Forestry Friday … Lodgepole Pine – En Plein Air


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.

logepole pine, cone, pine cone, pen and ink, drawing, sketch, plein air

En plein air pen and ink of a lodgepole pine cone.

Here is some of our local lodgepole pine.

Click on the images to enlarge them.

The Blackberry Foxes


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

pen and ink, drawing, fox, gray fox

“The Vixen”    pen and ink.

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.

This brave little fox graciously pose for me.

The gray fox kit.

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.

 

Forestry Friday … When Is A Pine Cone Not A Pine Cone?


When is a pine cone not a pine cone? The answer,… when it’s not! Folks often see a conifer cone and call it a pine cone, but in reality it may not be a pine cone. There are many types of conifers that aren’t pines, such as spruce, true fir, hemlock and Douglas-fir to name a few.

Pondersosa pine, pine cone, pen and ink, ink, drawing

Ponderosa pine cone in pen and ink.

So why do so many folks refer to all conifer cones as pine cones? Apparently, the pines won the branding contest. In the UK many people call refer to vacuum cleaners as Hoovers, in the USA many people call all colas Cokes and conifer cones are pine cones.
Pine cones have thick scales with a little point called an umbo. These images are some of our local pines.

cones, pine cones, Ponerosa pine, forestry

Ponderosa pine cones are the classic western pine cones.

cones, pine cones, sugar pine, forestry

Sugar pine cones are the longest pine cones and reach 24 inches long. Sugar pine are a member of the white pine family.

cones, pine cones, gray pine, digger pine,, forestry

Gray pine cones are large heavy cones that are very common in the foothills of California.

cones, pine cones, knobcone pine, forestry

Knobcone pine cones are serotinous cones. Serotinous cones can remain attached to the tree for years and open after fire. These trees are referred to as fire pines.

cones, pine cones, Lodgepole pine, forestry

Lodgepole pine are another fire pine. The cones are usually less than 2 inches wide.

cones, pine cones, big cone pine , Coulter pine, forestry

Several years ago my youngest son climbed a Coulter pine tree to collect these beauties. Coulter pine is also called “big cone pine”, because they have the biggest cones of all, up to 10 pounds. These cones resemble a medieval mace.

Many of the non-pine species have thin scales with no point. These are some images of our local non-pine conifers.

Cones, true fir, white fir, fir cones

White fir cones disintegrate when they’re ripe. White fir is a true fir. True fir cones stand upright on the limb.

Cones, true fir, white fir, fir cones

It is rare to find intact true fir cones on the ground. This one was cut out of the tree by a squirrel.

cones, mountain hemlock, hemlock, hemlock cones

Mountain hemlock have a thin scaled small cone.

Douglas-fir, cones, Douglas-fir cones, forestry

Douglas-fir cones have extended bracts that stick out between the scales.

spruce, Sitka spruce, spruce cones

Sitka spruce cones also have thin scales. These spruce grow on the west coast from California to Alaska.

incense cedar, cedar cones, forestry, wooden pencils

Incense cedar have tiny cones. Incense cedar is used for making wooden pencils.

This is a small sample of some of our local conifers. Next time someone calls a non-pine cone a pine cone, you’ll be ready to give them a forestry lesson.

golden retriever

It just seems right to end this post with a picture of Blitz. She’s still here in spirit.

 

Forestry Friday … Steam Traction Engine


Best Traction Engine, traction engine, pen and ink, logging, old time, logs

The Best Steam Traction Engine in pen and ink.

I’ve always enjoyed old time logging scenes as subjects for pen and ink. The steam traction engine in this picture is the same model as the one in my blog banner.

