Next Meeting: Pierce County Board Meeting

DATE: Wednesday January 3rd

TIME: 6:00 pm 

LOCATION: Puyallup Library

General Membership meetings are held at the Puyallup Library, 324 S Meridian, Puyallup, on the first Wednesday of February, April, and October.  Field trips and tours are planned for June and August, and the Annual Meeting and Luncheon is held in November.

Contact the Chapter President at [email protected].
 

Woodlot Rambling

 

It has been awhile since the last “Woodlot Rambling” ramble. Various issues come to mind in my almost daily visits to Panera Bread for coffee before I go to our Rapjohn Tree Farm. It is a ruse to sit and read for a hour in the 15 +/- magazines, newspapers, newsletters both local and international. Well actually Canada and England. Many we get for free and some we actually subscribe to in this day and age of the Internet. The weekly Capital Press, a farm paper from Oregon, is also gone through mostly for Forestry articles and currently introducing wolves in the North West again. The reading is interspersed with a visit with old and new aquaintences. One gets a broader perspective from reflective reading. That is having time to reread and think about the subject matter. Sometimes up to 20 minutes a page when reading statistics or markets with my pocket calculator on the table. There is a website in Wales that I look at on occasion. My maternal grandparents emigrated in 1909.  We were able to travel there in 1984, and the farms and forests are still remembered. The country is about 4 times the size of Pierce County and covered with long tailed sheep.

But I digress.

I’ve been contrasting Small Woodland Forestry with Industrial Forestry for some time. Some say there is not much difference but after 47 years of owning a Woodland, I tend to see differences that ought to be recognized, at least in my mind.

We had a clearcut done on 35 acres or so in 2015. I sometimes wish we had not done it as I miss the roads and trees we used to  walk through. I was 78 years old and not as fit as I was at 38 when we bought the place. I thought “What is the point in not harvesting?”. We have a number in the bank that is not as satisfying as the forest. It was a mixed stand of hardwoods and conifers, mostly Doug Fir that had grown back after a clear cut done in 1920-21. It was mostly railroad logging back then. In 1969-70 it was logged again mostly for Doug Fir. A lot of suppressed Doug fir was left than grew quite well after being released. Many said they would not grow well but they did. There were 60 year old tight rings and then fast growth. Sawmills call them Bull’s Eyes with the tight rings in the center.

I firewooded the landings of tops, crook butts, dog legs etc. But the hardwoods were still on the stump having no perceived value at that time. We had a Farmall Cub tractor that I used to mow hay with for local small farms near us in Puyallup. (They are all housing developments today) It had a hydraulic lift on the back about a foot long that would raise about 12 “. There was also a notch that a chain link would fit in. I could haul the Cub in the back of my ½ ton Chev with a couple of 8’x 3”x 10” planks for ramps. So off I’d to the tree farm to get Alder firewood.

I could follow the old skid roads to a stand and fall a tree cutting it and leaving a very low stump. The Cub was a bit tipsy if you drove up on a stump hidden in the brush. The first time I backed up to the log as close as possible. My 3/8” chain had a chain hook on one end and a slip hook on the other end. The slip hook went around the log and with the hydraulic arm down, the chain was pulled up tight and I put a link in the aforementioned notch.

The Cub has 14 horsepower and weighs about 700 pounds. ( I still have it) A green Alder log that is 20’ long and 12” in diameter weighs 722 pounds.  With the arm up to lift the log  for skidding, the center of gravity became a lot higher than with a mower. I hit the gas and the front end of the Cub was almost vertical as the log weighed a lot more the Cub and me combined. I let off the clutch and slammed down going over the steering wheel onto the hood and up against the hot exhaust pipe.  Slow and steady was the next move and I moved forward. Fortunately the stump was cut low and the log slid over it, but not the next stump from the loggers hidden in the brush. I only went up on the steering wheel when the front end of the log hit the high cut stump.

We logged that way for a while but on the way out one day, I saw some old guys in their 70-80’s using a Cub to yard firewood a new clearcut. They had a small snatch block (5”), choked up on a Maple about 15’ . There was another snatch block down low on the tree. They had about 100’ of ½” cable through the blocks with the low end to their Cub and the other end with a choker. They could yard in about a 90’ radius with the high lead system and all they did was drive up and down the nice farm road and not out in the brush.

The smart stuff ended there as they were cutting the logs with an old buck saw. It had a 30” circle saw with no guard. They backed the Cub to the saw, put the drive belt from the saw to the power take off drum on the Cub, moved forward to tighten the belt, pushed in the PTO lever and they were in business. They then bodily lifted the logs up and pushed them through the saw to cut the wood to length.

My dad was with me and said that is how they worked up firewood in Kansas in the 1920”s up to the 40’s until we moved to Washington in 1941. I can remember him working down in the timber on the farm when I was 4 years old. My uncle said the tobacco he was chewing was candy and after begging he gave me a small piece. My dad had to take me up to the hose in the wagon. My mother gave my uncle a swat with a broom when they came up for dinner.

On the rest of the way out to Rapjohn, my dad mentioned that a neighbor fell into the bucksaw and was split down the middle to the waist. He said it was a closed casket funeral.

I used a high lead system on the school tree farm with my high school students using my pickup and the same sort of system up and down the access road to the schools tree farm. We went a little higher on the tree as we had climbing gear.Having the lower snatch block keeps the towing rig from being lifted up and you maintain more pulling power.

Hence a small difference between SWO forestry and industrial forestry.

Bob Arnold

 
 
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Chapter Officers
President Paula & Dick Hopkins
Vice President Jeff Rodgers
Secretary Rick Pabst
Treasurer Sylvia Russell
Past President Dave Townsend
Director & Newsletter Bob Arnold
Director Frank Shirley
Director Kay Townsend
Director Steve Townsend