Saturday, November 6, 2010

MONTANA SAYS IT'S FALL


Weather news this a.m. said, "We won't see the '50's again."  It's in the 40's, but very damp and feels freezing, like a very cold San Francisco fog.  This is Montana Fall, which feels like the dead of winter to me.  There is a dusting of snow at about 4000 feet, up high on the mountain I see out the front window.
I still have trouble telling the pines apart.  Ponderosa, Lodgepole, etc.  But I have grown to love a fir that was just a name to me before.  The larch.  It's deciduous.  So last spring it was lime green with the softest, needles like a Hemlock, only they felt so gentle.  Now you can spot them on the mountains scattered in rows along cliffs among the firs and pines...needles. yellow turning to orange  Larch don't like shade, so they grow where they can see the sun and are not shaded by the tall pines.  And when they die, one is allowed to cut them down for firewood.  The Boss has put a pile of it on my porch.  Pine wood is soft and white (or blue where the fungus hit... blue pine is highly prized), but larch is hardwood and when it's cut is kind of peach color. Pine tends to leave creosote on the stove windows.  Larch or other hardwood burns it off.   I have watched The Boss with an axe, skilled as a surgeon.  He can aim so perfectly that he can stand a log on end, and slice off kindling, by the half inch precisely. 
I can't imagine how depressing it must be for all those who were loggers.  They still are.  They watch lumber shipping in from Canada, like beef.  The local mills are closed, out of business.  The loggers have lost their profession.  Those I have talked to are true stewards of the forest.  They know what to cut and what to leave alone.  It's the giant corporations that are ruthless, not the individuals who live in and love the forest.  Between the corporations and the "tree huggers", forest management has gone down the toilet.  I did a walk through a friend’s 20 acres with a university forester, and the logger who came in to manage their forest.  The forest was in good hands with the individual loggers.  Instead of driving spikes into trees and injuring the loggers, the tree huggers should have been picketing the paper mills, etc, who are so far removed from the forest that they have no conscience, no regrets. 
It's like the controversy over the wolves.  The herds of elk have gone from 50 in five years down to 5 on this land.  The wolves breed like any canine, big litters, and they hunt in packs, for food, but also for fun and practice.  The elk are being decimated by them.  Wolves are NOT endangered here.  It won't be until they decimate cattle herds or kill some children that people will wake up.  I view protesters and activists with a different eye now.  They need to do their research before they start making all their noise.  Every group has their narrow-viewed agenda.  There seems to be little even handed approach.  If the Sierra Club, etc., really care about the wildlife, why are they not educating people about the problem with overbreeding wolves
The natives are ready for snow.  To me, it's kind of sad, seeing the garden season die, not knowing what it will be like not to play outside.  I just sent for silk underwear on the Boss Lady’s instructions.  She went to church in sandals yesterday, temperature in the 40's.  I was conspicuous bundled up like a bear in layers. 

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