There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Monday, September 22, 2008

I've been on a special mission to.....

........find Autumn....and capture one of the rights of passage from summer to Autumn.

But first.....let's just get this out of the way. Yes, I live in the town where Sarah Palin was born, but she moved when she was 3 months old. Yes, she went to Idaho institutions of higher learning. Yes, I have a pair of rimless glasses but they are old enough to not have my current prescription in them. Personally, I think her particular pair of specs resemble Steve's safety glasses without the side clips. Her hair? Not going there. And yes, I am perfectly be-speckeld, coiffed and poised. She is entitled to her views, I am entitled to my choice for candidates.

Now, to the business of tracking Autumn. I have been in the forest A LOT these past 2 weeks. The Chain Saw Project of '08 continues. We walk the forest every day with Luke our forester whose credentials include a 4 year degree in forestry from U of I, and 9 years with the Forestry Service. We have had about 6 loads go out so far. One load was Cedar. We have an over abundance of Cedars towards the back of the acreage. We did lose 2 Hemlock trees to fungus. When the trees were finally down and the trunk exposed, the inside looked like the underside of a mushroom. Sad. CS described the Lodge Pole's perfectly. They look like Q-tips. So, OUT fungus and gone!!!

Here are some of the sure signs Autumn is here: This tree is along the driveway of the Burning Tree Ranch across the road from us.
This fire bush was seen on a back road while we were out investigating.

These ferns are directly across the road from our place.
This sweet little Tamarack is in our west "yard."
This shrubbery is along the trail heading south on our longest trail.
This tree was also discovered while being Autumn sleuths.
Here is a close up of a Cedar. Beautiful.

This is a Hemlock. Breathtaking. The needles look like lace.

One of the biggest downsides to logging: DUST. This is one of the staging areas where the trees are limbed and the tops cut off. Slash piles are made from the "refuse" to be burned when the logging is finished. The trees are pulled by Luke's tractor to these areas along "skid trails." Next summer these skid trails will be walking trails and we will finally be able to fully enjoy our property. About time.

Here are two of the slash piles.....HUGE.

And now for one of the rights of passage of Summer to Autumn ......the end of summer yard sale held at our house the weekend of the 13th. A week of damn hard work cleaning out closets, attics, garages and nooks and crannies to make about 150 bucks. This was the worst yard sale I have ever had and is probably the last one. I think the price of gas kept folks away. We are 12 miles out of town and that is a long drive when gas is 4 bucks a gallon. There must have been 30 yard sales in town the same why drive 24 miles round trip to look at my junque? The things I thought would sell did not. My own rule is stuff that doesn't sell goes to the animal shelter store; period. We have bags and bags ready to go.

Here is the longest running not sold item. This is Steve's for sale item and thus exempt from the shelter store....not that there is one other person on the face of the earth that would want this old Dentist Chair minus the hydraulics. Steve has a vision of someone using it as a patio chair. Umhumm. The working non digital TV sold. The non working digital TV that was a victim of a lightening strike that hit the east side of the house did not sell.
Here are the three tables of really cool junque, lovingly arranged and priced for a quick sale. There is Steve in the first picture, I'm in the second. Do you see any potential buyers? That would be a resounding NO. Penelope and Violet gave their best welcoming barks to each and every person that did show up. I had free bottles of water and cookies for attendees (my daughter the queen of nice at yard sales buys donuts) but that made no difference. Food bribes did not encourage anyone to buy anything. What $$$ we did make will help pay for my airplane ticket to California in November because Unit*d, Alas*a and Del*a will allow Steve to use his airzillion miles for a ticket for Steve, BUT HE CAN'T USE THEM FOR A TICKET FOR ME.

Monday, September 08, 2008

A primer in.....

logging. This last week I have learned the basics of logging. There are 3 main reasons we are logging:

1.) The health of our forest.
2.) How the forest will look after logging (before logging we couldn't see through much of it due to the density of the trees).
3.) We will make some money from the sale of the timber.

Most of the trees that will be cut are Lodge Pole Pine. Basically they are the tree weed of our forest. They are everywhere; leaning sideways under other trees, crunched under canopies of cedars, pushing out White Pines, Ponderosa Pines, Aspen, Hemlocks and my much loved Tamaracks/Larch. By thinning our forest of these trees and some others, we will be building a buffer should a fire happen in our valley. Lodge Poles act as kindling and allow fire to climb up the larger trees. Along with taking trees out, Luke, our logging forester will be limbing the trees that are left creating a cleaner trunk free of more kindling, and a forest floor that is mainly slow burning shrubs and ferns.

