I love my woods.
It is not really “my” woods. The woods is within the boundaries considered “my” property, but the woods belong to nature, to God … I am somewhat a caretaker but mostly they have taken care of me, of Karl, of Bob and now of Bear and Auggie.
During Karl’s last months, he and I were out 2-4 times a night. We walked and sometimes Karl just wanted to lie down and I bundled up and lay down near until he was ready to go in.
I have since marveled how comforting those times were, even in the midst of knowing that his time was probably short (my greatest concern) and that the nocturnal hunting creatures were out and about (I really did not think of this at all during those times). The woods and especially the woods at night – that winter and early spring – they were peace to me. I believe to Karl also. It is hard to explain how I embraced those moments of quiet … outside … in the night… in the woods.
This last weekend, two woodsmen: Fred Buck and his nephew Sean, worked in the woods. They took down 6 1/2 standing dead trees, split the wood, cleaned up and also cleared other downfall.
I’ve got firewood!
They felt horrible that they could not stack the whole bit.
The problem was that the motorhome would not start so I could not get it out of the way.
The second day, Fred brought some gadgets and we got her started and moved out of the way so 1 load of splits did get stacked. I made the decision for them to mostly work on getting up downfall as I can’t do that alone. Moving and stacking firewood – I can do that and it is good exercise and I enjoy doing it!
Fred and Sean will be back for a day in October when open burning is allowed. They will burn the slash pile and babysit the first day’s burn … it will burn/smolder for 10-14 days likely based on my previous experience with a large slash pile. But that first day, when the large pile of slash burns hot … I do NOT like to be on my own and will be grateful for experienced woodsmen to supervise. We will do this on a day when surroundings are plenty wet, but still.
Meanwhile, Auggie has a new venue for exploring!
The area down the “hill” had been a tangle of downed trees.
Now it is clear.
I – they … leave plenty of “stuff”: stumps, and sticks and other kinds of downed debris – for critter homes as well as to decay and feed the woods. It is a balance of removing fuel that could cause the loss of the woods to fire and leaving enough to keep a good balance of life.
I have been fortunate to have the advice of several long time Montana woodsmen.
It was hard to be inside, hearing the saws and the BOOM of trees coming down and the truck…
It was exhausting :) !!!
Before Fred and Sean left, I said to them: “Ok, I know you will probably think me a crazy lady, but… do you think this woods is extra special … like magical in a way?”
And they said: “Yes.”
I don’t remember their exact words after that except that they did not think I was crazy and expressed that it was a joy to work here.