There! I've said it and it's out there in the open—finally. Now I can continue on with my native plants but I had to let that out to explain why I love trees so much, and logging. My drive from the vineyard to Brookings, Oregon had me thinking a lot about trees and of my family history.
I may be an Italian-American, a descendant of New Amsterdam, and of early Southern tobacco growing colonists, but my Mama's people, several of them were loggers out here in the West beginning with Hastin Butcher. After he'd worked as an Indian Agent in Oklahoma, the American Civil War vet moved to California to find his fortune in the Big Timber. His daughter married several loggers, and her son Bill became one too, and he was my grandfather. My grandmother remarried, and my step-grandfather was a logger and a proud union man as well.
As I left Lake County to head toward Mendocino and Humboldt counties, that feeling of homecoming was upon me. As soon as I saw the trees, I relaxed. That's always what happens and it's when I think about the logging book the most.
When I was 18, I published a book. Really it was a collection of historic logging photographs that I essentially curated and then wrote captions for to create the narrative. My father published the book and it sold out in a few years and it is currently out-of-print. I really hate the name, but I need to complete my confession so here is a link: Ancient Forests and Western Man.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love my timber. At the first rest stop I was shocked, amazed and delighted to discover that someone is making modern faux bois fences that look really great. I wonder if it was someone who'd been retrained to work in masonry after the mill closed? That would be priceless.
|Contemporary faux bois fence.|
There is nothing like standing beside a Sequoia sempervirens aka a California redwood. These trees can live for 1200-1800 years, reaching up to 379 feet (115.52 m) and they can be as wide as 26 feet (7.9 m). It is safe to say that these trees are truly breathtaking.
|Note the size of the car to the right of the tree. This tree is huge.|
|I would hug this tree, if there were about 25 of me to encircle the behemoth.|
First off was the Fetid Adders Tongue (Scoliopus bigelovii). I wish I'd caught the plant in bloom but maybe next time I will have better luck! They are plentiful in Northern California in dark, shady, and damp areas. These were found just off Highway 101 and I plan to keep watching them over time to see what they do. So far, I am a huge fan.
Not far away I found this lovely native Oxalis. On the forest floor this carpet seemed magical in a way I'd never seen before. The size of the trees made the plant appear tiny and somehow this made the whole forest feel more magical. I could hear the Eel River nearby, and I could see the leaves wiggle as if blown by some breeze I didn't feel, and the giant trees blanketed out so many other sounds I would have expected to have heard at home in the woods.
|Fetid Adders Tongue (Scoliopus bigelovii).|
|Redwood Sorrel, Oregon Oxalis (Oxalis oregana).|
|Walk-thru Redwood Tree.|