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.
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.
Here is some of our local lodgepole pine.
Click on the images to enlarge them.
In this year of drought, our forests are a tinder box waiting for a spark. That spark came from the sky on the last day of July. It reached 108 F in the valley. A major lightning storm rolled across the North State and left numerous forest fires in its wake.
Most of the east side fires are under control now, but several fires in the Klamath Mountains are still burning. We still have a long way to go to reach the end of fire season.
Every year we have an addition built on our home. We don’t build it ourselves. The black phoebe families build their mud and twig nests under our western roof peaks when they come to stay.
“It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds.”
Last week, I was in the redwood country of our coastal mountains. However, I wasn’t down in the parks with the gigantic and ancient trees. As you might imagine, I was in young, working redwood forests.
It’s beautiful country and full of surprises. One of the surprises you’ll find in these forests are the old stumps of the ancient forest giants that were logged over a hundred years ago.
These old stumps tell a story of the past. The stump pictured above looks like it has two eyes. The “eye” on the left is a spring-board hole. Way back when, the timber fallers would cut a notch in the tree up above the butt swell. They then wedged a board into the notch. They stood on the board, called a spring-board, to cut the tree down. Two man teams with double bit axes and cross-cut saws fell these trees. The spring boards elevated the fallers up the tree where it wasn’t as thick, making it easier to cut. That’s why these stumps are so tall.
Many of these stumps are charred on the outside. The fires that caused this may have been intentional. It was a common practice of the time, to burn the logging site after the trees were felled. They did this to eliminate slash. After the big trees were cut the slash was so deep it was difficult for a man to get through it. The fire solved this problem and left burned stumps behind.
I did a watercolor of a logger bucking a log with a cross-cut saw, which is showing in my post Misery Whip – The Final. Timber fallers on spring-board would be a good subject for an illustration. I might have to work on that. Happy Friday.
Last Friday I posted Storm Clouds Brewing and talked about lightning and wildfire. Then Friday afternoon an aggressive wildfire broke out west of town. However, this fire wasn’t caused by lightning, it was caused because of an illegal marijuana grow.
The thing is, Mary and I were planning a weekend away camping in our trailer at our favorite spot. The problem was, the fire was less then five miles from our camp where we had already staged our trailer. We made the decision to retrieve our trail while the fire was relatively small, only 300 acres.
We got the trailer safely home and by the time we went to bed the fire had grown to 2,800 acres.
Saturday was a new day and the fire had not advance too much over night. It was reported at 2,930 acres. We decided to head back up to camp to pick the last of our equipment. Sailor and Kinta came with us this time.
By the time we returned home the fire was still at 2,930 acres. Unfortunately, high winds hit Saturday night/Sunday morning and by Sunday morning it was up to 3,700 acres. The terrain is very steep and it is extremely brushy. Spot fires have been tormenting the firefighters. Just when they seem to getting a handle on it, another slop over occurs. It is now Tuesday night and the fire is reported at 8,100 acres. Today was overcast and calm. Hopefully, they made good progress containing it. The fire is now 1 3/4 miles from camp. We shall see what tomorrow brings.
Billowing thunderclouds built up over the Trinity Alps last Wednesday. It was an ominous teaser of desperately needed rain. Our summer thunderstorms are the double-edged sword of rain and lightning. What will it be, soothing rain for parched earth or forest fires? These storms usually cause more grief than relief. I think we’re caught between a rock and a hard place. It’s not as if we get to choose what we get anyway.
Today the monsoonal moisture has returned. We’re already hearing thunder to the south. It could be an interesting day today.
Along the road to our home are blackberry brambles. In one bramble patch is the den of a family of gray foxes. Some mornings I glimpse the foxes hanging out on the road. The foxes have lived in the area for years. They’re attracted to the area for the cottontail rabbits that also live in the blackberries. They appeared in my earlier post The Fox and The Song
The other morning, I was on my way to work. I came around the corner and surprised the fox family. There were four kits and the vixen playing in the road. When they saw me coming they scattered. Foxes were darting here and there diving into the blackberry bushes. I grabbed my camera to get a picture of the group, but they had scampered away. When I stopped in front of their blackberry patch, two of the little kits were peeking out. Before I could focus my camera they disappeared.
However, a couple of days later, I was fortunate to have one brave fox kit sitting out in front of their thicket. This little one posed graciously while I snapped a few pictures. It is always a treat to see the fox family. I just hope they stay far away from our chicken house.