Wild Wednesday … Birds of the Mill Pond

The mill pond, also known as the otter pond, is visited by various birds all year long. This was a snapshot of the visitors one day in November.

Forestry Friday … The Ride Along

Forestry, mentoring, education

The truck is fueled and ready. Do you want to go for a ride along?

Ralph was a state forester. He’s retired now, but he’s been a friend throughout my career. He gave me my first ride along.

When I met Ralph, I was a firefighter in the summer and attending community college.  I declared my Forestry Major and was preparing to transfer to Humboldt State University. I had not taken any forestry classes yet. That would start the next year. I didn’t have much forestry work experience. I knew Ralph from my job at the fire station. I asked if I could ride along with him for a day. He gladly took me up on it. I learned a lot from Ralph.

Forestry, mentoring, education

Jaime spent the day exploring a little West Coast forestry.

The other day I took a young woman, named Jaime, for a ride along. She’s contemplating her next career move. She is a cousin of a close friend.

The night before, Mary and I visited with our friends, Jaime, and her father. We had a wonderful conversation.  Jaime recently completed her Bachelor degree at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. Now she was considering going for an environmental law degree. Mary and I were both thinking, She needs to go for a ride along. When offered, she leaped at the chance.

The next day we started out with an introduction to our company’s head research scientist, CJ. These two women hit it off famously. After an insightful conversation about environmental science, careers and education, we headed out to the mill.

We toured the mill complex where Jaime started out watching the pole plant processing logs. Next, we went through the sawmill. She asked a ton of questions about the process and took a few pictures to send to her friends back in North Carolina. After the mill tour it was back to the truck.

Forestry, mentoring, education

She saw some modern logging technology in this tree shear.

We headed out to look at the timberlands. Our conversation centered on forestry practices, land management and environmental issues.  We started near Shingletown, looking at forestry practices, and ended the day at the Ponderosa Burn, talking about fire restoration.

Forestry, mentoring, education

Valley Quail in the Ponderosa Burn.

Now, if I sound like the wise professional bestowing my vast knowledge from on high, let me correct that right now. This education process is a two way street. Our conversations weren’t all about forestry. I learned about all manner of issues important to her generation. We both had a fun and instructive day.

Forestry, mentoring, education

Channeling her inner Vanna White, Jaime shows off some old time milling technology in this teepee burner.

Making time for young people to go for a ride along or job shadow for a day is time well spent. A day job shadowing does something for them that a semester of school doesn’t do.  It gives them a big picture of the profession. As professionals we benefit from this time too. We’re never too old to learn and they too have a lot to share.

Forestry, mentoring, education

Jaime’s career is a like this little pine tree, just starting out.

Blitz, golden retriever

Blitz likes a good ride along, but don’t take her seat!

Sunrise at the Sawmill

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This morning’s sunrise over the otter pond at the sawmill.

This morning, sunrise was quite a treat for the eyes.  Even in the middle of a large industrial site you can find a moment to enjoy nature.

Lassen Peak, Mt Lassen, sawmill, sunrise

Looking east over the mill site toward Lassen Peak.

red tail hawk, red tailed hawk, log, sawmill

A red tail hawk perches on a log deck while on a morning hunt.

logs, log deck, wood

The big log deck forms a wall of wood.

heron, great blue heron, blue heron, wildlife, sawmill

A great blue heron gets in a bit of morning fishing.

Forestry Friday … Logcicles!

Gallery

This gallery contains 9 photos.

We store logs in decks during the Summer so we have enough wood to run the mill all year-long.  Logging is curtailed in California during the Winter.  In the Winter logging is restricted to dry rainless periods or hard frozen … Continue reading

A Memory In The Mist – Revisited

When I first posted A Memory In The Mist I thought it would be an unusual sight for most folks.  With so many people unfamiliar with teepee burners and their use, and add to that a picture of one decaying into the earth, it would be something different.  I decided I would show you a few more images of full standing burners that are still around.  They represent something from the past that was left behind by the forward march of technology.

pen and ink, ink, drawing, sketch, sawmill, teepee burner

This pen and ink represents an old-time sawmill with a teepee burner.

In the old days, before sawdust was used for particle board and bark was used for landscaping, it was burned.  Much of it was burned to power the boilers at the mill, but excess wood waste was just burned.  Today’s mill residues that cannot be used in other products are burned in co-generation plants to generate electricity.  Nothing goes to waste anymore.

teepee burner, beehive burner, photography, sawmill

The Carlotta, California  teepee burner was an extra-large one.

A big one like the Carlotta burner could handle a lot of mill residue.  With the mill gone the old burner stands like a grave marker of the old mill site.

teepee burner, sawmill, photography

It is a tall skinny teepee burner in Nubieber, California.

A tall burner like the one Nubieber was built with a tall chimney.  This reduced the risk of sparks starting a fire outside the burner.

teepee burner, sawmill, photography

This teepee burner is located between Anderson and Redding, California.

