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

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.


yellowdog granny said...

oh sweety im sorry..but you really are doing a good your self something pretty with your extra money..or some plants...

kenju said...

Did I miss something? Why were you crying? I hate to see trees cut down - was that it?

Mom said...


I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

-- Joyce Kilmer

cs said...

Now see, you have many talents Ro! Logger woman too boot! Next thing we all know, you will on that TV show, Logger mama's! do real tv stuff. Go Ro!!!!

Yes, and the price of pellets are skyrocketing this year too. Cold winter ahead. Better stock up on a few tons.

Those pole pines remind me of big huge Q-tips. Ugly pines if you ask me.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

The Evil Twin and I plan on using our two woodburning fireplaces this year to help cut down on our gas heat bill. It went up substantially, even though we bought $6K worth of new windows last summer. It's just sad all the way 'round.

rosemary said...

YDG, kenju, mom, ETW, cs my pal in Idaho......

We are doing a good thing by logging...the deer will come back in higher #'s, our forest will be healthier, the lodgepole left will be beautiful because they have room to grow tall and straight on all 4 sides, the pulp from our trees will go to make pellets and pressed logs, fiberboard and other needed products. I did cry seeing the trees going out on the back of a truck. Whenever we would be behind a logging truck I would look at those trees...most of them merchantable timber and wonder how someone could cut down those magnificent living things. I still feel that way, but after the smoke/fire scare during our last storm I know what we are doing is the right thing. Mom....I actually Googled that poem yesterday after the truck roared down the road. YDG: because of what we are doing...the Forest Service has to issue a burn permit to burn all of the slash piles when the logging is done....we will get free trees...good ones like White and Bull Pine, Larch and Aspen to re-forest next spring.

Shammickite said...

I just wrote a long post and then deleted it without saving it. Dammit!
I'll try again later. When I'm not so cross with myself.

Chris said...

I would have cried too. I hate to see anything living destroyed. But it is for the greater good. Hugs.

Chris said...

I would have cried too. I hate to see anything living destroyed. But it is for the greater good. Hugs.

Kimberly Ann said...

You are doing it for the right reasons and it will help the forest in the long haul. That's important.
Maybe save some of the pinecones and make them into a wreath? A nice remembrance...

Sling said...

For what it's worth,the devastating fires we experienced this summer were due largely to the fact that the trees were not properly thinned in years prior.
..It's agood thing!

madretz said...

Your post and sling's comment makes me feel better about our recent thinning of the trees, too. We missed the whole process because we were in the Bay Area, but our neighbor captured a few still photos. I thought we had a lot of lumber but from the looks of your big semi worth, we probably only had a 1/4 of that. We took down 6 cedar and 2 pine. I miss them.

Middle Child said...

Sounds like good forrest husbandry to me. We need to get more of the shit wood out of our forrests here in Australia.

Years before we camne here the little creek behind the house actually flowed. the pwoplw living here and neighbours got rid of the shit like lantana, privet we aren't allowed to touch below the bank...its not allowed. So who does clean out the feral crap...NO ONE...and if a fire gets in there it will explode. You just cannot get it through to suburbanites who argue that every single tree should be saved... the rubbish trees in beghind our place are strangling out the natives... so all power to you for responsibly looking after your forrest.

jp said...

At first I thought you were going to write a post about BLOGGING.

I was wrong about that one. I know that now.

more cowbell said...

that's hard. a couple of years ago they built a new building at my college. They cut down the beautiful trees that were outside the huge windows of our conference room to do it. I cried that day, and took pictures of the trees during it. Not the same thing, I know, but it is hard to watch the trees cut down. I always think about that study they did where they attached sensors to different trees, and got readings from neighboring trees when fire was held close to another tree.

Then again, I still sort of believe my stuffed animals have feelings, so I'm probably not the best person to talk about this.