Friday, January 27, 2012

WYOROAD Helpful Hints from Heloise aka Nanook of the North

Since you found the previous post so helpful with my marvelous definitions; and since I don't want you to go out unprepared in the Wyomng Weather, I am posting more helpful explanations for you. (Actually my warped mind works overtime and it has to have somewhere to go to relieve the pressure.....)

More Helpful WYOROAD Definitions

Limited Visibility -- This is when you are greatly relieved you can see a black strip directly in front of your hood.  You are relieved because you believe you can see the roadway.  With horror, you realize you are actually viewing the bug screen on your hood.

Wet -- Its wet now sucker but by the time you get to your destination it will be ICE as in SLICK.

Strong Winds - When you see a small dog with a brick tied to his collar blow past your vehicle, you know the winds are STRONG.

Oh man, now I have to walk home with this brick!

Windy -  The dog blows by you WITHOUT the brick on his collar.

I cannot win. Either way I walk home!

Drifted Snow - The highway department realizes the drifts are tall enough to bury a cow in; but you are on your own.  A word of caution - if you pack that drifted snow Clear Back to the Firewall on your vehicle while you are busting the cow-sized drifts getting to your destination; once you shut off the ignition it won't start.  It will take TWO DAYS with a hand held blow dryer to melt enough packed snow out of that engine compartment to get your vehicle operational.  Voice of Experience.

Day 3 of the Melt Ice Operation

Dry - Unless its the fourth of July, don't get too excited.  It's a brief temporary condition.

Closed - If you read this as the status of the roadway you just became stuck on from your new smartphone; prepare to die like Hatchet Jack in the previous post as you will be very frozen and most stuck before the highway department finds you.

Hatchet Jack, stuck in 1823 and found by Jeremiah Johnson two months later on Hwy 192

Sand - What the highway department claims they have put on the hill you just slid off of....and as you climb out of your vehicle you find microscopic amounts.

Chain Law - This means put the chains on the vehicle AFTER you have become stuck and BEFORE you call the tow truck.

Fog - Snow that hasn't landed yet.
Landed Fog

Next time we will learn Weather Conditions.  Study hard.  Test later.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

We Interrupt Winter to Bring You.........

Some definitions to help you survive the season.

What's it mean when WYOROAD says the roadway is 'slick'?  You ain't in for a good day of driving.

Slick as in no visible roadway for two states over
What does it mean when the WYOROAD website says the road is "Slick In Spots"?  It means that darn spot runs for about 60 longggggggggg  miles before it has a brief interruption of dry road.  Most of which you will be gripping the steering wheel in sheer terror.
Slick in spots with the brown spots being unslick but very muddy.

What's it mean when someone says they are 'high-centered?'  Now this is a very regional term for Stuck, like as in you ain't gonna move without either a shovel or a pull.

When it the last snow in Wyoming?  Usually late April or Early May.  In 2010 - it was May 6th.
May 6th, 2010
Okay so when is the first snow of the season?  Anytime after Labor Day, in 2010 it was October 26th - which can be called a little late.
October 26, 2010

Do you ever just slide off the road in 'slick' conditions?  Frequently.  In fact there was joke that was emailed around 60 miles North of Nowhere folk where in other places people scream before they slide off the road.  Sixty Miles North of Nowhere, we usually hand our drink to the passenger, grab another gear on the four wheel drive pickup and yell, Watch THIS!

When do you put on 'chains?'  When you are High Centered usually.  Nobody 60 Miles North of Nowhere in their right mind would put on tire chains until they are High Centered.  It's a cold, wet, muddy, nasty job at it's best.  And that if the sun is shining and it's not snowing hard.

So do you have other seasons in Wyoming?  Sure, we have spring, summer and fall all packed into about 120 days.  The other 245 days of the year vary between SLICK and SLICK IN SPOTS.

Upcoming in 2012 --- Spring.

Warning: Don't blink or you might miss it!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

You are French Canadian Except...Another Trip down Genealogy Lane

I was in the fifth grade in a German American community in Northeastern Iowa.  We were studying immigration in school and each of the kids was to find out their ethnic roots. On my Father's side of the family, I knew it was all German Lutheran, like the majority of my classmates.  (Most of the Irish Catholic kids in the area went to the parochial school.)  Yep, it was a Garrison Keilor Lake Woebegon upbringing.
The Joe DeSotel Family, Clayton County, Iowa  Arrow is my Grandfather, Emil Krist DeSotel.  Photo taken about 1915 as the youngest child, Marie, appears to about 3 years old.  Left to right:  Otto, mother Emma (nee Timm), Charles, Marie (Jaster);  Emil (my grandfather), Joseph M. DeSotel (father - my great grandfather) and Hilda (Aulerich).

