Don’t Knock It ’Til You Try It!

Sunday, January 30th, 2011
These are the pieces of the first sweater that I knit before I sewed it togetherHave you ever thought about what you might be missing out on by not trying new things?  A few years ago, my mother signed me up for a knitting camp at our community's clubhouse.  I wasn't really enthusiastic about this as I thought that knitting was just something that old people do and that I would never like or wear anything that I had made.  I was quickly proven wrong and by the end of that camp I was knitting scarves, towels, and dishcloths with whatever yarn I could get my hands on.  I was hooked!  

Continue Reading "Don't Knock It 'Til You Try It!" »
Kelly samples a plate full of orange chicken at the Screaming DuckI love Chinese Food - especially orange chicken.  Unfortunately, the nearest Chinese restaurant is over forty miles from my house.

When I heard that there was a new Chinese food restaurant in Frazier Par,, I begged my dad to take me there.  (Literally!)  As we entered the building, the sweet aroma of Chinese food wafted through the air.

 As we sat down, I immediately said, "Dad, I don't even need a menu, I would LOVE some Orange Chicken."  Orange Chicken is my favorite food.  The best part is, it's at every Chinese restaurant I've ever been to!

As soon as that sweet, delicious Orange Chicken was placed in front of me, I devoured it!  I loved visiting The Crazy Duck.  I found it to be the cleanest restaurant in the mountains.  I highly recommend this restaurant as a wonderful place to relax and get a great dinner.

Memories of Mrs. Linda Reece

Monday, June 28th, 2010
Roger & Linda Reece.jpgA dear woman passed into eternity to be with her Lord and Savior this past week.

Linda Reece, wife of Roger Reece, the pastor of Pine Mountain Christian Community Church fought illness for some time - although you would rarely have known it when spending time with her.

I had the opportunity to participate in a Bible study with Roger and Linda when they first came to the mountain community in 2007.  It was a Bible study based on marriage, and strengthening our marriages.  Roger and Linda were candid and wise.  There were a couple of nights when Linda led the meetings, as Roger had an elders' meeting to attend.  She did so with love and grace - and her witty sense of humor!  Linda was great for sly comments out of the side of her mouth - always polite and kind - but hysterical, nonetheless.

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"Chip" Comes to Visit

Saturday, June 26th, 2010
Chipmunk in the Front RoomFor the past few weeks I have been hearing noises behind the walls and in our ceilings.  Then, a few days ago, I caught sight of the intruder.

"Chip" seems to have been living behind the wall in my office and using a route'Chip' hides in the corner over my dad's office ceiling to get to our front room which currently serves as a greenhouse. One of the hazards of living in the forest is that "critters" love to move in with you.  Late last year we had a family of raccoons move in under our deck and now it appears that some chipmunks have decided to follow suit.

'Chip' prepares to hop into the flower pot for a snack
I was able to catch several great pictures of him before he dove back to his home, and it wasn't until the camera made a noise that he ran.  Oh well, we'll see how long this guest decides to stay at the Mack Family Bed and Board.  
I thought I'd share a paper that I wrote for my English class.  The requirement was to use at least two methods (I decided to use reasons and comparison and contrast) to develop the paper.  The assignment was to write a paper about why I prefer a vacation at the mountains rather than a a vacation at the sea shore.   I do want to clarify that, while I still would prefer a visit to the mountains, I do enjoy visiting and learning about the seashore.  (And I love to visit aquariums!).  Just thought I'd mention that.  Here's my paper:

For a vacation, I prefer a visit to the forest rather than a visit to the seashore.  The variety in color, sounds, and sights in the mountains are much more appealing to me than the variety at the seashore.

The color scheme of the forest is extremely varied:  green trees burst into a brilliant gold, orange, or red in the autumn and scatter their leaves; the brown forest floor teems with insects and animals in a splattering of blues, grays, blacks, pinks, browns, reds, and many other colors; flowers poke their heads out to dazzle the world with their delicate colors and beautyPoppies pop with brilliant color - Wendy Mack (2010); and berries pop out in delicious arrays of reds, greens, and blues.  While the seashore has a beauty of its own, there is very little color variety to keep me interested.  All is a blur of blue water, blue sky, white sands, white rocks, and white seagulls.  Most of the different colors in the seashore comes from the shells which have strips of pale pink or pale blue, and from the dirty brownish-green seaweed that washes up on the shore, and perhaps an occasional starfish that is washed into tiny pools.  There is an assortment of color, but not as striking as the collection of color found in the woods.

