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Deb Robson and Tussah

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for the sheep!

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« The Big Project: hints can be revealed (pertains to fiber, surprise, surprise) | Main | Organizing fibers for the big project »

July 10, 2009


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Susan J. Tweit

If you're an elk, a bluebird, a three-toed woodpecker, a myotis bat, or any number of beetles (critical food for baby birds, among other things) or another species that likes openings, the burned forest looks better. But we people like our trees. It just looks different depending on whose eyes you're looking through!

I thought of you as I was writing my blog post about lavender tonight. Maybe I should make you some lavender salve for your spinning fingertips....

Deb Robson

I'm glad those critters like the openings! I tend to think of them as not having hiding places for animals. Yes, I like my trees! I don't need them right next to where I live, but . . . well, I have such wonderful memories of being in the mountains when I was young. And trees (as well as clean water) are part of those memories.

Susan J. Tweit

Before there were dams on all those drainages, the sediment that washed off burns like the Hayman Fire was one way to transfer nutrients downstream to other parts of the drainage, including as far downstream as the Mississippi Delta. Now it's an expensive nuisance, but only because we put up dams that capture it. Our immediate interests are not always in line with those of the long-term health of forests or river systems....
"Breathing, we reaffirm our link to the rest of nature, especially with Earth's plants and other photosynthesizing lives.... We and these green beings respire in lovely symmetry: they exhale the oxygen we need, we exhale the carbon dioxide they need. Breath merges our separate lives, infusing our cells with the elements common to all life."--Susan J. Tweit,Walking Nature Home: A Life's Journey, just out from Univ. of Texas Press
P.O. Box 578Salida, CO 81201WEB SITE http://susanjtweit.comBLOGhttp://susanjtweit.typepad.com/walkingnaturehome

Deb Robson

There's also the matter that 21% of that particular watershed has burned in the last 13 years, between the Hayman, Buffalo Creek, and Hi Meadow fires. I suspect (but don't know; it would be interesting to find out) that's a tad more than would burn in that period of time under natural conditions. . . .

Susan J. Tweit

We do know from looking at historic fires (from tree-ring data, among other things) and historic sedimentation records that having a fifth of the watershed burn in a bit more than a decade is not unusual in the long-term sense. Catastrophic or stand-replacement fires are "normal" on an every-several-century basis in many kinds of Rocky Mountain forests, and in fact are the reason for the huge swaths of aspens that spread over whole mountainsides, and which we take such delight in come late September. But when something only happens every three hundred or five hundred years, and our people have only lived in this part of the world for a hundred-fifty years (at most), it's not in our collective memory. (Talk to Native Americans, for instance, and you get an entirely different picture of the role of fire in these forest landscapes than most of us later-comers have.) It's interesting how culture, number of generations inhabited, and ancestral landscape shapes our perception of what is "normal."
"As we eat our simple meal of salad, bread and fruit, the taste of fresh spinach lingers on my tongue. It is ourgout de terroir, a French term often translated as 'taste of earth'.... This taste of our garden-to-come is as local and seasonal as one can get, a connection with the soil right out the kitchen door and the sunlight that nurtures it and us, day after day."--Susan J. Tweit,Walking Nature Home: A Life's Journey, just out from Univ. of Texas Press
P.O. Box 578Salida, CO 81201WEB SITE http://susanjtweit.comBLOGhttp://susanjtweit.typepad.com/walkingnaturehome

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