Recently in Local Events Category

Warm front moving through

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Today was rainy (about 0.3" accumulation) and it got up to 58.2°F at the farm - over 60°F in Bellingham according to the thermometer on my truck. Forecast is for rain and showers through the next seven days or so.

Great news for skiers

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From the National Weather Service - Winter Storm Watch:

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Seattle WA
119 PM PST Tue Jan 9 2018

...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGH THURSDAY EVENING...

* WHAT...Heavy snow--plan on difficult travel conditions. Total snow accumulation 10 to 20 inches.

* WHERE...Cascade mountains around pass level and above.

* WHEN...The heaviest snow will fall in the Cascades during the day on Thursday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Expect winter driving conditions--especially on the higher passes. The snow will likely turn to rain at times Thursday afternoon on Snoqualmie Pass.

Mt. Baker has had eight inches in the last 24 hours - Friday is looking to be excellent for powder.

On New Year's Day, Seattle implemented a tax on sugar-based drinks - here, here, here and here

Chicago tried the same thing last year - the projected revenue fell way short, the push-back was strong and so they repealed it.

I wrote about it last October: Well that turned out well - the Chicago soda pop tax

Rattlesnake Ridge

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There is a very slow landslide in Eastern Washington which has been going on since last October - here is a video from a few days ago:

More information from the Yakima Herald:

Majority hold off on call to evacuate near Rattlesnake Ridge
Yakima County officials said Tuesday they can’t definitively predict the scope of an expected landslide on Rattlesnake Ridge, where massive cracks have opened several hundred feet above Thorp Road.

However, officials said a landslide could be limited in scale. Geologists have been monitoring the slow-motion movement of soil in the area since October.

“The geologic experts that have been monitoring this slide believe that since the slide is slow moving and on a gentle slope that the landslide event will be small in nature and hopefully stabilize itself,” the Yakima County Office of Emergency Management said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Meanwhile, about 35 of the roughly 50 residents living in a collection of trailers and modest buildings at the base of the ridge have not heeded warnings last week to evacuate.

Under state law residents can’t be forced to leave, but the county’s emergency management office is collecting their information to provide to first-responders should anything happen, said that agency’s senior planner Horace Ward.

Hell - if that was me living there, I would have left months ago. Experts are thinking that this will be a small event but the experts failed to see the Oso slide until it was too late and 43 people lost their lives.

A bit of wind

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Glad I am down in Seattle for now - Everson has been hit hard with this windstorm:

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Over 12,000 people without power and it is supposed to be out for the next couple of days.

The Amtrack derailment

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Excellent post-mortem at The Seattle Times:

‘Holy cow, so the train is actually on the road?’ The wreck of Amtrak 501
Rudi Wetzel was napping in his seat, his hat pulled over his eyes, when he awoke to what he thought was an explosion.

A retired Los Angeles police officer, the 81-year-old had boarded Amtrak 501 in Seattle earlier that morning. He was on his way back to Centralia after visiting his girlfriend in Kirkland.

Now he felt his body lift from the train seat, and then he was in the air, flying through darkness.

Excellent reading and, it follows frequent commenter Dick Park's most recent post:

It's always interesting to see how long the union can keep the engineer's name quiet.

Not a peep yet...

The Amtrack crash

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From The Los Angeles Times:

Rail experts ask why new track in Washington state Amtrak crash did not have speed control system
After a speeding Amtrak train derailed during its first trip on a new rail line — on the heels of two deadly passenger rail crashes blamed on high speed since 2015 — safety experts on Tuesday asked why the train did not have the latest automated control system.

The train was traveling 80 mph in a 30-mph zone on a newly opened $181-million segment of track south of Seattle, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Train cars spilled onto busy Interstate 5 and killed three train passengers.

Emphasis mine. Yikes - especially for the first time on new track.

From Debra Heine writing at PJ Media:

Anarchists Bragged in April about Sabotaging Railroad Tracks to Block Fracking
ISIS shouldn't be the only terrorist group under suspicion for the Amtrak derailment in Washington this morning.

