Monday, April 30, 2007

Smoke and ash

Yesterday dawned hazy as the wind began driving thick smoke from the massive wildfires in Southeast Georgia into my part of Northeast Florida for the first time since February 18.

The news was reporting that the wildfire in Waycross, Georgia, was 70 percent contained, which made it sound like it had been beaten or soon would be. Meanwhile Da Kid, who was on duty -- between calls to put out fires in his own county -- sent me an image of the ashes falling outside his station dozens of miles away.

I'm, and I'm guessing, 80 to 100 miles away from it and yet this morning I found a fine coat of white ash on my car.

The other day Da Kid showed me a Youtube video of a convoy of firetrucks, some from his department.

With the way the wind is blowing here today it's smokey again, and the news is reporting that the wildfire in Waycross, Georgia, is now 64 percent contained. That's just one of them up there.

Here, fire sirens have been yowling all day with engines zooming in all directions. Or maybe it just seems that way.

And still, no rain.


Satellite image via Weather Underground

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Picture this?


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Fire and Rain

The smoke here today wasn't as bad as yesterday's, but that was only because of the wind's direction.

Instead of three separate windfires in Southeast Georgia there are now five. The biggest one, the 10,000-acre one that started when a tree blew down and hit a power pole, doubled in size in less than two hours and as of the last report, has now grown even more and become a 25,000-acre "monster," generating clouds of smoke over 8,000 feet high.

The big worry, the most important thing, according to some news reports (only one of which I bothered to link to) is not potential loss of human life or peoples' homes or livelihoods.


It's that this particular, particularly-massive wildfire, is threatening the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refugee.

What's in the Okefenokee?


Yeah, there's alligators and bears and other animals living in the swamp . . . just like they have for hundreds of years and more. You think this is the first time fire has affected it or them? Not just no but, Hell, no!

I don't have any links but a few years back windfires burned well into the Okefenokee. Relatively so, anyway. The same hysterical reports were rampant except something funny happened. People who know what they're talking about went back later to see what the actual effect had been.

Except for new growth, there wasn't any.

Mama Nature's cleansing fire had cleaned out the old growth to make way for the new. Just as she'd done for hundreds of years. And more.

Da Kid's off duty tomorrow, at least after comparing calendars Herself and I think he is. Not that means much of anything right now.

Wildfire-trained and just recertified two months ago, since he's not on duty or at school tomorrow, he's on standby.

(Still no rain here. The weatherjerks are now saying maybe this weekend.)

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Fire and Rain

That's not fog, folks. That's smoke blowing into Northeast Florida from the fires in Southeast Georgia.

Da Kid, who's on duty in a county adjacent to the wildfires, said this morning that the largest one -- the one started when a tree was blown over into a live power line -- has grown to one mile wide and eleven miles long.

With as dry as it is here again, people are spooky and with good reason.

With so much smoke in the air, callers flooded 911 to the extent that the first thing I heard when I turned the radio on this morning was a plea issued by Jacksonville Fire Rescue for people to STOP calling them. They KNOW about the smoke and it's not coming from any fires in this area.

Still -- and already knowing this when I went outside for the first time this morning -- I was very tempted to call 911, anyway, just to have them make sure. The smoke was that thick and the smell of burning wood, that strong. Then it got worse.

The winds shifted direction around 3 this afternoon sending the smoke elsewhere. The weatherjerks are saying we may get more rain tomorrow afternoon. I sure hope so, not that the storm we got over the weekend gave us much more than an inch and a half. But, anything helps.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Quotable Quotes

"[Mexican] President Calderon doesn’t think much of our border policies. He criticizes our efforts to secure the border with things such as border fencing. He says that bottle necks at U.S. checkpoints hurt Mexican commerce and force his citizens to migrate illegally in order to make a living (and of course send money back to Mexico). He apparently thinks we should do nothing except make American citizens out of his constituents. Calderon also accused U.S. officials of failing to do enough to stop the flow of drugs in to the United States.. . .

"[C]riticizing the U.S. for alternately doing too much and too little . . . is not going to set too well with Americans of good will who are trying to figure a way out of the mess that [Mexico's] and our open borders policy has already created." -- Fred Thompson

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I am Mom

In high school I earned what is possibly the most insane conglomeration of credits you'll ever encounter. In addition to the college preparation classes my guidance counselor insisted I take, I also had the Secretarial Science ones Mom wanted because as I can still hear her say, "If you can type and take shorthand, you'll never have to scrub somebody else's floors for a living."

