23 August 2008
Extreme Weather & The Timber Terminator
Mama Mia! I don't know what has been going on in the rest of the country but the weather here in northwest Montana has been wild. Spring was downright cold and we had significant snow in June. July was the coolest in the six years we have lived here and now we've just come off a heat wave. The temperatures were in the high nineties and over one hundred down in the valley. For us'ens who don't like the heat it was time to hide in the house. Lucky for us insulation works as well in the summer as it does in the winter and our temperatures always drop down into the fifties at night. We just open all the windows at bedtime and close them up when the sun crests the eastern ridge. The house stays cool all day even when it's in the nineties outside.
Suddenly, in just a few hours, the heatwave ended. A storm brewed and we were back in the 50's during the day. It rained for two days straight. The rain was good because we have had a dry summer and the forest floor just crackled under your feet.
I find summer to be the least intriguing time to ply my craft as a photographer so I generally take off from serious photography to work on my ranch. Wood gathering is a big job for a girl and a dog. The "Timber Terminator" would be me. A nickname my neighbor gave me because he finds it rather amusing that a gal would take up the chainsaw and maul.
So, now the weather is behaving it's off to work we go! Actually, most of the timber we work on has already been terminated by Mother Nature. Round these parts they call it blow down or windfall and dead standing. The green trees we take are generally for management purposes. Taking the few for the greater good so to speak.
The darned things don't always fall in the most convenient places either and can be very tricky to work on without knocking yourself off in the process. Since Koty is my only workmate extra care has to be taken. Most people think I am a bit daft not only to be doing this work alone but to be doing it at all. The fact is I love working in the forest. I will only quit when I physically can't do it anymore.
Once the Ranger is full it's off to the chopping pile. Chopping and stacking wood is another chore I love. It must be the best aerobic exercise out there. I love looking out the window at the full and neatly stacked shed. I love the warm heat it provides which permeates the entire house. I love the energy bill, about $50 in the dead of winter when we are at home.
They say you have trouble sleeping as you get older. Well, Koty and I are both doing the hard court press on sixty and there are no sleepless nights around here. No need for Ambien or other pharmaceutical poison either.
Soon it will be time to be on the road again and photography will fill our every waking moment. But, for now, this is the work that fills our days. Mother Nature blesses us every day in every way and we are grateful beyond measure.
Be sure and check out The Liberated Photographer
Ciao for now!
Koty & Kinsey