anyway, carrying a saw, a gallon of fuel, a quart of blade oil, file, plug tool, fire extinguisher, water and yourself around was great exercise. We almost always started thinning from the bottom of a project, and as the work advanced the climb to the top got longer and sometimes harder.

All those trees that were felled had to be climbed over to get to and from the truck and the work, though sometimes the foremen would clear out a central path up to speed things up. One of my more enlightening moments was when I was in the midst of clambering over the nearly waist deep layer of stuff we had cut down and thinking how impassable it made the slope when I looked up and saw a BIG bull moose.

He was in the woods and moving at a fast trot, and when he hit the thinning area he never slowed down, crossing it diagonally from bottom to top - those long legs unerringly carried him through the downed stuff like it was open road. I was envious!

Heat was always an enemy too, and we took salt tabs like they were vitamins. The occasional rainy day wasn't much help - you either ignored the rain and got soaked or wore rain gear and got soaked - from sweat!

Hot weather also brought the yellow jackets and little sweat bees out in droves. It wasn't unusual to see a sawyer suddenly take off at a run from the tree he had been cutting and working elsewhere till the nest he had cut into settled back down or he had used the fire extinguisher to kill the hornets.

I forgot to mention travel time. We would meet at the old District Office in Columbia Falls at 0700, and the hour travel time from the office to the work area was unpaid - our day officially started at 0800. To balance this, we would knock off at 1600 and travel at USFS expense for the hour back out to C. Falls, arriving at 1700.

There were some hazards & nuisances on the job. Dead snags standing in the area were a real hazard, though not common. These widowmakers had a bad habit of falling for no known reason and with no warning - even Vic got hit by them twice in his career.

(Vic. Struck and terribly hurt buy a snag in the early 1960's, he fought his way to recovery and went back into the woods. He worked as a sawyer till he was at an age when most logger had long retired, but finally decided to call it quits.

He announced that this particular day was his last one, and that he was hanging up his saw at noon. Noon came, and he decided to cut one last tree, and he was bucking it up when a snag behind him fell and crushed him again. Irony.)

Misjudging the lean of a tree or a slight gust of wind could cause your saw blade to get pinched in the cut. If the tree was small enough or you had good leverage you could muscle the trunk back till you could slip your saw out, but sometimes you had to go get someone else and have them saw the tree off a bit higher so you could get your saw out. This backfired on me once - I was helping the next guy free his saw, but I goofed someway and the log slipped off the stump onto his saw, bending the blade and breaking the handle. My bad!

Cutting the trees off at the very-low height the job called for meant sometimes hitting a rock, and that meant stopping to sharpen the chain, one job I never mastered.

I have already mention the hazard of trees whose trajectory you miscalculate and that hang up in other trees. Sometimes you could muscle them loose, sometimes you could knock them loose with another tree, sometimes you had to cut their trunks in half. Cutting a trunk that was suspended at the ends and hanging free in the middle meant cutting from the bottom side of the trunk so that as it settled the kerf would open and not squeeze the blade as it would if you cut from the top. It made for interesting logistics!

Another nasty habit out-of-plumb trees had was splitting vertically when you had them half cut. The split would start on the inside edge of your cut and run up the trunk for 5 to 10 feet, then the tree would hinge on the top of the split and the butt would kick back. The resulting stump looked like a barber chair and this is what gave the event the name of "barberchair". If you were in the wrong spot the damage from the kick-back could be serious, which is why you always stood to the side of the tree you were cutting if you could.


Blog EntryHOM: Larry & PatMay 1, '08 1:58 AM
for everyone

When the flood first hit, Pat, myself, Del Hutton and Red Rogers were in a car pool to go back and forth to Big Creek. We left on a Sunday evening just when all hell broke loose. The section of road just south of the station slid into the river and we were all stranded there till that section of road could be pioneered in and rebuilt.

For the first few days all we--all of us--did was snag garbage cans that came floating by the station office. Every day around noon a Marine flying banana would fly real close to the river checking it out. Then when the water went down Pat and I took off for the brush checking roads and bridges. That summer went by real fast. Joe Pomievich was the Forest Supervisor then and he tried to get me detailed to Spotted Bear for trail repair but our boss said no that he had me humping it there at Glacier View. Pat and I would leave right after breakfast, in the morning, and not get back till last call at summer-time.

Well, we spent most of that summer on flood damage repair--like cleaning debris from under bridges. We had two Gyppo loggers--the Herzog brothers and their self-loader following us around like a couple of puppy dogs. They were the ones that I mentioned earlier about our cheating on our green slip sales. We treated them good and they did like-wise.

