Posts Tagged With: rescue


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In December, I donated to PAWS, a wonderful organization that rescues performing animals, wild animals, often used in circuses or zoos or from private commercial ventures. They are often mistreated or not treated well enough and they become ill  or unmanageable. PAWS has three wildlife sanctuaries like this one in Calaveras County. I’ve visited before and it is heartbreaking to see elephants with infected feet, or listen to the trumpet of a new arrival getting acquainted with an old friend. It is an amazing program, just as animals are amazingly intelligent and wonderful creatures.

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When I sent my check, I didn’t know I was going to be adopting Iringa and African Elephant. I knew I was going to get two tickets to their next open house and since my daughter-in-law Laurie moved to the county and is an elephant collector, I thought it would be something we could do together.

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They even sent me a short biography of Iringa. I’m sure I’m not the only one to adopt Iringa, because it is very expensive to feed and house these animals, not to mention the vet care.  If you are of like mind, go to the web site,, find out when they have an open house, and come see the many animals they care for yourself. Your tickets help support, of course.


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Late last month I visited the Alameda County Archive. We share driveway space with the Alameda County Fire Department and on that day they were doing drills. There is much in common between fire safety and police protection.

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Now that my Picasa picture program is working again, and as I busily ready my return to the motor home, I thought I’d dip back and revisit that day. I got a kick out of this personal touch on the main engine, a humorous  Haz Mat flag.

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In this exercise, I stood looking over the apprentice fireman’s shoulder. It looked like he was simply holding ropes, and he was.

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But, key, here, is understanding the language of ropes. The apprentices are learning how to affix ropes to a stable source, a tree, bridge support or in this case a vehicle, to go over a cliff and be able to pulley the victim back up the hillside. The rope apparatus is complicated at first.

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This exercise is basically the same. What do you tie to if there is no bridge support, tree or vehicle close enough to tie on to?  You learn to build a sturdy triangle support system on the ground to tie on to.

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It is very important and physical work. This woman patiently explained everything to me and then kindly pointed out a bird that had decided to make a nest in harm’s way on the flat gravel staging area.

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Everyone made an effort to avoid her nest and protect her from harm.

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The water rescue boat was on display as well. That is another whole lesson. Maybe I’ll catch it some day. In any case, it was fascinating to watch them.  I keep mentioning the “old days”. And, I do remember when many of these tasks were done by volunteers. I think Alameda County does an excellent job training police and fire departments in a very professional way. Much better than the old days.


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The United States Coast Guard is the smallest of the five federal military services. It grew from combining various services that outgrew their function, mostly civilian. The Revenue Cutter Service was established in 1790. The Life Saving Service was established in 1878. These two merged in 1915.  The Light House Service established in 1789 was added in 1939. The Steamboat Inspection Service established in 1838 had combined with the Bureau of Navigation established in 1884. They were added to the final complex of organizations in 1946 in what is now a multi-missioned maritime and military service accommodating diverse duties. We visited the museum, (above) in New London, CT.

Its history, therefore isn’t only military. The Lighthouse Service was the first non-clerical positions allowed to women, who served as keepers and lifesavers with great heroism.

The Life Saving Service used these tags to keep their surfmen honest. The posts were spread along the coast within walking distance of each other. A man from each post met halfway and exchanged his tag with one from the neighboring posts on either side, thus proving he had walked his shift, which was often in untenable weather, cold and wet and often dangerous.

With much of the work about rescuing people and ships in danger, there are many heroic stories in this museum among the artifacts. Plus many good paintings since few pictures were taken of daring at sea rescues.

This figurehead from The Bear, one of the most  famous ships in Coast Guard lore. A three masted rigged barkentine rigged steamship patrolled the Bering Straits for the Revenue Cutter Service and the Coast Guard for over 30 years. From its deck, the officers were the law. They issued verdicts for crimes at sea and land. The crews brought medicine and food to natives and fortune hunters when in trouble. They transported stranded gold miners and unfortunates out of the frozen wastes. They regulated the sealing and whaling industry during marine disasters and defended Native Alaskans from modern encroachments along with the U.S. Army, demonstrating the diverse nature of the Guard.

There are some great old photos here of adventure and camaraderie to enjoy.

And war.

The museum contains this colorful history of the Coast Guard, but this site is also the home of the Coast Guard Academy with young men and women in uniform visible over the campus. Visitors are welcome to go into the exchange, and any building on the campus except one, where classes and field training and meetings are held. It sits next to the Thames river on 100 acres of rolling hills here in New London, and is often home to the Eagle, a barque captured from the Germans during WWII. The barque still sails as a training vessel for seaman from the Coast Guard and provides education and joy to people in ports all over the U.S. It was out during our visit.

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Being disconnected from a machine, if it were an iron lung, for instance,  poses serious consequences. Being disconnected from my computer, the Compac Laptop I’ve used almost exclusively for my blog these past two years, has left me anxious and insecure. How can I function without this device? Silly, I know. I have approximately 4,000 pictures on this machine. An entire book manuscript is in my Compac. It seems a good portion of my recent life’s effort resides there, and I had no idea how upsetting it would be to contemplate its untimely death. It put-put-putted, grew hot to the  touch, and began gasping its last breaths.

Yesterday, after doing some online trouble shooting, we took it to the Geeks.  The processor, the likely culprit,  slowly “frying”, even they can’t fix.  They would have to send it out.  I decided to buy an external hard drive, download everything and load it into the little Toshiba I bought last December before I went to Thailand.
I’m very grateful to that little machine-now. I’ve been able to blog somewhat over these last few weeks, without the resources encapsulated in the Compac. The mini-Toshiba glitches with an over-sensitive finger pad; I couldn’t get my email because of connection problems. It doesn’t show my pictures in a comfortably large format. But, it saved me from making a hasty decision on my long term replacement and contains a 140 gigabyte hard drive.

I own an external Western Digital hard drive, pictured above. It weighs about 2 pounds, has a 500 gigabyte capacity and is nearly full. Kind of boggles the brain that at one time “we” thought 64 megabytes was all we would need on a computer. (Remember Commodore 64?) Next to the Western Digital sits this tiny, about 6 ounce, Clickfree Drive. It also has 500 gigabytes. Its advertised as clickfree because you plug it into your old computer and it automatically downloads everything you have. It was like trouncing down memory lane to watch all my pictures load by list, Atchafalaya Alligator Tour, Chiracahua National Monument, Old Family Photos, flit, flit, flit. Oh, rescue feels soooooo good.
Two hours on the phone with AT&T and my connection problems are solved. Hey, I’m back in business.

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