I never knew my paternal grandfather as he has passed away before I was born.  But my maternal grandfather was The Grandfather.  He was a carpenter but had operated a car repair/gas station in a small farming community while he raised his family.  And build, man could he build anything.  I remember watching him build a boat in his basement and then moving the parts to the garage.  And Fish!! He loved to fish, and trap. But I never knew why until I asked him that day after fifth grade class, Grandpa, what are we?  And his reply was, "Child you are French Canadian except for the parts that didn't run fast enough.  Those parts are Indian!"  And that was how I found out my mother was not German American on her paternal side.
As only Grandpa could tell it.  Grandpa had quite the sense of humor - more about that later.
Emil's confirmation photo.  He is the 2nd boy from the left in the 2nd row from the top.  The family has recently converted to Lutheran from Catholicism when Joe M. DeSotel married Emma Timm, who was a Lutheran.

The DeSotel family originated in France and the first one in the family to immigrant was Pierre DeSautels dit Lapointe who arrived on the shores of Quebec City, Canada in 1653 when he was 22 years of age.  Pierre the First was instrumental in the founding of the city of Montreal in the province of Quebec.  He was one of seven persons on the boat that could write his name, having received an education in his hometown of Malicorne-sur-Sarthe, France. Like his father and grandfather in France, Pierre was a tailor by trade.

I won't bore you with begats down that many centuries, but one of Pierre's sons, Pierre II was present with Cadillac at the founding of Detroit in 1701.  It was the first known presence of a DeSautels in America.

The family became French fur traders (and the origin of the native american lines in the family although there is a reference to one of the Canadian wives as being a native American) and successive generations came down the Mississippi River.    My  great-great grandfather was born in 1834 and eventually settled in Guttenberg, Iowa.  After working in the lead mines in Galena, Illinois, he had crossed the river and taken up farming for a living..  His wife remained in Canada and they led mostly separate lives, he returning home for brief periods with long absences.  This martial arrangement was quite common for many fur trappers, some even having Angelican wives at 'home' and native american wives while 'trapping.'

His son, Joseph Maxime DeSotels, was born in Canada and by 1856 had joined his father in Iowa.  The name became 'americanized' to DeSotel.   Two sisters remained in Canada with their mother.  Joseph Maxime DeSotels was known in the area as French Joe until his death. His wife never joined him in Iowa, remaining in Canada until her death.  Joseph entered in the farming profession with his father, French Joe, and married Mary Brouillette in 1864 in Richardsville.They had thirteen children, one of whom was my great grandfather who was (you guessed it Joseph) Joseph DeSotel, born 1873 as the seventh child.  Apparently both Pierre and Joseph were family names as every generation seemed to have at least one.

An interesting story is found about Mary Brouillette DeSotel. The DeSotel family had determined to have a family portrait done in Guttenberg.  Because of the large number of children, it was decided to have two pictures taken.  One of the father and sons; and one of the mother and daughters.  Joseph and his sons drove to town and had their picture taken, but unexpectedly, Mary died the following day never having had her photo taken with the daughters.  Undaunted, the family propped Mary up and had her picture taken - the only picture ever taken of her--after her death.  While seeming macabre by today standards, such photos were quite common then in 1896 when she passed away.  So thanks to the earnest work of a family member who wrote an extensive genealogy (Roger and Margaret Handke) and graciously shared with distant cousins, I have xerox copy of the photo of my deceased great-great grandmother.

The seventh son, Joseph (born in 1873), married Emma Timm and they are the family pictured in the very first photo and are my great grandparents.  Which brings me to my grandfather....
Emil (on the right) in his garage in Luana.

Grandpa was a very good carpenter and he and my father built many homes in Monona, Iowa, as I was growing up.  I can remember if he cut a board wrong, he would curse and cut the board up in foot long lengths.  This was before power saws and it wouldn't take him long either.  Two strikes to drive a nail with a hammer, one to set and one to drive.  One-Two.  I watched him and my father many days when I was little.
By the time I was seven, though, I was done with that.  I had my pony to occupy my time.
Me with Heidi in 1957
Grandpa was quite the practical joker.  I remember my dad telling about the time he put a cherry bomb in the river to float it by so the explosion would scare his fishing companion.  Emil had miscalculated the current a tad and the bomb went off UNDER the boat and blew the minnow can 10 foot into the air.  With a good sized hole, they had to beat it back to shore double quick before the boat sank.  They made it -barely and Emil had to repair the first boat he made which was a 10 footer simple row boat-type, but it had a small motor on it.  He then embarked on building his second boat, a fourteen footer that could seat four people easily, with a windshield, steering wheel, and 50 hp evinrude motor.

