Ranger Headquarters

Ranger Headquarters
Big Pine National Forest, Knotty Pine

Friday, February 26, 2010

RB066 The Blessings of Snow !?!

This story couldn't have come at a better time with snow again burying the eastern United States in record-setting snowfalls:
Local farmers and ranchers are having quite a chin fest at the feed mill at Carver's Corners not far from Knotty Pine. Many of them are ready to quit farming and move to the city for work. A long, hard drought has ruined their crops, starved their cattle, and drained their savings. They finally get a major snowfall and it melts off as quickly as it came. A second even bigger blizzard is forecast for the Knotty Pine area. Bill must convince everyone to be ready for deep snows, high winds, and huge drifts. Will he be able to prepare residents for the damage and the blessings of this snow? Bill puts his really BIG bulldozer Big Brute to work in this clearing roads and saving lives.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Death of Bill Pearce

It is my sad duty to tell you that Bill Pearce of the Ranger Bill episode Christmas Pageant with Bill Pearce and also announcer for Ranger Bill went home to his Lord some time in the night between Tuesday Feb. 23 and Wednesday Feb 24. Bill was 87.
Bill will be missed by his many fans from over 25 years with Moody Radio as well as his many years on Nightsounds Radio with Bill Pearce. I understand that Bill passed away at a nursing home in Xenia, Ohio.
I will post his obituary as soon as I can locate it.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ranger Stumpy Jenkins - "The Old Timer"

I've been putting together some information on Stumpy. I started this discussion on Stumpy on Facebook, and I want to add to it here.
Joel has mentioned that Stumpy has a white beard. That's in Mystery Island, Mystery Man (RB183) which is about a Carribean cruise Bill and Stumpy take. In the Battle at Jenkins Manor (RB110) Stumpy hires Maggy Murphy as his housekeeper. Bill mentions there that Stumpy was married. Stumpy's wife Martha died of typhoid fever when they were married just 10 years. They would have been married 50 years.
Stumpy had been a ranger for 42 years in The Last Fire Call (RB138). He quits the service after having a hard time during a forest fire. Bill talks to Henry about how he met The Old Timer. And we all know that Stumpy often likes to tell bad jokes and play even worse on his harmonica. Horrible, Sweet Music (RB139) is the story where Stumpy and Henry get trapped in a cave and Stumpy plays the harmonica so they can be rescued.
In Old Faithful (RB088) Stumpy's horse Matilda breaks her leg out on the trail and Bill wants to put her out of her misery. Stumpy is losing his vision to cataracts in The Crisis (RB136). He doesn't want to have the surgery he needs so he rides off into the forest. Stumpy must try to save a freind from dying from a rattlesnake bite using his "part-time eyes."
Also in Prehistoric Monster (RB111) the boys hunt for an escaped rhino. Bill mentions the rangers' rifles in this one. The standard issue rifle for a ranger is the thirty-aught-six. But Stumpy likes his "Old Betsy" a bolt-action thrity-thirty with an extended barrel. Stumpy is the marksman at ranger headquarters and he prefers this rifle. Bill purchases a Weatherby Mark 5 460 caliber rifle that Stumpy doesn't want to use.
In The Donner Party Treasure, which isn't available any more, Stumpy dresses up as an old Alaska mountain man named Chillcoot, with Gray Wolf as his broken down Indian friend.

Other RB Stories about Stumpy
The Mountain that Moved (RB130) - Henry and Stumpy get caught in an earthquake while hikeing and climbing.
Civil War Junk (RB153) - Stumpy helps his friend Pete find recognition for his collection of civil war relics.
Marty Patton's Piano (RB173) - Stumpy tells about his troubles dealing with the noise of young Marty's piano playing while he was studying forestry in college.
They Killed Ranger Bill (RB177) - Stumpy and Henry must learn to deal with the grief of losing Bill when he appears to drown while trying protect some kids fooling around on the half-frozen Shady River.
Stumpy in the Movies (RB142) - Stumpy desperately wants to be part of nature movie being shot near Knotty Pine.
The Duck Call (RB185) - Stumpy is sure that a new expensive duck call will help him shoot the most duck he's ever bagged.
Stumpy Gets 30 Days (RB040) - Stumpy is gored and crushed by a buffalo bull and can't find the will to recover.
Old Three Toes (the cougar) - Stumpy and Gray Wolf must track a cougar that has returned to Knotty Pine and is killing farm animals.
Burning Sands (RB005) - Stumpy and Grey Wolf must go into the desert to track down their old friend Josh Webb before he dies of the desert heat.
and we can't forget this week's show as well:
The Cat in the Wall (RB065).
Please e-mail me at rangerbillclub@aol.com if you have any information to add about Stumpy or if you can think of other stories that focused on The Old Timer.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

