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Monday, January 23, 2017

FIRST FERRY, OR MORNNG STAR?

FIRST FERRY ON  MONDAY MORNING
Monday, 9:00 AM.  34 degrees F at the ferry dock,  31 on the back porch.  Wind variable and calm, the humidity 96%, the sky overcast.  The barometer is steady at 29.81",  predicting more of the same for the week ahead, with the possibility of snow on Wednesday.  My Second Cousin Gary called me from Seattle yesterday.  They are a little warmer there but otherwise the weather is almost the same.
   Awake early this morning, I caught the light of the first ferry from LaPointe on Madeline Island, crunching its way through the ice cubes to Bayfield.  If I hadn't known it was overcast I might have thought it the morning star.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

LITTLE IS LIKELY TO EVER CHANGE

FOG


Sunday, 8:30 AM.  35 degrees F at the ferry dock, 32 on the back porch.  Wind variable, with light to moderate gusts.  The sky is again cloudy and overcast, with considerable fog, the humidity 96%.  The barometer is rising slowly, currently at 29.68".  We are pretty much in a holding pattern; rainy, overcast, foggy, with slightly declining temperatures.
   I should lay low regarding the women's march on Washington and elsewhere, but I am honestly mystified by much of what has been reported, and need some answers.  So, this turkey will stick its head out of the cage and probably get it shot off.
   First, Joan has been no help at all, claiming to be as mystified as I am.  It wouldn't be the first time she lied to me.
   Second, to my daughters, who may or may not have marched anywhere, and whom owe me a phone call anyway:  help me out here in terms even I can understand.
   I am mystified by the lack of specificity in the demands, or better put, in the multiplicity of demands, many of them in conflict with each other, which makes it difficult to acquiesce to any of them, even if one wished to do so.
   "What do we want?"
   ""Everything!"
   "When do we want it?"
    "Now!"
See what I mean?
   And then there are the obvious contradictions, such as the women who profess to love their children... except those they wish to kill.  Oh well, we live in a pick and chose society.  Not that I am necessarily or  irretrievably against Roe V Wade which is, as they say, settled law, but I see no difference whatsoever between late term abortions and infanticide, which is murder.  And pro life women were not allowed to join the women's march.  Go figure.
   Another contradiction is what language a man may use and what language a woman may use. President Trump was tricked into using foul and abusive language many years ago that was captured on tape and then dragged out later to discredit him.  Gee, I am glad no one ever (I hope) taped obscene things I may have said years ago, or any man for that matter.  Not that women are any more discrete in private than are men. And those who say they are, are naive at best, as revealed by the conversations I secretly taped of a bachelorette party some years ago.  I am sure I still  have them around somewhere.
    "#$%*, you @#$%*!,   stop using such  @#$%*  foul language!"
Maybe we should all clean up our acts.
   Which brings me to another point:  Madonna and her compatriots are nothing but sexual predators, enticing others to do obscene things through their performances, on stage and off.  Old fashioned  strip joint fare was pretty mild by comparison.  They want  men, and even some women to watch,  and be mortally tempted, but not touch...in fact, you dare not even talk about touching! Anything at all for a buck, no better than prostitutes, who of course need understanding and equal pay.
   One more thing.  Women could stop all violence if they were unified enough to deny men sex for a week, maybe two.  Wars across the globe would cease, peace prevail...the oceans might even cease to rise.
    Women, however, are evidently  incapable of achieving solidarity in that matter, so little is likely to ever change.
  
