Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Mood

Bottomless Lake December 04, 2008

In an attempt to put me in a more cheerful Christmas mood, Far Guy said "I think these woods are getting to you, lets go look at a different part of the woods." I was game, even though I figured Far Guy was just grasping at straws. This time of year, I am easily distracted. So we went off on an adventure. I love adventures.

We headed south, across the big highway (two lane) into the Smoky Hills Forest. Our mission to become more cheerful and to find an old road..the old Corduroy Road..and from there to find the old CCC camp hidden near Bottomless Lake. Far Guy posted part of our adventure over on his blog I Didn't Do it! He took his camera, and it even had batteries in it!
It was a crisp day, a little snow had fallen. We found the entrance to this very old road. It is in pretty good shape, two other people have gone this way today. Chance is helping Far Guy navigate. Lots of logging has been happening, but some areas are being replanted. I love the flow of the forest, the areas of Pines, giving way to Hardwoods, then areas of the piss Popple. Some parcels that adjoin this State Forest have been sold off, they are heavily posted with NO HUNTING signs. Lots of gates are up, and there are a few more hunting shacks than we remembered.

Then I see it, something that angers me to no end. I was too mad to even photograph it. It was a Christmas Tree Hunter, no, luckily for him he was gone..what remained was the bottom part of a very nice Spruce, it had been beheaded..chopped off at it's feet, then at it's waist..then beheaded. The bottom part of the tree was left lying at the edge of the road. Someone stole a Christmas Tree from the State Forest. I hope that Asshole has a miserable Christmas. Then I think, maybe he has kids, and is unemployed. Maybe he really needed that tree. Maybe when things get better for him he will come back and plant two trees.

Far Guy has pretty good eyes for an old guy. The woods have been silent, no birds, no deer, no deer sign, no tracks of anything in the new fallen snow. We know that one person has been here before us today, one of the other vehicles has stopped at a hunting shack. Far Guy slams on the brakes and says "Would you look at that!" Then I see it! A Mink, I have not seen a Mink in a long time. We watch it scampering around on the forest floor, it goes up a tree and comes down again. Far Guy gets out and takes a few photographs, while I hold Chance by the scruff of his neck in the truck. Minks are normally nocturnal, so seeing one in the daytime is a real treat. It is a rare gift we have witnessed. I feel my bad mood lifting.

We wind our way to Bottomless Lake, low and behold we find the remnants of another tree hunter, of a different sort this time.
One with very sharp teeth building a winter home. A beaver. He is only taking out the piss popple. My mood is greatly improved.
What kind of things improve your Christmas mood?:)
Note: Piss popple is actually Populus deltoides, often called Aspen, or Quakies, or here in Minnesota..Popple. I call it piss popple because when used for firewood it sizzles and weeps, moisture comes out both ends of a log. Hence my nickname..Piss Popple..kinda has a ring to it!


Ed said...

Very cool story.. did you ever see National lampoons X-mas vacation? Remember the squirrel?.. :-)
Looks like the beavers are not frozen in yet.

The Silver Age Sara said...

I love the name "Piss Popple." I also appreciated the way you thought about the Christmas tree hunter. Maybe that's the only Christmas his children will have.
A mink, I don't think we have those here and that was really something. We do have beavers though.
What gets me in the Christmas mood is the smell of pine, crisp cold air, clear northern winter skies and the snow on the ground. Also, sleigh rides with hot chocolate after.

Martha said...

I'm going to use your word "piss popple" when I'm tempted to say other bad words from now on - or maybe I'll say fiss fopple in honor of F words, LOL!
I like how you thought of the tree hunter - hope you're right. I like to think of it that way too.
Glad your mood has improved :-)

Jewel said...

Hope you had a fun trip. We haven't been the the forest for a while, we ususally head for the high desert, it's closer.

Jeanne Estridge said...

I love the way your photographs and words collaborate to tell your stories.

Anonymous said...

Good Story.
I like the way you reason out stuff.That and your way with ummm, words. Lol..
We use to have beavers in our pond. You should see some of the huge trees they knawed. I mean great big ole trees. Luckily, some of the trees survived, some didn't.
The beavers all went somewhere else, thank goodness.
Have a good weekend.

Pamela said...

I like the sound of piss popple.
Especially because that is the tree that my ex husband thought was a birch -- and he tried to swing on it.

It broke (smack down)

Anonymous said...

Oh I love your cat, and I've finally found someone who is rational. How do I know? Well, since I'm the ONLY person on earth who detests Thanksgiving and Christmas (yikes! They're throwing rocks at me again!) I need someone else on my side.

It angers me that so many people buy in on the robotic trend to let a calendar declare that "TODAY YOU WILL COOK TURKEY" or "TODAY YOU WILL PRETEND PLEASURE OVER HANDING OVER MANY PRESENTS TO PEOPLE YOU DON'T LIKE AND WON'T SEE FOR ANOTHER YEAR". Bah, humbug.

And there goes another tree in the woods....because the calendar made him do it.

Anonymous said...

Great story - and I love that last picture. I love the smell of gingerbread -that can really lift the spirits (as can the eating thereof)...

The W.O.W. factor! said...

I'd never heard of piss popple..great name! I can heard them in the fire from here!
Not to spoil your mood, but the tree hunter...if they were desperate, could they not have found a small WHOLE tree to take (steal)? One year, we used a 'tumble weed'...T'was FREE and tumbled into our space.
I'm glad you got out..Cowboy has been telling me to do that! I haven't even started my car in 3 weeks? Sad...

Jama said...

can you send some of the snow over? I miss them, the only time I get to touch the snow is when I went overseas to NewZealand years ago. We only have rain and sunny in Singapore.