My nephew, Steve Moore loves to go camping in the Big Horn Mountains, and takes his family up there often. They hike the area in search of rocks and artifacts. Steve is an outdoor kind of guy, and is in his element when he is in the great outdoors. It’s not that Steve can’t do other things, but the great outdoors is just where he feels most at home.
Steve and my niece, Machelle Moore have two sons…Weston, who is 20 years old; and Easton, who is 16 years old. Of course both boys drive these days, and anyone who has ever owned a vehicle knows that they need occasional maintenance and repair. Most of the time, a vehicle can go a long time before needing repair, but for the Moore family, lately it seems like every vehicle needs something. Steve has been quite busy with multiple maintenance projects of the various vehicles. Unfortunately, while Steve can work on vehicles, he really hates working on vehicles. He has fixed brakes and rotors on the truck he and Machelle own. Then Weston’s new truck needed so work done. After that Easton’s car needed a power steering pump. And just when he thought he was done, Weston’s truck needs work done on the steering and tie rods, because the tires are wearing fast. Then, Steve and Machelle’s other truck needs some work in that sale department, because it’s a little squirrely on the road. Their Tahoe needs the same things as Weston’s vehicle. It’s not as bad as Weston’s, but they need to get it done before they have to get new tires too. They fully understand that vehicles need work, but it would be nice if things to happen one thing at a time. Thank God, that has been the way it was, or Steve might have been worn out completely.
In between all the mechanic work, Steve and Machelle have been able to get fire wood this summer. They have been getting wood for Machelle’s parents, LJ and Debbie Cook too. This year they were able to get everybody enough wood to get through the winter, even enough for LJ to hang out in the garage tinkering on his projects; and for them to hang out by their fire pit too. Steve is a great son-in-law, a great husband, and a great dad to his family. Today is Steve’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
I asked my brother-in-law, LJ Cook’s daughter, Susan Griffith to tell me what he has been up to lately, and she said that one thing her dad is really good at is gardening. That came as a surprise to me. I guess I just never thought he was the gardening type. Nevertheless, people do surprise you sometimes. LJ is especially proud of his tomato plants, cucumbers, zucchini, and asparagus. He has his garden set up, using technology, to water itself, which takes care on one step. Still, there is a lot more that goes into getting a great garden. The soil has to be the right mix, and that isn’t easy. And then there are the weeds. Pulling weeds is the pits, but somehow, LJ’s garden never has weeds. Susan and I don’t seem to have that knack. I guess it is a talent that only certain people have.
When LJ retired, he wanted to set up his garage into kind of a man cave. It can be a necessity when a couple spends all day together, no matter how long they’ve been married. LJ likes to go out to the garage and do his own thing. His wife, Debbie makes quilts and such, but his kind of crafts won’t really work in the house. He can build things, weld, and fix anything that’s broken. I suppose people would call him a jack of all trades. That also makes him very handy to have around when things break down. LJ got his wood splitter running well again this year. His son-in-law, Steve Moore, rebuilt the piston, and got all the lines squared away. Now, it runs great and LJ, Steve, and my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg, with his son Tucker, have been splitting wood for the coming winter.
LJ and Debbie love to spend much of the summer months in the Big Horn Mountains. It’s cooler there, and because he grew up in the area, LJ knows the Big Horns like the back of his hand. His own family did a lot of camping up there during his childhood. These days the next generations of Cooks are camping in the Big Horn Mountains. One of the family favorite camping spots has a herd of elk that graze the hillside every day. The elk are far enough away, that they can’t see the campers, but with binoculars the campers can see them very well. Mornings and evenings are the elk can be heard bugling…a sound that everyone loves to listen to. Their daughter, Machelle Moore, and her family go camping with them often, but Susan and her family can’t always go. This year they did get to go and everyone, including my brother-in-law, Ron and his family were excited to see a moose walk right through their camp. Moose don’t usually like the interruption of their stroll, so everyone kept their distance, and kept the dogs away too. It was something new and different in camping. Today is LJ’s birthday. Happy birthday LJ!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My nephew, Barry Schulenberg has always been a hard worker. From the time he was a little boy, he worked hard to help his grandpa, Walt Schulenberg with anything he was working on. It didn’t matter what his grandpa was doing, Barry wanted to do it too. In fact, Barry once told his mom, Jennifer Parmely that he was going to quit school so he could help his grandpa. He was going to work on and drive trucks. The reality is that Barry did grow up to drive and work on trucks. His own vehicles are pickups, and he works on the trucks for the State of Wyoming. He hasn’t changed a bit since he was a little boy.