I remember another time he sank his car up to the bottom of the body when it fell through the ice when he was ice fishing and my dad had to go help him get it out of the 'drink'.  Once he told someone who asked what he was doing while building a new post office that the hole he was working on was for the air mail and that they would be delivering it by helicopter daily.  It was really an air conditioning vent; but the whole town was excited they were going to get airmail via helicopter.

Grandpa loved his grandkids and we returned it.  He was the PERFECT grandpa.  How I wish I still had the desk he made for me when I was four.  It had my name on the side (it was built like a 1950's school desk) in big Red Letters - MERIDY.  For my brother he built a rocking horse (my brother was only two that Christmas).

From my native american roots, I got very dark brown eyes and ability to tan easily.  Quite often growing up during the summer, I could tell new acquaintances I was Cherokee or Sioux and they believed me.  My brother would tan so dark, he could convince people he was half african-american.

If you found my blog looking for your ancestors and descend from the DeSotel family (spelled DeSautels in some parts of  America) I would be happy to share my information with you.

I hope I haven't bored you all to tears with my begat stories.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I'm In Love!

     Oh My!  I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.  Even Sixty Miles North of Nowhere.

     I love to read and my New Love is a little black box:

I got a new Kindle Fire for Christmas!! WOW.  I couldn't believe it.  And I love, love, love it.

I like to read history and to my delight Amazon has a pretty good array of free books.  Plus you can *borrow* an e-book from the local library.  I read my first book on a civil war battle that was posted as free for one day on a blog I follow:

If you've been following my blog, it should be of no surprise that given the family's civil war history I would be interested in this book.  I found a poignant story in this book about a Texas cavalryman who was killed in the battle.  His wife found out he was dead when she saw his horse tied to the front fence at their home. (CSA Cavalry men supplied their own mounts).  It's a good well-written history about the Fort Smith, Arkansas area during the civil war and I really enjoyed it.  If you are a civil war buff, I bet you would enjoy it also.

Now I am reading some of the Slave Narratives from the Arkansas area.  These were oral histories that were taken by the WPA during the Great Depression in 1938 from former slaves.  Very very interesting and it was one of the free Amazon books.

The only glitch I've had is trying to get my wi-fi hooked up at home.  I have a router but my computer connects through an ethernet LAN not wirelessly.  So I guess I will schedule TWTS for this weekend (time with tech support!).

Thanks to #2 Son and daughter-in-law for a Great Gift.  I'd been looking and agonizing over do I get a Kindle or Nook?  Simple or Color or Fire?  Well the decision was made for me and I'm happy with the choice.

Time marches on and yes, old duffers can apparently learn new technologies!  Surprise surprise.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Was this ANY WAY to start 2012?

Photo is actually January 2008 - but its pretty similar now except MORE snow.  We started 2012 out with a snowstorm and howling winds which equals huge drifts.  Now that isn't so bad, that's typical of Wyoming in January.

What wasn't usual (well maybe more than he would like to admit) is that Hubby was walking BACK from the gate because his truck was stuck.  In the ditch, in the snow, up to the bed on the rear wheels.  But get this: he wasn't STUCK.  Nope, his definition of 'stuck' is you don't survive the incident.  Like in you DIE.

He'd been turning around in the plow/feed truck to after clearing some good sized drifts and backed into the 'well' alongside the road we have to catch the snow so the drift isn't so deep on the road and well he got (say it softly) 'stuck' temporarily detained.  My first clue was all the geldings standing the road looking at the fiasco like they were wondering, "What's he gonna do? We ain't been fed yet."

So first thing I asked him, what are you stuck?  Him: No.  Me: Looks like you ain't moving.  Him: Not yet.  Me:  Do I need to pull you out?  Him: Would be nice, saves me from walking back again.  Me: First you gotta say you are stuck.  Him: Nope.  Me: Yep.  Him: Okay I'm stuck.

Feed Us.  Feed Us!

So being gracious I pulled him.  And he rescinded his stuck temporarily detained statement.

Hmmmm, for clarification I give you He Said, She Said:

The Definition of Stuck

HIS - Hatchet Jack in Jeremiah Johnson, although of sound mind and broke legs, was definitely STUCK and most Frozen.

HERS - Anytime you are wallowing around in a snow bank putting these puppies on, you are STUCK.

HE WAS DEFINITELY STUCK on January 1, 2012.  I Rest my Case.