Did you know?

August 7, 2017

The two firefighters who lost their lives recently were part of
a Hotshot crew. The crews have 20 firefighters and there are
only about 107 Hotshot crews in the country. They must pass
demanding physical tests followed by mental training. If they
pass the pack test, walking about three miles with a 45 pound
pack on in 45 minutes or less, they move on to more tests.

The crews are on call 24/7 and don’t know where they’re going
when called or how long they’ll be there. They are often dropped
into rugged, remote terrain and then fight the fires with what
they carried in with them.

Those who fight wildfires often refer to a measurement called
chains. A chain is 66 feet long and one of these crews can cut
several chains per hour in a fire line. When they finish for the
day and return to camp about all they want is a hot meal, a
shower, and a place to lay down and get some sleep.

Before 1930 there were no professional wildland firefighters
and people were hired as-needed without any training. The
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), began in 1930 and ran until
around 1942. The CCC utilized workers for fire suppression and
thus became the first crews trained to fight wildfires.

The first organized hotshot crews grew out that and some of the
first crews were the Del Rosa and Los Padres Hotshots in 1946 or
perhaps the Del Rosa and El Cariso Hotshots in 1947.

Much respect and a hand salute goes out to all those who fight
these fires, the support groups on site, and everyone who lends
a hand when things get hot. You do not get enough recognition
for the sacrifices you make.

To learn more about one of the recent fallen firefighters, go
to the memorial blog.

For more information on Interagency Hotshot Crews to their
official website.

Enjoy our Monday. That means all evidence of the county fair
will soon be gone and the fairgrounds will move on to other
events. And I might have a pizza.
Comments are always welcome.


Painted skies

August 4, 2017

When I awoke this morning it hit me. The wildfires have hit
Iowa. No, our state is not on fire. Nor or people stocking up
on all things needed to make smores. But when something happens
out west it ends up here.

While it makes for interesting days and beautiful sunsets the
smoke from the fires in our more western states has reached us.
And when that happens it causes one to go outside and enjoy.

Here on the east coast of Iowa we don’t worry much about air
quality when these things happen. Much like when severe storms
are in our area we grab a lawn chair and go outside to watch.

Even the critters appear to enjoy the sights.

Then again, this could all be a weather anomaly. Yet my
wandering mind thinks the winds were just favorable to push the
smoke in our general direction. Whatever the reason it gets me
outside even more. It looks like the skies were painted by
a brush in God’s hand.

Enjoy our friday. A day we stock up on pizza and Snicker’s
at Casa Cruiser. Now I need more coffee.
Comments are always welcome.


Fire update

August 3, 2017

We mentioned the Whetstone and Meyers fires in the past and
things have gotten interesting out there. The two fires are now
one and cover 11,593 acres.

Evacuation notices were issued as this fire keeps raging. Low
humidity, no rainfall, and winds have not helped the fire
fighters. As of 14 hours ago the fire was burning with even more
intensity and expected to get worse today.

The fire is 25 miles SW of Phillipsburg, Montana. To see the
last incident report on this fire, go here.

Comments are always welcome.


The fires

July 27, 2017

Our youngest is out working the Whetstone fire which was caused
by lightening and as of the 26th of July covers 2,104 acres.
The smaller Myers fire is also burning about 1,082 acres as we
speak.

Ten days ago the Whetstone fire was at 371 acres and the Myers
fire at 75 acres. Watch your 6 Kenny, things can escalate
quickly. We know you like what your doing but ask to remember
that while certifications are nice, in a tight spot a gut feeling
can save your bacon.

At least these fires were caused by the weather. We’ll keep
updated on this end and thanks for the call Kenny. A short call
is better than none. To all those fighting fires, be careful
and know you are in our thoughts.

This is short but we just wanted to get the news out there.
Enjoy our thursday. Now I need more coffee and something to eat.
Comments are always welcome.