The younger of the two finally moved over to White Sulphur and I used him on almost of my dozer piling contracts there. Pat and I traveled every road on the district that summer cleaning out culverts and using the Herzogs to clear out logs and stuff from under bridges. I have run across some colored slides of all of the 4 of us in action on some of the bridges.

Did I mention that Bill Anderson was our cook?

When ever we were late for meals he would stand over us and his stub of a cigar would move from side to side in his mouth and that was a warning sign that we were in trouble. We all had our SPOTS at the table and ABSOLUTELY, ABSOLUTELY NO TALKING AT MEALTIME. I got in trouble only once and that was enough. It was alright to ask for the spuds or whatnot but that was it. I sat next to Vance Conn and Pat sat next to me. Whenever we had steaks for supper Bill would put a little bowl of steak drippin's right next to me and Vance's plates 'cause he knew we liked to slop the drippin's. The rest of the crew thought we were gross but damn that was good with Bill's homemade bread dunked in that stuff.

I don't know if you knew or not but Hank Hays had replaced Harold Howard when Harold took a transfer to Alaska.

The first time I met Hank was when we had all gotten out of the brush from laying out that Cyclone Lake timber sale and I was setting in the office plotting out a cutting and this voice from just behind me said "Do you think you know what you are doing?" I whirled around and here was Hank standing there in a FS suit and tie looking really serious. Later he and I went up Coal Creek on a little show-me trip for me to show him around and he asked me all sorts of questions. I found out later on that he made some damn fine wine.

Did I ever tell you about our camp up at Cyclone Lake. Well, there was me, Fred Young, Pat, Dick Lukes and Bob Wynecoop. There were two tents tied together. The front one was the office/chow hall and the back was where we had our bags. One night, unbeknownst to all of us a big bull moose stopped by to see what we were and he stuck his head in the tent-BAAAAAAAAAD mistake. Well that scared the beegaysus out of him and he reared back and of course his big rack got hung up in the tent. Then he panicked and took off backwards-with our cooking fly and our bedroom-off through the brush. There were 4 green inchworms hauling ass back in the opposite direction off into the brush. After it was all over all we could do was lay there on the ground and laugh our butts off. We spent the rest of the day and part of the day after that going out through the brush gathering up our camp. The worst part of it was-that damn moose hung around us for several days.

I just thought of this story so as time goes on be prepared for more. I was just reading your articles that I sent you and when you mentioned Henry Hays, it rang a bell.

This is one for the books. Pat and I were sent, by Red Rogers, to a small smoke chaser fire one day. Pat, in his careful cunning, had a smoke chase map that dated from the 1920's or 30's with him. He like that map as it showed place names that had been forgotten over time. When he called in our location to Red, the creek name that he used was "Kinney-mikki Creek". Of course that did not show on Red's big district map and that threw him in a tizzy/frenzy trying to find it. When Pat and I got back, there was Red tapping his foot and saying "Where in the Hell is Kinni-mikki creek. So ol Pat digs out his ancient smoke chaser map and showed Red.

Well, since then, I think that name is now back on the maps for the North Fork but am not certain. About all I can say about Pat is that you had to be thinking about 4 jumps ahead of him every day and getting up a wee bit earlier than he would every day to be able to stay with him. I do not think that there was ever a time that I was able to outsmart him.

The day that Pat died, I was going to go to town to visit with him as I had called the day before to see if he would be home so that we could set down and reminisce so was very sad when he passed. I didn't get to say goodbye.

Blog EntryHOM: Smokin'Apr 29, '08 6:29 PM
for everyone
This is a little out of order - more thinning info coming soon - but this just surfaced so I better put it down in writing now.

I guess it was a Sunday in August when Paul & I decided to go fishing.

We got our gear together and went down to Phillips' (Now Jellar's) where we kept the old 14' aluminum boat and 5.5hp Evinrude, hauled the stuff down the path I dug out of the bank, and were almost ready to go when Dad drove up.

He hopped out and told me I wasn't going fishing, and for explanation pointed north at the cloud of smoke towering out of the North Fork. Forest Fire, and the call had gone out to all the crews to report in.

(This, of course, was in the days when anybody who had boots & gloves and two arms and two legs was considered capable of fighting fire. No classes, no endurance tests, no selectivity, and little politically correct attention to safety. You were assumed to be responsible for your own safety.)

I went home, changed, grabbed my stuff and headed for Columbia Falls.