The anarchist group "It's Going Down" last April bragged online about sabotaging railroad tracks in the Pacific Northwest to block fracking equipment from getting to its destination. The group has since deleted the post, possibly in reaction to today's Amtrak disaster.

Of course, the Internet is forever so the article has a screen-shot. It goes on to say:

Anti-fracking activists and anarchists have been blocking rail tracks in Olympia, Washington, for the past month.

On Nov. 30, an anonymous anarchist wrote about rail sabotage on the Puget Sound Anarchist website.

Well, now they have innocent blood on their hands - time for these groups to be thoroughly shut down. Re-education camps would be a lovely idea. Wish they were legal.

UPDATE: Time Magazine has this video:

Crap - major train derailment

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Just South of Seattle - from Seattle station KING-5:

Multiple fatalities, dozens injured in Amtrak crash near DuPont
An unknown number of people are dead and multiple people are injured after an Amtrak Cascades train derailed and crashed onto southbound Interstate 5 between Tacoma and Olympia.

A bit more:

Amtrak Cascades train 501 was headed southbound when it crashed around 7:45 a.m. It included 12 cars plus two engines. Thirteen of those 14 cars jumped the tracks, according to the Washington State Patrol.

From The New York Post:

Object on tracks may be cause of deadly Amtrak derailment
Monday’s deadly Amtrak train derailment appears to have been caused by an object on the railway, according to a government official briefed on the crash.

A preliminary investigation suggests maintenance problems are unlikely to blame because the incident took place on brand-new tracks, the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

If this foreign object was placed willfully, I hope the moke in question spends a long time behind bars.

Just wonderful - the road to the ski area

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Got this little bundle of joy in my in-box a few minutes ago - from the WA State Department of Transportation:

Emergency bank stabilization work will reduce SR 542/Mount Baker Highway to a single lane starting Friday, Dec. 15
GLACIER – Fall weather has created instability in a slope along State Route 542/Mount Baker Highway near Glacier. With additional wet weather in the forecast, crews are starting emergency work to repair the area and prevent damage that could cause more costly repairs.

Washington State Department of Transportation contractor crews from Strider Construction will move equipment to the area, milepost 45, east of Glacier on Friday, Dec. 15. Crews will close the eastbound lane and begin daylight work to stabilize the area. Traffic will alternate through the open lane around-the-clock using flaggers or a temporary signal until this work is complete.

This is our second-busiest season of the year and business slows markedly for everyone if there isn't good skiing. Let us hope they can get the road patched up and do a complete job this spring.

First snowfall of the season

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It is snowing now in Glacier - about eight miles up the road from Maple Falls.

Mt Baker has had an incredible deposit of fresh powder - 28" in the last two days.

Here we go again

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More of the usual fall weather - from the National Weather Service:

Winter Storm Warning
...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO
10 PM PST TUESDAY...
* WHAT...Heavy snow expected. Plan on difficult travel conditions.
Total snow accumulations of 10 to 20 inches, with local amounts
up to three feet, are expected.

* WHERE...Cascades of Whatcom and Skagit Counties above about 3000
feet. This includes State Route 542 to the Mount Baker ski area.

And to add to the fun - the Bellingham Herald:

High winds, possible landslides threaten Western Washington
Western Washington is on the watch for high winds and potential landslides.

The National Weather Service issued high wind warnings north of Seattle in Mount Vernon and Bellingham, as well as in San Juan County and along the north and central parts of the coast.

And how much wind?

There may be falling trees and limbs and power outages with wind gusts of up to 55 miles per hour. The weather service also says the Cascade Mountains in that area could receive between one and three feet of snow.

We get weather like this a couple times/year so it is not that unusual but still, every time it hits, another crop of branches find their way to the power lines.

From the Skagit Valley Herald:

Floodwaters lead to arrest of suspected bank robber
Rising floodwaters Wednesday evening led to the arrest of a man suspected of robbing a Mount Vernon bank earlier that day.

Mount Vernon police were called about 6 p.m Wednesday to an area near Edgewater Park to the report of two people at a campsite who were surrounded by the rising waters of the Skagit River and needed help, Mount Vernon police Lt. Greg Booth said in a news release.