Horses and oxen were the first source of power for lumberjacks. Then, steam traction engines, steam donkeys and locomotives heralded the age of steam in the woods. The Best Steam Traction Engine came to the woods around 1890. There were many different makes of traction engines during that era but, the Best Steam Traction Engines were the machines that operated in our neck of the woods. They hauled logs from the woods to the mills and lumber from the mills to market. The Best Manufacturing Company was started by Daniel Best, and based in San Leandro, California. They built these tractors until 1908 when the Best Manufacturing Company was acquired by Holt Manufacturing Company. Soon after, C. L. Best, Daniel’s son, then started the rival C. L. Best Gas Traction Company. In, 1925 Holt and Best merged to become Caterpillar Tractor Company.

The first time I saw one of these machines in person, I was amazed by its enormous size. The big drive wheels are over seven feet tall. It was a huge tractor used for hauling huge loads.

Forestry Friday … Otter, Otter, Otter!


This week I’m going to lighten it up. Animals are always fun and what is more fun than a playful otter, except maybe three!

pen and ink, otter, wildlife, nature, ink, pen & ink, drawing, animals

Three otters resting on a log.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted some art. I hope you like it.

 

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Bookends!

These are our otters that live at the mill. They travel around the mill site from pond, to river and to canals.  I never know where they are going to pop up next.

Otter, photography, wildlife, nature

Itchy!

Otter, photography, wildlife, nature

The three amigos.

In the forest setting, otters don’t ever become an issue during our harvest operations. They live in the water and riparian area.  Harvesting is minimal in the riparian zones.

Otter, photography, wildlife, natureOtter, photography, wildlife, nature

Blitz, golden retriever, dog, photography

Blitz says, “Can’t trust em’, they remind me of cats!”

 

Natural Born Retriever


watercolor, watercolour, pen and ink, golden retriever, pheasant, hunting

Blitz follows her nose to the prize.

Blitz took me pheasant hunting last week.  I think she would drive herself if she had thumbs.  Luckily, she needs a gunner tagging along.  It’s my joy to watch this girl living her bliss.  I captured this hunting moment in watercolor, and pen and ink.

Blitz, pheasants, hunting, pheasant hunting

Blitz with her bag.

Forestry Friday … Ever Feel Like You’re Being Watched?


black bear, pen and ink, nature drawing

American Black Bear, (Ursus americanus), the biggest predator in our woods.

When working in the woods I’m usually alone, but really never alone.  Do you ever get the feeling that someone or something is watching you?  I had this big brute spying on me one day.  He didn’t think I noticed him.

Black Bear, nature, wildlife, photography

My neck is tingling! Is someone there?

bear, black bear, wildlife, nature, photography
There’s a sneaky bear it there!

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The watcher was a big black bear boar.

Now, to answer the age-old rhetorical question.

Bear Poop

You know the question.  Yes indeed, they do poop in the woods. Just sayin’.

golden retriever

Hey, where’s my fierce guard dog?

Blitz decided she would wait it out in the truck.  She knew the bear would leave after filling up on a yummy forester meal.

Lost Art


When I say “lost art”, I don’t mean a lost skill.  I really mean lost artwork.

Pen and ink, lighthouse, art

Pen and ink of the Battery Point Lighthouse at Crescent City, CA around 1981.  Preserved in a photo.

Have you ever lost track of your artworks.  After decades of doing art, there were some pieces I had entirely forgotten about.  Mary used to take pictures of my art.  It is the only record I have of some of my work.  After all these years I don’t remember where or to whom some of it went.  I never kept track of things in a serious manner, since art was never my first career.  Between selling art, giving pieces away, moving again and again, and years of living life, things fade in memory.  Then, out of the blue I come across a photograph of some lost and forgotten art.  It’s a bit of bliss to me.  All because Mary, The Backdoor Artist purveyor of bliss, had to forethought to record my art.

Forestry Friday … Movin’ Logs Old School!

Gallery

This gallery contains 5 photos.


When steam came to the woods just after the turn of the previous century the logging locomotives were the cutting edge of technology.  They could move logs farther, faster and in much greater quantity than had been done with horse and … Continue reading