I got there after most of the crew did and they were already on the fire, so I rode up with and worked with a different crew and was introduced to a Pulaski and the art of digging fireline - 18" wide and all the way to mineral soil, and throw the dirt back onto the fire.

This was the era when getting the fire out was rated as a little more important than crew safety, so we were right at the edge of the fire in the middle of the heat and smoke. It made for interesting work; when a burning snag fell in front of you, you detoured the fireline around it and keep going.

They pulled us off the line at dusk and sent us to a fire camp they had set up nearby for a quick meal and a sleeping bag.

The most popular feature in the camp was Bill Anderson's kitchen area. Armys and firefighters need food to fuel exertion, and Bill supplied it with both quality & quantity even in camp.

He set a big old-fashioned tub up on rocks, built a fire under it, then dumped in water and a couple of pounds of coffee. He kept the temperature at a very low boil, and normal procedure was to just scoop out a cupful as you walked by. Hygenic, no. Efficient, yes. And nobody got sick from it. Or complained.

When the tub started getting low, Bill would add more water & more coffee to the existing brew, so as the days went by the coffee kept getting stronger and the level of the grounds kept getting closer to the surface. It jump-started my addiction!

The next morning, I had one of those serendipitous events that have made my life interesting.

I was heading for breakfast when I walked by the radio tent and one the guys from my crew was there so I stopped to visit for a minute.This is when Ike Weaver, the FNF radio man, asked me if I knew how to run a radio.

Being congenitally lazy, mildly dishonest and sensing an opportunity, I said I sure did. (LIE!) I instantly became the assistant radio operator! Since I was really interested in radio and really didn't like the fireline, I learned fast.

Motivation is the key to success at anything!

I spent time on other fires and firelines that summer, though. One evening Earl Fortine, another guy & I were put on a small fire that had been contained. We were relieving the regular crew and just patrolling the perimeter when a small tree about 50 yards outside the fireline and down the hill blazed up with a roar. We ran down, I started cutting off the burning limbs and the other two stomped them out on the ground. It only took a couple of minutes, but they were kind of exciting - the threat of having the fire take off again was a real spur.

All of this was good training for next summer, when a big chunk of the North Fork went up in the fire of 1967.


Blog EntryHOM: Mo' PatApr 28, '08 3:35 PM
for everyone
Once again, from Larry O.


Another one that I just thought about was one that he pulled on me once but lots on other dummies. That was, when laying out a cutting unit he would say you go ahead and I'll meet you on the other side and if you get there first, you drive a stake and if I get there first, I'll pull it and then he would take off and leave you standing there wondering what in the hell just happened. You only fell for that once and it really made your face get red. He sure delighted in doing things like that.


Pat was a delightful guy. He & Caroline always shared the holidays with us, and even after Pat quit driving at night Dad would go and get them for the meal and then take them home.

I always had great respect for him.


Blog EntryHOM: USFSApr 28, '08 12:00 PM
for everyone
OK, it's me again, one more Pat story, though.

At one time, Pat was noted for two things - a luxurious handlebar moustache and a penchant for practical jokes.

In the days when lookouts were taken up to their mountain tops by horseback and pack animal, most of their summer supply of food went up with them.

A buddy of Pat's had his food stock at Big Creek ready to be packed when Pat discovered it - and spent most of the night with razor blade and glue swapping the labels between all the cans.

This made for a summer of food-based "Russian Roulette" for Pat's friend in the lookout - open any two cans and hope one was a fruit and one a vegetable... It also gave him time to discover the culprit and plan revenge.

Pat was finishing up a lunch break by napping in a chair at Big Creek when his friend tiptoed in with a pair of scissors and removed half of Pat's pride-and-joy moustache...


Big Creek. Bill Anderson was cook there, and he was the master of his profession and his domain. I never saw him without an apron on and a well-chewed cigar in one corner of his mouth.

Bill had one iron-clad rule for meals - NO CONVERSATION! You could ask for something to be passed or for a refill, but that was it. I guess he had seen too many meals interrupted by arguments that evolved into fights, which made for a lot of extra waste & work for him as well as problems for the non-combatants.

Reaching in front of someone else was a no-no too, usually you got a swift jab from a fork in the hand of the person whose space you invaded.


Anyway, the fun-filled days as Pat's deputy ended. Hard hat, gloves, and a chainsaw were the tools from then on, Earl Fortine and Dick Gage were my new bosses, and I got introduced to a chainsaw and started learning how to cut trees down.

