Power pole fire

You may have noticed we experienced a power failure around midnight last night, lasting about 3 hours. The culprit was a power pole fire at the Channel View RV park that started around 7:30 pm. Here’s how the incident unfolded: The Fire Department was dispatched by 911 at 7:50. The chief arrived a few minutes later, followed by the pump truck and firefighters at 8:00. Since the power was still on, the Fire Dept could not extinguish the fire immediately. Hosing water onto live power lines is a no-no. A Magic Valley Electric Co-op crew arrived around 8:45 and used fire extinguishers to put out the fire. The pole was severely damaged and the Co-op crew retired to a safe distance, waiting for backup to repair/replace the pole. With power still on, the fire re-ignited and continued burning the pole until it broke off. The broken portion was held aloft by a line feeding over to the RV park. There was no immediate danger of the fire spreading and the Co-op crew elected to leave power on to avoid a blackout in the area. By 11:45, the Co-op backup crew had still not arrived, the wind was picking up a little and the fire was starting to pose a threat from dropping embers. The Fire Department determined that the situation was too dangerous and instructed the Co-op crew to cut the power. The fire was well and truly extinguished by the pump truck crew. Fortunately, within minutes of putting out the fire, the Co-op construction crew arrived with a new pole, equipment and what looked to be at least 8 cherry pickers. They got to work and the power was restored after 3 or so hours. We don’t have any photos of the incident but here are a sampling of what pole fires look like and what ensuing damage can occur.

Pole fires usually start by an arc tracking across an insulator to ground over the wooden pole. The arcing is not sufficient to trip the circuit, but is hot enough to set fire to the pole. Salt from the sea air and dirt settle on the insulators. After a long dry spell, this accumulation becomes heavy. When there is a short rain which is not hard or long enough to wash off the accumulation, the rain water dissolves the salt, mixes it with the dust and creates a path for the electricity to arc and track across the pole, igniting it in the process. This is fairly common close to the ocean, in fact Port Mansfield Fire Department inform us that 80% of their fire calls are for pole fires.

Thank you to the Arroyo City Fire Department for their prompt response and vigilance in protecting our community.


Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all you long suffering dads out there. Thank you for all you dedication and love. May God bless you all and make His face to shine upon you.

The nation’s first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in the state of Washington. However, it was not until 1972 (58 years after President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day official) that the day honoring fathers became a nationwide holiday in the United States. Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June each year – this year June 17th.


There are other holidays celebrated in June, some a little more obscure than Father’s Day, here’s a list:

  • Statehood Day – Friday, June 1, 2018
  • Jefferson Davis Birthday – Sunday, June 3, 2018
  • Jefferson Davis Birthday – Monday, June 4, 2018
  • D-Day – Wednesday, June 6, 2018
  • Lailat al-Qadr – Sunday, June 10, 2018
  • Kamehameha Day – Monday, June 11, 2018
  • Army Birthday – Thursday, June 14, 2018
  • Eid al-Fitr – Friday, June 15, 2018
  • Bunker Hill Day – Sunday, June 17, 2018
  • Bunker Hill Day – Monday, June 18, 2018
  • Juneteenth – Tuesday, June 19, 2018
  • West Virginia Day – Wednesday, June 20, 2018
  • World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought – June 17, 2018
  • Eat Your Vegetables Day – June 17, 2018

We won’t presume to explain these, but don’t forget to eat your veggies today!

Stanley Cup

In the spirit of who gives a $%*p, congratulations to the Washington Capitals for their convincing triumph in the Stanley Cup finals over the upstart Las Vegas ??????. For the uninitiated, the Stanley Cup is the oldest professional sports trophy in the world. The culmination of the National Hockey League season is a best of seven series between the two winners of the conference playoff series – pretty much the same as the format for baseball. The Caps have never won the Stanley Cup, so this is a big moment for them.

If you want a “rare gem” to impress your friends and acquaintances, the only South African ever to play in the NHL was Olaf Kolzig (Olie the goalie) who played for the Caps in the 90’s. Where I’m from originally, ice is what you put in gin and tonic! So now tip your hat to Olie the goalie


England vs South Africa Rugby Test Series

In the “who gives a #$@%t category, the Springboks (South Africa’s national rugby team) play the Lions (England’s national rugby team) tomorrow in the first of three test matches in South Africa. Other than South Africa vs New Zealand, this is the fiercest rivalry in world rugby. Both England and South Africa have been struggling in their last matches, but the bragging rights for this series are immense. The venue for the first match is Ellis Park in Johannesburg. To beat South Africa at Ellis Park is the “holy grail” of rugby. Very few teams have managed it over the years. This series is a landmark for South Africa who for the first time ever have a black captain – Siya Kolisi. Rugby in South Africa has been a white man’s sport up till now, but Siya’s appointment has been lauded by all. He is the best man for the job. Go Boks!



