Buffalo Bill Blog

Aug
20

Fires Are Natural

 

blackened, burned tree

It’s August, and that means there are fires in the West.

Pardon me if that sounds somewhat nonchalant, but we have learned so much about fire ecology, especially with the 1988 Yellowstone fires being discussed. It’s hard to believe it has been 25 years since 793,000 acres burned inside the park. I won’t say what I was doing then, but I was barely out of diapers.

Now that I have graduated to big girl pants, I know that fire is a natural part of a larger cycle and is actually necessary for a healthy forest to exist.

Let’s back up a few decades. For many years, the idea was that all fires were to be prevented or extinguished as quickly as possible. Remember Smokey Bear who used to say “Only YOU can prevent forest fires?”

The result was that tremendous resources went into putting out the fires as quickly and efficiently as possible. The unintended consequence of this policy was that the forests were getting older and the amount of fuel was increasing.

When that long, hot summer of 1988 arrived there was plenty of fuel in and around the park. The fires that started were the result of both natural lightning strikes and man-made actions such as the simple toss of a cigarette.

Once the fires got going, there was no extinguishing them, and the emphasis shifted to protecting homes and other buildings. When the fire arrived at Old Faithful Village September 7, resources were concentrated on saving historic buildings, especially the Old Faithful Inn.

It was not until the temperatures dropped and snow began to fall that the fires were truly under control that year.

After everyone had a chance to take stock of the situation, a new policy came into focus. Instead of viewing the forests as being devastated, we began to understand that they were simply being regenerated and that it was only going to happen with fire.

You see, most of the trees around here are lodgepole pines. These trees grow in very dense groups, and the tallest and strongest trees survive, leaving plenty of less fortunate trees to die and create that fuel I keep mentioning. baby pine tree

At the same time, lodgepole seeds are contained inside cones that are covered with a resin. The cones do not open easily unless heat comes into play. Since it does not get that hot at our higher elevations, the only way to clean out the dead trees and the old trees while spreading those millions of seeds inside the cones is through fire.

Whenever I hike through a burn area today, I do not see a forest that was destroyed. Instead, I see a young healthy forest that will continue to grow for decades – centuries even – until one day it is old and unhealthy and in need of clearing and replanting. And the cycle will start all over.

As a nature lover I find this whole process fascinating. I don’t like to see trees go up in flames, but I now have a better understanding of how necessary and normal it is.

Thanks for letting me bend your ear.

Until next week, I am lovin’ life in Cody, Wyo.

cartoon cowgirlCorrie N. Cody

Aug
13

Ashlee Lundvall

 

ms wheelchair with tiara and rifle                                                                                                                                                                                Photo by Layna Hendrich, Photographylayn

For such a small town, Cody sure has more than its share of accomplished people. Sure, Buffalo Bill was considered the best-known person in the world at one time, but there have been others who have gone on to achieve great things.

One of my neighbors is former United States Senator Alan Simpson whom I have looked up to my whole life – he’s very tall! Senator Simpson (many people still call him “Al,” but I cannot imagine calling him anything but “Senator” or “Mr. Simpson”) is one of those people you run into on the sidewalk and he is genuinely interested in your life. He is unfailingly polite and encouraging.

Those words describe a lot of people around here. We teach our kids to say “please” and “thank you” and how to use their knives and forks properly. And we always tell them they can do whatever they set out to.

When I heard the news recently that our own Ashlee Lundvall had won a national pageant I stopped in my tracks and let out a silent scream of pride and congratulations.

You see, Ashlee was paralyzed in 1999 when she was 16, and the pageant she won was the Ms. Wheelchair U.S.A. competition in Stow, Ohio, birthplace of Larry Csonka (town motto: “Larry Csonka was born here.”).

Ashlee is married to Russ Lundvall who grew up in Cody, and the two are proud parents of a two-year-old daughter – Addison.

Ashlee is very strong-willed and determined to enjoy the best things Cody has to offer. She became involved in the Wyoming Disabled Hunters program a few years ago and has developed a true passion for this quintessential Wyoming sport. She also enjoys camping, riding all-terrain vehicles and kayaking the Buffalo Bill Reservoir.

As with most pageant winners, Ashlee will spend much of the next year traveling in her role of Ms. Wheelchair U.S.A. I can certainly picture her demonstrating to people that they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to and that obstacles are meant to be overcome.

In other words, she will be unfailingly polite and encouraging.

Until next week, I am lovin’ life – and remembering to say please and thank you – in Cody, Wyo.

cartoon cowgirl with braidsCorrie N. Cody

Aug
06

Best Of The Road

 

rodeo queens on horses carrying American flags

I live in Cody because I love it.

I love the people, the country and the things to do.

I love it when the tourists arrive and bring the energy up to a whole new level, and I love it when the families return home and the town quiets back down.

And I love that when we celebrate July 4, we do it with such enthusiasm that we need several extra days beforehand so that we can fit all of our patriotism into one small town. Anyone who has ever been in town starting July 1 knows that our “Cody-Style July4’ celebration features the region’s finest parades that are topped only by the Cody Stampede.

