Forestry Friday … The Fellers

WIP update.

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!


Forestry Friday … Art Auction Time Again!

pen and ink, vintage logging art, logging art

Circa 1940’s, loggers use a two-man chainsaw to fell a large Douglas-fir. Pen and ink.

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.



Forestry Friday … Raining on the Parade

log truck, logging, loggers, drought, rain

The woods are silent, but for the sound of falling rain. The log trucks are parked. Winter operations cease when the woods are wet. It all comes to a halt to avoid making a mess of the ground or getting mud in the creeks. The loggers are either in the shop or at home. After four years of drought, it’s good to be rained out.

Forestry Friday … Drought and Dust

tractor, logging, dust

A dusty cat heading for another turn.

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.

skidder, logging loggers

A skidder pulling another turn of logs down the hill to the landing in a cloud of dust.

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.

processor, logging logs logger

The processor is making logs, while the cat heads back for more.

There’s no doubt the modern logging equipment has done much to improve the safety, comfort and productivity of the crew members.

log truck, loggers, logging

Loading the truck isn’t so dusty.

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.

dogs, golden retrievers

Sailor and Bliss say, Sleeping in the pickup isn’t dusty or hot when the AC is running.

The day I visited this operation it was 105 F, dusty and hot.

Forestry Friday … Feller Buncher

logging sports, loggers, chopping, ax

A speed chopping contest between Oregon State University and Shasta College students. Logging sports like this were inspired by how it was once done.

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.

chainsaw, logger, logging, faller, falling, felling, bucking, limbing

Using a chainsaw to limb a Ponderosa pine tree.

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.

feller buncher, falling, felling, cutting, timber, loggers, logging

The disk on the front of the feller buncher is the saw blade. This type of saw head is called a “hot saw” because it runs constantly.

This machine is working on a fire salvage operation from last years wildfires. They cut trees all day long.

They grab the trees when they cut them. The trees are then stacked up in a "doodle" for the skidders to take to the log landing.

They grab the trees when they cut them. The trees are then stacked up in a “doodle” for the skidders to take to the log landing.

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.

Forestry, mentoring, education

This tree shear is another example of tree cutting technology. Don’t worry, we let her go.

Road Work Art Work

I’m an opportunistic artist. Time for making art is precious, so I find it where I can.

Click on the gallery if you want to get stuck at the road construction with me. Who wouldn’t, right?

The Art Challenge, Day Three … Old Time Logging

It’s day three! I was tagged to do the 3 pieces of art a day for 5 days, Art Challenge, by Mark Mitchell. The theme for today is “Old Time Logging.”  I threw in a bonus picture that you may recognize from my banner. It was used for a book cover, but it makes a good banner too.

I would love to see Annerose Georgeson do the Art Challenge. I picked Annerose because of her wonderful impressionistic paintings of nature and forestry subjects. It seems like a good match to me.

Prints are available at Fine Art America.

Steam Donkey WIP and The Last Submission

steam donkey, wip, logging

One Step Closer. The forest is coming along.

This is the painting I donated two years ago.

Watercolor, watercolour, logging, historic, crosscut saw, misery whip, auction, art

The Misery Whip.

This was posted at:

Prints available at Fine Art America

Forestry Friday … A Trip To The Woods and More Steam Donkey WIP

Steam donkey, wip, watercolor, watercolour, mixed media, pen and ink

The color is going on and the background is developing. Time to grow a forest. I’m well into the awkward phase and the quality of the photo isn’t very good.

It was a perfect day in the woods. I was visiting a more modern logging crew.

log truck, loader, logging, processor

Loading the truck and filling out the load receipt.

What do you think the steam donkey crew would have said about this equipment.


A dozer skidding in a log turn.

I get to go to places like this when I’m at work.

Lassen Park

Looking north toward Lassen Park.

Nothing like a little inspiration on the way home to prepare for painting.

Sunset over the Sacramento River.

Sunset over the Sacramento River.

Forestry Friday … Big Stumps Talkin’


A managed redwood forest.

Last week, I was in the redwood country of our coastal mountains. However, I wasn’t down in the parks with the gigantic and ancient trees. As you might imagine, I was in young, working redwood forests.

foxglove, wildflowers

Wild Foxglove

It’s beautiful country and full of surprises. One of the surprises you’ll find in these forests are the old stumps of the ancient forest giants that were logged over a hundred years ago.

stump, redwood, spring board

A giant redwood stump.

These old stumps tell a story of the past. The stump pictured above looks like it has two eyes. The “eye” on the left is a spring-board hole. Way back when, the timber fallers would cut a notch in the tree up above the butt swell. They then wedged a board into the notch. They stood on the board, called a spring-board, to cut the tree down. Two man teams with double bit axes and cross-cut saws fell these trees. The spring boards elevated the fallers up the tree where it wasn’t as thick, making it easier to cut. That’s why these stumps are so tall.

Many of these stumps are charred on the outside. The fires that caused this may have been intentional. It was a common practice of the time, to burn the logging site after the trees were felled. They did this to eliminate slash. After the big trees were cut the slash was so deep it was difficult for a man to get through it. The fire solved this problem and left burned stumps behind.

This redwood stump is fifteen feet across.

This redwood stump is fifteen feet across.

spring board

A spring board hole cut into the stump.

Looking west from the Coast Range toward Humboldt Bay and the Pacific.

Looking west from the Coast Range toward Humboldt Bay and the Pacific.

I did a watercolor of a logger bucking a log with a cross-cut saw, which is showing in my post Misery Whip – The Final. Timber fallers on spring-board would be a good subject for an illustration. I might have to work on that.  Happy Friday.