Month: January 2014

Route Four Passage

M3367S-4504   Wow, So many close calls through the years on this stretch of road. A main route through Central Maine that brings travelers to the mountains for their weekend getaways to Sugarloaf or Sunday River for skiing.

I’m not sure why this road is a magnet for car accidents. There have been many fatalities not to mention fender benders and rollovers on this road. The state road does have long straight- a way’s, also lots of curves. I find a lot of the accidents occur on the straight stretches of the highway. From my own opinion, I would think that most accidents here occur because of drivers not paying attention. I have seen an increase in accidents that look like someone just had their head down. Maybe cell phones are the issues. It is nice to see some people do drive off to chat on their cell phone. I do believe that pull overs, more than breakdown lanes should increase so people can stop to talk on their phones. images8JLIQJ61

You can find a lot of logging trucks bringing their loads to the local paper mills. There is also a lot of trailer trucks bringing paper loads or supplies to this region. You really do have to pay attention on this highway. Changes have been made on certain area’s to slow down traffic. One place the road was double lane and now it is down to one lane and reduced the speed limit. Some changes I see have been with people’s safety in mind. Please be careful still when driving in Maine on Route Four, I would!

©2014 Dwayne Bilodeau

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Living Life Where I Grew Up

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I know many people have lived a life of travel, I have not. I grew up in this small town in Maine. My forefathers were papermakers and my family settled along the Androscoggin River Valley. Logs were brought down the rivers years ago and paper mills would use this for their business. I remember the large woodpile’s as a child in the foreground of the church we went to. The town always had an aroma that wasn’t so pleasant. My dad would tell me that is the smell of money. It is funny that today that particular mill is closed down. Most people in this area worked in these mills or some business associated with it. Maybe some hauling wood pulp or the logging business.

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I lived most of my life here. I like the small town community feeling. A person can feel secure somewhat here. I travel a short distance to my workplace which is a nice ride. I travel by a couple lakes on the way to work. There is wildlife everywhere you look. You can see deer on a regular basis here and an occasional moose or bear. The eagles fly around the region in numerous numbers. So to live in the same town where I grew up is not a bad thing. I did venture outside of the box when I graduated high school. I left for California to live around ski country in Lake Tahoe. Beautiful country but it was not home. I lived and went to school in Phoenix Arizona in which I received my education in a Technical School. Phoenix was a great place back then and it took care of my wild side for a bit. It still wasn’t home. I moved back after a few years and found a wonderful lady,  married, and  had two children. There is something to say about living where I grew up. I can drive down the road or go into a store and see people I grew up with. I have seen these people age with time, just like myself.  These people just like me who decided to stay in this small community. 16_ Maine st_ Livermore Falls-kab_thumb[3]

Sometimes I think about living somewhere else, but what else has all these benefits. Local people, family nearby, children living near. It is why I made the decision long ago that things would be ok to raising my family here. Maine really is a great place to be. We do have long winters but you can just throw another log on the fire. I’m staying home for awhile, my hometown.

You can steal me and use me as your own

©2014 Dwayne Bilodeau

Sunshine-Just What The Doctor Ordered

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Many days of dim light will darken ones imagination. It is these days that writing places you into a dark place. A supercharge of sunlight is what is needed, today is the day. A nice drive in the truck this morning just brought the mind to another place. Going a week at a time with no sunlight or dim light does take you down a notch. Today is glorious with the sun glowing so bright. The colors outside are back to normal and the colors of a rainbow are back. The trees are green the sky is blue, the neighbors truck is red, I can see this spectrum now that we have bright light. I can imagine how people in Alaska must feel during those days with no sunlight. I can see where a person could become depressed at times. The birds are out and about, gathering what they can find in my feeder today. I will have to give them more seed, it is the least I can do. Water is running off the roofs and birds are drinking from the puddles. I even caught my dog drinking from one of these puddles. Frozen ice in his dish doesn’t cut it. He could come inside for some real water but a drink from mother nature will do.