Continue Reading "Mountains vs. Seashore - Which Do You Prefer?" »

Kelly’s first fish

Monday, May 18th, 2009
I spend far too much time in my office. Fortunately, I only have to step outside to enjoy the beauty of God's creation. Yesterday, I took the girls fishing at the lake down the street. Within minutes, Kelly had caught her first fish, an 11" Bass.  A wonderful day and a delight to see the smile on my daughter's face when she proudly displayed her catch!

Kelly catches her first fish at Fern's Lake, in Pine Mountain Club, CA

We did see 24" Catfish swimming around, but it was not the least bit interested in our measly worm. Perhaps another day...
A colleague at Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne sent me an email this evening to let me know that one of their rockets would be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, at 7:28 PM PST, this evening. Here's the photo from just a few minutes ago...
It gets dark early and since it's already dark in the forest, we had a perfect night sky for viewing. Shortly after lift-off, we saw a bright trail of fire moving upward. As the rocket headed off, the trail turned into a fireball as we looked directly into the rocket from behind.I'm not a photographer, but I managed to get a shot without the flash. This does not do it justice.

Apparently, it was a Delta 2 Rocket, carrying an Italian Radar Satellite into space. Details and the launch sequence are available here.

In memory: Fred Gilman Westlund

Thursday, September 20th, 2007
I met Fred Westlund 13 years ago at Pine Mountain Christian Community Church in the sanctuary he helped build. Fred built many buildings and homes in PMC but the church was his favorite. It was his labor of love and he could always be found tending it.


When we built my new offices, Fred volunteered to help coordinate and manage the contractors. I cannot imagine having completed the project without him. Much more important to me, however, is Fred's service in the AWANA program and as a leader to my children.

Continue Reading "In memory: Fred Gilman Westlund" »

Meteor Shower Tonight

Thursday, August 11th, 2005
In case you're still up, the best viewing of tonight's Perseids meteor shower is still to come.
Jason Womack's already posted the details from my e-mail to him, so I won't post them again. Check out Jason's site for details.

We are very fortunate to live below Mt. Pinos as we have one of the most remarkable views of the night sky. Each year, we are treated to an especially fantastic view of the Perseids and Leonids meteor shower.

A few years ago, the girls and I logged over 750 meteors in one hour! And those were the ones we could count!
It's been a busy week, with meetings, family health issues, product development, and management courses. I hope to upload some draft blog entries soon. Meanwhile, I'm sure that my friends, Jason and Michael will be happy to say anything I would say. :-)

A quick tour of Pine Mountain Club

Monday, July 11th, 2005
Kathy said that it's not good for boys to play inside all day - even in the Digital Sandbox, so she told us to go outside and get some fresh air...

I decided to take Michael on a quick tour around our community.


2005 Lilac Festival

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005
Pine Mountain Club is known for its Lilac festival. People travel great distances to come up to the mountains to see the lilacs in bloom. Unfortunately, in past years, the Lilacs have bloomed either before or after the festival, but rarely during the festival.

This year's Lilac Festival was a real treat - we actually got to see Lilac's in bloom!


The parade was entertaining, as usual, and the artisan booths were interesting. It was warm during the day, but cool in  the evening.  Mt. Pinos is still buried under several feet of snow. The waterfalls and streams are flowing again with run-off from the snow melt.

At this year's festival, I did something that I've always wanted to do ...  (Hint: It has to do with flying) More in another post.

Make way for ducklings

Saturday, April 30th, 2005
This afternoon, I took Kelly down to the lake to feed the ducks. Two of the ducks had ducklings in tow. We saw a mother duck with three ducklings and another with eight. What a treat!


And of course, my little duckling ...


Sage & Cinnamon

Saturday, February 19th, 2005
Last night, I took Amy & Wendy out on a date to a new local restaurant, Sage & Cinnamon, located in Pine Mountain Club. The restaurant opened this past year and it is already well known in our community.

Image:Sage & Cinnamon

I now understand why reservations are highly recommended, if not required. The restaurant is quite popular. By early evening, almost all of the tables had patrons at them, and everyone seemed to be enjoying their meals. It was obvious that great attention had been paid to every detail, from the carpet to the walls, to the decorations and accessories - even the extension cords had sewn covers so that they would blend in with the decor. Relaxing lighting and music contributed to a relaxing atmosphere in which to enjoy our repast. (I was not quite sure what to expect since the prior restaurant was a deli, however the new owners have completely remodeled the restaurant for an intimate dining experience.) The service was excellent, too; available when needed and out of the way when not. Pat, our hostess, welcomed us to the restaurant and seated us, while Leaf, our waiter and his attentive assistant made sure that we were lacking in nothing throughout our two and a half hour dinner.

