31 December 2009

...just a fond farewell to a friend

yeh look at me
in my thirties
plowing forth, unsteady and unsturdy but...
I'm still alive...I'm still alive
I win a prize
I'm still alive

yeh look at me
pushing forty
suiting up for another sortie and...
I'm still alive...I'm still alive
I win a prize
I'm still alive

It may not be pretty
my life up to here
but something bold and beautiful occurred...
I'm not interred

yeh look at me
as a tragic figure
for one frivolous moment I...
I beg to differ cuz
I'm still alive...I'm still alive,
I win a prize
I'm still alive

It may not be pretty
my life up to here
but something bold and beautiful occurred...
I'm not interred

*Vic Chesnutt* 11/12/1964 – 12/25/2009

06 December 2009

cows that I have known....

so……they’re big on cattle here in the Sudan.

they’re not big on ‘systems” though, or “structure” or “boundaries”…..or “branding” for that matter….so I’m really not sure how they can tell whose cow is whose….but apparently they can.

I imagine it’s something along the lines of “in America, you would know which dog is yours, so why couldn’t you tell which cow”; as well as the fact that it would be extremely bad form to lay claim to someone else’s cow….

regardless, somehow they do tell them apart…..and cows are money....and so the cows have the run of the place….as you can see below….

this was actually in Nairobi, taken out of a car window - my first "major bovine incident"...

the view out my back window over coffee…..

and the side yard around evening….

a man and his cow….

This bunch was grazing near the river at Old Fangak International Airport (O.F.I.A) ….and near the river is fine, but it becomes an issue when they are grazing on the airstrip when a plane is landing…..which is every time a plane is landing…..so, the pilots usually have to make 2 or 3 passes to scatter them/alert the locals to “please move your cows….or possibly your goats”….

A side note: so, O.F.I.A. is on the other side of the river from the village itself, about a 5 minute boat ride away….and, schedules being mostly a theoretical concept in the Sudan, it doesn’t behoove one to sit around in an open field on a 100 degree day waiting for a plane that may not be there for 2 hrs, if at all…or to be surprised when you hear a plane landing that you had no knowledge of….so, the built-in delay of in-flight cattle clearing is kind of nice, as when you do hear/see the plane, you know “ahhh, we’ve got at least 15 minutes to jump in the boat & get there…

unlike the AK, where air traffic overhead (even in the bush) is a relatively common, everyday occurrence; here in lovely downtown Fangak if you hear any plane, you know it will be landing at O.F.I.A, as there is absolutely no other possible reason it would be passing through the airspace – 95% of the time, that area is occupied by birds and the moon only….

and when you have one of the two boats in Old Fangak with a motor, and capable of ferrying people/freight from O.F.I.A. to the village….and the driver of the other boat (owned/operated by the Carter Centre) lives across the river from where the boat itself is kept, so if he happens to not actually be in town at the moment….it’s usually you & Stephen “the Man” Gatkose jumping in the boat and getting there….knowing you have time to finish your coffee, because the pilot will have to scatter a cow or three….

the collar means it's "special"....which could mean it's someone's cow you are taking care of....or it's breeding...or it's going to be sold...or just about anything....definitions are a hazy concept in Nuar (the local language, and name of the local tribe...pronounced "noo-air")...regardless, any woman likes a bit of jewelry & flash, no?

a side note: for just about every cow you see, you'll see a lil' white bird (from the Egret clan) following it around, enjoying the insect smörgåsbord that accompanies it's four-legged friend...the aviary scientists have creatively named this bird "Cattle Egret"...regardless, it's a quite endearing sight...

getting it's drink on....

....and not skittish about it

so, these two fine examples were lazing about the edge of the market on a hot afternoon, and I couldn't resist the urge to snap a pic....and in Old Fangak, cameras are still quite the exotic, magical item, so if you're not very surreptitious about usage, you're likely to get a local clamoring to be in the shot....young, old, man, woman - they have no fear of their souls being stolen, they wanna be on camera, dammit....which resulted in the below shot, one of my favorites of the entire scene so far.....

the follow-up is that after taking the picture, you must show it to the subject (easily/instantly done in these digital days), so they can see themselves....and when these two young ladies who had scampered into the frame looked at the picture and realized that they were featured next to COWS.....the shrieks & giggles of mortification needed no translating....

down by the river, as a trading boat comes into town….which leads us again to boats….

A better shot in which to appreciate the overloaded…..