Barry has always been the kind of guy that you can count on.He helps his brothers and his uncles with projects they are working on. They have a great network of assistants, and that makes for a very good team of people. This year Barry has been helping his Uncle Ron Schulenberg in cutting and splitting the mountain of wood it takes to heat their home for the winter. Barry has also been working on insulating his garage. As a mechanic, Barry spends a lot of time in his garage, and staying warm while working is vital.
While Barry is hard working man, he is not all about work. He and his wife Kelli love to travel and they have gone on many trips. They like to attend concerts, and to go hiking. They also like snow shoeing and skiing. A favorite place to go camping is in the Big Horn Mountains, but they also enjoy a number of spots in Colorado. This pas summer, they took a vacation to Yellowstone National Park and several areas of Montana, took in a concert and had a great time relaxing.
A year ago, after losing their beloved Black Labrador, Dakota, Barry and Kelli decided to take the plunge and get another dog. They went to see what was available, and came up with a male Border Collie/Australian Cattle Dog mix that they named Scout. When a dog is a puppy, you don’t always know how they will turn out, but Scout and Barry are best buddies. Scout loves Kelli too, but he likes hanging out with Barry a lot. They “work” together on whatever Barry is doing, because Scout is a little bit like his owner. He just wants to hangout and ride in trucks. He would probably work on them too…if he knew how. Today is Barry’s birthday. Happy birthday Barry!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My nephew, Steve Moore is one of the most at home in the mountains people I know. He and his wife, my niece, Machelle love sending time in the Big Horn Mountains near their home in Powell, Wyoming. Their favorite thing to do there is to go exploring on new trails or roads, in areas they haven’t explored before. This past summer, while exploring such an area,the came across a cabin. It was in such a beautiful setting, and of course, it heightened their desire to have their own cabin in the mountains, which I truly believe they will have one day. They had seen the road to the cabin before, and that day, they decided to go see where it led them. I think that if anyone I know could live off the grid, it would be Steve and Machelle. Steve is extremely handy when it comes to building things, and living off the land.
Last winter, Steve decided to build a gun. It is a 22 Dasher. Steve has a Labradar Witch, which is a devise that tells you how fast your bullets are going. He can measure the speed, and decide if he wants to add or subtract gun powder for reloading. The gun shoots accurately, and Steve got a couple few Rock-Chucks this summer on the mountain. While it is a great gun, it isn’t one that you want to have to pack very far, because it is pretty heavy. Their youngest son, Easton got to shoot Steve’s 1911 for the first time this summer. their older so Weston is four years older, and so has been shooting or a while now. Their ideal camping sot is one where nobody else is around for miles, so target practice can be done from camp. Another thing Steve likes to do in camp, is experiment with the fire. Of course, he is careful, but he can say for sure that discarded bacon grease will make the flames flair up nicely.
Steve got a chainsaw from a really good friend last year, so firewood is never in short supply. He never has to be asked twice to go to get some firewood for camp, or for his father-in-law, LJ Cook’s garage. In fact they have so much now, that he had to tell us that’s enough…for probably the whole next winter. Te way Steve and Machelle see it, better to have too much, than not enough. Needless to say there is also always enough firewood for camp too! Camping is a way of life for the Moore family, and this summer they tried to go someplace different, instead of always doing the same things, in the same places. They had a great time exploring new roads, hiking around, and just enjoying each others company. It was great while summer lasted, but they said that it sure went fast this year. Today is Steve’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Like most of the Schulenberg men, my brother-in-law Ron Schulenberg is a work-a-holic. When he isn’t working as a diesel mechanic at Wyoming Machinery, he is working on a car at his own house. This year Ron also put a roof on the family home and put up a fence around the yard. Like any work-a-holic, he spends an average of 16 working hours a day, and then comes in to spend time with his favorite people, his wife Rachel and his son Tucker, and the dogs of course. Weekends often find him working with his nephew, Barry or brother, Bob, both of whom are work-a-holics too. The men cut wood or work on cars. The main good news about all this for Rachel is the fact that she knows where to find him. That’s the way I always felt about Bob’s work.
