Timber! Logging Our Backyard, A Shredded Hammock and Other Recent Happenings…

I never expected to see a logging truck coming down our road but thanks to drought brought on by global warming, we had 43 trees to remove!

It’s time for a quick break from my Highway 395 series to bring you up to date on current events in our never-boring life such as a logging operation in our backyard. I’ll be back to Highway 395 and Virginia City in my next post. A note on photos: Peggy and I shared photographer’s duties on this post.

Removing 43 Douglas firs from our five acres was not anything Peggy and I looked forward to, either from an aesthetic or financial perspective. Global warming didn’t give us a choice. Severe drought weakened a number of our trees and voracious pine beetles took quick advantage of the situation. We decided to be proactive in hopes of slowing down or stopping the beetles.

I am no stranger to logging operations. My father was the electrician for a lumber mill when I was growing up. We considered the mill with its logging pond as part of our extended play area, much to the dismay of the nighttime and weekend watchman. He had an extensive vocabulary of swear words that he liked to share with us. We even had a logger with his logging truck living next door. He’d wake us up at 5:00 a.m. on summer mornings as he dashed off to collect his first load of logs. Since then, my backpacking trips have occasionally taken me through areas that were being logged.

None of this is anything like having a logging operation in your backyard, however. I didn’t actually hear anyone shouting “Timber!” but the buzzing sound of chainsaws accompanied by the crashing sounds of large Douglas firs (some over a hundred feet in length) was our constant companion for a week.

Peggy hiked up and took photos of the logs being hauled out of the forest…
We watched as the logs stacked up in our backyard.
And then were loaded onto a truck. (There were two loads.) Check out the claw!
This large claw, designed to grasp logs and load them on to the truck, was operated from the front of the truck by the owner, Davron Holland.
We waved goodby to our trees as they were hauled away.
Speaking of claws, all of the commotion disturbed the forest spirits that live in our canyon. Peggy and I came home one day to find our hammock being shredded!
Was it the same creature that left this mark?
It appears that its claws were of an appropriate length. Could it be the legendary Bigfoot?
Not likely. My nephew Jay Dallen and I check out a Bigfoot family at Crater Lake National Park. They hardly seem the type to rip up a hammock… (Jay, you may remember, backpacked a hundred miles with me last summer on my 750 mile trek down the PCT.)
Maybe Bone was having a bad day. My blogging friend, Crystal Truelove, took him up to the Bigfoot trap to show him what it feels like to be locked up. But Bone is good friends with Crystal. She took him back for a visit to the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma this past year and he got to hang out with Cherokee princesses.
Also, he had a photo shoot with Jay’s actress friend, Nichole Tompkins…
And was feeling quite balanced!
This fellow at Crater Lake was a possibility. I refused to feed him a peanut, but a) his claws were too small and b) Nichole shared a PB&J sandwich with him.
This buffalo we found in Al the Wop’s Bar in Locke, California last week had the right horns but his unique eyeshade eliminated him.
This Stellar Jay was unhappy enough to take on the challenge. He was hot! But again, his claws weren’t up to the job.
We found several possible candidates on our road trip through the redwoods where we found the claw marks.
But they were too far away.
Maybe it was an irritated buck with an attitude problem. This was my prime candidate with his “Are you looking at me!” pose. Turns out, it was a fellow that hangs out with him, a young spike with two small but sharp horns who was suffering from severe antler envy. He was using the hammock to clean the velvet off his antlers.

