Excerpts are from Brian’s Morning Newsletter.
For more info on my newsletter email me at email@example.com
October 25th 2004
I had a blast writing about the intricacies of ‘the guys’ in the woods on Sunday. I hope you enjoyed it as well, because I am going to expand upon it more in coming newsletters. I want to create a couple of new sections for the forest management on private land at my webpage. Jackson and Henry: I need more pictures, lots more images to choose from. I would like you to read the sections that I have in the index following this text and send me images for each topic. I have noticed that we seem to be missing good pictures of road building, slash burning, erosion control, fences, pretty much everything. I will get together with our Tusan’s this weekend and bring my camera for a photographic survey. I would like to have more before and after shots on the website. .
I can not recall when last I had such a good time doing something with an enthusiastic attitude as when I did the forest management exposé. It is important to me to let people know what we feel has been a good practice for the last quarter-century. I hope that I am at the proper place and proper time in my abilities to be able to present this topic and do it justice. For me, it is a rare occasion when so many positives come together in a hobby-like activity. I am happy as can be with this project, I hope it shows. Yeah, a hobby with some teeth, that’s what I’m talking about.
One of the topics that my brother Jackson and I were discussing for the forest management webpages was giving out information for the regular Joe, ideas which can not be found anywhere else, simple theories about taking care of our forests, like my short story on something as common-place as our firewood collecting weekend which I wrote about yesterday. I know not all of you are going to be going out in the woods in Northern New Mexico anytime soon to collect firewood, but somebody might run across the story on my webpage and take a liking to my writing style, read about forest management, and take something with them to share with others. After all, there are more and more people that prefer to read about it on the Internet before going out there and doing it. The ironic truth is that more and more people are satisfied with just reading about it never doing anything. Of course, this is heaven to a writer. Hence, my glee.
I know, quit amusing myself and get on with the story. What did Jackson and I discuss? Sorry I did get ‘off’ there a bit. I will try not to do that with my webpage discussions. Just the facts Ma’am! We talked Sunday about every aspect of the firewood: not just the felling, blocking and splitting, but all of the benefits of removing fuel from our sustainable resource forest. We talked about the pros and cons of leaving certain trees in particular locations for a multitude of reasons. You may or may not be surprised to learn of the in-depth process a tree goes through before it gets the axe, or not. Terrain of course, plays a large part in the tree’s usefulness. This has always been the case with a tree. Although, during the ‘logging era, ’ the concerns a logger had were if the tree was accessible and if the mules could get the felled tree down to the loading area? Of course back in the day, they had the cream of the crop to pick from; it was not necessary to harvest difficult-to-reach trees.
We too select trees depending on the terrain. Sometimes a tree is in the only access path to a particular section of the forest. As you can see by the images of our forest, we consider access to all areas of our property of the utmost importance. We don’t use road building equipment to tear up the terrain and give access. We do all of our roads by hand, the hard way, if you will. I want to show you an image of Montoya Pass here, as this road is one of the most difficult crossings we have built. I hope I can find an image. If not, I will call upon my brother and father to see what they have in their photo archives.
Alrighty then! I hope you liked it.
October 24th 2004
Here comes Halloween already. I can’t say this year has blown by, because it feels more like it has crawled and at times even dragged. Regardless, Fall is here and it is time to get ready for Winter. Get ready, is exactly what we did on Sunday. Austin and I went up in the forest, first-thing Sunday morning and scouted out an area for felling Ponderosa Pine trees for firewood. Austin had been busy that morning getting friends together to help in the woods. It was not long before George and Kevin Murphy showed up with my brother Jackson. We sat in the morning sun and enjoyed the company and talked about the history of New Mexico forest products and the new additions which were on my web pages. I have been planning to do a more in-depth survey for my Las Tusas Ranch forest management pages, and began to ask lots of questions of Jackson who has been the driving-force behind our forest projects for the past ten years. I am not real sure how I will transfer the information from Jackson to the web pages, but it will get done some how, and soon I hope.
After we got our heads together for a short while, the younger fellows began with ground preparation around the base of the trees that Austin and I had marked earlier. This consists of cleaning debris from the bottom of the tree, including pine needles and rocks with a four-tine pitch fork and rake. Once the base is cleared the tree can be cut as close to the ground as possible, thus leaving less visible tree stump. We have always prided ourselves with keeping the forest clean looking with as few ragged looking stumps left-over from thinning and firewood gathering. It does look nice, as I will try to capture with a photographic survey for the web pages. We have been working on the forest for thirty some-odd-years, and we are very happy with the results. It is a really nifty feeling to see the results of labor and planning in our own forest management. What I want to show with the web site survey is that we deserve a say in the way people manage forests in Northern New Mexico because we have been at it for a long time and can show the fruits of our labor.
Anyway we had a really nice afternoon with the guys working our rears off out the in the Las Tusas woods. While the ground around the trees was prepared, I sharpened my .036 Stihl chainsaw and oiled and fueled it. Then I suited-up in my Kevlar chaps and safety helmet. We had roughly ten trees marked in the main arroyo south of Central Meadow, near the stage. The guys were going to use the eight pound splitting maul to break apart the blocks of wood as I worked over each tree as it fell. This turned out to be a fine plan as we had plenty of help to do the arduous task of splitting the blocks. This, has proved to be the only way to deal with Ponderosa Pine firewood for us. The wood is too hard to split dry, and it is too heavy to lift into the truck when it is green. So, we block, and split it, right there in the forest and the resulting pieces are of a decent size to throw into the pick-up truck. Needless to say, we were beat after three or four hours of splitting and lifting the heavy wood. Good healthy work in the outdoors with good friends and family, what could be better? I know, that although I have many sore muscles this morning I feel great.
Sorry no editor this morning, Nell is back to work at the yarn warehouse!
Thanks for reading.