I have awakened with a new outlook today. It is a new day, one us Mainer’s deserve after fighting with all the freezing rain. This is going to go down as one of the worst winters. More rain and freezing rain than any winter I can remember from. A glimpse of tomorrow’s weather outlook is freezing rain in the morning. I’m loaded with more sand for the driveway and ready to take what comes our way. I will however include this day as one of the best days so far this winter. I’m going outside to capture what is left of the warmth from the sun. Good day everyone.
©2014 Dwayne Bilodeau

I Need To Get Home

1526496_10153742281120078_15619122_nI sit here this morning and dwell about the accident scenes that came about yesterday with the icy roads. One truck driver slid off the corner going into a bridge and broke through a guardrail. The truck was hanging off the edge facing the river. Life before your eyes moment. This driver told me he still had his bowels intact. Still can you imagine looking out the glass of the truck and seeing water in front of you. This was a large truck, not a semi but still a multiple axle truck. 1493242_760992203929836_667714854_n

Numerous calls came in yesterday. It was like bumping cars at the fair with cars bumping each other and sliding right off the road. One scene we had 5 cars off the road. We had to shutdown a major route through our town. Called out again for assistance for Sheriff Dept with another car off the road. I was approaching the scene and off to my right I see a small pickup truck off the road. This was not a day to be on the roads. I know people have things to do on the weekend but really is it worth your life venturing out into ice slick roads. Many warnings were reported to stay off the roads. One town in our region closed all roads in their town. First time ever doing this.

Most people are understanding when we told them about a detour but some complained. It really, excuse my language, pisses me off when someone complains when we are trying to control the situation. One time a few years ago a person was hollering at me because they needed to get somewhere. I told them so didn’t that person that was laying under the blanket, never to see another day. Sometimes my firefighter peers and I are up against a jungle. Please understand we are only doing our job. It is our duty to mitigate the situations.

There is new hope for today. I checked the weather report and it stated the sun might pay us a visit. I really think we have been lacking some vitamins, last Sunday was the last time it appeared. Have a great day- I’m off to fire training. The picture with this post was taking from FB and I believe was in New Brunswick, Canada. A weather channel had reported. WAGM-TV

© 2014 Dwayne Bilodeau

A Klister Event

imagesI was a X-Country Ski racer when I was young. The first pair of skis I raced with were all wood. My coach told me that if I can do good with these that I could get a pair of fiberglass skis next season. I was determined to race the heck out of these wooden skis.

I joined the Eastern Ski Circuit my freshman year of high school. A few of my piers also joined and I remember traveling with one of the racers dad all over the place on weekends. We would travel to Vermont or New Hampshire to race. Sometimes we would stay in a ski condo overnight and sleep in bunkbeds with other racers. The competition in the Eastern circuit was fierce. I developed the skills really fast that year.

I would take my skis into the cellar before going to these events and treat the bottom of the skis with Pine Tar. This was a sticky gooey substance and I would heat it up with a torch from my dads workbench. After heating it up I would rub this compound with a cork so it would smooth out into the bottom of the ski. Certain days of racing you would have to use a wax called Klister. This was chosen when the days were very warm and traditional swix wax wouldn’t stay on your skis. You would put this under the foot region and make sure not to get it on you or the tips and tails of the skis. This Klister was applied the same way as the Pine Tar. This stuff would come out of a tube like toothpaste and you would heat it up to smooth it out. This was one substance that I hated because it always got on your hands or clothing. I’m sure some of you older skiers remember this stuff. With the Klister on the skis you could walk up hills. It would keep your skis stuck to the snow when you pushed down under your foot. Gliding was from the tips and tails of your ski.

I had a very successful year skiing with those wooden skis and I had a lot of great memories traveling around. I was a Nordic Skier and I put a lot of time into it. I did quite well skiing for LFNSA- Livermore Falls Nordic Ski Association in Maine. The time was 1975-1979 and our team was smoking hot. My Freshman year was probably the best for us. We won all the races as a team around our area and went on to win the New Englands. We had six Nordic racers that were selected to race the New Englands that season and all six made the top ten in the cross-country racing event. Overall our team won the New Englands in Nordic.  I have to tell you that back then Nordic also include Ski-Jumping. We had some guys on our team that could fly like a squirrel. I did get my fiberglass skis the next season.

So I look back and remember those great times and will never forget some of the people I ran across. Smoking Dan Simoneau,Rick Groleau, Tim Tenney, Steve Fuller, Rick Knowlton or Rick Couture. Sorry I might of missed some . These were great memories for sure.

© 2014 Dwayne Bilodeau

The Passage Of Time

cookstove410 Clusters of ice hanging on the edge of the roof. Reminders of old man winter with its clutch on us. Frozen lakes with eagles snacking on little morsels left over from the fisherman. Deer tracks left under the apple tree, hunting for any food around. Birdseed all over the ground, birds? I question this. Other animals in the night are finding this birdfeeder a lunch, quick one at that. Filtered light shown today with a gloomy aspect to what winter brings us. Cars moving about, people moving around from place to place, noises of movement are heard in the distance. Smoke bellowing from the chimney’s with the scent of hardwood smoke all around. Everyone is finding a place of shelter, ridding themselves from the cold grip here in New England.

