Wild Wednesday … Sierra Color!

Bliss and Tasha enjoyed a day at work. 

Forestry Friday … Protecting a King Sized Salvage Job!

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.

Forestry Friday … It’s Take My Followers To Work Day!

Gallery

This gallery contains 26 photos.

It’s take my followers to work day at the Forester Artist. Come along on one of my typical days. Having said that, rarely are my “typical” days typical. Let’s start by out checking in at the Pole Plant to see … Continue reading

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.

Forestry Friday … What a difference a Decade Makes

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.

camping, camp, forest golden retriever

This is where we escape. Blitz gives Mary a snuggle.

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.

forestry, seedlings, growth, forest

Hunter in 2002.

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.

forest, forestry, sapling, golden retriever

Blitz, Hunter’s daughter, sits on the same stump in 2014.

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.

Forestry Friday … The Nature Nook!

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This gallery contains 8 photos.

We affectionately call them “Nature Nooks”, but the official name is “Habitat Retention Areas” or HRAs.  Simply put, they are groups of trees left unharvested inside a logging unit.  The purpose is to leave mature tree thickets that provide hiding … Continue reading

Forestry Friday … W Is For Wildlife

Gallery

This gallery contains 5 photos.

If you’re out in the woods and you find a big W painted on a tree, just remember W is for wildlife.  When planning and laying out a timber harvest, foresters have to protect the other resources in the forest, … Continue reading

Bucking Logs – The Donation A WIP

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.

watercolor, watercolour, logging, bucking, logs, painting, saw, crosscut saw, misery whip, line art, sketch

In the beginning, the line art.

watercolor, watercolour, logging, bucking, logs, painting, saw, crosscut saw, misery whip

The background washes and starting to find some detail.

watercolor, watercolour, logging, bucking, logs, painting, saw, crosscut saw, misery whip

Completed intial washes and adding some background detail.

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.