Initial rescue efforts by police, firefighters and the Skagit County Search and Rescue Team were unsuccessful, as conditions were deemed too dangerous, Booth said.

A U.S. Border Patrol rescue team responded to the scene and was able to rescue the man and woman about 2 a.m. Thursday, Booth said.

Because a K-9 unit had led police to that area during an earlier search for a suspect in a robbery at Skagit State Bank on Highway 536, Booth said police questioned the two and determined the man was the suspect in the robbery.

The derp is strong in that one. As Bugs would say, what a maroon.

Rain rain go away

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It started back with the forecast three days ago - now, the rivers are in flood stage with many roads closed.

From The Bellingham Herald:

Skagit River flooding causes road closures, pre-evacuations
The Skagit River north of Seattle has reached its highest level in 11 years, resulting in flooding that closed roads and an alert telling some residents to prepare to evacuate.

The Skagit County Department of Emergency Management said Thursday the worst-case scenario would involve the displacement of 250 people. As of 4 p.m. only residents in the town of Hamilton had been told to prepare to evacuate.

The National Weather Service said the river at Concrete reached 36.56 feet just after 2 p.m. Thursday. That's the highest it's been since 2006.

Bad for skiing but great for the water table. It is still early and temps are dropping though so this should be a great season.

Great news - Mt. Baker is opening

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From the Mt. Baker Ski Area website:

OFFICIAL OPENING DAY: THURSDAY NOV. 16th!!!
CONDITIONS UPDATE: Tuesday Nov. 14
IT'S HAPPENING!!! This storm is bringing us the goods, with 6 inches of new snow falling last night and up to 15" of new snow expected for tomorrow. Our current base at Heather Meadows is 33 inches, so with the additional snow we are able to set an official OPENING DAY THURSDAY NOV. 16th! We will have both base areas open on Thursday with all 3 lodges open and six chairlifts operating to start the day: chairs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 7. We are hoping to open chairs 6 and/or 8 later in the day on opening day, but will have to wait to see how the snow and conditions progress.

It's currently 30 degrees and snowing at the mountain. Temperatures are dropping right now, and it looks like conditions could be pretty darned awesome for opening day. Our crew will be out on the mountain at all hours today and tomorrow, prepping everything for opening. Stay tuned here for continued updates, and we'll see you on the mountain Thursday!

A lot of people are looking forward to a wonderful season - lots of fresh snow up there!

Rain rain go away

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The second part of the storm seems to have hit Seattle a lot harder than this little bucolic bit of paradise although it is starting to rain again and the winds have definitely picked up in the last ten minutes. Here is just part of the 150,000+ Seattle residents who are without power - red zone is out. Trish lives somewhere in this map:

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Got some flashlights, LED lanterns and candles right at hand in case of an outage. The prepper crowd calls this Sheltering in Place - something you learn after a year or two out here.

Staring down the barrel - wind storm

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Last night's wind was a prequel - from Cliff Mass:

Wind Storm Update
The first...and lesser act...of today's wind event took place this morning, the passage of an occluded front associated with the offshore low. But the main act is still in the cards, and folks should be prepared.

A bit more:

We are now in the break before the main act.   You will even notice the rain has backed off and there will be sun breaks. Absolutely typical.  We must wait until late morning/early afternoon when the low approaches and the winds will increase again, probably exceeding what we experienced last night.

I lost a tree (it was fairly weak and old) and a couple of bird feeders. Time to batten down the hatches and check my anemometer for peak gusts.

From Mt. Baker Snow Report:

CONDITIONS UPDATE: Thursday Nov. 9
We're currently maintaining a snow base at Heather Meadows Base Area of around 18-20". Forecasts are calling for another 3-5" over the weekend, but then......hold on....all forecasters, including NOAA, are calling for FEET of new snow in the mountains Monday through Wednesday of next week. If this forecast holds, we're looking at a potential opening day of mid-late next week. Our crews are ready and on standby and we're waiting to see what these storms bring in terms of the magic combo of precipitation and cool temps. Stay tuned here for updates and the most up-to-date news on a possible opening day announcement!

