Montana Outdoors

May 23, 2016

Meanwhile, in Phoenix it was 88 degrees.

Filed under: Wood cutting — Tags: , , — montucky @ 8:47 pm

Today, after 6 days of rain, I decided it was time to get out a bit and scout for a place to cut firewood for next winter. I chose the Siegel Creek drainage and hoped that the last snow drifts on the high road would be small enough to let me get to the divide. It was a little surprising to see that the road was clear, and I drove the Jeep another 5 miles past the divide, 14 miles (and a mile higher in elevation) after leaving the highway. At about 7,000 feet there was a pretty good snow storm going on and the heater in the Jeep felt good. A lot of blown down trees showed that winter was not kind to the mountain and the rocks on the road made me happy that I had spent an extra couple hundred dollars for extra good tires last winter, but the miles of green were very pretty and the entire trip was quite refreshing.

Siegel Creek

Siegel Creek

Siegel Creek

Siegel Creek

Siegel Creek

Siegel Creek

Siegel Creek

Siegel Creek

Siegel Creek

Siegel Creek

September 24, 2012

Firewood time again

Filed under: Wood cutting — Tags: , , — montucky @ 10:08 pm

With the arrival of Fall and the start of cooler temperatures, our thoughts turn toward winter, and for many of us who live in the northwest one of the things that means is our supply of wood to fuel our stoves for the cold months ahead. We already have a fairly good sized wood pile here at home, but just in case, I will add one more cord, cut and split, to fill up our firewood shelter. When this big rig pulled up in the little draw beside our house this morning it meant that I will have the logs to work with; about 50,000 pounds worth.

Truck load of firewood logs

Truck load of firewood logs

Truck load of firewood logs

The logs are being unloaded and piled in a log deck where I can work on them at times of my choosing, mostly in late Fall when it is cool or in early spring before it warms up, avoiding the heat of summer for doing a job that is inherently a hot one.

Log truck boom operation

The gentleman operating the boom of his log truck to unload these logs is someone who in my opinion deserves the utmost respect. He is, as he has all of his life, making his living driving his log truck. His morning started today at 7:00 am loading the truck at a logging site about 30 miles down river from here and after these are unloaded he will have at least one more load to load and haul before his day is over. He is an honest, tough, hard working man, always smiling while still doing what he loves to do… at the tender age of 84.

Log truck boom operation

Now, it you get up one morning and want to start on a big, big job…

Firewood log deck

Firewood log deck

August 25, 2009

Renewable energy

Filed under: Montana, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Trees, Wood cutting — montucky @ 9:23 pm

Because there were so many projects that had to be done this summer, we decided that it would be good to buy a little firewood instead of spending the time going out and getting it ourselves. We bought a truck load of lodgepole pine from a guy who was thinning some of his timberland 25 miles down river and it will heat our home for about the next four years.

Firewood

Firewood

Firewood

Firewood

While I am performing the task of cutting these 25 tons of logs to 17 inch lengths to fit our wood stove, splitting and stacking them, this will probably be known as the “exercise room”. You know, with all of the ballyhoo now about health care, this might just be one of the best health care plans going.

September 20, 2008

Wood cutting day

Filed under: Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Wood cutting — montucky @ 9:21 pm

Eleven hours of hard work, 50 miles of driving on beautiful high-country roads yields 1 cord of dry, seasoned lodgepole pine; a ton and a half of firewood.

Firewood

I’d be willing to bet there are lots of folks across this country who would love to work a day like this for a month’s worth of winter heat! Total cost including Forest Service firewood permit, diesel for the truck, chain saw gas and shampoo to get chain and bar oil out of mustache, about $15.

October 17, 2007

For its elements

I like this photograph, not because it’s a great photograph but because of the elements of the natural process that it contains.

The tree trunks are black from the fire in 2002 which killed about 50,000 acres of the forest which is sad, but:

  • New green pines can be seen which in due time will replace the dead ones and the clump of willows provides cover and food for the animals.
  • The blow-downs in the foreground will decompose and return nutriments to the soil.
  • The standing dead trees for several years now have been providing a renewable and economical energy source for many of us to use in heating our homes.
  • The traces of red are the fall color of huckleberry bushes which took advantage of the openings to the sky and are now growing where they could not grow before.
  • In the burned areas after a fire, the low growing grasses and shrubs provide excellent food for wildlife, and these four Mule deer are typical of those who use it to their advantage.
  • The bare, tan-colored stalks in the foreground are the stalks of bear grass which have provided beautiful summer blossoms in the burn area ever since the first summer after the fire.

Nature is quietly doing what She does so well.

Siegel Creek burn area

(This setting is at an altitude of about 6,000 feet in the burn area of the Siegel Creek fire of 2002. It is in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains of western Montana.)

July 9, 2007

Another day cutting wood

Oh yes, there are always a few other things going on at the same time.

Here are the results of the day’s work; 3,000 pounds of hard, dry Lodgepole sitting in the bed of the county’s dirtiest truck. This photo was taken on the road that allows access to the high country at the head of Siegel Creek. To the abrupt right, the creek bed is about 600 feet below and nearly straight down, and the cliff can be seen to the left: consider for a moment the guys who put this road in here in the first place. I tip my hat to them! It’s a bumpy, rocky son-of-a-gun of a road, but a very good one. It is comforting to know when you’re up here in really bad weather, that the road will never wash out (ice is a different story).

Firewood

Flower season is about over for this year. Indian Paint Brushes are still abundant, but that’s about it except for the Fireweed, which is just beginning to bloom. Here’s the start of it (these stems are about four feet tall):

Fireweed

And the critters.

If it were late September, this Blue Grouse would be tomorrow night’s dinner:

Blue Grouse

The high country has its resident scamps. It is plain by the look on this one’s face that he is a SCAMP!

Ground squirrel

Hey, Scamp, your posture is terrible! Stand up straight!

Ground squirrel

That’s better!

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