Ron loves grilling, and really knows his way around a barbeque grill. That seems to be another trait of the Schulenberg men…including my father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg, who was just like his sons and grandsons. Of course, these days, Ron has a helper with all his activities. His son Tucker, his sidekick, is right there doing whatever his dad is doing, be it working, playing, or grilling. They are best buddies, and they are perfectly happy to have each other to count on for help on their projects. It’s important to have an assistant for these things, and Tucker would rather be working with his dad, than almost anything else in the world.
While Ron is a work-a-holic, and like getting things done, he does like his relaxation time too. He enjoys traveling. The family took a trip to New York a while back and really enjoyed Niagara Falls. Ron really enjoys his work, but the reality is that we work to make a better life for our family. Work is a means to an end…a better family life. I can’t picture Ron never getting out there and working…at least not until he is really, really old, but I think that if you ask Ron how he feels about the things he does in life, he would simply say, “I’d rather be camping!” Today is Ron’s birthday. Happy 50th birthday Ron!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
As lighthouses go, Eddystone lighthouse is really quite different than most. The first Eddystone lighthouse was completed in 1699, and was the world’s first open ocean lighthouse, although the Cordouan lighthouse preceded it as the first offshore lighthouse. The Eddystone Lighthouse is on the dangerous Eddystone Rocks, 9 statute miles south of Rame Head, England, United Kingdom. While Rame Head is in Cornwall, the rocks are in Devon. Putting a lighthouse in the open ocean was a rather dangerous undertaking, but it was also an important lighthouse, because of the rocks it sat on. Without a lighthouse there, ships would run aground on the rocks.
The Eddystone lighthouse fell to disaster three times, and was rebuilt threes times. The first disaster came just four years later, when the Great Storm of 1703 took with it, the first Eddystone lighthouse. The first and second lighthouses were constructed of wood. This was the material available at the time. It was also the wooden construction that made the lighthouse susceptible to the distructive storm and the fire that destroyed the first and second lighthouses…the storm in 1703 and the fire in 1755. The third lighthouse is often called Smeaton’s lighthouse. It was recommended by the Royal Society, civil engineer John Smeaton and was modeled in the shape on an oak tree, and built of granite blocks. He pioneered hydraulic lime, a concrete that cured under water, and developed a technique of securing the granite blocks using dovetail joints and marble dowels. Construction started in 1756 at Millbay and the light was first lit on October 16, 1759. It was state of the art in its time. It stood until 1877, when the rocks eroded enough to cause the lighthouse to rock from side to side in the waves, so it was deemed unsafe. The fourth and current lighthouse was built in April of 1879, and was designed by James Douglass, using Robert Stevenson’s developments of Smeaton’s techniques. By April 1879 the new site, on the South Rock was being prepared during the 3½ hours between ebb and flood tide. This current lighthouse is shorter and has a flat top, that is used to land helicopters.
Every wildfire takes with it many victims. Humans, of course, are the most tragic, but they also take animals, homes, and plant life. When a fire gets out of control, devastation will soon follow. Often, all we think about is the loss, and that is a terrible thing, but sometimes something happens that brings a degree of victory and elation to an otherwise horrible situation. Such was the case in the September 1, 1894 Hinckley, Minnesota fire. The loss of life was devastating, with some accounts saying 440 and others saying 418…partly because the Indians weren’t counted in that amount, and partly because there were people who were never found.