A lot of people are very stoked at the prospect of another great winter.

Snow Report from Mt. Baker

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Looks great - from the Mt. Baker Ski Area:

CONDITIONS UPDATE: Friday Nov. 3
Helllloooooo early snow!!! Those of you in Whatcom County woke up to a surprise early snow this morning and that couple of inches in the lowlands translated to over 15 inches of new snow up at the ski area! With our existing base of around 10 inches, that brings our pre-season total to about 25 inches of snow at Heather Meadows. Forecasts are calling for a few more inches of snowfall in the next few days and then drier weather, but still cold, for a bit. The good news is that, at this point, the extended forecast is calling for continued cold weather so hopefully we won't get any snow melt in the next few weeks. We'll see how the base holds up, but if it does hold up we could possibly see an opening day with one more good storm! Stay tuned here for daily updates and the most up-to-date news on a possible opening day!

Getting very close to an early opening day. Looking forward to another great winter season!

And maybe this time I will remember to park my tractor and truck at the very top of the driveway so I do not get snowbound for eight days...

Well that was fast - 102 days

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The road to Artist Point closed today - snow. From the DOT:

Road to Artist Point now closed to vehicle traffic
Sightseers who want to take in fall views from Artist Point this year, will need to go on foot. The scenic road to Artist Point on State Route 542 has closed to vehicle traffic for the rest of the year.

The gate on SR 542 to Artist Point closed for the season on Monday, Oct. 9, 2017.

October snow and ice concerns in the North Cascades forced Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews to close the gate at the Bagley Lakes Trailhead. The annual closure of the final 2.7 miles of highway is for the safety of travelers and crews.

Artist Point season, by the numbers
This year's season of 102 days may have seemed quick but it wasn't the shortest season on record.

    • In 2008, the road was open for 81 days.
    • In 2011, there was too much snow to, cost-effectively, open the highway past the Heather Meadows Visitors Center.
    • In 2016, a light winter allowed a May 14 opening. The road remained open for 172 days.
    • In 2017, for the first time, WSDOT crews worked seven days a week to open on Thursday, June 29.

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest says nearly 12,000 people stopped by their Heather Meadows visitor center in 2017. That does not include travelers who went directly to Artist Point or visited during off-peak hours.

I remember 2011 very well - business was off over 12% that summer - Artist Point draws a lot of traffic through our little hamlet and most of those people will stop and shop given the opportunity.

A fun day

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Did a bunch of work at the store and then ran into town to get some needed parts. Checked in at a local camera store - do this every couple weeks as there are a few used items I am looking for to round out my setup. Left there empty-handed and proceeded to head back to my favorite produce stand. Traffic was a bit backed up on the main road so took a side-street and low and behold, there was a sign for Kramer Knives. I knew that Bob lived and worked in Olympia so what was the deal?

Stopped in and it was Bob - his wife had to work in Olympia for a number of years but they always loved Bellingham and are now living up here full time. I took a couple of seminars from him during the blacksmithing meets at Mt. Hood a few years ago. Wonderful person and great teacher.

Losing a bit of history

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Tootsie has passed away - from The Seattle Times:

Tootsie Clark, known for handing out cinnamon rolls at reopening of North Cascades Highway, dies at 95
Ethel Madrene Clark, better known as “Tootsie” and famous for her cinnamon rolls and generosity, has died at age 95.

“She passed on Sunday at home, where she wanted to be,” her son, Donald Clark, said Tuesday.

With enthusiasm and a baking pan, Mrs. Clark made the annual reopening of North Cascades Highway each spring into a beloved and festive event.

Since the 1970s, she made it her mission to be first to cross the mountain pass on Highway 20, which closes each winter because of heavy snowfall and avalanche danger.

It became a tradition that she would carry out even in her last year of life.