RB065 The Cat in the Wall

Stumpy has his hands full with his neighbor Beulah Lindstrom because he loves animals! Stumpy has been giving Beulah's cat Blackie milk in the evenings. Beula is so jealous of Stumpy's friendship with her cat that she begins to gossip about Stumpy. Blackie doesn't come home one evening. Beulah calls the sheriff to have Stumpy arrested for stealing her Blackie. When the cries of a cat come out of the walls of Stumpy's house, things go from bad to worse. Can Stumpy prove his innocence? Will Blackie be found? This story is based on a real-life cat hunt. You've got to see how this one comes out!

National Parks Quarters

National Park Quarters Program
The National Park Quarters Program will feature quarters with designs “emblematic of a national park or other national site in each State, the District of Columbia, and each territory of the United States.” This results in at least 56 different reverse designs for the circulating quarter series beginning in 2010.
The 56 different National Park Quarters will be presented in the order they were first designated by the federal government. The quarters scheduled to be released during 2010 feature the following parks and sites:
Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas
Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming
Yosemite National Park in California
Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona
Mt. Hood National Forest in Oregon
The US Mint has not yet announced the final designs, which will be used for the quarters, although design candidates have been released. These candidates will be reviewed by the chief executive of each host jurisdiction, the Secretary of the Interior, the federal department or agency with oversight of the site, the CFA, and the CCAC. The United States Secretary of the Treasury will have final approval of designs to be used for each coin.

The first quarter in the set may feature John Muir.

The US Mint is planning to release oversize quarters in .999 silver as well as its usual uncirculated and mint versions of the coins.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Mountain Men

Our rangers, especially Stumpy, often talk about mountain men and have mentioned a few by name. Well then, who or what are mountain men? Where do they live and work? How do they differ from frontiersmen or hunters and trappers?

The Beginnings
The first mountain men are generally considered to be American and Canadian hunters and trappers who lived and worked in the Rocky Mountains mostly from 1810 to the mid-1840's. But these weren't ordinary hunters and trappers. These men were living in the wild, remote, unexplored regions of the Rockies. These men were trying to survive alone or almost alone in some of the most inaccessible and inhospitable areas. The Louisiana Territory was most of the land from west of the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. It's area was over 800,000 square miles. In 1803 the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France. Some foreign hunters and trappers had worked in the Rockies long before 1803. Once this region became part of the United States, hunting and trapping opened up for Americans. The best regions for trappers proved to be too rugged and difficult for all but the heartiest souls to attempt.
The beginning of the 19th century brought a new reason for going to the Rockies - huge demand for animal furs. Fur coats and hats, and especially raccoon hats, became popular in Europe. This brought high prices for animal hides. Still the Rockies were too dangerous for most. But during the period from 1810 to 1830, several thousand mountain men braved the hazards of mountain life to work trap lines.

His Life and Look
The stereotype mountain man wore buckskins, coonskin cap, and fur coat; grew a bushy beard; and carried a Hawken rifle and Bowie knife. He usually had one horse for riding and one or two horses or mules to carry food, coffee, tobacco, salt, cooking supplies, furs, and other gear. He had to deal with wild animals and unfriendly Native Americans. He needed to build a cabin to live in to survive the long and bitterly cold winters and deep, deep snows. That cabin needed to be in friendly native territory. He often had to deal with hunger. He treated disease with roots and herbs.
Most independent trappers worked alone. Fur companies organized their men in groups of 4 or 5 who took turns trapping, cooking, cutting fire wood, etc. The groups reported to a leader called a "boosway."

The Rendezvous
Fur companies, such as North West Company, Rocky Mtn. Fur Company, and American Fur Company, would hold gatherings called "rendezvous" in the spring to trade with the trappers and mountain men. They would exchange the trappers' pelts for food and other goods. The men would play games of skill, like hatchet throwing and rifle and bow and arrow shooting, have large meals, exchange books, and send mail.

Nearly Their End
The Hudson Bay Company successfully destroyed all other fur companies as well as most trapping in the United States by overtrapping the Rockies in the US. Only a handful of mountain men now trap in the Rockies compared to the early 1800s. Also around 1840 demand for furs and raccoon hats dropped off markedly further damaging trapping in the US.