…..and underpowered craft (that’s a 75 hp outboard motor strapped onto that behemoth)…

....and the majority(by a LARGE margin) of the trading/shipping boats here in the Sudan follow this same model…..but we’ll get into that nuttiness another time…..it’s late, I’m a good kind of tired….and there’s a side of beef lowing about 100 yds away….

27 November 2009

picture pages, picture pages....

...time to get your pen or your pencil....

Fangak International Airport

they're called "Tukuls"

my digs...the mosquito net/cot to the left is my preferred sleeping arrangement, the better to take advantage of those cool night breezes....cooking and what-not is done inside the main building.....but I don't think "MTV Cribs is going to be knocking on my door anytime soon....

the current medical center

Old Fangak at evening

Fangak Drillers Local #237 working on "Big Mojo #1" (membership clockwise: Bret, Mike, Rob, Stephen "the Man" Gatkose, DK)

moments before my good-hearted Bull Connor impression....

kids will be kids.....anywhere the sun shines

letting the days go by...

so…..our story begins in the AK, last February….

actually, our story begins with a long-time dream of mine – to wake up one New Year’s Day morning on Easter Island, lying on the beach with those great stone heads looking out at the ocean with me…..

but back to the the facts…..

a local doctor, name of Jack, had snow-machined out to the lodge on Valentine’s Day weekend with his fiancée, Josie, for a few quiet days of skiing and snuggling….mutual friends had tipped them off that EagleSong was a good place for that sort of thing, so a few weeks prior he had called up & booked a cabin….

none of us had actually met before, and there is always some trepidation when having people you don’t know come out, even friends of a friend – will they be annoying, will they be uncomfortable, etc, etc……but they arrived with smiles, and it became apparent that they were “good peoples”, as they might say in South Philly….

over dinner that first night, amidst conversating about life & what-not, Jack began discussing a project he was involved with in Africa – about a doctor named Jill Seaman….who had for the past 20 years been splitting her time between Bethel, AK and southern Sudan, mostly in a village called Old Fangak.

Jack had lived & worked in Africa previously, and upon visiting the good Dr. Seaman in the village a couple of years ago, he saw the conditions, the poverty, and the overwhelming needs Jill was dealing with, and told her, “…we’ve got to get you some help….”

Old Fangak proper is a village of a couple thousand people – but within a 50 mile radius there are various homesteads, smaller & larger villages….a total population for the area over 50,000 people…..and the only doctor is a woman from Alaska working out of a 70 year old stone building …. treating people who might have walked for 4 or 5 days to reach the village, or sold a cow for the money to get a seat on a trading boat going down the river (the boats here are another 10K word post in their own right – mind-blowin’, I’m telling ya….)

Medicines Sans Frontiers/Doctors Without Borders (a fantastic organization, let there be no doubt) wouldn’t go there, as it was too remote of an area for their logistics & operations to support….MedAir wasn’t there for much the same reasons, along with a host of other NGO’s that for various political and natural realities couldn’t/wouldn’t work in the area…..

only a crazy doctor from the AK, and whatever local staff she could cobble together and train….

Jill’s a pretty amazing chick, obviously.

The MacArthur Foundation agreed with that sentiment earlier this year – you can chek theirs and others thoughts on the matter here, here and here

so Jack returned to the AK, and with a couple of other people started the Alaska Sudan Medical Project (you can check out the main website here), whose main goal is building a new medical facility for Jill and Old Fangak, as well as drilling wells and bringing clean water to an area that is absolutely desperate for it…..and along with those, the possibility of some hope for the future….

so….as you might imagine, I was intrigued by the story & his passion for it, and ended up spending a couple of hours talking with him about the project & the scene in Africa….on that night, it was 20 degrees below zero and there was 12 feet of snow outside my window….90+ degrees and sunshine sounded awfully nice, and I nonchalantly mentioned that if they were going over next winter to give me a call, see what my plans were…..

and the next morning they went out skiing, and then we had another pleasant evening…..and the next day they were snow-machining back to Anchorage….

and that’s where the prologue ends….I went about my spring & summer, as y’all know….and Sudan might have been in the back of my mind, but it was pretty far back….I set up plans to spend autumn in Oregon, winter working on a project in Austin and traveling….

until the last weekend in September, when Josie ran into my sister at the Anchorage Weekend Market….

they chatted, and my sis asked her about the Africa project…to which Josie replied that they were setting up to send a team over at the end of October, but were still looking for people – in particular, she mentioned that they needed someone who could go over & stay for a few months to manage the project on the ground…more than the two weeks or so commitments that they could get from most of the doctors, well-drillers, etc that they were working with….

