Sunday, September 11, 2011

Barack and the Bean Stalk

Thursday night I listened to President Obama's "Jobs" speech. As I watched, I found myself thinking, "I've heard this story before." Then it came to me; Jack and the Beanstalk. You know, Jack and his mom are down to their last cow, it's sell the critter, eat the profits, and then die. But, instead of trading the cow for the price of a few day's food, Jack trades Bessy for some magic beans and ends up King of the World!!!

Friday, I asked my students how many had watched the speech. I had attempted to bribe them with extra points - but out of three classes and over 100 kids there weren't more than 5. I had met one of my colleges on the stairs and asked them what they thought. An energetic Democrat she replied she thought it was a great speech. Since my students could provide no argument to my position - I went to visit this teacher during lunch, hoping for a foil to sharpen my arguments against - come to find out she hadn't actually watched the speech. I went down the hall to another Social Studies teacher - same thing. By the end of the day I had spoken with most of my department - none had listened to Obama. Apart from my few bribed students and my wife, I haven't found an adult who watch the performance before the joint session of Congress yet. Perhaps it was the 5:00 PM Mountain Standard Time slot that jinxed the speech - or perhaps it's that they have all heard the story before.

I will give a couple of observations: First, on Obama's plan to pay for his $447 billion Jobs Bill by cuts in the budget over the next ten years. What if a friend came to you, one you care for and have helped out before -perhaps you let them live in your basement and fed them for a couple of years, they have not however proven to be particularly reliable. They ask to borrow $10,000.00 "RIGHT NOW". They promise they will pay you back at $1,000.00 a year over the next ten years. You ask where they will get the money and they reply that they will reduce the amount they take from you each year by $1,000.00 so you can save that much each year. So, by the end of 10 years you will have saved the $10,000.00 and you'll be even. Would you, who have a family to feed and bills of your own to pay, agree to the deal? If so, I'll be over real soon!

Second, on the Free Trade Agreements, which, by the way, Republicans have been trying to get through over the protests of Harry Reid and Obama himself, Obama promises that if Congress passes the Bill, or is it throw the beans out the window, Koreans will be buying Fords, Chevys, and Chryslers. Bogus! They can buy better cars for less money made in their own country. And why can't the "big three" make better and less expensive cars? Because of Unions which won't let American car makers pay a fair wage that encourages productivity and rewards excellence. But wait a minute!!! the best cars in the world are already made in America, and sell very well all over Asia! What car is that? Toyota - made in America in non-Union shops that allow workers to be rewarded more for working harder and better. The solution is right under Obama's nose, but he would rather put his hope in magic beans.

Third, though paying tertiary lip service to domestic production of energy, Obama and his minions do everything possible to prevent the US from taking advantage of its vast reserves of domestic fuel. Instead, wealth flows out of America into foreign coffers and we are forced to buy the fuel that "pollutes our air" from people who want us dead. It seems we can't even sell our cow - we must trade our hopes for fairy tails.

The fairy tail went on and on - I listened, and I read, although I've heard it all before; a nice story but I have never believed it to be true.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Labor Day of Love

The Camp Loll Committee Chairman, Lynn Hinrichs, put out the call for a crew to come to camp for service projects over Labor Day weekend. I must admit, as the weekend approached, I was surprised at the number of people who reported their intention to attend. Janice, Francisco, Dan Mauchley, and I headed for camp at 5:00 AM Friday, Sept. 2. The Ormes and Jon Hollingshead and Bryce Jones had arrived at Loll late the night before. We stopped in Rexburg to load up on food supplies and were in Camp by 11:00. A steady stream of helping hands poured in through out the afternoon.

This is the crew we ended up with. What a wonderful group of highly talented and dedicated people.

Lynn and Scott Hinrich arrived shortly after Janice and I did, and we sat down for a planning session. I must admit, as Lynn went over the list of "To Do's" they seemed awfully ambitious: shore up the roof, fix the floor in the Rifle Range, paint the trim on the new roof of the "Old Office", store the bear boxes, and level the KYBO in Gros Venture.

By mid afternoon our wonderful and wonder working crew had assembled. In the posts that follow this, you will be able to follow the accomplishments of the Love inspired team, as they completed all this and more.

Here are a few pictures of some of our miracle workers:

Bryce and Kara Jones take a well deserved break between their acts of service. Bryce was up Thursday night and working from Friday morning. Kara didn't get into camp until about 1:00 AM on Saturday, now that's dedication.

Here are a few of our Camp Staffers warming up in the early morning. This crew arrived late Friday night, but went on to work the rest of the weekend. Nelsen Riches, Stephanie Dansie, Jake Dansie, and Taylor Pulver.