Truer words were never spoken but as an offshoot, by my sophomore year I was not only typing all the reports I had to do for the college prep classes, but by my junior year pretty much writing the instructors' lectures verbatim.

When Da Kid was young and started thinking about what he wanted to do when he grew up Hubby and I never pushed him in any particular direction. The decisions were his to make with one exception Hubby and I both agreed on. Da Kid would graduate from high school (or die trying). I added one more: Whatever classes he took, one of them would be typing.

Years later Da Kid's in high school and brings home the yearly booklet with the listing of classes for next year. Most of his schedule was already filled with those that were required, but he had to decide on an elective or two. One of the electives offered was typing.

And that's when the battle began. He wanted to take something fun, but I insisted he take typing, instead. Hubby finally stepped in and stopped our . . . uh, "intense discussion."

"Your mother told you you're taking typing next year. You're taking typing."

Da Kid did, and flunked it on purpose.

When he brought home that year's booklet with the listing of classes in it for the next year — his Senior year — since typing was no longer being offered after another round of "intense discussion," I make him take Keyboarding as his elective. And since Da Kid needed the credit in order to graduate, this time he had no choice but to pass it.

Not that I think he would have failed it out of spite this time, anyway, because with all the reports he had to turn in he'd discovered how much easier and faster it is to type rather than write them.

Since then and over the years, hearing Da Kid click away when he's had a report due has given me quite a bit of satisfaction, not that I've said anything to him about it. He has mentioned from time to time that his employers (first the animal hospitals and now the fire department) were pleased and more than a bit surprised that he has this additional skill. Which was thanks enough.

Da Kid's back in school again. This time it's Emergency Medical Services. He's been working for weeks on a presentation and report due today on IV therapy, and called me last night asking if he could use "The Beast" — this old pc I'm sitting at right now — to type up the report he'd scribbled out by hand.

Da Kid was walking out the door an hour after he arrived. He stopped for a moment before he left, gave me a hug and said, "Mom, I don't think I ever told you how glad I am you made me take typing."


Thursday, April 05, 2007


By their command and like Christmas and before that Thanksgiving, I'll be having Easter dinner with Herself's family. When I asked what I could contribute to it I was, as always, told nothing except being there.

For Thanksgiving and Christmas my "being there" turned into helping them prepare the numerous dishes and desserts the day before, not that I did any of the actual cooking. I did prep.

Mama, Herself's mother, and Sis, Herself's older sister, piled stuff in front of me and when one of them said "Chop!" I chopped. "Dice!" I diced. I did so well helping them get ready for Thanksgiving, that when Christmas came they even trusted me with a sharp knife!

Easter is different. Instead of having enough food ready for all the family and friends (100?) who might come by on Thanksgiving or Christmas, this time it's much more relaxed since it's just ten, or so.

"The Mayor," Herself's father, smokes two tons of ribs; Mama and Sis do side dishes: baked beans, potato salad, deviled eggs and such.

"Maybe I'll fix some cucumber salad," I said.

The Mayor barked that I didn't have to bring anything, but I am. Especially after Sis elbowed me in the ribs and mouthed, He loves that stuff. We all do.

I don't like shopping for groceries to start with. I absolutely despise going to grocery stores when they become a mob scene, as they increasingly will as Easter comes closer. So today, I went to the store pick up the vegetables.

On the way I had another "Jeez Gawd" moment when I saw that the price for Regular at the gas station I drove by was now at $2.65. When I came back by only an hour later, it had jumped to $2.68.

Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely now that the Dems control Congress, the media hasn't been filled with Big Oil conspiracy stories like they were last year when prices also climbed. That hasn't stopped the Lefty-Loons, though, as evidenced by a couple of letters to the editor in the local mullet wrapper.

One genious wrote that the rapidly increasing prices was proof of how Big Oil had decreased prices last fall trying to influence the elections. Another opined that, as always, Big Oil artificually increased its prices at the pump every year at this time, because they KNEW the public consumed more during the summer months.

Oil companies make about 13 cents on a gallon of gas. Government makes much more. The federal tax is 18.4 cents per gallon.. . . Forty-nine states -- all but Alaska -- make more than the oil companies do on every gallon. -- George Will
Read the whole thing. All of it. The other numbers Will provides are equally stunning.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


You've been warned!

Starbuck's guarding the house couch when I'm out.

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