her words were, “we need someone with bush experience – someone willing to live in primitive conditions…..no running water, only well – no electricity except what we’d get from gas powered generators & batteries….sleeping w/mosquito nets….someone with construction experience who could deal with having limited tools, resources, & fuel… someone who could handle the travel & stress of the scene…do you know anyone?”

basically, she said everything EXCEPT the sentence, “We need your brother, and is he actually crazy enough to say yes?”

so my sister, who was thinking, “they need Dave, and he’s crazy enough to say yes…” told her she would talk to me and have me get in touch with Jack…

which I did, after quite a few chuckles as she replayed the conversation to me….I’ve seen enough of my karmic signposts to recognize one smacking me in the face….

so….I called Jack, told him I was flying into Anchor-town on the 10th of October (plans I had already made, so as to avoid freeze-up and being locked in once the lake started icing over), and that we should meet-up then and discuss the project….

we met, and discussed the harsh realities I’d be facing, the plethora of inoculations I needed to get, the details of the construction, as well as the amazing nature of the whole scene….the tipping point for me was when he mentioned that if I took the job, it would be necessary for me to take a boat up the rivers once or twice a month for supplies, fuel, pick up team members flying in, etc….

the image of a sunrise on a continent I’ve never seen, and me plunging into the middle of the Nile River on Jan 1, 2010 materialized into my head, and I told him, “I’m your man, Jack, let’s go build a hospital in Africa…”

….as I mentioned, it’s nice to recognize your karma as it happens every once in a while…and are we not our brother’s keeper?

or, as I relayed to a friend later that night as it began to sink in….“I’m going to build a f**king hospital in f**king Africa….”

so….three weeks later, on Halloween, I was on a plane to Nairobi….and three days later, standing on a dirt airstrip about a ¼ mile from Old Fangak, with three other cats from the AK, and about twenty boxes of tools, equipment, and mosquito nets….

and here we are….

so DK, what’s the rumpus?

more on that next time, but a few quick notes:

the moon: I wasn’t crazy, the phases are at a right angle from “normal”….quite cool to watch from night to night….

the birds: probably only thousands, but it seems like millions…ibises, kites, cranes, red-cheeked cordon bleu’s….simply stunning, and a constant daily entertainment for me…

the temperature:…it’s equator hot, man…96 degrees in the shade, literally…mid-day siestas are a must, but my tan’s already reaching George Hamilton levels….it cools off at night, and by midnight is down to 65-70, quite pleasant…

the cuisine: I’ve represented myself well, and been the polite honored guest who tries and eats everything….my mama raised me right…but let’s just say this ain’t Paris, and I’m cooking for myself as much as possible…

the work: tough, mainly due to conditions….AK rules apply: it takes twice as long, is twice as hard, & is at least twice as expensive as expected….but nothing I can’t handle….

….and last Monday, I was spraying 20 squealing village kids out of a hose from the new well we had successfully got up and running after 10 days of constant set-backs…..there was no FatBurger, but it was indeed a good day…

23 November 2009

these are the days of miracle & wonder....

……….this is the long distance call…..
so…..I am in deepest, darkest Africa.

as I write this, I am in Malakal, Sudan.

Malakal is a city along the Nile River, just about in the middle of Sudan – consider it the Chicago of the country….

….if the South side of Chicago, or Pittsburgh, or the Italian Market in Philly had been bombed out for 10 years and people had decided F**k it, we’re going to have a city anyway.

add in that three blocks from DeVito’s, let's have mud huts and thatched roofs for 10 miles to form the suburbia and that’s about the scene I’m in…..

…yesterday, I was in a village called Pom.

I spent that morning in Old Fangak, the village I’m working in, rehabilitating the carburetor of a 75 hp boat motor to get us (myself and Bret, technically my boss, though he would hate the term), up the river ( the Zeraf, which then flows into the Nile) to accomplish this weekend’s journey – first, to Pom, where we spent the night, then on to Malakal.

about an hour before we started tearing the boat’s carburetor apart, we were cutting and welding together a makeshift auger to drill out a half-finished well in Fangak.

we handed the rest of that job off to a couple of other cats from the AK, Rob & Mike (a geologist and dentist, respectively), as time was of the essence….