Dave Kirkham also showed up close to midnight on Friday, but he and his boys hit the ground running at day break on Saturday. This is Christopher and Nicholas.

On the trail between jobs. Kevin Hansen, Mike Bronson, and Jody Orme, across the back - Caleb Bronson down front.

NOTE: Check out the posts which will appear below to see each of the individual work projects.


On Midsummer's Eve, June 20, 2011 we hiked six miles over snow to check out Camp Loll. This is a shot of the Parade Ground that day. One can see the piece of the roof broken off and lying on the snow, also the way the edge of the roof of the "over lap" between the two halves of the building has broken.

I knew this wasn't good, and we worried all summer about how to fix the damage. As Camp came to a close for the summer, and nothing had been done, I began to worry that another winter would come and bring a real disaster.

In this picture, taken last July, one can see how the roof has buckled. Underneath the I shaped truss has broken and the plywood also cracked. The permanent fix will require the sheeting to be removed, a new and stronger truss installed and new plywood sheeting, tar paper, and steel installed.

It would not be possible with our time and resources to affect the total repair, but Lynn was determined to make it ready for winter. I must admit I was skeptical, but I had no idea what the Hinrichs boys could do with a jack. Over the next day I would begin to understand.

Lynn's view of the damage. I like the sun burst.

First, Lynn lifted the broken section back into place with a bottle jack.

A cool cat on a hot tin roof.

Down below Francisco Martinez cut the boards for the "knee braces" that Lynn would install. Scott would trim them to exact specifications and hand them up to his brother.

Up above, Lynn would measure and fit and nail into place.

The two brothers at work.

Braces in place. This job, which, quite frankly, I thought would not be do-able was finished before most of our crew even got into camp.


Last fall the "After Camp Work Crew" put in a beautiful bridge between Crow and Piute Campsites. When we visited the camp on Midsummer's Eve, we discovered the west side had settled, twisting the bridge and loosening the planking. I felt like the old man in The Old Man and the Sea when the shark bit the chunk out of his fish. I couldn't bring myself to look at the bridge the rest of the summer. I can't even find another picture of it.

This shot shows the the three to four inch drop of the west end of the bridge. The scouts used it akimbo all summer. We removed some shims and leveled it a little, but I had pretty much abandoned hope of ever seeing it set right.

Minutes after finishing on the roof - Scott and Lynn were at the bridge. I did find them a bigger jack. They worked so fast they had it almost set right before I could get any pictures or anyone else showed up to help. They left it for the night looking promising. They would be back on Saturday to bring it up to their standards.

The big problem was figuring out a way to lift the bridge without burying the jack in the mud. The swamp was still full, especially to the west of the bridge. The pallet is sitting in four inches or more of water and mud. Lynn used the stone pile itself as sure foundation for the heavy lifting.

By Saturday, Dave Kirkham had shown up with tools, know how, and determination to boot. They soon had things ship shape.

I did help them find some rocks. There were a lot of others helping out as well, but the work went so quickly I didn't get many pictures.

It was some hours more of lifting, stuffing, and adjusting, but soon the whole thing was better than new.

Scott, Lynn, and David pose for my picture. As the historian, I felt I had an important role to play as well.

We await the winter's verdict - but the bridge is level and looking fine, and we are ready for whatever bites might come!


One of the most persistent problems at Loll is that the lodge showers leak. The "handicap" shower on the main floor drips almost every time it is used, not only soaking anything stored in the basement but discoloring and damaging the floor and the supporting timbers. We had pretty much decided that there was no protective "pan" or membrane beneath the shower.

Jon Hollingshead and Bryce Jones set out to find the problem and start the process of repair. We had decided that if there was no pan we would rip up the shower tiles and reveal the extent of the problem. Then next spring we would have to fix it. Jon and Bryce began a complicated process of checking for the cause of the leak. Much to our relief we found that there was a pan - the problem was that the pipes in the wall were leaking.

Bryce and Jon determined this only after much effort. Running buckets of water and running up and down the stairs to check the leaks.

By removing the housing around the valve Jon revealed the leak running down. The lumber behind the wall is black with water stains. In this close up you can see the blackened two by four behind the nob.

There was some concern that the tile would have to be removed to discover the problem, but there was no rush to judgement.

After a lot of checking it was found that the shower head was loose and cross threaded. Once removed, properly wrapped and re-installed, the leak disappeared. Thus with know how and perseverance, Jon and Bryce ended a problem which has plagued us for years.