And Other Events…

My niece Marion and her husband John. They had come out from Tennessee to collect my brother’s 32 foot RV that he had left in my backyard when he passed away. It was big! We were glad to see it go.
Next was a visit from a fellow blogger, Crystal Trulove. As most of you are aware, the friendships that evolve from our blogging are special. Crystal was in town for the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland and stayed at our house. She treated us to the wonderfully whacky play, “Alice in Wonderland.” The African cloth in the background, BTW, was sent to me by another good blogging friend, Linda Leinen at Shoreacres. Linda and I share a common background of having lived in Liberia, West Africa.
We had a delightful visit with Jay and Nichole. Here we are at a Beach Boys Concert at the Britt in Jacksonville, OR.
We took Jay and Nichole to our favorite kayaking spot, the Bigfoot trap, and…
to Crater Lake National Park. Here Peggy and Nichole share a look. (I am not sure it is possible to work more blue into a photo.)
Jay offers a piggy back ride!
On our way home from Crater Lake, we were treated to this sunset in the Applegate Valley. When Jay and Nichole left, Jay was heading off to film a National Geographic reality adventure show across Russia and Nichole was heading for Barcelona where she has a film opening.
We went on a short road trip through the redwoods. They’re big.
Until the national and state parks were created to save the redwoods, they were rapidly being cut down. My seat is an old stump.
And note the burls! I will be doing a much more extensive post on Redwood National Park (and Crater Lake) as part of my national park series.
We ended up visiting my old friend Tom Lovering who lives on the Sacramento Delta with his friend Lita in the town of Clarksburg. I was backpacking with Tom in 1977 when we found Bone. Tom immediately loaded us into his ski boat to head off for an Italian dinner.
When Tom got the boat up to full throttle, he climbed out of the seat and insisted that I take over, which was a bit scary considering I had never steered a speed boat! Woohoo! “Watch out for big logs,” he told me. Yeah, thanks.
Peggy with Tom’s friend Lita in the back of the boat, not nearly as worried as they should be.
Coming back from the restaurant we were treated to a beautiful Sacramento Delta sunset.
Afterwards, Tom and Lita took us on a tour of the Delta and we ended up at Al the Wops Bar in Locke. You’ve already met the buffalo who lives at the bar.
The deer were also decorated. One can only wonder how many drinks it takes.
If that seems a bit risqué, you can always feed the fish
Or practice the popular pastime of sticking dollars to the ceiling.
The friendly bartender taught me the trick! And, I am proud to report, I succeeded.
Locke when we left the bar. I can count on one hand the number of times I have ‘shut the bar down’ in my life. And I am pretty sure that Tom has been in on all of those occasions.

NEXT POST: I return to my Highway 395 series and visit Virginia City where silver was king and Samuel Clemens adopted the name of Mark Twain.

36 thoughts on “Timber! Logging Our Backyard, A Shredded Hammock and Other Recent Happenings…

  1. Love this post because it gives me an opportunity to see your friends, relatives and residence. But I had no idea you had ties to the logging industry. (You’ve done enough for three lifetimes, no doubt!) Thanks for the interesting formations in bark and for sharing your smiling photos. You’re sharing the good things!

    • Laughing about the three lifetimes, Rusha. I’m working on the fourth. 🙂 And I like what you said about sharing the good things. It’s important to laugh and appreciate some of the beautiful and interesting places that exist in our world during these trying times. Thanks. –Curt

  2. Well it sure sounds like you guys have been on some merry adventures. The buffalo wins the prize for me in this post 🙂
    Jay and Nichole seem to have glamorous lives. Did you sell the logs from your forest? There were some pretty big ones there.
    Alison

    • Yes, Alison, the buffalo wins the prize for the most creative ‘decoration.’ 🙂 Jay and Nichole are both talented and ‘down to earth,’ a heck of a lot of fun. They also work incredibly hard. As for glamour, I’d say that your lifestyle is equally glamorous. (Grin.) The trees were pretty beetle eaten and some were close to rotten. The person we hired to cut down the trees and chip up the debris had to pay the logger to haul off the logs. –Curt

  3. What a wonderful post, full of great photos and reports of wonderful meetings. Tom does seem to feature in a lot of fun times. Sorry you had to fell so many of your beautiful trees. I find it an almost painful sound as the trees crack and come tumbling down. We’ve lost virtually all of the plane trees along our canal and the canal du midi. The cancker introduced after WW2 by ammo boxes made of American plane has finally done for them. Watching and listening to that broke my heart.

