Signs In The Woods

A fir tree scratched by the antlers of an elkWhen walking in the woods recently with a friend we noticed a couple of fir trees that had vertical scratch marks. Mike didn’t have to think twice to say it was an elk or two that caused the marred surfaces on these trees.

When asked how he could determine what made the marks without the animal around to prove the point he mentioned that it is all in the signs. Continue reading

Speaking Of Leaders

Were we speaking about leaders? Maybe it was only me speaking about leaders. I do seem to have an ongoing dialog running through my head about stories that I want to share with my readers, how I would like to craft the piece, what would seem interesting in a post, can I get a picture that describes my adventures,  ya da, ya da, ya da…

Back to leaders, I was in the corner of the woods that I don’t get to very often. It is the north facing side of the forest, out past where the trail cam is situated to watch over our caged seedlings and beyond where we logged in the last few years. The skid road has been narrowed by the amount of vegetation that has grown in since the last time we have done any thinning of timber in this section. Continue reading

Processor Moves On

The job in our woods is complete for the processor and it is moving on to the next logging operation. With a half million dollar price tag for this cutter/processor, the equipment needs to avoid down-time in order to pay the bills.

A red semi low-boy loading processor.A heavy-haul, semi low-boy was brought in from a neighboring company, Pellum Logging to do the moving.

From our woods the equipment is headed  to Dixie Mountain for several weeks of hard labor.

The shovel, dozer and fire tanker are still here on site and will remain so until all the loads of logs are removed from the forest. The end of our contract is finally in sight and we have already started the cleanup by preparing the ground for replanting.

Busy Mornings, Slow Afternoons

The log decks are stacking up faster than the log truck can haul them off. The fire danger is now at the level where all equipment has to be out of the woods by 1pm and that includes trucks for hauling. Firewatch is  required for 3 hours after the last piece of equipment is shut down or out of the woods for the day.

One may ask what one does during the 3 hours. Aside from loading the Gator with firewood that had been cut earlier in the day, my phone works well on this high spot and long postponed communications are caught up. I crank up the sound and listen to a book on tape or music, I walk the new roads and the old paths, and I spend a lot of time looking up (usually from the shade of the big patches of trees left to grow).

Punching It In

A yellow bulldozer fashioning a road in the woods.Road building continues in the woods.

I enjoy watching from a distance as the road is formed inch by inch across the flat benches that span between the heads of canyons.

My job is cleaning up the edges, trimming up limbs on the lower side with my saw-on-a-stick and using the small chain saw on the high side to cut the willowy hazelnuts, maples and small fir that would eventually lean into the road.

On this day, Mike told me that the road was roughed in enough for me to be able to follow him down the hill to our lower road.

It took several hours to get to that point and the road is still steeper in many spots than I would have preferred, but I did manage to get the Gator to the bottom of the hill with the new trail. Let’s just say it still needs a lot of work before it will be the optimal entrance and egress from the deep woods will be ready for steady travel.

Back Into The Woods

The extreme warm temperatures have moderated. We had a couple of days of moisture that reduced the fire danger in the area, so it is time to get back at it before the real rains come and muck up the dirt roads that lead up into the woods.

We are back to cleaning up dead and dying trees in the forest on the hillside above our hay fields. This process will still take a couple of years to complete since we are also doing some much-needed thinning at the same time. Continue reading

A Story From Long Ago

Evidence of burned stump with tree growing from it.Where we are up the hill cleaning up the winter storm damage, we came across this tree that shows evidence of the fire that swept across this hillside in 1940.

The dark area you see near the lower middle of the picture shows charcoal. This was an old growth stump that had been charred as the fire went through. A seedling sprouted on one side of the old stump and began growing.

Now about 75 years old, the seedling is over 100 feet tall and all but enveloped the old, burnt stump that is nourishing its growth. On the picture, the right side of the stump is all bark from the grown seedling.

This tree will have to be cut off above the old stump in order to be felled. That means the undercut and the falling cut will be about 8 feet off the ground.