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The Gearboat Chronicles

It’s cold enough for me

The top two conversation topics trending in Wallowa County right now are: frozen plumbing and whether or not it is cold enough for you.

I won’t have anything to do with the frozen pipes topic. It’s imperative to remove yourself at the first sign of a person mentioning frozen pipes. Do not engage. Immediately break off eye contact, turn and flee, making damn sure you are not followed. The penalty for ignoring this advice may be later finding yourself crawling under their house through spider colonies and cat poop to help fix the problem. I’ve been there and don’t ever want to go back. Never, ever.

Jay Butts is a plumber based in Joseph, Oregon. Call him with any and all situations involving plumbing. My own home water delivery system is swaddled, heat-taped and freeze-proofed to a degree that I shouldn’t ever again have to crawl under there in the freezing cold. Never, ever. I have said that at least two other times, but this time I feel confident.

As to whether or not it is cold enough for me: Yes, as a matter of fact it is. Thank you for asking.


With overnight lows reaching you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me below zero and daytime highs up to seriously?, my main source of exercise has been bracing myself for the short commute to and from the woodpile to pitch more fuel into the reactor.

Happy Birthday Penny
Penny claims to have gotten older, although she continues to defy the aging process and you wouldn’t know it. A swell time was had by all at the party in the boathouse and here’s a super-blurry picture taken right after the blowing out of candles to prove it.


This new boathouse thing is really working out. Not only is it a sweet home base for running whitewater rafting trips out of, it’s just a spectacular setting for throwing parties. There was also a ski waxing clinic held in the quonset hut over the weekend.

That mural outside the boathouse let me exercise the sign painting brushes I hadn’t used in 10 years, then recently I was asked to get them back out to make copies of an old hand-lettered sign. Little shaky. That’s definitely not like riding a bike after taking a long break. But I made a stab at it.


Morgan has been over in Montana, making ceramic art. I hear he’s back in town for a ski patrol refresher.

Todd’s been volunteering up at the local ski area and also involved with a project to make handmade snow shoes. More on that later.

I made a trip over to central Oregon and got Craig Nichols on the phone, though plans to sit down and catch up with the singing cowboy will have to wait for next time.


For a view of water that is not frozen, we have here the ultra aquamarine of the Metolius at Wizard’s Hole, or Hogwarts Narrows, or whatever they call this patch of snazzy water.


Everyone hip to the magic trick with the panorama feature on your phone? Click this below to see what I’m talking about. Start taking a pano shot with your friend Jude on the left wearing a green hat. Move the camera to the right and have Jude run around behind you so he’s magically there when you finish panning to the right. Boom.


From the archives, we have here a cute picture of my sister Jennifer and I being all cute standing in front of a big ol’ tree. As seen on the refrigerator at Mom and Dad’s house over Thanksgiving.


Be good. Stay warm and don’t let your pipes freeze.