    • Losing a beautiful tree always, hurts, AC. Sad about the plane trees. It sounds like the Dutch elm and chestnut tree problems we had in the US. Fortunately, in our case, we have lots of trees left, including a couple of hundred white oaks that are drought resistant. Glad you enjoyed the post. And yes, you can usually depend on having interesting times when Tom is around! Thanks. 🙂 –Curt

    • Laughing. We do manage to keep busy, G. Wouldn’t want our increasing years to get in the way. I do remember being bored once, however. It was in 1970 when I had been working in Peace Corps recruiting and public affairs for three years. How many time can you answer the question of some starry eyed college student, “What was it like to be in the Peace Corps?” and still sound fresh. I immediately quit. 🙂 –Curt

  4. What fun it is to see the logging photos and know exactly where it is on your property! And to even recognize the scene itself, such as the big pile of logs. Thank you for welcoming me into your home during that crazy week, and taking the time to make me feel loved and wanted, while also attending to the loss of your beautiful trees, the new dishwasher, and then taking me on a trip to see the Bigfoot trap! It was great to see Bone again, and I can hardly wait for my next visit.

  5. I loved seeing the country cloth in its new digs! It wasn’t so much fun seeing those logs hauled away, but with luck it will increase the health of your land. I laughed at the demise of your hammock. Young bucks (of any species) tend toward odd behavior from time to time!

    • The country cloth has definitely found a home, Linda. Other than the stumps left behind and new roads sneaking through our property, the logging operation has opened things up. You should have seen the deer following along behind the loggers to take advantage of new food. I thought they would be off and over the hill with the sound of all the work and falling trees. But nope. There was food to be had! As for the young bucks, it is doubly frustrating at this time of the year when the does are ready for a little action and the older bucks with larger antlers chase them away. I saw a herd of five does come up out of the canyon yesterday with the buck I featured in hot pursuit.
      Also of interest, we had a bobcat come by two days ago. By the time we got out camera, it was too far away for good photos, but I took several pictures anyway. –Curt

  6. What adventures you managed to find. Sounds like lots of fun being had.
    How sad so many trees succumbed. Beetle is a terrible and costly plague for forests. Timber management consultants were always harping on keeping a close eye on the trees so you could cull any sign of beetle as soon as it showed up to protect the rest of the woods. They’ve been fighting beetle here since the ’60’s. Weak trees do not survive bad weather years.
    Timber paid for my college as that’s what we ended up raising on our farm. Can’t tell you how many thousands of pine seedlings I planted by hand in January/Feb. icy winters -’cause that’s the best time to get them in the ground. Eventually after a few “crops” dad was able to level some of the ground/across the steep creek bed so machines could be used to plant.
    Strategic planting and harvesting carefully improves the land, created better environments for wild life, and makes other trees healthier.
    But it is tragic to lose trees unexpectedly. I hate to be driving behind log truck which always look so precariously stacked.
    So drive carefully out there!

  7. Curt thank you for this look into your day to day world. So many good things going on here but sorry to hear about the loss of all of the trees. Some things just have to be done. Many happy connections and I smiled at your time in the Sacramento Delta. My brother and sister in law have a boat there and we have visited a couple of times. Gorgeous spot.

  8. Sad about the trees, but I know sometimes it helps all the other trees to thin things out a bit. I enjoyed seeing you and Peggy with your friends and family (especially that sweet shot of Nichole and Peggy by the water), and I adored that cute little chipmunk!

    • We’ve decided we like the look of our property after the logging operation, Lexi. It has opened things up considerably. Now whether our wildlife appreciates it as much remains to be seen.
      Our last visitors of the season are here now, Peggy’s sister and her husband. We feel like we’ve been running a B&B! But its been fun. Now maybe I can get back to writing. 🙂 –Curt

  9. Pingback: Mekemsons in Applegate Valley | Conscious Engagement

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