The upper Midwest of the United States was a wooded area, rich in timber. Hinckley was a lumber and rail town, that had been built along the Grindstone River in Minnesota near the Wisconsin border. The main industry was the lumber business, and the slash cutting technique left behind it large amounts of wood debris. The town was nicknamed The Town Built Of Wood. Little did they know what a tragic nickname that would turn out to be. The lumber yards were built quite close to the railroad tracks, and the sparks from the trains often set the wood debris on fire. Those fires were problematic, but no one expected the part the trains would play in 1894. That summer, a drought hit the Upper Midwest, making fires much more dangerous. The whole situation exploded on September 1, 1894, when fires near two rail lines south of Hinckley broke out, spreading north. When the raging fire reached the train depot, 350 of the residents got on a train to escape. The train passed right through flames, but reached safety in West Superior, Wisconsin. Were it not for this train, the loss of life would have been much higher. A number of the town’s residents took refuge in the swamps near town, but many of these people were killed, sadly some of them died by drowning. About 100 other residents fled to a gravel pit filled with water, and most of those people managed to survive. A train that was entering Hinckley from the north reversed direction to avoid the blaze. It still caught fire, and the only survivors were those who were able to jump from the train into a lake.
The fire burned 300,000 acres of town and forest, causing about $25 million in damages. In Hinckley, 228 people died, and another 200 in the surrounding areas, including 23 Ojibwa natives. It was a firestorm, with “as much force as an atomic bomb,” to quote a display at the town museum. Hinckley’s afternoon inferno also burned burned up five surrounding villages as it consumed over 400 square miles of kindling. It became known as the Great Hinckley Fire. A small group of statues in town represents survivors in the gravel pit. The Fire Monument and mass grave is on Fire Monument Road, very near the current interstate. Mass graves of 248 people are in lumpy mounds just behind the marker, dedicated in 1900 to the pioneers of civilization in Minnesota. Boston Corbett, killer of Abe Lincoln’s killer, is said to have left his “hole-in-the-ground home” in Kansas and died in the Great Hinckley Fire, in the neighboring town of Neodesha. The town of Hinckley has decided that the nickname The Town Built Of Wood is not one they want anymore, and their current slogan is “Relax…Have Fun!”
For a time, my grandfather, Allen Luther Spencer, worked in the lumber business. It started when he and my grandmother’s brother, Albert Schumacher, decided to go trapping in northern Minnesota. That venture didn’t go very well, and they just about froze to death. It was at that time that they decided to go into the lumber business. Being a lumberjack is no easy job, and was probably much more dangerous in my grandfather’s day, than it is now. Back then, lumberjacks, as they were called did everything from chopping down the trees, to cutting them with a saw, climbing up in the tree to get to the top. You name it, if it pertained to logging, they did it. They called it harvesting, and it begins with the lumberjack. The term lumberjack is not a term that is used much these days, because the modern way of harvesting is very different. Lumberjacks were pretty much a pre-1945 term. Hand tools were the harvest tools used, because there were no machines like what we have now.
The actual work of a lumberjack was difficult, dangerous, intermittent, low-paying, and primitive in living conditions, but the men built a traditional culture that celebrated strength, masculinity, confrontation with danger, and resistance to modernization. These days, there are a few people who actually celebrate the lumberjacking trade. Mostly it involves competitions, but just by watching, you can see that being a lumberjack was not a job for a weakling.
Lumberjacks, and their families, usually lived in a lumber camp, moving from site to site and the job moved. I know that my grandmother and my Aunt Laura spent time in the lumber camps. From what I’ve been told, the houses were little more that a log tent. They didn’t stay very warm, because there were gaps in the walls, and my guess is that they could only use a certain amount of wood a day, so it didn’t eat into the profits. I suppose that the owner of the logging operation made a good profit, but that doesn’t mean that the people who worked for them made a great deal of money, because they really didn’t. Being a lumberjack was really a far from glamorous occupation, and like most really physical jobs, not one that a man can do for too many years. Before long, my grandfather, like most lumberjacks, moved on to other jobs, in grandpa’s case the railroad.