Never participated in these festivities but I have eaten at the family restaurant many many times (and handed out breadcrumbs to the bunnies)

Seattle meteorologist Cliff Mass analyzes the report from the National Weather Service and comes up with some wonderful news:

La Nina and This Winter's Weather
I am always nervous about predicting the character of the upcoming winter's weather for a number of reasons. Seasonal forecasting skill is not good, with our long-range numerical models having very little skill past three weeks. Furthermore, our main seasonal forecasting tool with any skill, the relationship between El Nino/La Nina and local weather, only explains some of the interannual (between years) variation. In addition, the state of the tropical Pacific (which determines whether we are in El Nino, La Nina or La Nada) often changes during the spring/summer.

Earlier in the year it appeared that we would have a neutral (or La Nada) winter, but recently the waters of the tropical Pacific have cooled and the National Weather Service has released a La Nina Watch (see below).

And the upshot:

 OK, what does all this imply for the Northwest winter?  Generally cooler and wetter than normal.  More snow than average in the mountains.

Music to my ears - although summer is the biggest season for the store with all the campers and hikers staying in the area for days at a time, the winter ski season is not too shabby. A lot of people just head up the mountain, hit the slopes and then hi-tail it back home afterwards but a lot of them hang out for a day or two in the area and there is a large influx of people who move here for the entire winter - the skiing is that good. Nice to have a good snowfall for them to enjoy - last year was wonderful and we had record sales to show for it.

Kudos to our local Fire Department

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From Firehouse:

WA Firefighters Perform Difficult Rope Rescue at Remote Waterfall
An injured hiker was rescued late Wednesday in a difficult rope rescue operation on a cliff face at remote Racehorse Falls, fire officials said.

"This was straight down, vertical," about 40 to 50 feet, said Chief Jerry DeBruin of Whatcom County Fire District 14.

DeBruin said the man, who was 20 to 30 years old, fell about halfway down and landed on a ledge, injuring his shoulder and possibly his chest.

Details about the victim's injuries were withheld because of medical privacy laws, but DeBruin said the man wasn't critically hurt. He was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph hospital about 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

Racehorse Falls is a 139-foot fan-type waterfall in a steep, narrow gorge carved by Racehorse Creek, according to the website Aaron's Waterfall World. The falls plunge in a series of steps to a deep pool.

The call to 911 was placed at 9:30PM so it was pitch dark for the rescue. The people out here are professionals - very happy to know that they are here for us. T and I were at a meeting in the District 14 firehall a few days ago.

And off to YouTube

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Done surfing for the night - heading over to YouTube. Working on a couple of projects at the store over the next few days. Picked up some stuff for that in town today. Now that school is in session, we do not get the volume of vacationers cruising through and this remains our "slow" season until the ski area opens up. We know this and budget for it - this is the time to do remodeling and other projects.

There is the possibility of some light rain showers around Monday or Tuesday - this will be a relief for everyone!

This has been a long and hard slog - I know a bunch of older people up here who are on suplemental oxygen and they are not doing that well.

Here is the PM2.5 (particulates of 2.5 microns in diameter) monitor in Bellingham - you can see the sudden jump between August 01 and August 02.:

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Cliff Mass does his usual wonderful analysis: Improved Air Quality at Low Levels over Western Washington as Smoke Pours in Overhead: It Won't Last Long

A fun party

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A local friend is moving away to Florida so some neighbors hosted a going-away party. They did a bunch of pulled pork, I brought some BBQ sauces and coleslaw.

I knew that Barb had lived in Florida previously but I did not know the entire story. Barb lost her husband in a motorcycle accident four years ago and she has been really depressed. Frank was a close friend and an awesome man. It turns out that Barb recently connected with a guy (Bob) on Facebook - someone she used to live with 30 years ago. Bob came out for a visit, Barb visited him in Florida and now, he is coming back out and they are going to drive back to Florida and live together. I have not seen Barb this happy in the last couple of years.

About 30 neighbors came to wish her well.

And now I have a friend in Florida with a four bedroom house on the Gulf Coast!

Air quality

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Just wonderful - the sunlight has been alternating between dirty gray and livid salmon yellow. Back to the salmon yellow for now - the Washington State Department of Ecology has this to say:

Smoke chokes Washington - air quality worst in the nation
Air monitors around Washington state are lighting up the maps like a Christmas tree - and red lights aren't good.