The most difficult part of the meal was choosing between the various dishes. Fortunately, I was able to sneak a taste from my daughters' dishes as well. The French Onion soup was outstanding and the pumpkin bisque light, sweet, and creamy. The house salad had a raspberry vinaigrette dressing that was surprisingly refreshing. We all enjoyed the Ribeye steak with broccoli and garlic potatoes. Did I mention the bread? Good stuff.

After the meal, I introduced myself to the chef and owner, Kim Busio, to thank her for a wonderful experience.  Kim and her family (Pat's her mom) recently move to Pine Mountain Club from Santa Barbara, where she worked at a B&B. No wonder we were treated to such fine hospitality!

I'm delighted to know that we now have a fine-dining opportunity in our local community. I'll be sure to return again with family, friends, and clients.

In the 11 years that we have lived in Pine Mountain Club, we've enjoyed many of the restaurants in the mountain communities. This one was worth blogging about.  I asked Kim if they had a web site, she said not yet; she's been very busy serving customers and growing the restaurant. The phone number is: 661-242-1978
I hope that this update will be of some assistance to anyone who is stranded off the hill or concerned about loved ones up here on the hill.

The storms hit us pretty hard last night and numerous trees and power lines are down, including those in my yard. The power has been out for Pine Mountain Club and some of the surrounding mountain areas since late last night. I have not heard any estimates of when the power will be restored and I have not yet seen any SCE trucks come by to repair the downed power lines on our street. My personal guess, is that it could be a long time, especially with tonight's expected storm.  Avoid travel on or off the hill if at all possible.

I have activated the heater on my primary web camera; I have also updated the weather links on the ICA WeatherCam. There, you will find current links for the latest Winter Storm Warning and Hazardous Weather Outlook, for the Kern County Mountains.

20041228 - Snow Storm

Scott's Frazier Mountain weather update has not yet been posted for today, so I'll share the little that I can:  

We still have 10'-12" of wet packed snow at 5800 feet; expect to see more at the higher elevations. Earlier today, the snow started to melt a little on the south facing roads, however this will mean any roads that may get cleared today may have ice on them this evening, so drive carefully.  The weather service is reporting another storm for this evening with another 1-2 feet of snow. As the temperatures drop this evening, expect additional snow and ice.

Due to the downed power lines, the road crews have not yet plowed some of the streets. If you must go out, I do not recommend doing so without 4WD, Chains installed, and emergency provisions.

If you can avoid travel on or off the hill, I would recommend it. If you are already off the hill and heading home tonight, be sure to check Caltrans for conditions on the 5 freeway. Be sure to pack groceries, blankets, food and water.

If you live in the PMC area and have updated information or if you have travelled through the mountains today and would like to post an update on the weather/road conditions, please use the comments to do so. The ICA WeatherCam will remain operational.

Stay warm & safe!


Plane crashes nearby

Saturday, March 6th, 2004
A small plane crashed into the mountainside across from my home in Pine Mountain Club, CA.
Image:Plane crashes nearby
Early last Saturday morning, February 28, I awoke to the sound of helicopter activity on the mountain directly across from my home.  This continued for several hours. Usually, the only time we ever hear a helicopter up here is when the Med-evac ambulance comes in or when there is a forest fire - either way,  it is usually not good news.  Since it was still snowing and quite foggy, I knew that it was not likely to be a fire.  At the same time, the helipad is to the left of my house down in the valley -- not across from my house where the sound was originating.  I knew something serious was going on.  The fog was so thick that the helicopter was barely visible as it ascended the mountain; yet I could hear it and I could occaisionally see the marker lights as it went up and down the hillside.    

Apparently, the night before, during a snow storm, the pilot of a Cessna 172 single engine aircraft reported troubles with his aircraft to the control tower in Bakersfield.  Shortly after, his plane crashed into the mountainside and exploded into flames.  At the time, it was snowing, and the temperature was about 26 degrees.  Due to the rugged terrain, the heavy snowfall, and the freezing weather, the search and rescue teams were unable to reach the crash site until 12 hours after the impact.  They drove up the mountain on SnowCats and then had to descend on foot to the crash site.  Unfortunately, the pilot died at the scene.

