Publisher’s Letter: Living Life Forward

Blaine Howerton on his mountain property (Photo by Rolly Medina)
By Blaine Howerton, Publisher
North Forty News

For those of you who have followed my adventures, you probably know that I purchased mountain burn acreage a few years ago. I soon fell in love with the many surprises of nature in this environment — wildflowers that seem to thrive and grow up out of the ash and fledgling trees that sprung up right in the roadway that I replanted where they could safely mature.

My young sons, ages 9 and 12, spent so many weekends on the mountain that I asked them how they’d feel about living there in our RV full-time, and they were on board with the experience. We had a fantastic time. But that was in spring, summer, and fall.

I always knew the challenges in the winter would be considerable. Fierce winds blew my shed down for the third time. I had to devise a heating system under the RV so the pipes and tanks wouldn’t freeze. I even partnered with my neighbor to significantly improve the road, so it’s now accessible via 2-wheel drive. It’s much safer to reach my property (and his) now. The late fall was daunting but I kept rising to the challenge(s).

During recent high winds and Red Flag Warnings, I witnessed 16 inch / 60-foot trees snap in half and fly uphill. I saw a full 15-gallon can of gas lift vertically and fly through the air horizontally for about 20 feet. With the RV rocking back and forth it seemed there was nowhere we could go to be safe — except away.

Always having our safety in mind, I decided we needed to leave the mountain until we can build a more permanent structure.

Luckily, in recent months, I heard of a rental property. It’s in a beautiful historical setting. With the same daily commuting time to take the boys to school, space for all of us to breathe, a wood-burning stove, and a pastoral setting where we get to see cattle being led to grazing pastures — we absolutely love it. This newspaper is now being produced from that setting — another first!

My boys and I will be back on the mountain, weather permitting, on the weekends and on occasional weekdays. We will work together on a new cabin and someday soon, we will have a safe and permanent structure we can call home. Looking to the future, I’m excited that once again, it will be the place I can’t wait to drive up to.

In light of our recent weather changes, fierce winds, unseasonable wildfire risks, take care and be safe out there, everyone! Life is just too precious to take unnecessary risks.

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