The Anderson burner was a very typical design around here.  As a child I lived about a half mile from this one.

teepee burner, sawmill, photography

A teepee burner in use from 1932.

teepee burner, bee hive burner, photography, sawmill

The teepee burner from A Memory In The Mist.

teepee burner, bee hive burner, photography, sawmill

Where once was smoke now there is foliage.

teepee burner, bee hive burner, photography, sawmill

Nature is resilient and relentless and will be here long after we are gone.

teepee burner, bee hive burner, photography, sawmill

Here comes the sun.

FIRE At The Mill!

We weren’t expecting to have a fire threaten the mill.  The photos below tell the story.

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Firefighters in pencil.

I added this sketch of the firefighters after “Z” at Zeebra Designs called for folks to draw in her post Time Out For Art – YOU CAN DO THIS.  Here you go Z!

The rain has been replaced by wind and dry conditions once again.  Fire returned, only this time instead of in the woods, it was at the mill.  With winds blowing 25 to 30 mph a fire broke out at the mill next door and was being blown right at our site.

fire, mill, photography, wildfire, firefighters

The fire started next door.

It was all hands on deck.  The crew poured in from all over the plant site to fight the fire.

fire, mill, photography, wildfire, firefighters

fire, mill, photography, wildfire, firefighters

Everybody pitch in.

Hoses were laid and water was flowing onto the fire.  Soon, the regular fire crews arrived on scene.

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This firefighter is patrolling for spot fires.

We were afraid the fire would spread into the pole stacks, or God forbid, the chip pile.

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Clearing fireline.

Our dozer was building a fireline in case the fire tried to jump the canal.

fire, mill, photography, wildfire, firefighters, logging truck

The logging trucks had to stop while the fire was being fought.

The air tanker arrived ready to drop fire retardant.

fire, mill, photography, wildfire, firefighters, logging truck, air tanker, fire bomber

Air tanker

The effort continued on the ground and we held the fire at the edge of our mill site.

fire, mill, photography, wildfire, firefighters, logging truck

Eating smoke.

Then the Helicopter arrived with the Bambi Bucket.

Air support.

Air support.

The helicopter was scooping water from the Sacramento River to dump onto the fire.

fire, mill, photography, wildfire, firefighters, logging truck, helipoter

Making the drop.

With the spread of the fire was stopped, mop up operations began.

fire, mill, photography, wildfire, firefighters, logging truck

Mop up operations.

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Mopping up is putting out all the smoldering embers.

Our crew moved fast to get water on the fire and the fire department responded quickly.  Together we were able to stop the fire before it could get into our yard.  As a result of everyone’s quick action this wasn’t a big problem for us.  I’m not certain how the neighbors fared, but I think they did okay also.

fire, mill, photography, wildfire, firefighters, logging truck

The crew at the other mill were busy battling the fire in their chip pile.

This is just another reminder that we are in for a long fire season this year.

Osprey Practice?

I saw an osprey do the strangest thing the other day.  I was driving from the log yard to the pole yard and I saw one of the osprey go into an aggressive dive.  Located between the two yards is a canal.  I naturally assumed that the osprey was going after a fish in the canal.  I drove closer and pulled over to get some shots of the action.

osprey, nature, wildlife, photography

Osprey wheeling around

It was an excellent chance to shoot the osprey.  Lately they have been sitting on the eggs and hanging out at the tower.  Not a lot of opportunity to get any interesting pictures.

Osprey, nature, wildlife, photography

The osprey on approach.

As I started taking pictures, the osprey wheeled around to come in for another swoop.  With his sights set on target he banked for the dive.

Osprey, nature, wildlife, photography

Gettin’ his dive on!

Then, the osprey did something unexpected!  Instead of diving into the canal the osprey dove into an open area.  It was fast and low, beautiful to watch.  Osprey are fish eaters and to my knowledge they don’t catch rodents.  So what was he doing?

Osprey, nature, wildlife, photography

Coming in low and fast, but for what!

Osprey, nature, wildlife, photography

Up close and personal!

Then, he did the osprey snatch.  The osprey grabbed a stringy piece of cedar bark.  Bark, why bark?  He flew about ten feet and dropped the bark.  It all seemed quite purposeful.

Osprey, nature, wildlife, photography

The snatch and fly!  The osprey with the bark in his talons.

Then the osprey circle back around and headed out.

Osprey, wildlife, nature, photography

Coming around again.

He did manage to give me a dirty look as he did his fly by.

osprey, nature, wildlife, photography

Gettin’ the stink eye. I suppose that’s better than the other end.

I’m left with the question, what was the osprey doing?  Was he looking for material for the nest?  I don’t think so, because they haven’t worked on the nest for weeks and the eggs have been laid.  Did he think the bark was an animal?  I doubt it and I think they only eat fish.  Was he practicing or playing?  Maybe, why wouldn’t a well fed osprey engage in a little fun.

Do any of you good folks have any ideas as to what the osprey was doing?  I would love to hear your theory.