16 December 2017 – Snowing and 36°F
We are so happy to be inside a warm house this December, enjoying the fire burning in the wood stove and watching it snow outside. It sure beats camper living in the winter. We are truly grateful for the snow. We most definitely need the moisture!
Since I last wrote, Dave and I joined the Argyle Volunteer Fire Department. We haven’t been trained on anything yet, and have been completing the required federal wild land fire fighter training on the internet. We also got issued some gear and a radio so we can hear what is going on emergency-wise in the local area. Although we are not qualified to do any actual fire fighting, we can go to the station and help get the trucks out the door or refuel them when they come back etc.
Well, that radio they issued us has been going off non-stop since 3AM Monday morning.
We have had some extremely windy days here in the Black Hills, gusts up to 60kts in Rapid City and in the high 40’s up here in the mountains. Add the high winds to the extremely dry grass and trees and you have a recipe for disaster. On Monday morning, 3AM, a tree blew down into a power line and started a fire north of the city of Custer. We got up and went to the station and basically held open doors and offered support to the fire fighters that went to put out the fire. That fire only burned about 12 acres and the crews returned to the station around 7PM that evening.
In addition to the fire north of Custer, on the same day, another tree fell on a power line in Custer State Park and that fire grew rapidly to about 3000 acres by Tuesday. By Tuesday night, the gusty winds caused that fire to really blow up and the local authorities called for “All hands on deck” for firefighting in the park. The Argyle Fire Department isn’t that big and they needed to have at least 2 people in every truck. Since most of their assets had deployed the day before to Custer, they asked Dave to ride along for training and to be body #2 in one of the trucks. He got his first fire fighting exposure to what quickly grew to be the third largest wild fire in the history of the Black Hills…..57,000 + acres!
Fortunately, Dave rode along in the water Tender truck, and was used primarily to refill other brush trucks. He did say it was quite exciting at times being in the middle of a forest fire in the dark! I took Dave to the station at 7PM Tuesday night and I picked him up on Wednesday morning at 10AM.
By Wednesday morning, the authorities had called in fire fighting assets from all over the state, Colorado, and Nebraska. The winds raged on the fire continued to grow and spread beyond the park. They evacuated two small towns on the east side of the park, but fortunately they were able to protect all the structures so far. It is now Saturday and they are saying the fire is 80% contained. We are so happy it is snowing and hope that it will really help those firefighters that are still on scene. God Bless those guys!
Since Dave was out partying all night at the wild fire, I rode with Cowboy Dave on Wednesday to take our heifers and one of his heifers to the vet in Edgemont.
Our girls needed a 7-way booster shot and to be poured to protect against worms and flies. Cowboy’s heifer needed a shot and he wanted to get her pregnancy checked since she was pretty young and had been exposed to a bull late in the summer. Fortunately, she was not pregnant so he doesn’t have to worry about a young, small cow having a baby that is too big for her.
Our trip was uneventful. Our heifers, which we refer to as The Mayflowers (all born in May) are so tame. Normally you would have to round up cows and push them into the trailer, but these girls are so spoiled and used to eating cake they just came running when I called them and hopped right in the trailer. They are very food motivated.
Cowboy and I were discussing how economical the vet is for large animals. He looked at his bill and said, “Would you put your arm up a cow’s behind for $3.85?” That is apparently the going rate for a preg-check. I said I would charge at least five bucks, plus tip. Ha ha.
Meanwhile, Pilot Dave got caught up on some well-deserved sleep and then went right back to work.
This is our new bench for the mud room. I love it!
We also cut down a tree for our Christmas this year. We picked one that will need to be removed anyway when we put in a barn this spring.
It kinda looks more like a Christmas Shrub, but Fa La La anyway.
And that’s about it from the Holler. It’s about time to go scrape the snow off the solar panels and fill up the wood box. We hope all of you readers are doing well and having a happy December. Stay safe out there and thank a firefighter if you see one!