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Sentinel Butte, North Dakota

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tough times bring out the best without thought

Time just passes so fast, it seems. Spring has slipped into summer here in the badlands. Calving is long since finished. This should be the time we are busy nonstop in swathing and baling hay. However due to dry conditions, we have little decent hay to cut.

We, in our area, have complained about the hot,dry,windy days that have been the norm. Others to the west and south of us have had the same weather and concerns about drought. Their concerns became more than a worry, they became a threat to their lives and livelihoods. Fires having been burning in MT, WY, SD and CO. Having friends in all of those places has made it seem more personal to our family. However, the fires in southeastern Montana have taken prominence in our thoughts. Closer to home for us, I guess is part of it. Knowing the country where the fires burn, the huge area it is affecting, the thought of livestock, grazing and homes to be lost. At times it feels like it is much closer than it is.

Living in our little corner of the world, one thing is done without a second thought. That thing is supporting your neighbors and community. Support comes in pancake suppers for the volunteer fire department. Quilts, horses, 4 wheelers, guns and more are raffled off for churches, 4-H clubs, and charities. When a family is struck by a major medical event like an illness or an accident the community rallies around them not just with words of support. No second thought is given when notice is given of a benefit auction for such a purpose. Gladly people offer items to be auctioned. Homemade pies sell for $300, quilts, canned goods, services, crafts, expensive bbq grills, plane tickets, etc are all up for bid. Bids are made with hearts, not need.

The fires in southeastern Montana are not yet out but already the process of support has begun. During the fires, people and animals found refuge out of the path of the fire, volunteers willingly fought to save whatever they could even if it wasn't theirs. Those who could passed messages for others to let family know they were safe. Everyone works together to save structures, livestock, lives. The word has been sent out that hay, and grazing are needed for the displaced animals of ranchers.

The fires in more populated places get more coverage in the national news. The fire in the Colorado Springs/Waldo Canyon area certainly affected more people,many dwellings and businesses burned. It did cover a large area too. However, in comparison to the Ash Creek Fire in southeastern Montana, it was small. The Waldo Canyon Fire has burned approximately 18,247 acres at 95% containment. The Ash Creek Fire at 70% containment has burned 248,600 acres. Regardless of the size, people and communities have been affected. I know that there is support for those affected in the more populated areas from their communities. Living where I do though, I am always struck by just how quickly and to what extent the people in my "little corner of the world" spring into action in times of crisis. 

If you haven't read or heard about the Ash Creek  and other fires in Montana, please take time to look at these links to learn more about it. There are awesome photos of what has been going on and first hand accounts of those who have been in the midst of it. 

Interested in helping out? Try one of these places!

Thank God, for the many people who fight the fires regardless of where they occur and the danger. Thank God for the people who step up to help those in need during and after those fires.
I am proud of the people those people no matter where they are but I am especially proud and thankful for the ones in my "little corner of the world"!


Far Side of Fifty said...

Hi Judy..This gal is in southwestern MT.

They are lucky to be alive. Our community is like yours we all pitch in to help:)

Nancy Claeys said...

A heartfelt post Judy. Yes, it's normal to complain about the summer weather in Nebraska, especially this year. We haven't had a decent rain in months. But, compared to what's happening in MT and CO, we are blessed.

Thank you for leading me to your blog. I so enjoyed my visit. xo

5 Starr's Farm said...

Always look forward to your post, just sorry it's not a happier one. Thank You for the update on the fires in your area. Verily hear about them here. You are so right about people pitching in, wish the rest of the country could see what your seeing in rural America. I don't think most of our country gets it!