Notable Early Mountain Men
John Colter was a member of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery (1804-1806). He was a master hunter and tracker. He left the Corps of Discovery a few months early to assist others exploring the northern portions of the Louisiana Territory. He is considered one of the very first mountain men. He is the first white man to see Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, and the Teton Mountains. While trapping, he escaped a group of Blackfeet by outrunning them in what is called "Colter's Run."
James Beckwourth was born a slave and freed by his father. He worked for the Rocky Mountain Fur Co. and lived among the Crow people. James also found Beckwourth Pass and Trail which goes through the Sierra Nevadas to Marysville. CA.
Jim Bridger went west in 1822 at the age of 17. He became part of Ashley's Hundred, the first of several trapping expeditions of Ashley and Henry to the Rockies along the upper Missouri River. He eventually saw the geysers of Yellowstone and owned shares in the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. He established Fort Bridger, a fortified trading post, in SW Wyoming. He was most famous at the time for his tall tales.
Jedediah Smith was a hunter, trapper, and trader who explored the American west and opened it to white settlers. He was the first American to get to California by land. He was the first person of European descent to entirely cross the territory that is today Nevada. He also crossed Utah north to south and east to west. He was the first to scale the High Sierras and was also a partner in the Rocky Mountain Fur Co. He was known for significant facial scarring from a bear attack.
Even notable western cowboy Kit Carson began his career as a mountain man guiding John C. Fremont, "the Pathfiner," to and through California, Oregon, and the Great Basin region.

Friday, February 12, 2010

RB064 Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

This week's story fits extremely well with the weather we are experiencing around the country this winter, especially the last several days' weather:

It is late winter in the Shady Mountains. Heavy winter snows are beginning to melt threatening to flood many areas in the Shady River valley. Construction of the Silver River Dam is close to completion. The dam must be in operation soon to help control spring floods in the valley.

Bill and the boys stop to see the dam and visit with their friend, the project engineer Brick Finch. Brick is crowing over the great deal he got on the motors that raise and lower the spillway doors. Problems with those spillway motors start almost as soon as the motors are turned on. The spillways must work correctly or flooding will cause great damage to the farms and towns below the dam. Can Bill help Brick see that he has been "penny wise and pound foolish" before it's too late?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Who is Jacq McIntosh?

Who is Jacq McIntosh? No he is not the inventor of the computer with that name. He is a big strong man with a shop on the north end of Knotty Pine at the intersection of two roads. Jacq is Knotty Pine's blacksmith. He and Bill often see one another because Jacq shoes all the rangers' horses at Big Pine National Forest. He cares for the horses both in his shop and also throughout the national forest. Bill describes him as a man so strong that he uses a 5-pound steel maul like it was a tack hammer. Jacq is a happy Scotsman and loves to sing as he works. And the most important thing about Jacq is that he is a Christian.

Jacq is married to a good woman, Annie. He also has a fine boy by the name of Ernie.

The lives of the entire McIntosh family were turned upside-down one day when Annie was canning some pickles. The stove blew up, badly burning her and blinding her with bits of glass. A police car took Jacq to the hospital from his shop. Bill was there and locked up for Jacq. Ernie arrived from school as Bill locked up. Bill gave Ernie the news about his mother. The boy rushed to the hospital on his bike before Bill could offer him a ride. Ernie was hit by a car on the way. His leg was seriously injured crippling him. Jacq was devastated by these events.

While struggling to deal with his family's pain and injury, another disaster struck. Jacq's shop caught fire and burned down. Most of his tools were either damaged or destroyed. Jacq was forced to borrow the use of an old garage across the street to keep working. The garage was too small for his needs, so Bill stepped in to help. Bill called in favors from a draftsman, a concrete company, some masons, and a construction company to create his version of the TV show Extreme Makeover. Bill managed to get a new blacksmith's shop built for Jacq in only one week.

Shortly after the shop was completed, Annie's injured eyes began to recover from the explosion and her sight returned. Now Jacq sings even louder, longer, and with more joy of his Redeemer.

You can listen to this wonderful story of Jacq McIntosh and his valley of bitterness, despair, and depression in the Ranger Bill story The Wrong Valley (RB108).

Friday, February 5, 2010

RB063 The Big Headache

Everyone at Ranger Headquarters is excited. Col. Anders is sending 8 brand new modern planes for the work at Big Pine National Forest! All of Bill's men must take flight training classes and fly more solo time before touching one of the new aircraft. One of Ranger Bill's rangers, Brad, is an excellent pilot and loves to fly. Without warning Brad starts getting head-pounding, eye-blurring migraine headaches. He won't go see a doctor, so Bill must ground Brad. Brad is furious about being grounded. Will Brad see a doctor or leave the rangers? Can Bill patch things up with Brad?