Almost every community in the state has been hit hard by smoke blowing in from British Columbia wildfires. You can see it, you can almost reach out and touch it, and many of us are feeling it.

If you look at air quality across the U.S., Washington has had the worst readings since the wildfire smoke hit the state earlier this week.

Here is a link to an interactive fire and smoke map (open the pull-out menu with the little blue plus sign at the top right of the map). and here is a screen-cap from a few moments ago - red and yellow dots indicate unsafe conditions for vulnerable people:

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Here are ten photos from today's show:

They feature a different manufacturer each year - this year was John Deere

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The clubhouse for the Tractor Association is a replica of an old John Deere dealership complete with many of the old tools

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A meadow full of Allis Chalmers and Massey Ferguson tractors

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Not only were tractors used for work in the field, they were also sources of power for other machinery - here is one driving a sawmill.

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There were also a lot of antique engines running on gasoline, diesel, kerosine, propane - if it burns, you can build an engine to run on it.

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Here is a very big steam tractor - rated at 35 horsepower in the true sense of the word. It would equal 30-35 horses in tandem harness. I was writing yesterday about how the torque is in the boiler - here is a perfect example. You have a tiny engine running a huge machine - the total volume of the cylinder (red cylinder to the left with a white crank-rod at an angle) is about that of a large watermelon yet it can provide the same pulling power as 35 horses.

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Only three blacksmiths there today - usually a lot more and I usually know a few of them. Introduced myself and we talked for a while.

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Here is a washing machine designed to be driven by a small motor - you would have a little motor (two horsepower or so) that could run a lot of different things at the farm. A generator for evening reading or listening to the radio, a pump for irrigation or potable water, a washing machine. High tech living in those days.

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And last but not least - here is the precursor to to today's chainsaw. This replaced the two-man "misery whip" or bucking saw.

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All in all, a fun day (except for Thunderbunny's air conditioner failing). Working at home tomorrow and Friday. Pot-luck for a friend who is moving away on Saturday.

Stage 2 burn ban for Whatcom County

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Our County Fire Marshal’s Office has declared a Stage 2 burn ban effective tomorrow morning - link to PDF document:

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Click to embiggen

Pssst - wanna buy a bridge?

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Have I got such a deal for you! From the WA State Department of Transportation:

For Sale: SR 167 Puyallup River/Meridian Street Bridge
For more than eight decades, the Meridian Street Bridge over the Puyallup River served as a portal for cities along the Puget Sound to the semi-rural, agricultural community of Puyallup, Washington. Now, this historic bridge is up for donation. Originally built in 1925, the bridge was decommissioned in 2015 after a new bridge was built and opened to the traveling public. It has been removed from its long-time location spanning the Puyallup River and is now sitting in storage on nearby WSDOT property.

Prior to removal from its original location, the Puyallup River/Meridian Street Bridge was the longest (371 foot) riveted steel Warren through-truss span built prior to 1940 remaining on the Washington state highway system. It is very likely unique, although similar to the “Turner Truss” patented in the 1920s.

Unlike the standard Warren truss, this bridge has parabolic top chords (allowing for a longer span length), alternating diagonal truss members, longitudinal braces between diagonals in alternating panels, and vertical struts adjacent to the portals. Its subdivided panels and the addition of longitudinal members at mid-panel heights in five truss panels achieved both strength and economy of steel. In 1991 the portal sway braces and interior panel sway bracing were modified to increase vertical clearance from 14 feet 7 inches to 18 feet 7 inches to accommodate oversized traffic.

Maury M. Caldwell, a Virginia native, designed the Puyallup River/Meridian Street Bridge for Pierce County. In addition to that bridge, Caldwell designed other significant bridges in Washington, including the 1,410 foot Pasco-Kennewick Bridge (1922). Caldwell practiced engineering in Seattle and Tacoma from 1905 until shortly before his death in 1942.

If you are looking for a unique way to preserve Washington’s history, relocating and restoring this historic bridge is for you! 