The chainsaws were fairly small ones using a "brush bar" or "bow bar" instead of the standard bar - the brush bars were an elliptical loop with an open center and were supposed to be faster than a standard bar for cutting smaller diameter wood.

After a fire, forests tend to grow back in a thick tangle sometimes so dense it was called dog hair, with many small trees competing for nutrients and sunlight. The TSI crew job was to go in and take out most of the trees, leaving fairly evenly spaced trees ten to fifteen feet apart that had room to grow. The felled trees were left to rot into the duff on the forest floor.

Obviously, most of the stuff we cut was pretty small, but some of it was was more than a foot or so through at the butt. Me, being me, managed to get into a few "situations".

The crew would line out along the bottom of the stand and cut uphill, with each person having a strip to work in. The first problem I had was leaving a tree I cut hanging in a tree in the neighbor's strip. This is a non-no! It is akin to a man-trap set to fall on someone. (There is a reason they are called "deadfalls".)

After I recovered from the discipline I got from the neighbor, I went on to other mistakes.

I cut a tree that went the wrong way and hung up in a tree on my strip. Okay. I went over a bit and cut another tree, planning that it would hit the hung tree and knock it loose so both would go down.Oops - it hung on the tree that I was trying to knock loose.

Okay, here we go - a bigger tree on the other side, one I maybe should leave, but it looks like it has the heft and vector to knock both the hung trees down.

Bet you saw this coming! IT HUNG TOO!

Three trees that have been cut off but are hanging on an uncut tree, swaying in the breeze, waiting to fall on someone.

It seemed like the only good solution was to drop the supporting tree and the only drawback was getting out of the way of the mess when it fell.

I did. I lived. For once in my life I was TOTALLY motivated to move fast. Luckily no one saw that little fiasco.

Then there was the day I was sawing on a steep pitch of hillside, slipped, and brought my knee up into the saw. I still have a scar from that...

My mouth earned me a few scars too. Dick Gage was built kind of stocky, and once he was describing the car he rebuilt as having a heavy rear end, and I asked him if he was referring to the car or himself. Bad move!

More TSI later.


Blog EntryHOM: CheatingApr 28, '08 1:00 AM
for everyone
This post is All Pat, compliments of Larry O'Connell, who worked with Pat much more than I did and has more stories of him, so, HEEEEEEERRE"S LARRY!!!!


Well here we go with story number one.

He always used to tell me that when he had worked for the BPR (Bureau of Public Roads) that he had got the supervisor so mad at him for goofing off and messing things up that he would leave nasty little reminders along the survey routes.

So one day he and I were working on some Salvage Sales and we came upon a survey stake that had "POT" written on the top of it. Now normally you would look at that and think that meant "Point of Tangency" but not ol' Pat. Nope, he said that had been a note that was left by the Engineers and it was addressed to him and it meant "Piss on Taylor". That is story number one.

When he told these stories to folks that one glass eye would really twinkle. Like the times that we would come in from the field at the end of the day and the Timber Staff man (Jim Emerson-aka Slew-foot) would ask us how things went and Pat, with that twinkle, would tell him "Boy we really stuck a Fat Hog today." And poor ol' Jim would act like he would bite a chunk out of his desk.

Story Number three was when my cousin-Johnny Taylor's mother Edith worked in the TM section in the SO and she was always the one that would check over our "Green Slip" sales for errors and whatnot. Years later, before she passed away, she told me that she just knew that Pat and I were cheating on the prices we arrived at on our sales but could never catch us at it. So I told her that was simple. Pat and I knew who we were selling timber to and we would just arrive at a fair price and work backwards from there.

She threw her hands up in the air and exclaimed that was what she had figured but could never prove it and that now she could die happy and I guess that later that year she did.


Now, I have some time again so here is the story about the "Frozen Lake Ding Ball"

Up on the North end of the Glacier View District lies Frozen Lake. The US/Canadian border line runs right through the middle of it. In this place there is a creature commonly referred to as the "Frozen Lake Ding Ball".. It is a rather smallish creature about the size of a rather large skunk or thereabouts. For a tail it has a rather long tail and at the end of this tail is a rather large cartilegiouns ball sort of like a volley ball or thereabouts. Now this animal is very particular in what it eats. It's favorite is the Grizzly bear. Now one would wonder how in the world can a creature of this small size feast on a beast the size of the grizzly bear. Well it is simple. The Ding Ball sets on branches overlooking trails with its tail curled up over its back. When a grizzly bear walks down the trail and under the branch, the Ding Ball swings its tail down and whaps the bear on the head and kills it and then has its feast. So-when hiking on trails in the Frozen Lake country BEWARE of the Frozen Lake Ding Ball lest you get whapped longside the haid and wind up for its lunch.