We have previously featured our resident wild turkey population here on the Arroyo. The birds usually hang out along Marshall Hutts Rd and don’t wander too far. The other day we surprised a lone turkey in our yard which is way west down FM 2925. Both the turkey and we were startled and the turkey took off up the driveway and out onto the street. We spotted him the next day near the irrigation channel looking lost. We hope he made it back to Marshall Hutts and the rest of the flock (gaggle?).

Commemoration of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council at Nicaea

1stHOLYFATHERSToday Orthodox Christians around the world commemorate the Fathers of the Council of Nicaea. The Lord Jesus Christ left the Church a great promise, “I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18). Although the Church will pass through difficult struggles, it will emerge victorious. The early persecution of Christians ceased during the fourth century, but heresies arose within the Church itself. One of the most pernicious of these heresies was Arianism. Arius, a native of Libya and a priest of Alexandria, was a man of immense pride and ambition. He denied the divine nature of Jesus Christ and His equality with God the Father and falsely taught that the Savior is not consubstantial with the Father, but is only a created being.

A local Council, convened with Patriarch Alexander of Alexandria presiding, condemned these false teachings. However, Arius would not submit to the authority of the Church. He wrote to many bishops, denouncing the decrees of the local Council. He spread his false teaching throughout the East, receiving support from certain Eastern bishops.

Investigating these dissentions, the holy emperor Constantine consulted Bishop Hosius of Cordova, who assured him that the heresy of Arius was directed against the most fundamental dogma of Christ’s Church. He decided to convene an Ecumenical Council in the year 325. 318 bishops representing Christian Churches from various lands gathered together at Nicaea in Bithynia. The emperor Constantine presided over the sessions of the Council. In his speech, responding to the welcome by Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, he said, “God has helped me cast down the impious might of the persecutors, but more distressful for me than any blood spilled in battle is for a soldier, is the internal strife in the Church of God, for it is more ruinous.” Arius, with seventeen bishops among his supporters, remained arrogant, but his teaching was repudiated and he was excommunicated from the Church.

At the council, the Fathers affirmed the Orthodox Symbol of Faith (Creed). Saint Constantine asked the Council to insert into the text of the Symbol of Faith the word “consubstantial,” which he had heard in the speeches of the bishops. The Fathers of the Council unanimously accepted this suggestion. In the Nicaean Creed, the holy Fathers set forth and confirmed the Apostolic teachings about Christ’s divine nature. The heresy of Arius was exposed and repudiated. After resolving this chief dogmatic question, the Council also decided the date for the celebration of Holy Pascha (Easter). They decided Holy Pascha should not be celebrated by Christians on the same day with the Jewish Passover, but on the first Sunday after the first full moon of the vernal equinox (which occurred on March 22 in 325).

Seen in the Arroyo

Having coffee out on the dock the other day we noticed a flurry of fish activity in the Arroyo. The first thing to mind was Dolphins – they create panic in the fish when they come up the river. However this was not so, an Alligator Gar was meandering back and forth, creating the fish chaos. While we know there are many Gar in the Arroyo, this was the first time we’ve seen one stalking around. He hung around for about two hours before taking off.

Our best guess at his size was around 6′. It turns out he was not so large after all. The Texas state (and world) record for the largest Alligator Gar caught on rod and reel, is 279 lb, taken by Bill Valverde on January 1, 1951, on the Rio Grande.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that an Alligator Gar can grow up to 10′ in length and weigh as much as 300 lb. However, in 2011, the largest Alligator Gar ever caught and officially recorded was 8′ 5.25″ long, weighed 327 lb, and was 47″ around the girth. This particular gar got entangled in a fishing net in Mississippi. An even larger specimen was shot with a bow and line in Lake Corpus Christi in 2012. The fisherman did not record the size since his scale bottomed out at 300 lb with an estimated 100 lb left lying on the ground. This is not a “fisherman’s story”, there are photos to prove it! Even if “our” Gar was not the biggest, we were suitably impressed!

Gars are often referred to as “primitive fishes”, or “living fossils” because they have retained some morphological characteristics of their earliest ancestors, such as a spiral valve intestine which is also common to the digestive system of sharks, and the ability to breathe both air and water. Their common name is derived from their resemblance to the American Alligator, particularly their broad snout and long sharp teeth.