Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Great Hinckley Fire

The Hinckley Fire Museum, a former railroad office building. - click to enlarge
  This summer we have seen a large number of bad forest fires here in the United States, but the biggest one is in the history books.
  On September 1, 1894 The Great Hinckley Fire began.  The Pine County forests were tinder dry from a two month drought and the weather was very hot.  The pine forest of Minnesota were being harvested and the brush, limbs and tree tops were left in piles there in the woods, that helped spread the fire.
  The fire, before it was out, had burned 390 square miles, that's 250,000 acres.  The Town of Hinckley was totally destroyed and as many as 418 people perished.  Some residents were taken out by train, and some made there was to the Grindstone River, but unfortunately not all made it out.
  The Town has been rebuilt, located midway between Minneapolis and Duluth, and while no one personally "remembers" the fire, the museum will tell you the story.
The remains of Hinckley in 1894.

Friday, August 31, 2012

A housewarming for Hollie

Hollie with Mom and Dad
It was "Crazy hat day"
  Hollie moved to Brewer in July but the housewarming was on August 28.  The difference is schedules for staff and other agency employees.
  The "new" house is very nice, actually extremely nice for a residential placement for our daughter.  She was able to pick the color her room would be painted, lime green, and helped plan some of the rest too.  She has one house-mate who has a room upstairs, hers is downstairs.
  There were a lot of people attending, maybe 25, and we were most fortunate that a lot of them were excellent cooks.  The food I ate was great and I didn't get to try it all.
  For the folks who work at the Charlotte White Agency a big "thank you" from a grateful pair of parents.
Linda with (l to r) Cindy the Program Director, Doreen a Direct Care Provider
and Shanna who works with Cindy.  All with their finest hats.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A short trip

Reversing Falls, Hancock Maine - outgoing tide
  Well yesterday Lovie and I took a short tip down to Schoodic Point.  We stopped at Reversing Falls on the way down; the tide was running out so the falls weren't reversing.  If the tide were coming in those "rapids" would be going in the other direction - thus, the name.
  At Schoodic we walked on the the "flat" rocks, or the flattest ones and sat around a bit.  We drove over the Blueberry Hill on the way out and stopped at several of the cobble beaches for photos.
  Cobble beaches are made up of roundish rocks varying in size from 2" to 8" around.  The cobbles were formed all over the countryside by the glaciers went they passed over.  Tides and wave actions keep them round as they have for many, many years.  You can hear the clink and rattle when a wave breaks and retreats - it's a very nice sound and musical too.
  The weather was just great after a hot spell the wind was from the north and west and the sun was shining on August 29, 2012 in Maine.
A cobble beach, the lighter shaded grey areas are the cobbles.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Up, up and away

  August 29, 1965:  Gemini 5 returned to earth after orbiting the earth 120 times.  It landed in the Pacific Ocean and the astronauts and capsule were recovered by the USS Lake Champlain.
  After spending eight days cramped in the  Mercury Capsule the men, Cooper and Conrad, were relieved to be back on earth.  The Capsule were small, about Volkswagen Beetle size, and were jammed with equipment which took up most of the room.
  The recovery ship had a story of its own that could be hard to explain.  It had been through overhaul much like other carriers of the day and had its superstructure rebuilt but an angled deck was not added.  Don't ask me why, it was easier for takeoff and landings with the angled deck.
USS Lake Champlain CV-39

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Long ago and far away....

The geezer at age 17
  August 28, 1958, 54 years ago today I joined the Navy for the first time; other enlistment followed.  I was a 17 year old high school graduate and 1958 was another of those years without many jobs around.  Besides there not being jobs to begin with, the employers were hesitant to hire somebody who would be draft eligable in less than six months -- so I went to the Navy recruiter, didn't bother with the others, got my mother to sign a permission (I wasn't 18) and joined the Navy.
  I had no idea what lay ahead of me.  I told my mother I would make the Navy a career and she kind of just laughed -- didn't think it would happen.  I re-enlisted three months before my 21st birthday.
  Dad drove me to Sanford (Maine) on his way to work, and the recruiter drove me and a couple of others to Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth, it's now Fort Williams Park; where Portland Head Light is located.  After a short physical we were lined up and took the oath.  We were bussed to Boston and flown, with recruits from all over New England, to Chicago.  At Chicago a Navy bus picked us up and drove the plane load to the Recruit Training Center at Great Lakes, Illinois.  By then it was about 2:00AM, we were taken to a barracks, given a bunk took a nap and up at 6:00AM and the lines started.  Lines for chow, lines to see a dentist, lines to be issued uniforms and stencil them (how 'bout that Wilbur?), haircuts, and some other stuff too.  Welcome to the United States Navy, the best group I was even in.
The geezer 18 years later.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Dark days, cold nights..long ago

Krakatau (Krakatoa) explodes
  On August 27, 1883 the volcano Krakatau in what is now Indonesia erupted.  A German warship traveling by estimated that ash, smoke and pieces of lava raised 7 miles into the sky.  The explosion was heard 3000 miles away and 36,000 people perished in the aftermath tsunamis and fires.
  The eruption lasted two months and winds carried the ash around the world, a lot of the world was cloaked in semi-darkness.
  Here is Maine 1884 was known as the year without a summer.  Killing frosts occurred in each of the twelve months and snow fell in every month except July and August.  The hay crop was meager and no other crops grew.  It was tough on what was then an agricultural state.  The woodsmen kept working, but few ships sailed.
Anak Krakatau is small, see arrow and click to enlarge.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A non-medical medical career

   My wife had a little sore spot on her lip so I offered to treat it.  I'll cut a small "x" in it, and you drink lemonade - poof! it's gone - I explain.  She opted out.
  I have a long history of non-practice.  I think it's called Psycho-motorized Physiological non-Pharmaceutical Physicianism, well, something like that.  I learned from my grandmothers when I was a little kid.  My grandmothers made everything, soap, cottage cheese, one made home brew and wine the other was a tea total-er.  They both had their own form of first-aid and did really well at it.
  I also had a neighbor, Nellie Jones, wife of John Sell Parker Jones III - a local farmer with a fancy name.  I had a bunch of warts on my right hand, the web part between the thumb and forefinger.  She put some juice from a milkweed on it, told me it would be gone in a few days.  And, it was!  Mental magic right there.  That's when I might have decided to go in to practice myself.
  I try to help people with lots of ailments; need a joint replacement?  See me, I have a hacksaw and a hatchet, they're made from painless steel, and probably won't hurt.  I can cure most everything by dragging a part from a car, cutting or maybe burning with acid.  All I ask in return is that you sign a simple release absolving me of any damages.  How's that?  Free medical care, right here!