The cold before the heat

July 19, 2017

Alarmists keep telling us this climate change thing is real
and a deviation of 1 degree over a decade is going to kill us
all if we don’t throw money at them to fix it. No sale. We’ve
been there, done that, and had the t-shirt.

You may remember a recent post about the summer of 1936 and
that it was preceded by the drought and a terrible winter. It
was the hottest summer in the recorded history of weather and
is still the record to beat when it gets hot here in Iowa.

But before surviving the heat that summer people here in Iowa,
and other states, had to get through one of the coldest,
snowiest winters on record.

The winter of 1935-1936 was the coldest in 117 years in Iowa
with temps below zero for 15 days and an average temp for the
entire winter of 12.6 degrees. Snowfall set an all time record
that year with 42.9 inches of white fluffy love from above.
Blizzards hit often and losses along with snow removal costs
ran into millions of dollars.

Unlike today, schools didn’t close. With the temperatures at
29 below zero a school bus got stuck in a snow drift, so it
was pulled out and made it to school. One young school girl
walked three miles to school, and here in Davenport there was a
milk shortage as our town was snowed in and the farmers
couldn’t make it through.

Our state also saw hundreds of cases of frostbite and the
coal mines couldn’t keep up with the demand for coal to heat
homes. The worst blizzard of the winter hit on February 6,
1936 when the cold killed 22 people while the snow drifts
reached 20 feet and the wind blew continuously at 30-40 mph.

Drifts ended up higher than the telephone poles, and road
plows were abandoned where they got stuck. Dad said groups
of farmers would get out and shovel enough so the town
doctor could house calls.

Then after that bad winter came the hottest summer in our
states history. Having been through a few hot summers myself I
asked Dad what it was like to live through something like that
and he smiled then said ‘we survived’.

Enjoy your Wednesday. We’re half way to weekend.
Comments are always welcome.


It’s the corn?

July 18, 2017

I heard something yesterday that gave me pause for thought and
will ask the antique farmer shortly when I stop by. A
statement was made by one who throws darts at a weather map
that the corn crop this time of year adds 5 to 6 billion
gallons of water to the air this time of year and that is what
causes our high humidity.

Not being a scientist, but being someone who has walked
between the rows in the summer, I do know it does seem hotter
when you’re in the field. And if we’re planting a lot more corn
due to the ethanol mandate one wonders if that alone doesn’t
make it more humid here.

In our travels we’ve noticed other places are hotter but with
almost no humidity. When I look around these other places I
notice there isn’t a cornfield in sight. Add to that Iowa has
more wind turbines than a lot of other states to move this
humidity around and the plot thickens.

Not sure if I’ll learn anymore more about the subject today
but it does cause my mind to wonder. I like fresh corn on the
cob yet wonder about a tropical, non-humid, island where mangos
grow. I like mangos too.

Enjoy our tuesday and the fresh corn if it’s available where
you are. Since I didn’t see my obituary in the paper I know I
lived to fight another day, and if you don’t have fresh corn
perhaps you could have mangos.
Comments are always welcome.


Starving Marvin

July 17, 2017

A new critter hopped into the neighborhood and since I had
seen him twice over a few days I named him Starving Marvin. Not
that I know for sure he is a male, only because when he poses
just right the name fits.

First spotted trying trying to blend in to his surroundings in
a neighboring lot he kept my attention with his skittish
movements and constant head turning.

Starving Marvin will let me get within about 8 feet of him yet
if I move any closer he’s gone in a flash. After a few days of
observing him munching at his favorite salad bar in the middle
of alley I had named him.

For being such a nervous critter he isn’t afraid to check you
out while you’re checking him out. And I haven’t seen a hawk
circling for a while so if he doesn’t get hit by a car racing
down the alley he may make it to see winter.

That reminded of a time we were still in the car club and I
asked a friend, who was still a farmer, if they had a big
problem with all the critters running around his farm. He
looked at me and said ‘we don’t have any critters on the farm
because we sent all the critters to the city’. Thanks.

Enjoy our Monday.
Comments are always welcome.