They are actually donating it if you can prove that you will:

    • Maintain the bridge and the features that give it its historic significance and continued eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places; and
    • Assume all future legal and financial responsibility for the bridge, including providing an agreement to hold WSDOT harmless in any liability action.

It would actually be really cool if I had a lake - put the bridge across it and build a restaurant or brewpub on the roadway.

Good news on the river

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There is a major recreational river in these parts - the Nooksack River - and it is a very popular inner-tubing. From The Bellingham Herald

Three rescued after falling into Nooksack River
Three recreational inner-tubers – including a 10-year-old boy – who fell into the Nooksack River were saved in a multi-agency rescue operation Monday night west of Everson.

All three people are safe, after they were plucked from the river by a Navy helicopter crew and treated by firefighters for mild hypothermia at ambulances parked in a field near north of Nolte and Van Dyk roads. Firefighters found them clinging to tree branches in the fast-moving river, which is fed by summer glacial melt.

“We were able to work life jackets out to them using throw bags,” said Chief Mel Blankers of Whatcom County Fire District 1, a mostly volunteer department serving Everson and Nooksack.

“Our boats were still a ways out, and the Navy said they could be there in under a half-hour,” Blankers said. “I’ve really got to tip my hat to those guys. It was impressive.”

But the Navy came to the rescue in a holy crap that was fast way:

A rescue crew at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station went airborne at 7:45 p.m. and plucked the first victim out of the water at 8:05 p.m., said said Michael Welding, spokesman at NAS Whidbey. He said an “after-action report” documents the rescue, but no crew members were available to be interviewed Tuesday morning.

The air distance between Oak Harbor and here is a bit over 50 air miles (67 by road). To have gotten airborne, flown here, located the victims and to have one of them out of the water in 20 minutes is astounding. That is some fast flying and excellent teamwork!

Yesterday's memorial service

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There is a nice writeup about the memorial service at The Bellingham Herald:

Lynden says goodbye to Fire Chief Spinner
The funeral for Lynden Fire Chief Robert Spinner was held in Saturday, a little more than a week after his death.

Spinner, 50, suffered an apparent heart attack jogging while on duty and died on July 14, becoming the 56th U.S. firefighter to die in the line of duty this year. He became the interim fire chief in April after joining the department in 2010 as assistant chief.

He was a 25-year veteran of the fire service. It is the first line of duty death in the Lynden Fire Department’s 107-year history, and the second on-duty firefighter death in Whatcom County – the other line of duty firefighter death was in March 1950, when Whatcom County Fire District 7’s Chief Clyde Eaton suffered fatal burns as a barrel of fuel exploded at a fire.

Hundreds of firefighters and police officers from across the state along with border patrol authorities attended the memorial in the Expo Building of the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds, 1775 Front St. in Lynden.

Spinner was given a memorial reserved for firefighters who die in the line of duty. A procession led by members of the Bellingham Firefighters Pipes and Drums escorted Spinner’s family to the service.

Speakers included Spinner’s son Austin, former Lynden Fire Chief Gary Baar and Kurt Langstraat, pastor at North County Christ the King in Lynden.

A recorded song sung by Spinner’s daughter Emma brought even the most stoic firefighters to tears. Spinner is survived by his wife Tammy, son Austin, daughter Emma, brother Russell and his mother Shirley.

Yikes - local forest fire

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On the radio - a couple acres are burning in back of the post office. District 14 is there fighting it.

Yummy - hagfish

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Glad I do not work for the Depoe Bay Fire Department - this was their call earlier today:

Highway 101 at milepost 131 between Otter Rock and Depoe Bay got slimed! A flatbed truck with tanks full of live hagfish rolled, spewing water and hagfish all over the highway and beyond. No injuries, fortunately!

NOTE: Post corrected at 4:22pm when we learned that what we thought were eels were hagfish. Learn more about them from the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

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Now that just plain gives me the shivers...

BBQ sauces done

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Got four BBQ sauces prepped for tomorrows event. I developed these when I was running the bakery in 2010 and 2011 - had a lot of fun and fed a lot of people.