So ends the story of the Frozen Lake Dingball.

Here is another one and I, myself, have used this one on an unsuspecting soul who took it hook, line and sinker. It is about Elk turds. Yep-elk turds.. If one has ever taken notice while in the woods and finds a pile of droppings, look carefully at them. You will find some that are round on both ends and some that are pointed on one end. This is how you can tell the sex of the animals that dropped them. It is a very simple thing to do. The round on both ends ones are from the male of the species and the ones that are pointed on one end are the females of the species. Aw come on! Very simple, the ones that are pointed on one end are dropped from one hole higher. GOTCHA!!!!

A fact that I pulled this off happened on the Bitterroot some years later when I was training a young Junior Forester from California and his dad came to the Bitterroot for a visit. He actually was telling his dad to look for these samples so that they could tell what they were hunting for. When I found this out I almost crapped my britches from laffing.

You knew, of course, that deer and elk like to eat the tree flagging off trees didn't you? Well they like to eat that flagging as then each little turd comes out neatly wrapped in different colors of cellophane. ANOTHER GOTCHA!! HAR, HAR, HAR! Thanks Pat.

Oh yes, I am on a roll now. Squeeker trees! Years ago the Forest Service paid a bounty on squeeker trees. Yep! For everyone a JF (Junior Forester) turned each pay-period, the Ranger would pay him 50 cents. That only worked once per JF and when they found out how stupid it made them look they never did it again! Thanks again Pat!

One more and then I have other things to do. This involves the infamous "Rock Worms" that live up the North Fork. In the spring after runoff and snow-melt, we used to drive the logging roads and check things out such as slides, blowdown and whatnot. The slides and road erosion, Pat told me, was caused by "Rock Worm" damage. Oh really said I being stupid. Oh yes said he. These rock worms burrow in the rocks as evidenced by the little channels made in the rocks. They would eat all winter and then the rocks would be so weakened by their insatiable hunger that it would cause the rocks to disintegrate and thus causing all the slides and damage to the roads. If you don't believe this, just look at some Argelite sometime when you are out and about and you will see some of these little channels that Pat was talking about. Of course this is all a bunch of malarkey but when Pat Taylor told this to a young innocent young forester, they usually believed it-just once.



Blog EntryHOM: Career ChangeApr 27, '08 1:04 AM
for everyone
The summers of 1966 and 1967 were different for me. With Dad & Darrel out of the business of raising and selling pigs, he had as free time as he needed to do his farming and there wasn't much haying.

This is when my uncle Pat Taylor stepped into the "father" role.

Pat was a career forester and was pushing the thirty-year mark then. His more active days were behind him and he was doing "Deputy Dog" campground maintenance in what was then the Glacier View ranger district in the North Fork.

Like many of my friends, I had applied for a USFS job for the summer, but had not been hired, and Pat knew it..

He called one day, had Mom put me on the phone, and then told me if I wanted a job to meet him at the employment office in Kalispell the next morning.

When I put the pieces together later I found out that Pat was quite a schemer.

He picked me up at the employment office in a USFS pickup, took me up to the ranger station in Columbia falls and ran me through the paperwork, then loaded me into the truck to start his rounds with him.

His job involved visiting every campsite in the district, picking up garbage, restocking firewood, checking toilets and cleaning & resupplying them as needed.

He took great delight in giving me the grand tour and introducing me to people - I still remember meeting Jack Brown, the district engineer!

We met his truck up on a side rode and stopped to visit, and Pat's introduction was along the lines of "Jim, this is Jack Brown, you know, brown like horseshit."

I knew that Pat had quite a sense of quiet humor - working with him introduced me to his other side. More on that later.

My career as "Deputy Deputy Dog" didn't last very long. Hank Hays, the district ranger, called Pat in so he could meet the helper, and when he saw me things sort of erupted. He told Pat I was not what the job called for - it required a younger kid - and he told Pat to find a new helper because he was transferring me to the Timber Stand Improvement (Thinning!) crew immediately.

I felt bad about Pat getting in trouble till we left the office and he let the grin he had been hiding take over. When I watched "The A Team" years later and the famous "I love it when a plan comes together!" line, I always flashed back to uncle Pat and that moment. He never admitted it in so many words, but events went exactly as he hoped they would.