Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Home on the Range: Mountain Logging

Home on the Range: Mountain Logging: It already looks like dark snowy clouds are blowing in and it's only mid September, but then again it's mind September in Wyoming ...

Mountain Logging

It already looks like dark snowy clouds are blowing in and it's only mid September, but then again it's mind September in Wyoming so really anything is possible. With the coming cold weather  and the possibility of an exceptionally cold winter it's time for an ago old tradition to take place; the gathering of fire wood. The idea may be lost on many American's throughout the country with the invention of electricity and the use of natural gas to heat most homes. There are not many people now who have to worry about gathering and storing the right about of wood to burn to keep there homes warm this winter. I can thing of a few states where that is an exception, Wyoming being one of them.

When we first moved here I was surprised to find out that people actually still used wood burning stoves to heat there home. The first thing that came to mind was Laura Ingall Wilder's  Little House on the Prairie  books. I mean that's how they heated there home and they were pioneers. I had the impression that people had moved on from that. I thought electricity had replaced our wood burning stove a long time ago. 

Call me a romantic, but can I just say that I'm so glad to be wrong? Now I'm sure some people are raising their eyebrow at that and that's fine. For whatever reason I like to do or at least try out the "old fashioned" ways. I mean if it ain't broken why fix it?  

Just over a week ago our friend Josh took James and I out the mountain to teach us the ticks of trade. Unlike our pioneering ancestors we are not using axes or hand saws to fell our timber, but we are using a very usefully modern machine; the chain saw. While I appreciate the efficacy of chainsaws they still make me nervous and while I'm sure swinging an ax is just as dangerous I might almost prefer to use it instead. Anyhow, Josh got James dialed in on the chainsaw and that's were the fun begins.

When we're looking for fire wood were looking for dead trees that standing or  fallen. Which, here in Wyoming isn't to hard to come by since we've seen an infestation of Pine Beetles. You'll see large section of mountain sides covered in dead timber. It's rather sad to see, but the beetles are here now so the least we can do it clean the forest and make a pace for the young trees to grow up. 
Alright, so we find a section of dead wood and the saws begin to fly.  There is something wonderful about the sound of a tree when it falls. I'm not quit sure how to describe it. Since the "green" movement that has swept our country a lot of people I'm sure would be offended that people are cutting down the forest. Let me remind them, they're dead. If left alone they'd fall over and create great fuel for a wildfire, and don't get me started on that point. 

Falling dead wood is– I don't know liberating? To here the dry trees fall with a crash and to smell the sweet pine is all together something else.  Just to be able to work in the woods is amazing. I don't care what any environmentalist has to say. It is good to clear away dead wood. It is conserving our natural resources. I'm not for just cutting down, it all needs to be done in a cycle and when it is, it is beautiful. 

Whether people will admit to it or not the dead wood will be fuel for one type of fire or another. Using it to heat your home is economical while just letting it be burned in a wild fire is a great waste of one of America's greatest natural resources. Did you know that there are more trees in the US than there was 70 years ago? Roughly one third of the United States is forest land. That's a whopping 747 million acres! 

Sorry, here is another crazy fact to leave you with. It has recently been discovered that there are 3.04 trillion trees in the world. That's 422 trees to every person. I think our forest are just fine, don't you?