….apparently, you don’t want to make the river journey at night, as you may run into “Apocalapyse Now”….people shooting at you situations…..so it behooves one to make good use of the sunlight.

we were traveling to Pom to meet the new commissioner of Jonglie state, an area in Sudan that includes Pom and Old Fangak, to discuss putting in wells, water filtration, and sanitation systems.....Sudan, like most of Africa, has been racked by corruption over the decades, but this Commish seems to be a good man, educated in Nebraska, of all places, and pretty intent on helping the people...

as we pulled up to the river bank in Pom, in a shitty little boat, with a re-habbed motor, two cowboys from Alaska (along with a local man, Stephen Gatkose, my guide, my right hand man, who I cannot say enough good things about – except to maybe say that in my best hours I would hope to show Stephen the same brotherhood and assistance if we dropped him at 15th and Broad that he has shown me) there were about a couple hundred people there - flags waving, drums beating, the entire National Geographic scene.

we proceeded on to the village centre, a marble and stone building from the British Empire days , where the festivities continued – an additional thousand people….school children singing welcome, followed by male warriors dancing, followed by a female contingent performing a dance that can only be described as “shake your tail feather”………..it’s a scene, man…..

what the hell?

this ain’t me….I signed on to throw up a very simple building to be used for a medical center, drill a few wells…….

Pom is a village of at least 25k people (census numbers in Sudan are dicey, go figure)……and they have no clean water source.

the people have a choice between the river water, which they may have to walk a mile (or two, or three) to get, or bottled water brought in by boat from Malakal (no real roads, only dirt paths)…..which costs money….which most don’t have…..thus, the need for a well or twenty.

and you’ve got the only drilling rig within a couple hundred miles…..and it’s not much to write home about. ...

no pressure, DK…..

…and you may ask yourself…..well……how did I get here?

….and that’s a loooooong story, better saved for next time.

some other quick notes….

….the stars….they sure are beautiful, and quite different configurations & angles than I’m used to, constellations I’ve never seen….my current favorite is Scorpio….it pops out and you think….yep, cavemen 10,000 years ago looked up at that and said “nasty insect that stings you”….I’ve seen a few of the real deal scurrying about as well….

….the moon…..the phases are at almost a right angle compared to the AK, so that a crescent is bottom to top, not left to right….either that, or there was a lunar eclipse last night…..

….my health….all good so far, not a whiff of dysentery or other assorted maladies….taking my meds religiously, and trying real hard not to cut myself….if you know me, you know the concentration that task requires…..

…the bugs….not nearly what I expected, maybe 1/20th of what I’m used to dealing with in a typical AK summer…..an awesomely pleasant surprise….

….tunez….quite a bit of local music in the air, both live (drumming, singing every night), as well as issuing forth from boom-boxes in the popular cassette format, digital technology not having reached most of Sudan thus far…..

…..Sudanese Fish Stew…..take any & all steps necessary to avoid it…….

22 September 2009

bells chime, I know I gotta get away...

so....a friend of mine sent me this link recently, and it made my day.

in addition to renewing my hopes for the human race, it led me to pull Bjork's "Homogenic" disc out of the archives....

on headphones, that rekkid is pure bliss for me....with all props to Nile Rodgers, George Martin, Timbaaland, & Phil Spector....it may be the most perfectly produced album ever.

you can chek out more of the soul-lifters at:

rock on, little achievers.

14 September 2009

tunez in the AK

Portugal the Man - "Do You"

Motel Motel - "Coffee"

Booker T & the M.G.'s - "Hip Hug Her"

The Pack A.D. - "Blackout"

Dinosaur Jr. - "Over It" {yeah....I know they only have one song.....but it's a great song, and I can dig it....this here's the 2009 version....good on ya, J. & Lou}

Japan Droids - "Young Hearts Spark Fire"

Mos Def / Slick Rick - "Auditorium" {tha return of tha ruler}

Wilco - "Pot Kettle Black"

the Heavy - "Coleen" {this rekkid's been in the rotation for about 18 months now....}

Vandaveer - "A Mighty Leviathan of Old"

12 September 2009

....sipping cocktails in the blue, red, & grey....

so........I was discussing with a friend recently how I've been spoiled these past weeks with a beautiful indian summer...this was not the case the last few years.

a year ago, precipitation started around mid-august, and by October, we'd enjoyed 37 days of rain....at one point, 22 in a row.

one of the true blessings of being in the AK during this season is the return of the sunset....they start re-appearing in August, after taking a summer hiatus.

the shots below are a lil' re-cap of autumn evenings.....my cup, it doth overflow....