Kids play interrupted by the cold, you must stay inside today, no outside play kids until it warms up. The day has hope, justified as some relief to a few degree of increase from this morning which was in the negative numbers. Rain is expected to arrive later this weekend and outside dwellers will be caught by large amounts of droplets falling from the sky. The rivers are ice covered ,with this large chunks will dam up which could cause the banks to flood. Never and end to old man winter. The struggles are numerous ,dwindling wood supplies, and heating fuel prices on the increase. We have become the bank of the heating suppliers of the world.

I hear a siren in the distance, another one has been taking by the cold. No blankets available because this was the last fuel that person had to keep warm. It has become too much for people to handle. A group of local people will gather tonight at the local church to bring anything that can help the community survive this winter. I have donated my time to help, gathering candles for the elderly and newspapers for fuel. My supplies are getting low and I must go find more food too like the animals. Where is the sun? Only time will dictate the future, I will struggle on with everyone else. I hear another siren, it hurts.
©2014 Dwayne Bilodeau

Eight

chrisbackfrom70s_cdA look back in 1970 for me. Time has really has really cruised by since being eight years old. I do remember wearing bell bottoms, and wearing peace signs even at this age. My brothers were into the styles of the time. They were a little older and my twin brother and I was trying to act  just like  them. Here is a few highlight from that decade.

  1. Janis Joplin passes
  2. Hendrix passes
  3. EPA Enviromental Protection Agency begins
  4. Four Dead in Ohio- Kent State
  5. Nixon orders combat troops to Cambodia to destroy N.V. Headquarters.
  6. Frazier wins the heavy weight title.
  7. Zip loc bags are created.

I’m sure there is a lot more that happened back in the day. I was only eight,  I do remember watching the news with my parents and reporting the war. I would have nightmares thinking the enemy was envading our neighborhood. I had my BB-Gun and was reading to protect. The war ended when I was young but it did have an impact on me. It was the times for sure and music was big. I still love the 70’s music. That was then and now is now but it is interesting to take a look back in time.
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©2014 Dwayne Bilodeau

No More Polar Vortex

imagesY5J56Y8XA Vortex of sort that is sucking down all the cold air from Canada. What most do not know is the Vortex also takes in the cold air but also produces colder air.

A little History this one technician told me. The difference in pressure inside the Vortex with it spinning is what causes the colder air to escape. Way back when River Paddle boats were transporting people they had to find a way to keep food cool. Don’t ask me how it was performed but they created a vortex in a room where the food was stored, thus keeping the food from rotting.

Vortex’s are used everywhere today. We have them on control boxes in the power plant that I work at. It if you put mill air into the Vortex the output is much cooler air so we pump this air into the inside of the box to keep the electronic stuff cooler. We also use Fireye’s on the boiler to detect flame and this also has a Vortex which will keep the electronic in the eye from heat failure. So Vortex’s are used in lots of applications.

The only Vortex that we do not want this time of year is the Polar Vortex. The air coming into the Vortex is already very cold and to make it drop temperature on the output of this is bad news for most of United States. I hope this thing clears soon because my wood supply is dwindling quite rapidly. I think the wood is in direct proportion with the Vortex.

Stay warm folks and keep an eye on the elderly. I’m going in for another sip of hot coffee.

© 2014 Dwayne Bilodeau

Inner Working of Something Good

imagesFEI2I2UZIt is interesting when you hear news of changes to take place. You wonder if they are for the good or not. Changes in your life can be a good thing but can have stipulations they go with them. You can think at one moment this change is going to be something that is going to be better for you, but you sometimes have to look at all the little details that go along that could effect you down the road.

I think change is good .  This global economy is in sad shape, I worry about the future. I want security just like anyone else. My house is not a home without a strong support system. Everything derives from the security that I have. I know that the word security is something that means your stable. Here comes the word security again. Nothing is secure anymore, be thankful I have employment. I understand this really, I’m very thankful. I still worry about changes and how it could effect my security, my life.

I plug away at the years and hope that things in the country turn around, but sometimes I wonder. Can we compete in the Global Community. I’m not sure ,but I see that more jobs are falling off, and not enough good skilled jobs coming back. Only the future can tell . I hope I can still be of importance in the future.blogengage, rss, affiliatelights, recurring commissions

©2014 Dwayne Bilodeau

Canine Skating

!Bk-by(!B2k~$(KGrHqEH-D8EtW,EFpJ5BLZw9oqvN!~~_45After a night of sleet, freezing rain, and rain, things have become a frozen tundra here in Maine. I let the dog out to do his morning ritual and when coming back to the house after my calling he was slipping and sliding on the deck. It is a good thing that I cleaned the deck off because all that snow could have been a big ice blob.

