Forestry Friday … Of Trees and Dogs

When I was a reforestation forester, the district I worked on had about 2,600 acres burn in the Gun II Fire. The fire burned over 60,000 acres in total. It was my responsibility to implement the reforestation on our 2,600 acres.

Tree planting, wildfire, fire restoration

Planting trees in the Gun II Burn.

As an artist, I paint on a small canvas. As a forester, I paint on a big one. After a large wildfire, the landscape canvas can be huge. Reforestation on this scale is a lot of work.  It’s very gratifying knowing I had a hand in starting this new forest. Each year when I return, the trees are a little bigger. I picked up and carried every box of trees, hundreds of thousands of trees.

Below are four photo point pictures showing how this canvas has changed over time. I had a few of my friends help demonstrate how big the trees have grown over the last 12 years. It’s a running joke around here, that you must have a dog if you’re a forester.

Fire restoration, forestry, seedlings, golden retrievers

May 5, 2001  Immediately after planting.  Hunter and Blaze pose for me.

Fire restoration, forestry, seedlings, golden retrievers

February 19, 2006   That’s Hunter and Blaze peeking through the trees.

Fire restoration, forestry, seedlings, golden retrievers

July 7, 2010  The trees have been thinned.  Blitz and Hawk pose.

Fire restoration, forestry, seedlings, golden retrievers

October 23, 2013  The trees are over twenty feet tall.  Now it’s just Blitz.

A farmer grows his crop over the course of a year, but our crop takes decades.  Counting each year that passes is an occupational reality of being a forester. Seeing my dogs in these pictures also reminds me of time marching on.  Now, there are new generations of both dogs and trees. To me, their lives are intertwined with the forest. This forest is full of our stories.

43 thoughts on “Forestry Friday … Of Trees and Dogs

  1. Time changes every thing and time marches on according to those old sayings. Some things for the better and some things that involve loss and sadness. Lovely post, Tim. Great comparsions with the photos of the dogs.

    This post brings backs memories of my dogs that have left God’s green earth. And I’m sure that as you posted these photos that you had happy memories and sad memories as well.


  2. “Each year when I return, the trees are a little bigger. I picked up and carried every box of trees, hundreds of thousands of trees.”

    What a wonderful feeling that must be.
    By the way, those dogs pose like professionals.


  3. I think everyone needs a dog 🙂
    what a wonderful yet challenging job you have…
    I am a tree person…my Oaks have the greatest laughter and tell the best stories…
    I lost some this past year…Texas needed more rain…but it all comes in cycles I think
    this year I have thousands of acorns…so I will so many seedlings…
    Your photos will show history as the years move forward…
    beautiful animals you have …and the one in the photos with your wife is a sweetheart looking one, if not a little mischief…
    Thank you for sharing you world…I enjoy wandering through…even if I don’t say so..know I been admiring your art…
    Take Care…You Matter…


    • Thank you Maryrose, what a wonderful comment. Even though my job is so different from what most people do, I think folks really relate to it. We all have that innate connection to the natural world and it’s cycles on an instinctive level. The dogs fit right in on this journey. Ever since that first day that a tribe member walked into camp with a wolf pup thousands of years ago, they have been beside us. Only now, they just get to ride in a pickup truck. 😉 Blitz wouldn’t have it any other way.


  4. A wonderfully evocative perspective how nature slowly but surely takes control from intrusion and so poignant too as Hawk passed on, with Blitz sitting on that same stump – very, very moving and I thank you for sharing it.


  5. Oh I love this! I can only imagine the pride and joy you experience when you see “your” trees! Over the past three years I’ve planted several trees in my yard: a weeping willow, a big-tooth maple, and compliments of the Arbor Foundation (I”m a big fan): a golden raintree, 2 washington hawthornes, a japanese cherry blossom, flowering dogwood, sargeant crabapple…plus the birds or squirrels were generous and left seeds in my yard and I now have a magnificent bur oak (or a post oak, not sure which yet) and a bradford pear tree! It’s thrilling to watch them bud and grow. I love it! I can only imagine the depth of your appreciation with that kind of magnitude. How sweet that your dogs posed. I’m sorry that you no longer have Hawk. But I bet he’s in the forest every time you’re there, you can count on that! Thanks for doing what you do!


  6. This where my missing comment is supposed to be, so Tim, I am back again to say that I was touched by this post. It really does show the circle of life. What a great legacy your tree planting leaves for future generations and I think the memories of those two beloved friends will stay with you always. Patsy


  7. Pingback: Forestry Friday … Tree Planters! | THE FORESTER ARTIST

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