Some birthdays come and go without a lot of fanfare, but others come with a reminder of the blessings we have, and the things we could have lost. This year, for my niece, Kelli Schulenberg, hers is a birthday filled with reasons to be thankful. The recent fire that could have destroyed her home, also could have taken the life of her beloved dog, Dakota. While she was waiting to hear of the fate of her house, and the wellbeing of her dog, I had a chance to talk with, encourage, and pray with Kelli about the whole situation. Of course, her mind was filled with worry, but she showed a strength that told me that no matter what the outcome, she and my nephew Barry would pull through.
With Kelli’s birthday coming so close to Thanksgiving, I’m sure that there have been a number of years where her reasons for being thankful have mingled with her birthday wishes, but I doubt if any other year has brought that more into perspective than this year. When you come close to losing your home, your pet, and all of your cherished memories, it really serves as a reminder to be thankful for all God has given you, and all that He protected for you. Kelli and Barry’s home and their dog were spared, and they both know the feeling of thankfulness for that precious gift. The did lose some wood and trees, a trailer and a shed, but these were things that, while still a loss, can be replaced with much more ease than a home and less pain than a pet. Nevertheless, they were a loss.
But, as with most things we are thankful for, the best are the gifts given in our time of need. That certainly was the case for Kelli and Barry, when their family and friends came together to cut up more wood than they originally had. With the winter months set now with enough wood to keep their home warm and cozy, Kelli finds herself with yet another reason to be thankful the year, both on her birthday and Thanksgiving.
Some birthdays are a little bit sad, because we feel older now, or a loved one isn’t with us, but I think that on this birthday, Kelli will not be thinking about the passing years, but rather about the blessings she has been given, especially in this past year. So much of her life could have been very different, had it not been for the prayers of friends and family, the hard work she and Barry had done to make sure their home had a good fire break around it, and the help of family and friends to give back the things lost. And of course, she is thankful to still have her dog, Dakota, thanks to the kindness of friends who made sure he was ok. Today is Kelli’s birthday. Happy birthday Kelli!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
On October 11, 2015, a wildfire devastated a large area north of Casper, including the area where my nephew, Barry Schulenberg and his wife, Kelli live. While their house was not one that was damaged, they did not escape unscathed. They lost a shed with some lawn equipment in it, fifteen or more trees, a flatbed trailer, and about eight cords of wood, which was enough to heat their home for the coming winter, just to name a few of the things. While insurance will reimburse them for some of the loss, it will not cover all of it, nor will it even begin to reimburse them for the many hours spent cutting all that wood the first time. And the hardest thing to get back…peace of mind.
People would call them lucky, that so much of their property was spared, but I don’t really think anyone who lost anything in that fire, that took 10,000 acres, 12 homes, a number of animals, and several other structures, considers themselves lucky…except that they made it out alive. I still don’t consider that luck. I believe it was the prayers of the people of Casper and others around the nation that kept the loss to the relative minimum that it ended up being, compared to other large fires.
In the aftermath, many people have donated money and other needed items to those who suffered loss that dreadful day, and many will continue to do so. There is no way for me to talk about them all, but they know how much the people who they have helped appreciated it. Help after a loss never goes unnoticed. It is a show of love, kindness, and compassion that can never be repaid. People helping people…the giving spirit. It is what people do for those in need.
As for Barry and Kelli Schulenberg, a special family and friends benefit took place yesterday, when a dozen people converged on my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Ron and Rachel Schulenberg’s place, where thankfully, Barry and Kelli still had some wood, waiting to be cut. Those dozen people spent most of the day cutting, loading, and unloading the ten cords of wood, that now sits where the first eight cords had been at Barry and Kelli’s place. I know that they already feel much better about the coming winter, because without all that wood, it would have been a much more expensive winter in the heating department.
The things that Barry, Kelli, and the other fire victims lost in the fire will at least partially be replaced, but the thing you can’t put a value on is the helping hands of the people who stepped up to help you rebuild your life. The fire victims lost a lot of things, but things can be replaced. Nevertheless, cleanup, replanting, re-cutting of wood, and so many other things that had to be done after a fire, take time and effort. I have to give a lot of credit to anyone who helped to put the lives of the fire victims back together. The kindness of those helping hands was a blessing that will never be forgotten.