  

Saturday, January 21, 2017

THEY'D BEST GET OUT OF DODGE BEFORE SUNDOWN

THE NEW SHERIFF IN FOGGY BOTTOM
Saturday, 8:30 AM.  35 degrees F at the ferry dock, 31 on the back porch. The sky is overcast, the  wind variable and calm,  the humidity 93%.  The barometer stands at 29.75".  We may get rain later today and this evening, with a mix of weather and temperatures around 30 degrees or higher later in the week ahead.  Some sunshine would be welcome.
   Still recuperating from our respective operations, Joan and I spent much of yesterday watching the inauguration drama.  The new president promised that the transition of power would  not be from one administration or party to another, but from the government back to the people.  That was what the revolution was all about, and why so many politicians hate Donald Trump.
   God was invoked without fear of criticism, and Jesus' name was said without a snicker.  I think it's safe to say that political correctness in this country has taken a mortal hit, although it will still go through its death throes. 
   At last we have someone in charge who will speak the plain truth and not hide behind lawyerly phraseology and parsed words.  President Trump's inaugural speech was short, and abbreviated to bullet points almost as deadly as their namesake. It may be trite to say, but it's true; there's a new sheriff in town.
   I don't know about you, but I could not care less that Hollywood  didn't show up for the party.  They proved how inconsequential they really are, as did the Democrat congressmen who stayed away.  Neither were missed, but they sure missed a good time. It must feel like, as if you didn't go to the barn dance because you thought it would be too hokey, but then didn't have anything else to do on Saturday night.
   If Leftists stayed away, Middle America sure showed up.  High school marching bands and farm tractors instead of rocket launchers and tanks in the inaugural parade say more about America than anything else.  A lot of folks will make light of much of what was prosaic about the inauguration, but at heart that's what we loved.  Speak softly but ride a giant farm tractor.
   And what about the Anarchists and thugs who shouted obscenities, threw rocks and burned a couple of cop cars?
   They'd best get out of Dodge before sundown.
  
  
  

Friday, January 20, 2017

SEEING THE FOREST FOR THE TREES


WHAT CONSTITUTES  THE FOREST?



Friday, 8:30 AM.  33 degrees F at the ferry dock, 32 on the back porch.  The wind is variable and calm, the humidity 92%.  The sky is cloudy and overcast, the barometer continuing its leisurely decline, now at 29.74".  The forecast calls for rain later today and continuing into the weekend, with temperatures in the 30's, then becoming cooler with a wintry mix of weather thereafter.
   Things seem to come in bunches.  We reported on the status of the Bayfield urban forest on Wednesday, and I will report today on the status of America's forests as presented in the US Forestry Report, which has been accomplished every ten years since 1930.  Along with my own knowledge and interpretations, the following includes my summary of an article which appeared in the January 14-15 Wall Street Journal.
   Traditional forestry is basically a statistical science, or at least mathematical measurements and statistics have been essential to it for well over a century (which is probably why I never became a traditional forester).  Forest mensuration, the measuring of the quantities, qualities and monetary value of forests, has been practiced in America for well over a century, and in Europe well before that.  Wood is an economic substance, bought, sold and traded worldwide, and values must be precisely measured.  That process is tedious, hands on field work, done by professionally trained foresters. 
   The mathematics and statics of traditional forestry have evolved, and beginning in 1930, the Forest Service began to assess the nation's forest as a whole, using field sample plots.  Plots 6,000 acres in size have been established covering  each  of the 50 states. Of these 326,000 plots, about one-third are considered forested.   To accommodate  the curvature of the earth these plots are hexogonal in shape (think of a soccer ball cover). Within each of the large forested plots small  sub-plots have been established, and over the last century randomly selected live trees over five inches in DBH (diameter at breast height) have been identified and have been re-assessed every ten years for growth, health and mortality. Seedlings within sample sub-plots are counted but not further assessed.  Forests of the nations territories are also assessed, but in an abbreviated fashion.
   Obviously this is a complicated undertaking,  the surveying budget for  2016 being 75 million dollars.  It involves foresters visiting each forested sample sub-plot once every ten years, assisted now by GPS locating and aerial photography.
   Is it worth it?  It gives the country and its forestry products industries, which exported 8.7B dollars of wood products in 2016, a graphical view of forest health, composition and sustainability. It establishes benchmarks and goals for the Forest Service and society.  Where are we now?  96.6 billion trees 5" in DBH and larger comprise the nation's forests.
   Forest composition changes over time, but we have roughly the same forest cover today as we did a century ago, and the forest resource has proved sustainable.
   We can see the forest for the trees.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

