One Foot in the Black

Firechick's Blog


December 10
Wildland Firefighter, Pyro-Evangelist
US Forest Service
I am a wildland firefighter for the US Forest Service. The government is "touchy" about its employees expressing our opinions publicly, so I am anonymous to avoid having to deal with permission or apologies.


Firechick's Links
MARCH 1, 2015 1:17PM

The First Time I Smelled the Sea

Although I was born in Sarasota, Florida, my parents moved to land-locked Colorado when I was about two years old.  On the run from creditors we then moved to Indiana where my parents both grew up.

Mom had told us several stories about living in Florida, and to a poor… Read full post »

JANUARY 31, 2015 7:14PM

Karma in an Oyster Tin

Hotshot fire crews are very regimented.  The chain of command holds true at all times.  Back in the day the most desired trait of the lowest members of the crew was to be “dead from the neck up.”  In other words, do the physical labor, no need to think or question. … Read full post »

DECEMBER 10, 2014 5:12PM

My Angelina

I don't really follow celebrity doings or gossip.  I honestly don't care for the most part.  Sure I enjoy reading a "People" or "Us" while getting my hair done every 4-5 weeks.  I don't watch Entertainment Tonight, don't read on-line celeb websites, don't follow anyone on Twitter. &nbsRead full post »

AUGUST 24, 2013 3:46PM

A Trail of Wreckage

I arrived in New Mexico the day before the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots died on the Yarnell Hill Fire.  I was there to help out with the fires on one of the national forests.  Arizona and New Mexico make up the Southwest Region of the US Forest Service, Region 3 (R3).… Read full post »

OCTOBER 6, 2012 12:10PM

My Open Call -- Your Final Meal

Reading JMac's and Matt Paust's "final endings" in JMac's recent post and comments got me thinking of my final meal.  Our local, weekly artsy newspaper recently did a series where they asked some of the best chefs in town what they would have for their final meal.  So, here's mine, andRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 8, 2012 4:46PM

In the Voting Booth


I always went to vote with my mom when I was a kid.  I loved it. Where I grew up in Indiana we had the curtained booths.  We would step in, and Mom would reach up and grasp the big handle, sliding it over to close the curtain.  Inside was/… Read full post »

I commented on JMac's post about three teachers who postiively influenced him in high school and said it would be a nice OC.  He agreed, but he also suggested that I start off.  So here goes.  

John Manusczak.  We called him Mr. Man.  He taught biology, and his first year… Read full post »

AUGUST 14, 2012 2:14PM

A Firefighter Dies in Idaho



Fire season, 2012, claimed its first US Forest Service firefighter yesterday.  Anne Veseth was only 20 years old and in her second season as a wildland firefighter.  She was killed by a falling snag, a standing dead tree, while fighting a fire in Idaho.   

I d… Read full post »

Some great posts here on OS regarding caregiving.  I've thought a lot about this, and so am finally going to articulate how I feel. 

I'm childfree by choice.  Have always hated the term "childless."  I guess if one wants children and can't have them for some reason, then "childles… Read full post »

AUGUST 4, 2012 12:11PM

Fire Season is Over...For Me



Yep, that's my damn foot.  And here's how it happened.

Those of us who are wildland firefighters have to take a fitness test every year.  It's called the Work Capacity Test, or WCT.  Depending on what qualifications one holds, the test consists of three levels: arduous… Read full post »

One of my first posts; I got a whopping 10 comments but also my first EP (Jake, please don't re-EP this).  Timely now with the wildfire activity out West.  Dedicated to all my brothers and sisters who answer the call and who leave their loved ones to do so.  I'm offRead full post »

JUNE 9, 2012 12:20PM

Spam Sushi

 When I lived in Utah, a co-worker whose wife was Hawaiian would always bring spam sushi to potluck parties (standby while I vomit in my mouth just thinking about it).  I thought this was some crazy dish he invented.  To my surprise, and yes horror, this is a common… Read full post »
JUNE 1, 2012 7:15PM