06 August 2009

not exactly lookin' like the car the Green Hornet had...

so, this is my ride for summertime '09 in the AK....

we realized that we needed a rolling storage unit.......after a brief Craigs List courtship, a love affair was borne.....

so much potential in this beast....for hauling and comedic visuals......the air-brushing possibilities alone boggle the mind....

07 July 2009

safety first

so….it’s been a minute since my last post.

in my defense, I have been a bit busy.

the last 60 days have been almost exclusively devoted to final construction of the cabin we’ve been building for a client. loooooong days of labor notwithstanding, it’s an interesting way to spend two solid months. i’ll try to devote a post to that project soon.

thus far, it’s a gorgeous summer…..incredible amounts of sunshine, very little rain, unbroken weeks of temperatures in the 70’s.

18-22 hrs of sunshine tends to foster working late into the day….while extremely healthy in the long view, it does leave me a bit drained of energy when it comes time to surf the interwebs.

working late can also lead to one being careless as fatigue sets in without one noticing….and carelessness can lead to not being able to type for a few weeks…..

if you’re right-handed, you never realize how much you use your left index finger until it’s out of commission for a little while.

in my case, lefty got a wee bit too close to a running sawmill blade one evening, and was sent to the penalty box for a fortnight.

ohhhhhhhhhhh, the comedy, kids.

I’m not gonna lie to ya, it was quite the scene.

It was about 7 pm, I had been milling lumber all day.

about an hour before, I was thinking, “cool….it’s 6ish….I can get one more log cut by 7-730….be done with all the lumber we need for the next few days, not have to cut in the morning….it’s still 70 degrees……my tan’s coming in nicely….ohh, look an eagle….alright, one more log then….”

the mind does tend to ramble in the AK summer.

anyway….here’s a photo to help set the stage….

for lack of better words, that’s the lumberyard in the back 40.

almost every incarnation of wood is represented in the photo….the raw logs, the peeled logs destined to be a picnic table, the smaller logs destined to be posts, the finished lumber, the scrap pile, and of course…..the back-up firewood woodpile, just in case the previously featured “WoodPile Mark I” were to somehow become depleted…..“practical” and “over-kill” are synonymous in the AK.

the sawmill is the contraption in the middle of the photo. the base is a 20 ft steel frame that the power-head (the wheels, engine, and, of course, saw blade) slides along….in the photo, the power-head is at its rearmost point. with this device, we can mill logs up to 18 feet in length, 24 inches in diameter.

the greased lightning operation that is “milling lumber in the AK” consists of: moving the logs in the left of the photo onto the sawmill frame……then, by application of the saw blade, turning that log into whatever particular style of lumber may be needed at the moment (2x4’s, 1x3’s, 4x4’s etc, etc….including the most popular board on Trail Lake, the 2x10…..we tend to build things beefy….)

there are many methods one could use to move the logs from their initial resting places around the yard onto the mill…in a previous location, we were using a boom and chain hoist to lift and drag the logs…..in the current incarnation, “moving the logs” involves yours truly and a stick with a hook on it persuading those lil’ doggies to git along.

here’s an action shot towards the end of that ballet…..

I believe it was Archimedes who said, “give me a big f*cking stick and I’ll move the whole world….”

an observer might notice that I’m only wearing a heavy protective work glove on one hand in the photo…..I really hate wearing gloves….they remove too much dexterity and tactile sensation, and give me sense memories of winter….I may have become a bit more amenable to the argument that they do have their place, however….

it’s a band-saw mill, meaning that the blade is a one piece oval “band”….the blade goes around the two wheels so that it is parallel with ground…..you position the log, push the power-head forward down the mill, the blade cuts through, you adjust the blade height for whatever size board necessary, make another pass…….you’re milling boards.

here are a couple shots of the saw-blades we use….efficient little buggers….

so…….. it’s 7ish, and I’m in the middle of the second-to-last cut of the day…..when I notice that one of the “saw-dogs” (these are movable steel posts used to hold the log in place) is set too high, and the blade will run into it if I were to continue.

we dragged the mill out into the woods three winters ago, this scene has happened hundreds of time since.

we’ve been lucky to always notice prior to the saw-blade hitting the steel….as bad, noisy things would occur if that were to happen.

the proper procedure to remedy the situation is to bring the blade to a stop, back the entire power-head off a few feet, lower & re-set the post, bring the blade back up to speed, and continue milling.

