Maybe you’ve heard about all the forest fires currently burning in Oregon and Washington states. Such fires are always a concern for the Northwest because we have lots of trees, many of which are accessible only via helicopter, parachute, or narrow, little used logging roads. This makes fighting remote fires extremely difficult.

St. Helens isn’t traditionally in the forest fire danger zone so we are not accustom to worrying about such fires for our own safety. We do our worrying about those who deal with the dangerous job of engaging these fires up close. Many lose their lives every year due to the unpredictable nature of the fires they fight.

This year nature has made a point of engaging even us by blowing the smoke at us. As I write, the closet fire to us is about 60 miles away and we aren’t in any danger, but our visibility from the smoke is down to about a mile and it smells just like a huge campfire outside. Not a good day for organisms that need to breathe.

There cannot possibly be enough praise heaped upon the Hot Shots who deal with these fires close up. Discomfort from the smoke is very minor in comparison to what they endure.

God bless them all.

This is Highway 30 looking South toward Portland.


Here’s the view from our upper deck with the smoke obscuring pretty much everything beyond a mile.


For comparison, here’s a similar view from last spring.

Fires, Trees, Pope Francis, and Food

The skies all over Oregon are filled with the smoke of numerous forest fires burning around the state. It’s sad to see all those trees burn but, you know what? There is more standing forest now than there was when Lewis & Clark visited the area. The cause, lightening, is still a common cause, but the reason we have more now is because we have brave people, with excellent equipment, willing to go out and fight the fires. Back in L&C’s days, they just burned until they went out on their own.

Speaking of all those trees – Why aren’t more of them logged and milled in the USA? Maybe they really are, and we just don’t know it. What I see in our neck of the woods, on both sides of the Columbia River, are HUGE water front collecting facilities for logs that are loaded on cargo ships which are destined for the other side of the Pacific. Some rumors I’ve heard (conspiracy?) is the many of these logs are transported to huge ships, outside our 12 mile limit, that make cheap plywood and return it to the US for sale. I don’t think that’s true, but it’s an interesting concept. They really do, however, get carted out of the country by the boat load. Literally.

When writing this stuff, I have begun to research what my fingers report, and continually find myself going down ‘conspiracy theory’ paths. Some are quite involved, and interesting. Fun reading.

For the record, if anyone who reads this works for the government, I don’t believe any of that conspiracy theory stuff. Not me. No sir. I think the government is full of honorable people who have my personal well-being very high on their list of priorities … right below their pay raises, private medical plans, raiding social security, screwing up the medical world, figuring new ways to get taxes from us for which there is no need except to line their pockets. All of these yahoos should take a page from Pope Francis’ book on how to conduct yourself when in a position of power. He’s really something and kinda makes me think it’s OK to be Catholic.

Actually, it is OK to be Catholic … or anything you wish to be along religious lines.

Although we are far away from the current forest fires in Oregon, our sunsets are much more dramatic because of the smoke. We can smell the fires burning, too.


OK – I cheated because I don’t have a current picture of a smoke affected sunset. This one is a sunrise. I like it because you can see the crescent moon over Mt. Hood. And, it’s not even a summer sunrise – it’s from November 2010. Still, it’s pretty, even though it’s a little ‘ho hum’ by Oregon standards … yawn … (take that, Jewel).

Just as I sat down to do this, about 3 hours ago, the smoke alarm went off so I knew supper was ready and had to stop. We had tri tip steak. Very good. I like it because I don’t have to gnaw meat off the bone. We also had beets and smashed potatoes. I regret not taking a picture for you, but here are some previous meals you may have missed …

DSC_3944 DSC_2504 IMG_0159 DSC_6924 DSC_6843 DSC_5529


Diane just told me it’s midnight and time to stop. Last time I looked it was only 10 pm. Guess I’m not a real clock-watcher anymore, like I used to be …