I wonder if anyone has put ice skates on a canine? Just think how fast they could go on a speed skating track. Probably beat out Yoko Ono, or John Lennon, you know those famous skaters right. I can picture old Doggie Houser, my dog flying at mach 1 speed down the lake here. ONO there he goes right into the outlet of the lake, ya right ,smart move there master. Well it would be an interesting invention anyways, just saying.

I guess the next trick this dog is going to do is learn how to sand the deck and driveway with my assistance. Good day everyone.

© 2014 Dwayne Bilodeau

Why The Shaking?

imagesHoover designed a vacuum cleaner that worked for like a 100 years. Nothing fancy and it kept on cleaning. I have a newer designed front loading washing machine with all the alarms and idiot lights galore, and the stupid thing will shake, rattle, and roll the whole house. I put the level on it and checked all angles and surfaces I brought out my laser and everything is perfect. That thing will get spinning up so fast that is takes the toilet paper off the roll and opens all the doors in the house.

We have a cat that was very friendly, but today it hides behind the couch in recluse from the vibrating monster. I cannot blame him, I will find myself going outside or going into the cellar to escape the noise.

You have to read the find print. Please make sure it is level and on a hard surface or it will vibrate. No crap- You didn’t state to put your glasses on so I could read the small fine print. This thing at times I swear is going to bore a hole right through to the downstairs apartment. Richard and Lisa would be really pissed, I know this for a fact.

You get what you pay for. I always thought this to be true. I paid a lot of money for this front end loader, but I think it was designed to spin up pizza dough. The only good thing about this washing machine is that you can see your clothes when your washing them. What a great feature! I’m so impressed with this that I’m going to call the Better Business Bureau and tell them someone is selling pizza machines but advertising them as frontend loaders. Maybe this was supposed to be a musical instrument or something. I hear music playing all the time.  ITTTTT ALLLLSOOO GETTTSSSS TOOOO YOUUR BODDDDDY WWHHHEEN TYYPPPINNNG.

I hope that everyone else has had a pleasant experience with their frontend loaders as I have. It really is an experience. I miss the old top loader. Those machines never changed design since 1952. When this one falls into Richard and Lisa’s apartment I will definitely get a top loader. I will never let technology force me into something as insane as this machine. Who care’s If is sings? hqdefault

©Dwayne Bilodeau 2014

Next Shoveling Event-All is Welcome

628x471We have honed our skills here in Maine with shoveling and it is only Jan 5th. We still have a long winter ahead of us. You have to get in shape for shoveling or your going to throw your back out. My method is to take it real easy for awhile on the up stroke. I push the shovel in to gather a good bunch and when lifting I do not jerk myself getting back up. I take it slow from the starting line as you could say.

We have been shoveling driveways and sidewalks. Also been shoveling a path for the oil man and also a path for the dog so he can do his thing. It is now time to start with the roofs. This is another skill that we do not get to do very often. The climbing part is not usually the problem. It usually is the falling down part that gets to most of us. There is not too many Mainer’s that haven’t fallen off a roof at some point in their life. It goes with the territory. 

We are preparing for a rain event Monday and this will be added weight to the roof or structures. Basically it turns all that snow on your roof into a popsicle. We really have it rough around here in New England. No this is not another country. It is just the name we were giving when they grouped a bunch of colonies way back when.???????????????????????????????????????

I’m going to brew some coffee and come up with a game plan for the day. I thought it was going to be a day of football but I was told otherwise. The day has been planned and we are going to a delayed Christmas party that was snowed out two weekends in a row. I still have to shovel off my shed which has taking a toll from the previous years. I might not get a chance and you could see a flattened shed come Tuesday morning. Oh Well, give me a chance to build a decent shed. feb13-25

I hope that when you get up on your roof to inspect the amounts of snow that you have, keep a foot planted at all times. Remember things that go up come down. If you have any stories about climbing or falling off a roof I would be interested in hearing about it. I’m sure we all have a story.

Great Start To Something

78056dac939c42d686967c7149e0db2cWaking up this morning at 7:30, which is sleeping in for me, is the beginning of a wonderful start. I ventured out into the frigid cold air, like -12F, to start the truck. The truck started with a struggle. It made funny noises a little but it started. I went to the store to get supplies for a breakfast of champions. I started the bacon early and the spouse found a package of sauce to make eggs benedict. Yum, one of my favorites. 