The snow on the mountainside melted this past week, and this morning while sitting on my back deck, I noticed something bright on the mountain. Using a pair of binoculars, I could tell that it was a small aircraft, or at least parts of the frame and wings -- the main fuselage was burned out.   My sympathies go out to the family of the pilot.  I doubt that there are any plans to remove the plane, so this will probably become a permanent marker to this tragic event.

Mr. Freeze pays a visit

Tuesday, November 4th, 2003

We have had quite a cold snap lately.

Here's a graph from my WeatherCam that shows the temperature last night. A brisk 24 degrees. Brrrr.

I guess it's time to defrost the freezer and move the contents outside. No sense paying for electricty when I can get a deep freeze on my back deck for free. :-)

Image:Mr. Freeze pays a visit

Beautiful & Spacious Skies

Wednesday, August 13th, 2003
All too often I forget to step outside and admire God's creation.  We are truly blessed.
Image:Beautiful & Spacious Skies
I took this photo from my back deck.  You can see a live photo from my weathercam.

Fire on the hill!

Tuesday, July 29th, 2003
Early this morning, Wendy came into our bedroom to tell us that a house across the valley was on fire. Sure enough it was and we could see the flames high above the tree tops from our bedroom.  Due to the heroic efforts of our local fire department and with backup support from other units, the fire was quickly extinguished before the flames could spread to adjacent homes or forest.  Fortunately no one was hurt, however, one home was destroyed.
Even though the fire was a mile away, when you live in the dry Southern California mountains, surrounded by Pinion Pines (think rockets), in a Cedar home (think firewood), coated in Penofin (think diesel oil), you take any threat of fire very seriously.
We had been remiss in practicing for a fire drill, but we did have an evacuation checklist, which we began to work through.
Image:Fire on the hill!
The fire appears to be out now, but my webcam is still picking up the smoke.
Let me encourage you, wherever you live, to have and test your evacuation plan -- especially if you have children or people who need special assistance in your home.
12/21/01 12:15 PM:  Well, we did not get the 15" of snow we expected last night; however, we did get enough snow to have some fun. So, once the morning chores were done, Amy & Wendy, Emily & Kelly headed for the back yard to build the first snowman of the year.  They are very proud of their accomplishment. Be sure to check back often as the web cam will update every five minutes.

12/21/01 5:30 PM  Well, it has been a bit warmer this afternoon and Frosty has lost some of his frost.... Keep checking back as we don't know how long Frosty will stick around. Not sure what you will see the next time... You might see improvements being made to Frosty, nothing, or you might see Frosty in liquid form.

20011222 - Live SnowMan Cam01.jpg
Frosty and Friends - Photo taken 12/21/01 12:22 PM

20011222 - Live SnowMan Cam02.jpg
Frosty The Snowman as of 12/21/01 12:22 PM

20011222 - Live SnowMan Cam03.jpg
Frosty The Snowman in liquid form as of 12/22/01 3:30 PM

In Search of Sushi

Sunday, February 11th, 2001
What do you do when you have a craving for Sushi and the nearest Sushi bar is 70 miles away?  Exactly. I decided to roll my own!

After visiting one web site to learn how to cook Japanese rice and another to learn how to prepare a California  Roll, I was ready to begin.

Image:In Search of Sushi
Chef Eric

Equipped with a plastic bucket for the rice, my supplies, and the printed instructions from the Internet, I set off to make my homemade Sushi rolls.  (Fortunately, I had thought ahead and purchased the Japanese rice, Nori rolls, and imitation crab meat at Pavilions a week ago.)

Image:In Search of Sushi

By the time this adventure was done, it cost as much to purchase the supplies and took as long to prepare the Sushi as if I had simply driven the 70 miles to Santa Clarita.

I guess I won't be opening the first Sushi bar in the mountains, but it did satisfy my craving.

Snow Dog Day

Wednesday, January 31st, 2001
There has been more snow than we have ever seen since we moved to Pine Mountain Club.
Image:Snow Dog Day
Lassie went outside and disappeared. The snow was taller than she was!

Let it Snow!

Friday, January 12th, 2001
Here is a  panoramic view of Pine Mountain Club from our back deck.
Here is a panoramic view of Pine Mountain Club from our back deck. January 12, 2001