August is fire season in Montana. This year is no exception. We've gotten smoke here even from fires as far away as Canada, and more recently, the Missoula area, which is about 230 miles from here. Everything takes on an orangish hue, it gets very hazy, and distant views are very limited. Sometimes it smells very smoky out, at other times you barely notice. Montana is plagued with a pine bore beetle infestation. That makes for lots of standing dead pine trees in our forests, which is certainly fire fodder. That's why I was so happy the forest service came in last winter to the area where our cabin is, and did some clearing to hopefully reduce fire risk.
There was a huge standing dead pine, and a few smaller ones, on our property at the cabin.
Definitely not an asset. Too much big wind, lightning, heavy snow, etc., around here, and it needed to come down – with help, not on it's own, as it could possibly squash our little outhouse, or worse, if left to it's own devices, fall to where the cabin will be placed on it's new location (that'd be great, wouldn't it, to just get the cabin moved over, then have a huge tree fall on the roof?) Time to get gone, tree.
This tree was particularly bad as the top branched out in 3 different directions, which makes them even more dangerous. A pine tree with a single trunk and a split, multi branched out top is called a “school marm” by loggers. It also already had a bad crack down the side of the trunk, which considerably weakens the stability.
Bruce knows a fellow who formerly logged for a living, and asked him if he could come knock it down since he had the experience. He said he'd be happy to, and would enjoy it since he doesn't often have the opportunity to do that since he's changed professions. Very lucky for us. It took him no more than a few minutes, and he had that giant dead tree laying on the ground in just the right direction.
Bruce earlier took down the few other smaller trees himself, but this huge one was just too dangerous and really needed someone with the proper expertise to take it down. (Thanks Brian!!)
We had gotten a firewood permit last month from the forest service, and my big little son and I had made one trip up and gotten about a cord plus that we loaded up and brought to the cabin. That is only about a third of what probably will be needed for the winter up there. We knew we'd have to make at least a few more forays out amongst the giant, man eating horse flies (they are horrible up there this time of year, and bite like the dickens) to get a couple more cords, but now with these dead trees felled right here on our own property, there should be more than plenty to last the winter and spring.
Lucky Bruce now gets to cut all the logs to length with the beautiful, new chain saw I asked for for my birthday last year! One of the best, most useful presents I've ever gotten, and comes complete with a fella to run it 🙂 .
There was a full moon when we stayed this last weekend.
We had a campfire and roasted marshmallows, and watched the big, bright moon rise over the mountains. Doesn't get much better than that.
The next morning, this doe was standing right outside the kitchen window as I made coffee.
You can see the wild raspberry bushes growing in front of and under the deck. Glee loves raspberries, so we picked all the ripe ones we could find and she ate them for a snack.
So, at least one more thing checked off the massive to-do list at Moose Springs. Gotta love that!