but…….as I said, it’s late…….and I’m almost done for the day…....and bringing the blade to a complete stop & back up might add all of 45 seconds on to the procedure……so I’m just going to back off the power-head, quickly drop the post and finish up……

except that rather than backing off the power-head a few feet, apparently I only backed it off a few inches….and as I reached my left hand down to drop the post…..it kissed an angry, top speed saw-blade.

the next series of events takes less than 90 seconds…….my hand rears back….I see that my index finger has sustained a gash & is bleeding profusely but is still connected to the hand….I consider how both extremely stupid and extremely lucky I am, as I drop a series of F-bombs…..I hit the kill switch on the machine, slap my right hand on the finger in a pressure inducing death-grip, and proceed to walk briskly to the main cabin where my sister and niece are, realizing that I have about a two-minute window before I pass out.

this isn’t the first time I’ve inflicted trauma upon my body…..at this point, I know how it will react…..and losing consciousness is definitely on the menu….

so….I enter the cabin…rather calmly, I might add….and inform my sister that, “I need a towel for my hand and a chair to sit in so that I can pass out.”

cue the wailing, the “oh my god, what did you do?!?”….the reply of “I cut my hand on the saw-mill” (although I’ll admit that there were at least three F-bombs strewn about in the reply)….my niece Meghan saying “oh, geeeze” as she sees the finger while replacing my right hand’s death grip on it with a towel and her own (I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard her swear)…. I sit down and say, “OK, I’m going out”….and then I promptly pass out.

after a brief interlude of sweet unconscious bliss….I really wish there was some way to record those sensations that occur in the mind while I’m out-to-lunch, it’s almost another reality/dimension….I always recall having conversations, and events occurring in the dream-state, then I hear the voices from outside intruding and I come back around to this world….I should probably compare notes with Frank Bruno to investigate the experience further…..

anyway…..I come around….see my sister holding my shoulders, my niece holding my hand, tell them, “OK, I’m back”, and we proceed on to damage control.

it’s a fairly nasty cut, or rather, a combination of two cuts…. a large one running from the base of the finger to the knuckle, and a smaller one from the knuckle to about a quarter inch below the nail…..but there appears to be no bone or ligament damage…..

after some initial examination, cleaning, & dis-infection, the following conversation occurs….”dave, it’s gonna need stitches…..”I’m not going to the hospital…….dave, I think it needs stitches……that’s not happening……dave, I really think you need to go in….I AM NOT going to the hospital, we’ll deal with it here…..”

after much back and forth, discussing of options and medical supplies on hand, etc, etc, it is decided that spending far too much money and time on getting an emergency flight for me into town and a visit to the ER is not an option.

score one for the mule-headed idiot with the boo-boo on his finger....BECAUSE HE STUCK HIS HAND IN A RUNNING SAWMILL.

so, we move on further into damage control….after ruling out my initial solution of, “let’s just duct-tape it up and be done”, we decide on a combination of gauze, wrapping, and these cool neo-butterfly bandage strap thingies to seal it up, and declare that if any sign of infection shows itself or proper healing doesn’t appear to be occurring within 48 hrs that I will fly into Anchor-town and visit the “medical professionals”.

a note here for some that might not be overly familiar with my family background: my mother was a RN for over 40 years and I have seven brothers & sisters…..we’ve dealt with a myriad of injuries through the ages & have more experience than probably necessary in knowing how to properly handle them (I’m the most graceful member of the family, and trust me, that’s damning with faint praise)…. I have nothing but respect & admiration for the doctors and nurses who every day sacrifice parts of themselves to aid other people…this simply was a situation that I thought could be handled with the tools and people at hand…..and luckily, that thought turned out to be correct.

and it helps to have a ridiculous amount and variety of first-aid supplies in the house. it’s not over-kill, it’s the AK.

so……lefty is healing nicely….I’m typing with two hands again….I returned to the scene of the crime & milled 4 logs a few days ago…..and it should be a wicked-cool scar when everything is said and done.

so….what did it look like? while I do have some photos that I think are pretty dope in a gruesome, surgery-channel sort of way, I’ve been advised that it’s probably better not to inflict them on people willy-nilly….

instead, here’s a shot of the fireweed in full bloom, it’s particularly impressive this summer….just drop me an email if you want to see lefty in his bloody glory, I’ll be happy to send you some pics toot sweet.

one final note…..this is the last time I’ll be telling this particular story in regards to the scar….from here on out, it’s a “walking down the trail, had to fight off a bear heroically” kind of tale….