The sun is out and a wonderful morning. The trees still have ice wrapped around them from an ice storm we had a week or so ago. The sun sparkles through to make a wonderful site to see. The frost is everywhere and reminds us that old man winter has taking over this area. It still is a very beautiful site to see. The ride to the store I  pass Brettuns Pond ,the ice fisherman are firing up their woodstoves. I like to look out to the lake because it is a common thing to see Bald Eagles flying to catch a snack of old bait laying on the ice. They will also grab an old yellow perch or a pickerel that has been discarded. I’m still having a hard time this morning to make a decision to do outside activities today. The Christmas decorations on the shrubs are still there and all the electrical cords are frozen into the ground. I believe that they have a home for the rest of the winter.

Old fuddy duddy I might be, but one thing I do know is loading a woodstove and enjoying this great heat is a job that I function well with. The coffee has to be monitored and petting the dog is very important things to consider. The cold temps do change your priorities. There is something positive about today ,we are one day closer to spring. Think of this, the leaves are starting to sprout, and the grass is getting greener. The bugs are coming out and the birds are returning from their long trip from the south. So I will chock this day up to a day of warmth and think a little about what is next to complete another cycle of time.

 I look out at the deck this morning and it is covered in snow. This will have to be removed today. It has been pulling at my mind, it might win over. I have to go put another log on the woodstove. Have a great day everyone.

©Dwayne Bilodeau 2014

The Milk Man

pLQ05PfQ8sTTlgu5Time sure has changed. I guess I can be classified as an older person because the milk man would come into our house and put the milk in our refrigerator when we was sleeping in the morning. I always knew he was there because you could hear the clinking of the glass bottles.

Watching the milk trucks was like watching the ice cream trucks. I remember it was Hood Trucks around here. I loved it in the summer the neighborhood kids and I would run down the street to get a sliver off the block of ice. Cheap man’s popsicle, but we looked forward to it every summer.

I always loved the glass bottles when in primary school. I think it was around elementary school that they changed to the carton pint size milk servings. The days of the glass bottle’s disappeared forever. Some things were better left alone.

I still look down the road on occasions and think the milk man is coming down the road. Clink Clink, here he comes again. Later stay warm anyone in the northeast. Burr!      © Dwayne Bilodeau 2014

Appearance of Stuff

untitledI have been accused of not noticing stuff in the house. Pictures that are put on the wall just appear out of nowhere. I have to admit that I walk with my head down at times. This morning I’m sitting here and magically for some unknown reason I put my head up and noticed a new calendar had been put on the wall. Someone is in this house during the night putting stuff up. I know it! I have proof that this calendar wasn’t there yesterday. I will have to let my spouse know that I saw the calendar on the wall. It surely will make her happy that I noticed something.

We all can have our blinders on from time to time and we don’t even notice the beauty that has been put fourth, right in front of our own eyes. The stress of everyday life just keeps us so bottled up at times that we need to stop for a moment, take a breath, and look around. Hey you might even see your spouse putting that calendar up. Darn it, where did I put my coffee cup? I cannot find my glasses, I have to work in an hour, brush my hair, brush my teeth, go start the car, eat breakfast, where is my coffee cup?

© Dwayne Bilodeau 2014

Battle With The Cryo

imagesVery interesting morning getting out of work. To start things off when I came into the locker room it was darn cold. It is ten below outside this morning and walking into a locker room where it was cold just brought the chill factor in me up a few notches. The showers were running and I knew that I could get some warmth. I came out of the shower and back to the cold again. Not super cold, but cold enough to give you goose bumps. I put my home clothes on and I was getting some warmth back. It is now time to go out into the real cold. Ten below outside with a little wind. The second I walk through the double doors of the facility the cold blast hits me, my muscles tighten up. I think I now have a cramp in my neck from scrunching up. It is a rather long walk to my truck, which I’m sure is a block of ice. When I reach the truck it is cover in a little snow. The plant where I work makes it own snow from the moisture coming off from different processes within the plant. I now have to clean the truck off, in the darn cold. I start the truck but no heat. What a way to start the morning. I only live 9 miles from the plant so by the time I get to the house the truck is starting to get warmth. The best thing about coming home this early is getting the woodstove cranked up. There is hot coals in the stove from last night before I went to work. Ah, the heat from the woodstove. There is no better heat in the cold winter days like this. I can now feel the warmth from the stove. The goose bumps are going away. There take that winter. Happy New Years.© 2014 Dwayne Bilodeaublogengage, rss, affiliatelights, recurring commissions