GOTTA CHECK THIS ONE OUT



A QUIET, GRAY, ICY MORNING


Thursday, 8:15 AM.   31 degrees F  both at the ferry dock and on the back porch.  Wind variable and calm.  The sky is overcast, the channel foggy, the roads slippery;  I heard a lot of ice breaking before first light, either ferries, fishing tugs or both, although I am pretty sure fishing boats are done for the winter.  The humidity is 93%, the barometer falling, now at 29.83".  The forecast is for similar weather into next week, the  temperatures plus or minus 30 degrees, with rain and snow showers.
   I thought "deplorable"  and "irredeemable" were the worst I could be called, but now, since President Elect Trump is being called illegitimate by everyone on the Left, I guess that makes those of us who voted for him illegitimate as well.
   Dad would have smiled wearily and shrugged it off.  Mom would have punched someone out.
   Fake News circulated by the Russians is certainly a serious issue these days. I have heard that Peyton Manning, retired  football quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts, is having a sex change operation.  Or is that Chelsea Manning, the feminine rendition of the traitor Bradley Manning?
   Gotta check this one out.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

CITY OF BAYFIELD URBAN FORESTRY REPORT


WEDNESDAY'S MOLTEN DAWN

Wednesday, 8:30 AM.  29 degrees F the ferry dock, 27 on the back porch.  Wind variable and calm . The sky is mostly clear, the humidity 84%.  The barometer is steady for now.  Temperatures should remain in the 30's to 40's range through the weekend, with increasing cloudiness and chances of rain showers, after which we may see a cooling trend and snow showers.
   A number of Bayfield residents are readers of The Almanac, so I think it appropriate to post the following Tree Board Report.  Additionally, it is good urban forestry information for the general reader.
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CITY OF BAYFIELD TREE BOARD
REPORT TO THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL
JANUARY 17, 2017

INTRODUCTION 
The City of Bayfield traditionally makes an annual report to the Mayor and Council.  This will serve both as a summary report of current conditions and as a recommendation for future actions and policies.
   The citizen Tree Board is currently low on active members, and the Volunteer City Forester of some years is retiring from duty, so the present provides a good opportunity for change and revitalization. 
   The Tree Board has been hands-on, performing not only a policy and guidance function but assisting with planting trees and performing training pruning of young trees and similar activities. 
   Board members do not need to be technically trained but must be active, attend meetings regularly and be motivated by civic duty and a love of trees and the local environment. 
   The  Forester should have or be willing to acquire some basic technical forestry skills.  There are ample inexpensive opportunities provided by the Wisconsin DNR and the US Forest Service for training and networking for the Board and Forester, as well as interested city employees.
CURRENT STATUS OF THE CITY OF BAYFIELD URBAN FOREST
   The City of Bayfield street and park trees are in good shape from a health and diversity standpoint, and were last professionally evaluated in a report done by Bluestem Forestry in November, 2011, but a follow up professional report should be done soon.
   In general, the city has kept up with replacing, pruning and monitoring city owned trees removed due to disease, accident or age  (trees within 30’ of a standard street center-line) . Our tree population is diverse and beautiful.
   Our current tree planting policy counts on individual homeowners requesting either a shade or ornamental tree for the boulevard in front of their property.  Requests are routinely granted for spring planting, and trees are seldom planted where they interfere with views or are otherwise not wanted.
   The Tree Board and Forester monitor for insect, disease and safety problems (including Emerald Ash Borer) along with directions and requests from the City Public Works Director. 
   The Tree Board plants an Arbor Day Tree and conducts a ceremony and school program annually.  It also maintains a spot on the city web site.
   The Tree Board has been very successful in obtaining matching grants for tree inventories and planting, and it is considered a leader in this regard by WDNR and the US Forest Service.
GOING FORWARD
   In addition to continuing the current activities of the Tree Board, which serve the city well, we recommend the city consider the following:
·     . Apply for matching grants for an updated Urban Forestry Plan and Tree Inventory. 
·      .Consider appointing a current or future city employee as Forester.  It does not have to be a full time position, but would require some extra compensation and training for an interested person.  Most cities, no matter how small, employ a city forester.  This would improve computerized record keeping and ongoing tree maintenance.  It would also ensure optimum coordination with contractors and nurseries.
·       .Bayfield needs to consider the entire city as its urban forest, including trees on private property.  Urban forestry is now seen as being akin in many ways to traditional forestry.  As unlikely as this may seem, it is the way the state and federal government now look at the urban forest, and that mindset will be the key to many major grant opportunities. 
   Bayfield has few publicly owned ash trees, but the ash population on private property is unknown, and a voluntary census would start the community thinking about a public-private urban forest.
·       . Grant funds for city forestry will increasingly be tied to partnerships with  other cities and communities, as well as with community nonprofit groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and The Bayfield Regional Conservancy.
Bayfield was lead agency for a major cooperative tree planting grant several years ago that included Bayfield, Red Cliff, Washburn and Ashland, and it can be so again. 
·       The city ravine conservancy areas function as originally intended but are an ongoing maintenance and public relations problem.  Citizens complain about their esthetic appearance and interference with prime lake views; conversely, they also present a major potential for grant funding. 
   The city should take full responsibility for these areas and seek grants and other funding for a full study that leads to updated ordinances and problem solving for these neglected resources.
·      .Thinking in the very broadest terms, it might be wise to investigate the establishment of a non-profit entity for the long range funding of the City of Bayfield Urban Forest.
CONCLUSION
   The City of Bayfield Tree Board has functioned well for many years and it has received many major grants and updated and modernized the city tree ordinances and inventory.  The city street and park tree population is diverse and healthy.  The Tree Board is now at a junction where its membership needs to be rejuvenated and the volunteer forester replaced.  It is hoped that both will be done well and quickly.
    It recommends that a city employee be designated, trained and compensated as the Forester. 
    It is time to think about city trees in broader terms than in the past.
    Properly staffed and led, the City of Bayfield Urban Forestry program should be on track to sustain itself through grant funding and other non-tax revenue.