My Date with Bill Clinton

It was the summer of 1998. Wildfires raged across the state of Florida.  The Daytona 500 was postponed for the first time in race history.  Ash rained down on Disneyworld.  Interstate 75 was closed.  Hundreds of homes burned to the ground, countless  communities were evacuate… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 30, 2012 10:28PM

Writing Less to Make it More



Toni Morrison, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature for her novel “Beloved,” was awarded the Medal of Freedom today.  President Obama said of her, “Toni Morrison's prose brings us that kind of moral and emotional intensity that few writers ever attempt. FroRead full post »

MAY 26, 2012 11:17AM

Stick It!

I happen to be fortunate to live in a small city whose residents values and encourage expression in many forms -- tattoos, art, street performance, protests, music.  But the bumper stickers are just the best.  I started traipsing around with my camera taking photos of some that really caugh… Read full post »

MARCH 28, 2012 3:59PM

Photos in my work cell phone

Here is a sampling of photos I have taken with my work cell phone.

I took this photo before I left work this morning.   Kiley, my 14 year old chow mix, was starting to slip on the wood floors.  Got her a sporty little pair of socks (she prefers the… Read full post »

MARCH 27, 2012 10:10PM

Foodie Tuesday -- Preserved Lemons

My neighbor, B, brought over a couple lemons from her parents' tree.  She'd been visiting them in Florida and came back bearing pale, plump, yellow gifts.  It was obvious they were not store bought -- the skins were thin and they were speckled with brown spots.   I wante… Read full post »
MARCH 25, 2012 7:07PM

Love on Four Wheels


It's been a tough few years, and a particularly rough past few months.  Lately I have found myself fantasizing frequently about trading in my Subaru for a VW camper van and hitting the road.  Leaving squabbling siblings, incompetent government managers, elderly

Read full post »

I have the best mother-in-law in the world.  Truly.  All my married girlfriends are jealous.  They want A as their mother-in-law, but they can't have her, she is mine.  

She is funny, strong, independent, out-spoken, fierce, kind, generous and raised two wonderful sons, one of who… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 19, 2012 11:43PM

I Don't Care if Your House Burns Down

Well, that's not exactly true.  I care, as a human being.  I don't want people to lose their mementos, heirlooms, clothes, furniture, pets, or family in a fire.  But I also don't want one of my firefighters hurt or killed trying to protect your house from a wildfire because you haven't… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 17, 2012 4:34PM

Over the Mountains, Home

This is a continuation of my post "Down off the Mountain."  Again, names are changed.   


We’d only gotten the news the day before that Paul’s wife was flying down with the department’s deputy chief.  Their expectation was to fly back on the DC-3 with Paul&… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 10, 2012 5:23PM

Lightning Bolt -- OS Weekend Fiction

 My first shot at fiction.  Gentle feedback welcome.  Thanks. -Firechick

A small group of us sat on what was left of the reservation school's front lawn watching the lightning dance across the desert sky.  We'd been fighting this big fire for weeks, and now the summer monsoons wer… Read full post »

JANUARY 28, 2012 7:15PM

Down Off the Mountain

It has taken me over three years to be able to write about this. A firefighter died while fighting a fire on my national forest; on my watch.  It took two days to be able to safely remove his body from the mountain.  This is about when one of my engineRead full post »

I love to travel.  Here are some of the views from my recent travels.  I would've posted more photos, but they exceeded the size limit.  

From our terrace in Siem Reap, Cambodia, August 2010 


From our tuk-tuk (moto powered "rickshaw"") at Angkor, Cambodia. 

 %IMA… Read full post »

 For those of you who have pets, you know what they provide.  For those of you who don't, you should think about getting yourself a furry buddy.  Without fail, always happy to see you when you come home.  Don't care what you look like or how you dress or even what… Read full post »