When I heard that Rand McNally was conducting a contest to identify the Best Small Towns – less than 150,000 people – in the United States, I just assumed that anyone who has ever been to Cody would vote for us. The six categories of the contest are most beautiful, most fun, friendliest, most patriotic, best food and best for geocaching.

Okay, I admit that I have not spent much time geocaching. That’s unfortunate, because it is an activity that gets you out of the house and into some beautiful country. Between fishing, paragliding, hiking, skiing, snow shoeing and ice climbing, I do get out of the house pretty often.

Anyway, if you have been here, you have to admit Cody is one special place, especially during the Cody Stampede as we pull out all of the stops to celebrate Independence Day.

While we certainly rank up there in multiple categories, I would like to concentrate on one and let everybody else have a chance to win something.

If you agree with me that we belong at the top of the “Most Patriotic” list, please demonstrate it by voting. Just go www.bestoftheroad.com/ and cast your votes. The winning towns will be featured in the 2015 atlas and will receive a free custom iPhone app and online travel guide promoting the town as a top destination.

I will make you a deal. You promise to vote and I will promise to go geocaching. Just make sure there’s a cowboy musician waiting at the end of this scavenger hunt.

Until next week, I am lovin’ life in Cody, Wyo.

cartoon cowgirl with braidsCorrie N. Cody

Jul
30

Buffalo Bill Photos

 

mural of Buffalo Bill on horse doing Wild West Show for Queen

If you have ever been to my house, you know that I do a decent job of keeping it clean and free of clutter. I am certainly not a neat freak, but I just don’t like it when there is too much stuff lying around.

My drawers and closets are a different matter. Some of them are nice and neat while others are packed tightly with things I have collected over the years. I absolutely had to have the microwave bacon tray. You know the one that holds up to 14 slices and keeps them separate so they don’t stick together. Same with the perfect meatloaf pan that practically makes dinner without my help.

My walls are a combination of family photos, pieces of art I picked along the way at summer art shows and various knick knacks that caught my fancy.

My prized possessions are a couple of vintage posters from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Many of us locals have mementos that have been passed down through the generations. I know one guy who has a pair of moccasins that belonged to Sitting Bull.

In addition to my posters, I have a box in the back of one of my closets containing all sorts of old advertisements for the Wild West Show, dime novels and toys. This week I am digging them out, photographing them and sending the pictures over to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West (BBCW) to put on its Facebook page.

The BBCW is commemorating Bill’s final Wild West Show that was performed 100 years ago in Denver. There is a lot of Buffalo Bill memorabilia out there, and the BBCW is asking the public to share stories, photographs and such. I was just looking at a photograph of some of the performers in London 100 some years ago. There are photos from various stops in Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado as it made its way west in July 1913.

Do you have anything you would like to share? By all means, send it over.

While you’re at it, could you send someone who is handy with power tools? My pantry is a mess, and I have an idea of how to organize my spices.

Lovin’ my low-clutter (that you can see) life in Cody, Wyo.

Corrie N. Codycartoon cowgirl with braids

Jul
23

The Park County Fair

 

I am a small-town gal. Sure, I was born here and made a vow when I was 13 to get away to the big city, become famous and have people open doors for me whenever I made a grand entrance into a ballroom.

A funny thing happened, however, on my way to stardom. I decided I liked living here. Gentlemen around here do open doors regardless of whether or not you’re famous, and I love running into friends at the grocery store (and just about every else I go) and enjoying some of the less glamorous activities in life. kids pig wrestling in mud

Like pig wrestling.

Everybody knows that the Park County Fair starts tomorrow in Powell. Right off the bat we will get to see one of my favorite events as our local youth compete to see who can get covered in mud the fastest in the pig wrestling contest. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the competition starts at 7 p.m.

band 38 special logoOn Wednesday 38 Special takes the stage. You probably know that I have a bit of a weakness for musicians – especially cowboy musicians –and I am hoping that Donnie Van Zandt will autograph my cowboy hat. It would look nice next to the John Hancocks from a couple of members of Lynyrd Skynyrd.farmer wtih microphone

On Thursday we get to see Park County’s own demonstrate their talents with a free competition. While there are always plenty of song-and-dance acts, I am hoping for someone to juggle or balance plates because that pretty much describes my summer with everything that has been happening.

monster truckOn Friday and Saturday, we truly get to the heart of any good county fair. No, I’m not talking about deep-fried Twinkies (they’re baaaaaack) or some other such health food. I’m talking MONSTER TRUCKS on Friday and the demolition derby on Saturday.

It’s on the weekend that I let loose. Sometimes you just have to purge yourself of anxiety and aggression that have been building up. The demolition derby pretty much takes care of that by the time the third car is left stranded with a brokentwo junk cars crshing into each other radiator and an overheated engine. Maybe that’s why so few psychologists are needed in Wyoming.

It’s also incredibly romantic. More people get engaged in Park County during the fair than on either Christmas or Valentine’s Day. I read it on the Internet, so it must be true.

The rest of the time I will be wandering the booths, checking out the livestock and just generally socializing.

Look for me when you go. I will be the one making the grand entrance.

Lovin’ life and some good clean fun in Cody, Wyoming.

cartoon cowgirl with braidsCorrie N. Cody

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