During the last few weeks I’ve had a Siggy and Sailor come to work with me while the weather was cooler. Mostly, it’s been too hot, but we’ve had a few nice days.
Logging is in full swing and the dust is flying. It’s dry out there and the crews have their fire tools sharp and fire pumpers full.
Nature is fragile or is it? Humans certainly have the ability to wreak havoc on our environment, but given time, it heals. I’m not suggesting careless disregard. I believe it’s our responsibility to be the best stewards of our natural world that we can be. The ospreys don’t mess in their nest and neither should we. My experience as a forester over the years has taught me that Mother Nature is a relentless and tough lady. In the natural environment, disturbance often equals opportunity.
In the top picture of Blitz lying next to the pole log deck, it is treeless except for the stacks of logs waiting their turn in the mill. Now look at the picture below. Blitz is sitting in a lovely pine forest. This place was a log deck too, forty-seven years ago. It wasn’t replanted by people. The surrounding forest took it back. The pines invaded this site with no help at all. I was six years old when this process took hold. Now a pine forest stands where a log deck once sat.
Today, by replanting and with proper nurturing, we replenish harvest units and the burned areas much faster than just letting nature take its course. We have a better scientific understanding of our environment and more sophisticated technology available today to manage our forests. We’ve come a long way in forest management over the last one hundred years. Trees weren’t replanted back then, but forests have grown back. Our sustainable forestry practices today are resulting in forests that are more healthy and vigorous. I’d love to see these forests a hundred years from now.
Every logging operation needs a log loader and there are all types of them. This pen and ink is of a Barnhart log loader from back in the railroad logging days. It was a big steam-powered loader for loading big logs.
Here are some of today’s loaders.
I thought it was odd that the operator lowered the hood when he loaded his truck. I assumed it may be running hot. However, when he finished loading the truck, he went over to the engine compartment and pulled out a stick, which caused the engine to throttle down. He had wedged the stick into the throttle to keep the engine revved up while he was running the loader. He then put the stick in the tool box and said, “I gotta put it up here or the dog will run off with it!” Good thing I left Blitz in the truck.
This old green beast of a front-end loader was barely running, which is why they were using the self-loader. These were two weary old machines.
I’ve known Bob for a long time. Bob is a Logging Supervisor or Woods Boss. His operations are a going concern. Bob is all business and his guys make logs in a hurry. When I go out and talk to his crew about log quality Bob gets nervous because I’m slowing down his operation. He isn’t the kind of man that one would think of as going around showing off a piece of art, but that is what he has done for nearly twenty years.
Twenty years ago Bob decided he needed a dog. When he got his new dog he told me, “All of you foresters have dogs in the back of your trucks, so I decided to get one for my truck.” If you have ever seen the back of a logging boss’s truck you would know that his dog would need chemical resistant feet and armor plating. Their trucks are full of hydraulic fluid, oil, truck parts, tractor parts, chokers, cable, tools, and all manner of oily, heavy metal things bouncing around loose in the bed. So Bob’s dog was special….unique even
Bob’s dog is named “Would”, not Wood even though he is wood. If you ask him why “Would”, he will say, “He would bark if he could and he would s–t if he could, therefore he is Would.” Bob recently got a new work truck and when he didn’t put Would in the truck he caught so much hell that he had to load him up again. Would has been Bob’s constant woods companion for the last twenty years. He never whines, growls or barks. He doesn’t need food or water and doesn’t mind all the stuff in the back of Bob’s truck. I think Would has mellowed over the years, even developed a fine patina. He may be the perfect logger’s dog.
I had Blitz join Would for a group shot. The two of the got on famously. Blitz is, after all, the consummate stick dog. Fortunately, she didn’t chew on his ear. I tried to get Bob in the picture, but tough old loggers don’t always like having their pictures taken.
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.
It is a new year with new pictures to take, and new art to make. I’m back at work and it is a beautiful, cool and sunny day here in Northern California. I spend part of my time at an industrial mill complex. When folks think of an industrial site they rarely think of doing wildlife photography. Although, it seems counter-intuitive, this site is a magnet for wildlife. There is water all around the site and the wild areas here, get little disturbance. This morning I took a few pictures of some of our residents. I have taken so many pictures of wildlife here at the mill that I am going to start a new catagory called Wildlife At The Mill.