They next turned their attention to the showers upstairs. The one in the center room seems fine, but both showers on the west end rooms leak. This is obvious to anyone who looks at the tiles above the kitchen door or the door to the restroom hall. After much investigation it was discovered that it is these upper showers that have pan problems. The theory is that the shifting of the logs has broken the seal around the pans and thus, when a certain amount of water builds up in the shower floor, they leak. This is why the showers do not leak every time, but do leak when someone takes a longer shower. Jon and Bryce are developing plans to remedy these problems.

They are also developing plans to finally put ceilings into the spaces above the showers. This photo shows the gaping hole that is the ceiling of the handy cap shower.

This is the situation above the north room shower.

This above the south. By next spring we hope to have the materials lined up to make necessary repairs and finally finish the showers.


Once we (I was involved) had gotten the bridge about as far as we could on Friday, Lynn and Scott turned their attention to the Gros Venture KYBO. The support beam running under the bottom log was cut by Jed Stringham back in the seventies (I was involved then too). It has finally rotted out and the building was on a precarious angle.

Here, Scott and Lynn make their plans. A word about the jack in the wheelbarrow. Jody bought it several years ago because we are constantly having to help scout leaders change their tires. It payed for itself this weekend - believe me.

This is a view of the collapsing wall. The under lying support runner - cut by a chain saw hand-mill Jed bought, is literally crushed by the weight of the KYBO and the winter snow.

You can see here how it is rotting out.

The building has smashed the rotting bottom log and pushed the wall down into it.

Jack goes to work. We lifted the building to the level.

While Jack held the KYBO we stuffed in boards.

This is only a temporary fix - hopefully enough to get the building through the winter, while we make plans and gather materials for a permanent fix next spring.

Wooden shims held things temporarily while we dug up something more substantial.

This cinder block rests on the concrete slab that holds the vent pipe. It will be seen if it can hold the tons of winter snow that will soon be on its way to Loll. I couldn't help but quote my dad, well more or less. He would have assessed the project with this witticism, "Like an ox with its butt sewed up with a logging chain. Not much for looks, but hell for stout."

Jed would be proud!


When we hiked into camp on June 20th we found the rifle range still under snow.

It became obvious that there had been a lot of snow on this roof. Note the huge chunks of snow lying off the north slope of the building.

These blocks of ice are only the remnant of the mountain of snow which stood on the roof throughout the winter. The fact that the building runs east - west puts enormous stress on the structure when the south facing face is clear while the north is still buried.

These blocks of snow must weigh tons. The firing line must face north - it is the only hill that will work as a back for the targets - still it presents a great problem.

Looking down from the drift to the deck of the range.

Throughout the summer the damage so much snow did to our Rifle Range became obvious. The floor joist at the west end of the building broke under the pounding weight of the ice and snow.

Lynn used our friend Jack to lift the break. Once the floor was level - he built a platform to hold the damage in place. A permanent fix which replaces the end beam with something more substantial must wait for next summer.

Lynn placed a chunk of four by four on a platform of trex.

Lynn also assessed that the storage room at the end of the range deck was a problem. Loaded with heavy materials during the summer it puts enormous stress on the flooring.

Mike Bronson, my Dentist, found an unused glue/lam beam in the wood pile and hauled it down to the Range. The boy in the background is the son of Kevin and Amber.

Here Mike and his helpers dig out the drain area to find a place for the beam.

Meanwhile Kevin and company open up the floor above. Russell Stevens carried the cement, two bags at a time, to lay the foundation for the Range. "I was here when this place came into the world," he joked, "I'll be with it to the end." Russell and several others are already under the floor putting the beam into place.

Here is a shot of the beam as it will support the storage room, and the entire floor.

Jack was at work again - lifting the floor to put the beam in place.

Here Jon Hollingshead adds his support to the project.

Other damage caused by the snow is evident. This picture shows the steel roofing bent and broken by the ice.

One can see the twisting of the steel frame that holds up the roof. The steel is bent and off plum; the fear was that another heavy winter would bring the akimbo structure down.

Dave Kirkham and Lynn engineered a fix. They borrowed the come-along from the Lodge to straighten the building. Pulling it straight was like putting up a pyramid - at least according to Dave. I missed the picture of the effort, which involved most of our crew, but did get this picture of a few of our workers and the cables straightening the structure.

To secure the building for the winter required a bolt which in turn required a hole drilled into the steel post. We needed a power drill, but how to run the drill clear out at the Rifle Range. The solution was to pull out the generator Karlo Mustonen gave to the camp years ago. I know it hasn't been started in at least two years; the gas must be three years old, but Scott got it started right up. It was like having Karlo with us once again.