Bliss and Tasha enjoyed a day at work.
The King Fire devastated almost 98,000 acres in the Sierra Nevada, east of Sacramento. Our company lost 18,000 acres of forest. Lately, I’ve had opportunity to spend time in the burn area. There is a lot of work being done by our foresters, biologists, botanists, and others to protect the resources so the timber can be quickly salvaged in an environmentally sensible manner. Most people never get to see what is done to protect the soil, water, cultural resources, and wildlife. In the gallery are images of just some of the work being done.
There is a lot of preparation that has to be done prior to logging. It has taken a large team of resource professionals to get the job done on a project this size.
Just for children a picture book about wildfire and the forest rehabilitation that takes place after a fire. Check out, Firestorm In the Forest.
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.
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.
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.
Do you have a favorite spot in the woods that you like to get away to and reconnect with nature? Somewhere that you’ve camped with your family or just a quiet place to escape the everyday bustle. The familiarity of that kind of place has a timeless quality about it. That is part of what makes it happy and comforting. We want it to always be there and never change.
As a forester, I work with a changing forest every day. Some changes come quickly like a timber harvest. Some come violently as with a wildfire. Mostly, change comes slowly. The different seasons transform the forest each year. This brings about my favorite yearly change, the Spring burst of growth. The fruits of my labor are on full display, as tree buds elongate and spring forth new needles. Each year the trees that we planted are a little bigger than before.
This photo was taken of my old buddy, Hunter, in 2002. In the background was a newly planted forest. The trees were harvested from the area directly behind him in 2000 and the seedlings were planted in 2001. If you look closely, you can see the small pine trees growing. Lassen Peak is just visible on the horizon in front of Hunter.
Jump ahead to 2014 and Blitz sits on the same stump. The trees we planted have now grown for twelve seasons. Many of them are over twenty feet tall. The view of Lassen Peak is gone. Blitz was barely able to sit on Hunter’s stump because decay caused it to crumble under her. The yearly change may seem small, but when viewed over a decade, it’s dramatic. Expecting the forest not to change is like expecting your child not to grow up. Forests are dynamic and never static. Our memories and old photographs may not change, but our forests always will.
I’ve decide the name the painting “The Misery Whip.” I’m not done yet, but closing in. It is almost midnight so I’m packing it in for tonight. Here it is so far.
I have an impending deadline. I am creating this watercolor painting as a donation to the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference, Education Day live auction. It is a 1930’s era logger bucking logs with a crosscut saw, also known as a “misery whip”. I sketched it the night before last. I stretched my paper yesterday morning. Last night I started putting paint to paper. Tonight I have to finish it. Tomorrow I will need to cut the mat and frame it so that tomorrow night it goes to auction. whewww! I’m ready for a nap, unfortunately that will have to wait until Sunday.
This part is for any Conference attendees. I’m posting this to the Conference facebook page in case there are any attendees going to the Education Day Dinner and happen to look online. We want you to show up with your check books because it’s fundraising time. You can bid on this if you like it, or bid on something else if you don’t, but bid!
It is a WIP. This is where I stopped last night, but now I’m back at it. Updates will be forthcoming.
You may be asking, why did he wait so long to start this? An excellent question and one to which I have a good answer. However, I can’t go into that now, because I just don’t have time. That will be another blog. Stay tuned.