Winter logging is already hit or miss with the wet weather shut downs. This year is off the charts. Trucks parked with no place to go has been a pretty common sight this season.
This skull intrigued me with its bleached bone and hard shadows. I wondered what happened to cause it to be here. It was wild and dirty, and crying out to be drawn. So draw it I did!
On our way into camp we often stop in a particular landing to give everyone a break from the ride. A D6 Cat tractor was parked there for several months. A local logger had been using it for road repair and erosion control work. During one stop at the landing we found a bear skull. It wasn’t a large skull, probably from a young bear or a sow.
I couldn’t resist placing the skull in the tractor for the loggers to find. It sat there for weeks undisturbed. Until one day, while we were coming through, it had disappeared. Somebody or something must have taken a fancy to it and packed it off. When I first saw the skull I wondered what it’s story was, but it seems that it’s story may not be done. I wonder where it is now.
The Sierra Cascade Logging Conference is all over, but for the clean up. The Forestry Education Fund Auction was last night and it was a booming success. The final result of the entire fund-raiser was north of $100,000. Now if you’ve been following our blogs, you know that Mary (Sneaking Bliss) and I provide original art, which is bid in a competitive way. Both pieces of art are on the auction block together. The winning bidder gets to pick the painting of their choice and then bidding begins anew on the second place painting.
Here’s how things went down. Our paintings were items 18 and 19. This is a great place to be on the schedule, the early middle. There were fifty items to auction. Everyone was still there with plenty of money left for bidding. When our turn came they asked us to come up front and say a few words, but this auctioneer was a total pro. I didn’t have a chance to needle Mary with my witty comments when the auctioneer jumped right in and was talking so fast I could hardly keep up. The first bid opened at $1,000. This was a great start! Within seconds it shot up over $4,000. As it went above $5,000 things really got serious. A new bidder jumped in and one bidder got out. Then another dropped out and it looked like we had reached the end. Suddenly, the last bidder to drop out decide he wasn’t done and the bidding took off again. As it shot up to $7,000 then $8,000 I leaned behind the auctioneer and looked at Mary and she look at me with “what is happening here” looks on our faces. The auctioneer finally yelled “SOLD” and the bidding was done. One of our paintings just sold for $10,000! I was floored.
Now the moment of truth. The winner came up to claim his prize. We waited to see which painting it would be. Do you think he agonized over which painting to choose? Heck no! He beelined straight to Mary’s painting and snatched it off the display like he was rescuing a baby from a fire. Mary’s painting brought in $10,000 in support of forestry education! It was an amazing moment.
At this point my painting was back into the bidding and the auctioneer began searching for a new price. Long story short it fetched $5,000. Don’t get me wrong, this was a fantastic price. Higher than I’d seen before, but … she crushed me! Mary absolutely annihilated me! Together our art brought in $15,000. We were thrilled at its success and what it meant for the education fund.
Tonight I’m going to relax, lick my wounds and have a toast with my favorite competitor. Tomorrow will be soon enough to start thinking about redemption for next year. Congratulations Mary, you are an amazing artist!
I’m continuing to work on the painting for the forestry education art auction. Here is the latest update. The inking is done and I’ve cleaned up most of the pencil lines. I find the pencil lines are very difficult to remove once the paper has been soaked.
The paper has been soaked and stapled onto the frame. Now mounted, it will be ready to paint as soon as it dries. It looks a little mottled from the moisture, but that fades as the water dries.
Nothing left to do but splash a bit of color on it! Hmmm? I wonder how the competition is coming along. Gee, I wish Mary, of Sneaking Bliss, would give me a little hint!
I’m continuing to work on the art piece for the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference Forestry Education Auction. I’ve sketched it out in pencil and am now laying down the ink. It’s been going very slow.
Tasha one of our golden girls has been ready to whelp since Sunday. She started this morning and had 10 puppies. She’s been a bit of a distraction keeping us up late, but now we’re done with that and everyone is doing well. Mary posted a picture of the puppies here.
I’m waiting to see the piece that Mary is working on. It’s good to scope out the competition. She’s going to have to bring it for the competitive auction!
It’s time for Mary and me to create a piece of art for charity once again. Every year we do something for the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference Forestry Education Auction. This pen and ink is my exploratory drawing for my painting. I like the direction it’s going. The tree and the background still needs some tweaking. I was helped out by the Forest History Society. They have an excellent photo library of vintage logging scenes and were kind enough to allow me use it for art reference.
Last year at the auction Mary and I each provide a piece of art. To liven things up we competed against each other. It was a big success. You can read about it here on Mary’s blog, And The Winner Is! In fact it was so successful that we are going head to head again this year. We’ll both be working on our paintings this weekend. I can’t wait to see the competition this year.
It has been a long dry summer. We had a good rain two days ago, the first in about three months. That brought a bit of relief from the horrendous fire season California has been going through.
The logging crews have put up with terribly dust conditions, and it’s not over yet. Most of the equipment they run has climate controlled cabs, but it was just a few short years ago when they didn’t. The men would return home completely covered in dirt. Not to say they don’t go home dirty now, because they do. At least they don’t have to breathe in the dust all day.
There’s no doubt the modern logging equipment has done much to improve the safety, comfort and productivity of the crew members.
Having the crews out working in the woods during such dry condition might seem risky. However, these people are often the first ones to the fires, because they are already in the woods. They are our first responders when nearby forest fires break out.
The day I visited this operation it was 105 F, dusty and hot.
Every time I see a news report where the reporter says loggers “chopped” down trees, I want to bang my head against the coffee table. Loggers haven’t chopped down trees since chainsaws took over the job in the 30’s and 40’s.
Chainsaws are still on every logging job, but now they share much of the tree falling duty with the feller bunchers. These machines look more like something from Star Wars. It’s not what most folks would expect on a logging job.
This machine is working on a fire salvage operation from last years wildfires. They cut trees all day long.
Life is a lot different for the loggers these days. Working in an air-condition cab is a world away for the days of axes and misery whips.