A Memory In The Mist

Appearing out of the mist was this large rusting hulk.  A tree growing through its roof as it imperceptibly melts into the ground.  These strange structures were once as common in the forested West as family owned bookstores, and like the bookstores they are slowly fading away.  They have been replaced by newer and better technology.  In a few decades most of these old relics will be gone.  No longer a reminder of a past lifestyle.  I suspect that most young folks won’t recognize it, but does anyone else?

Mist, tepee burner, lumber, sawdust, photography

Tree branches pour through it like smoke. How oddly appropriate the tree chose this as it’s home.

44 thoughts on “A Memory In The Mist

  1. “A hulk”: a new interesting word connecting with a high quality photo 🙂 A poetical title I like as well.Tim. I am very busy now but this “art stop” was very nice indeed.


  2. It’s certainly an image that provokes a feeling of times past tinged with thoughts of eventual obscurity .
    Bit sad 😦
    Maybe you’ll get the chance Tim to show us it in another light … another time 🙂


  3. Tough one!!… When I first looked at the image reminded me of a lighthouse, but not sure it would be in the middle of vast land… Very ignorant about the lumber industry!!! 😦


  4. I can’t hold back… Bee hive burner! They were used to burn wood waste in sawmills. We still have them all over here. The mill where my husband worked had one and just switched over to hogg fuel heat generation, to heat the dry kilns, a couple years back. And we think we’re green in BC…


    • Quite right Annarose! Except down here we call it a Teepee burner. In California these ceased being used in the 1970’s. Wood waste was then put into dump sites for about a decade, but now the waste goes in co-generation to make electricity. No more black ash snow raining down on the neighbors. Excellent modern pollution control measures eliminate nearly all emissions.


      • Yes that’s what we are doing also. I love the new tree growth emerging from the bones of the burner, so awesome! I forgot to say that I used to work at that mill too, pulling lumber off the green chain…. good times…
        I’m sorry about the disappearing bookstores too… books are so cool and made from trees (and words…)


    • It sounds like they were in use later up there from what Annerose commented. Down here they have been out of service for over thirty years. Except when the local sheriffs department used them back in the 1980’s and 90’s to burn illicit marijuana captured in pot garden raids.


  5. You are absolutely right, I had no idea what it was… So just for fun, I called your son over to see if he knew! And sure enough he says “Oh, those are burn silos.” (I gave him a blank stare) “You know” he says (like I would actually know) “tee-pee burners. They put the mesh on top to keep the big embers in and prevent fires… I haven’t seen one of those in a long time”.
    So one young person knows it! Of course, he is your son, but still 🙂


  6. You got me to read the comments, Tim! I had never seen one of these before but am old enough to have done so had I ever noticed one. Thanks for the education! I like the gloomy look to the photo since this old building is going down….


  7. OK, I believe you and all that, even though it looks so inappropriate for burning. Why the balcony all around the top? Is there an opening to let out the black ash? Maybe it is not as huge as it looks with that fence in front to provide comparison. Very puzzling object to me even after you give the explanation!


    • When standing at its full glory, it was about 30′ tall. The catwalk on top was for servicing the top screen when it needed cleaning or repair. It had doors in the bottom that were opened, when it was cool, so a front end loader could drive in and scoop out the ash. Then the ash could be spread on a pasture for fertilizer. I have picture of intact teepee burners that I will eventually post so you can see what they were like prior to decay.


  8. A teepee burner. I checked with my friends Tonto and Cochise, and they don’t like the sound of that at all… : P

    Fantastic photo, Tim, and thanks for the very interesting story behind it.


  9. Pingback: A Memory In The Mist – Revisited | THE FORESTER ARTIST

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