These are called Earth, Water, Fire, and Air

  • Earth - traditional tomato and brown sugar.
  • Water - Eastern Seaboard cider vinegar sauce.
  • Fire - traditional but with molasses, a hint of vinegar and some smoked chipotle peppers and some cayenne.
  • Air - Appalachian mustard sauce. A lot of Germans moved into Appalachia and they love their mustard.

Came out pretty tasty and will be even better tomorrow after they sit in the fridge overnight.

Now that was a lot of fun!

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Got there around 9:45 or so and the fireworks ran for about an hour with some wonderful displays. I do not know what the contributions were this year but they certainly seemed to have a bigger budget. Very family friendly with lots of kids running around - one little girl (about 3 or 4yo.) had fairy wings and lighted shoes - cute as a bug.

We arrived home dusted with fine ash and pieces of paper mache and smelling of gunpowder.

Surf some YouTube and head to bed.

The squeeky wheel gets the grease

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Evergreen State College is a publicly funded Washington State school and gets about 50% of its money from WA State taxpayers. There was a big kerfuffle recently about so-called "free speech" with the Marxist liberals there wanting to shout down anyone who disagreed with their narrative. No open discussion, no trade of ideas, no dialog, just a straight shut down of any speech they deemed to be offensive to their virginal ears.

One of our State Representatives is sponsoring a wonderful bill - from The Fourth Corner:

Solving the Evergreen College “Intolerance” Problem
Fourth Corner: I’m here today to get your thoughts on the free speech issue at Evergreen State College.

Rep. VanWerven: What’s happening at Evergreen is just a microcosm of what’s happening on all college campuses. We’ve had this at WWU: students thinking they can limit free speech of people they might disagree with…So there’s just a total lack of respect for other people’s opinions, for other peoples ideologies and other people’s political expression.

Fourth Corner: How, in fact, are you involved in legislation… What are the major pieces in the legislation and who are the sponsors?

Rep. VanWerven: First of all Whats happening at Evergreen is just way beyond the pale so we think its time for them to become a private college. Currently ½ their budget comes from the taxpayers of Washington. It is time for them to raise all their own money then they can be as Marxist as they want to be. We shouldn’t charge the taxpayers for their(Evergreen College’s) intolerance; for their lack of diversity; for them brainwashing our kids.

Spot on - places like Evergreen do not do education, they do indoctrination. There is a big difference.

A bit more:

Rep VanWerrven: My bill still being drafted would add political expression to their diversity statements. Colleges have diversity statements. We believe that people on college campuses should respect political expression just like they would respect gender expression. The other part is that they allow speakers on college campuses of all ideologies at the same price.

The Fourth Corner: So, in fact, you want legislation not to limit but to enhance the diversity of political views on college campuses in the State of Washington. Right?

Rep VanWerven:And that political expression of all sectors must be respected and welcomed.

Hoist by their own petard. Make a lot of noise and get noticed off-campus, your issues will be dealt with and it might not be to your liking. If you want to act out, you need to do it on Mommy and Daddy's nickle and not the State Taxpayers'.

Still a butt-load of snow up there but the highway and parking lot is open - just in time for Canada Day (happy 150th Birthday, eh?) and then the Glorious Fourth.

Here is a photo from a couple days ago:

20170629-artistpoint.jpg

From My Everett News:

Stuck Horn On Tug Keeps Everett Residents Awake
MyEverettNews.com started received messages early this morning about super loud horn or siren that was keeping folks awake on the hottest night of the year.
The sound was thought to be coming somewhere from the waterfront.

We checked with the Port of Everett this morning and they issued the following apology…

Neighbors:
We apologize for the prolonged horn noise at the Port last night. One of our customers has been doing some finishing work on a new ocean-going tug boat, and the horn malfunctioned. Our customer has assured us they have remedied the issue.

Please accept our sincere apologies on the noise, the time it took to figure out how to turn off the horn and the fact that it happened on the hottest day of the year so far.

Sincerely,
Les Reardanz
CEO Port of Everett

So there is your answer. Glad we could help. Were gonna go take a nap now.

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