There’s fire in the woods again!
Burning slash in a logging unit. A forester favorite Fall pastime.
Not like the Summer wildfires this time. This burning is for fuel reduction after logging. It’s part of our Fall preparation for tree planting. We prefer chipping slash and hauling it to the co-generation plant where it can be turned into electricity. In some areas that option isn’t available so we have to burn the slash on site. Getting rid of the slash reduces the fuel load for future wildfires that may occur. It also releases nutrients into the soil in the form of ash. Those nutrients give a boost to the young seedlings that will be planted at the site in the Spring.
On flat ground the slash is often piled for burning. In this unit the entire site is burned, which is called a broadcast burn.
We aren’t trying to get rid of all debris within units, but we want to reduce it to a reasonable level. A certain amount of slash and debris left unburned acts as impediments to erosion. Over time it breaks down adding organic material back into the soils. However, too much debris creates a fuel load that will support an aggressive wildfire.
This smoke column rises over Trinity Lake and has reached an inversion layer causing the smoke to flatten out.
Burning is only allowed on specific days when weather conditions are right. We avoid conditions that are too dry in which fire can escape. We also have to be aware of what direction the smoke is being carried on the wind to avoid smoking out populated areas. In California we’re required to prepare smoke management plans to determine what conditions are appropriate for burning as to not create a smoke hazard for local areas.
I had a companion on this day. Tessa, our friend’s dog, got to be a forester’s dog for a day.
Fall is traditionally incredibly busy around here and this season has been no different. Things are starting to wind down so hopefully there will more time for posting.
This black tail deer was done as a bit of practice with a new brush pen. This drawing is not my usual style, but I wanted to use it by itself. I typically use the brush pen in concert with my other pens.
My birthday was this month and Mary got me a new pen. I pick out the Kuretake No. 50 brush pen. I went with this one because it has natural bristles and is refillable. I’ve been trying out a number of different single use pens and have really enjoyed them, but I wanted something better. This pen is a hot rod!
The pen comes with in a nice wooden box with three ink cartridges. I haven’t tried these cartridges yet. Instead I purchased the Platinum Converter, a refillable cartridge, and a bottle of Platinum Carbon Ink. I pick this ink because it is very water-resistant and can be used with watercolor.
I’ve been enjoying this pen a lot, but I need to get more practice with it. I find using a brush pen is a lot different from a watercolor brush, very unforgiving. I suppose it’s made more difficult more by the ink and not the pen.
This is the tweaked version.
It was bugging me. Have you ever posted something and when you look at it later, it looks wrong? Something was missing. The deer looked a little chopped off at the feet so I added a bit more foreground.
I usually use one of the tricks to get a different view such as looking at it in the mirror, upside down, from across the room, or setting it aside for several days. I guess I have a new one…post it!
A Spring black tail buck with horns still in velvet in pen and ink.
This is always busy time of year around here, which is the reason I haven’t posted for awhile. When Fall comes, we disappear into the mountains. It’s our time to put some miles under our boots, over the mountains and through the woods. This is when we go out to procure some fresh organic protein to get us through the year.
I photographed this buck last Spring. He was feeding under a blue oak tree. His antlers were still growing and in velvet.
Today I’m coming to you from the Trinitys. I happen to have a cell signal so I’m making this post with my iPhone. Many of you may know that we are in a severe drought here in California. You can see by the dust coming off this logging operation how dry things are. Our logging crews are suffering with the dry conditions and the dust. Full fire precautions are in effect. Fire season has been pretty brutal this summer. We’re crossing fingers and hoping for the best for the rest of the logging season.
Dust is flying, hazy smoke is in the air and Trinity Lake, in the background behind the lower left trees, is down to about 30% capacity. It’s dry dry dry out there.
Marine Sgt Lloyd Livingston in pen and ink. I used a portrait taken of my dad during WWII.
Today is my dad’s birthday, unfortunately, we lost him several years ago. It seemed like a good time to post his portrait. He served as a Marine in the Pacific during WWII, something I’m very proud of. Happy birthday dad.
I’ve been working on my pen and ink portraits and I have found them to be particularly challenging. They are much more difficult than a squirrel or pine cone. After doing a number of fails, I finally completed one that I thought was suitable for posting. No Forestry Friday post today, but it will be back next week.
Ruby’s Coarsegold Running Rebel SH, “Teka”
Teka went home to her family about a year ago. I did this drawing before she left. She stayed with us while training. During her time here she completed her AKC Junior and Senior Hunter titles.
Redtail’s Coarsgold Serrano Sizzle JH, “Ruby”
Her mother “Ruby” also stayed with us years ago. This is the drawing I did of Ruby when she was here.
This gallery is from Teka’s time with us. Click on the image to enlarge.
There’s gold under that rainbow.
The race is on! Teka.
Nothing gets a girl to roll in the grass like beautiful flowers.
Blitz and Teka on the beach near Brookings.
Doug and Teka.
Teka Playing in the snow
Teka and Blitz were busy plotting against His Excellency!
Teka stares forlornly at a beautiful pair of Canada geese.
Teka can’t wait for her turn. She stakes out my truck.
Very soon Kinta will be going home to Japan. It has been a wonderful year with him, as was our time with Teka and Ruby.
True fir refers to any species of fir that are in the genus of Abies. Species like red fir, Abies magnifica, and white fir, Abies concolor, are true fir. Douglas-fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii, is not a true fir. The gallery pictures are of a high elevation, old growth true fir forest. This stand is over 6,000 feet elevation. Click the pictures to enlarge.
This true fir stand is on the Lassen National Forest.
Sugar pine, front left, is a pine commonly associated with the true fir forest.
Lookin’ up! Jeffery pine is also a component of this forest. The Jeffery pines are the two trees in the lower left. The other trees are red fir.
Big trees become big snags eventually. These snags are important to cavity dwelling wildlife.
The bumble bee is a common resident in these parts. This bee is gathering pollen from a whitethorn bush.
Red fir cones.
A dead tree becomes a log. The opening created by the loss of this tree is an opportunity for new seedlings to take root.
The high elevation true fir forests are among my favorite places to work during the heat of summer.
One advantage to having a truck for an office, is to take a few minutes in the woods during lunch to engage in a bit of en plein air sketching. En plein air is a french term meaning “in the open air.” It refers to painting or sketching in the outdoors.
En plein air pen and ink of a lodgepole pine cone.
Here is some of our local lodgepole pine.
In California, lodgepole pine is a tree of high elevation.
They prefer growing near wet areas and around meadows.
This Oregon Junco summers in a high elevation lodgepole pine forest.
Lodgepole pine grows around this meadow with Magee Peak in the background. The very tall trees are Ponderosa pine and white fir.
It often grows in pure dense stands.
These are the male cones of the pine.
In some parts of its range, lodgepole pine produces serotinus cones. These cones stay closed until a fire triggers them to open. The seeds are released to begin the next generation.
Lodgepole pine cones are small, less than two inches in diameter.
It is a favored tree for making log homes.
Click on the images to enlarge them.