Art Ode, Volunteer City Forester

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

GENERATING ELECTRICITY FROM COMMON SENSE

ASHLAND'S ELECTRICAL GENERATING PLANT...

...POWERED BY MULTIPLE  FUEL SOURCES, INCLUDING COAL...

...AND HUGE AMOUNTS OF WOOD SAWDUST
Tuesday, 8:00 AM.  29 degrees F at the ferry dock, 27 on the back porch.  Wind variable and calm, the sky mostly clear, but with heavy fog engulfing the channel.  The humidity is  93%.  The barometer is on a long free-fall from it's current 29.96" of mercury, predicting mixed skies and warmer temperatures in the 30's and 40's, with a chance of rain showers as the weekend draws near.
    Excel Energy's Ashland Bayfront Generating Station uses multiple sources of fuel for power, including huge amounts of wood sawdust mixed with powdered coal.  The sawdust comes from area companies that make doors, window frames, strand board and other manufactured wood products, important local businesses dependent on the forests of the region.  It can also burn logging debris, old railroad ties and tires.  It recently underwent extensive retrofitting to meet all current air quality standards.  The plant accepts waste from facilities within a 75 mile radius, at current trucking costs.
   Without this unique facility an enormous amount of sawdust  that currently produces income would go to landfills, at great expense and waste of natural resources.  The coal is shipped to Ashland by huge lake cargo boats.
   I gauge the health of the regional wood products industry in part by watching the constant delivery of sawdust by tractor trailer trucks, and the size of the sawdust pile.  By my observations, at least, the wood products industry is booming.
   This power plant is an important part of the local economy and represents an intelligent use of natural resources and economic opportunities.  Rather than taking it off-line because it used coal as a fuel, it was years ago converted to using mainly a waste product, sawdust. 
   This plant should serve as a model for the industry, not only  in the conservation of natural resources, but in thinking outside the box to extend the life and usefulness of facilities that are enormously expensive to build and difficult to amortize.
   Our society too often goes to extremes in how it interprets science and technology, and uses ideology and dogma to make political and economic decisions, instead of facts and common sense.
    This plant is truly generating electricity from common sense.