Because of the downward turn in construction everywhere (new construction and additions to existing buildings) many of the saw mills in Idaho have shut down or been sold. Surprisingly that creates a low inventory of pulp. Lodge Pole Pine is perfect for pulp. It doesn't pay much per ton, but as long as it is useful and not just burned then cut 'em down. I have said NO to taking Tamaracks and Hemlocks. We will need to thin some of our Cedar groves and we have a lot of them. We have some really old growth Cedars....and I mean really old. They are magnificent trees and the decision we have to make is: take the some of the old growth to allow the smaller Cedars to grow or take the newer growth. I'll worry about that when the time comes. Cedar is merchantable timber meaning it is construction grade wood. It pays more but sorry, I'd rather keep the trees.

We already have a load, that should equal 30 ton, ready for trucking. I took a video of the action but the noise from the chain saw and the truck generator was deafening so I am posting stills. The equipment on the truck is called a stinger. It is used to pick up the logs and load them on to the truck. If I said the guy manipulating the stinger was a god or guru it would be an understatement. He is amazing with that thing. He lifts, swings, adjusts, figures out where to put the logs and drops them in place as if they were eggs. I always thought the logs were just plonked onto the trailer and chained down. Nope, it is an art.

The truck just left, I couldn't see to take a picture.....because I was crying.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Bless his little......

....kitty cat heart, he tries. I was sitting at the computer and Guido was in the cheetah bed. I heard him singing just before he fell asleep......

A G N F C H T.....L I O M BUHRE....QRZ la la la lalalalala....Now I SING MY AGN's, next time miaow miaow miaow to me.

He is so cute and lovable that it makes my heart ache. Steve says things like "He was under anesthesia too long." or "Talk about a half full turnip basket."

OK, so he isn't exactly kitty MENSA material, but you have to admit he is adorable.
He was actually snoring.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Trees...of months and seasons past.

Update #2......So...this post was written last year, updated 2-8-08 and it has languished in draftdom since then. The thread is outdated, but the reason I am resurrecting it is because of the video at the bottom. For the health of our forest (we have some bug that causes some blister-rust-rot-tree death), because we have a timber exemption and have to log every 10 years....and it has been 10 years since we did that.....and because the Tamarack/Larch absolutely will not be cut down....I am posting what I will be living with for the next few weeks from 6AM to 5PM.

The original date of this post was 10/25/07. For some reason I didn't take it off draft. This tree is up to its' bottom branches in snow at the moment. It is still lovely.

My beautiful Tamarack......just as breathtaking in Autumn as it is in Summer. There is a pool of orange needles around the base of the tree. It looks like faerie dust.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Summer is gone.....the rut has started.....

....for the local deer. We saw this beautiful buck right by the corn bowls munching away. It is hard to tell in the photos but his velvet was hanging and ready to fall off. Pretty soon those antlers that the does find so attractive will be gone too. Gives a whole meaning to the phrase having a rack! Here is a little blip I found on the Internet about shedding and antlers.

During the growth phase of the bony antlers, they are covered with a sensitive skin referred to as "velvet," which is filled with blood vessels that feed the antlers the vitamins and the minerals necessary to build up the bone, and to promote normal antler growth. Antler growth spans two to four months, after which time the velvet is no longer needed, and a ring, which effectively serves as a shutoff valve, forms at the base of the antlers and cuts off the blood supply to the velvet. As a result, the velvet withers, dries up, and falls off, often assisted by the deer, which rubs his antlers against tree bark. The antler regeneration is complete, and the shedding cycle will resume once mating season in the fall concludes.

The temp this morning at 7AM was 36. We have had some lovely days with it getting no higher than 68. Autumn may technically be the 22nd of this month, but Idaho makes its own rules where weather is concerned. I blinked, summer is gone.

I apologize, but I can't keep my promise to stop posting kitty cat stuff. The opportunities are just too good to pass up. Overheard just a few minutes ago:

Fuzz and
Mimi Louise:

Damn, girl your butt is big!

Hello? That looks like your big butt.

Nope, it's yours.

Get over yourself, Fuzz.