Arbutus Tree Journals from Arbutus Heights

by Ron Bazar

September 6, 2011

Arbutus Wood from a giant dead Madrone tree!

This Arbutus wood outside my shop came from a dead standing giant Arbutus tree! It had died from the inside out and was hollow for the first 20 feet of its trunk. It was over 3 feet in diameter at its base.

With the help of my neighbor, another Ron!, who is an eco forester with a hoist crane truck, giant chainsaw and more, we took it down and moved it in huge chunks to his sawmill.

We then cut it into 5 inch slabs and cut those into moveable pieces 3-8 feet long, moved them to my shop. I then started cutting them down to smaller chunks to get them into my shop on the bandsaw and cut them into "lumber" removing cracked parts and decay as well as the outside bark etc.

This picture shows the pile of wood! Some of the burl wood is strikingly amazing with 3 different birds eye colors and patterns. Some very good and some not that great but mostly a huge amount of great wood to make a few spoons and knives! But over half the wood became firewood once I cut the useless stuff off. Makes for hot fires on those cool nights soon a-coming!

All this wood including under the tarp came from that giant dead tree plus a much smaller one from a neighbor.



by Ron Bazar

March 25, 2010

Arbutus Tree Pictures

I took off into the Arbutus forest around me to see what I could get on film for the site.

I am fortunate to live surrounded by thousands of Madrone trees on the crags and bluffs all around. I get to see them in all their stages:

...the yearly stages of new growth, new Arbutus flowers, new leaves, peeling bark, dropping bark, then dropping leaves as the new ones take over, then berries, then they fall, then the bark darkens again and spring arrives for the new cycle.

...and the longer term cycles where branches die, fall off, stump heels, trees age, some die, some die young, others fight for sun amongst the firs, some deal with wind storms and broken branches and trees and through it all the Arbutus tree shows its splendor.

By taking pictures, you get to focus in sometimes on intimate parts of the tree finding revealing parts and pieces to highlight.

Many will appear on the site as I get a chance to add them.

Blessed by Arbutus!


January 20, 2010

Wolf Pack Visit

I had just gotten up and went downstairs. It was late around 9AM.

I was about to go and open the door to get wood for starting the fire when something catches my eye.

I look out the window and there is a big black dog walking down the path from my daughter's cabin, past the Arbutus tree and coming to my cabin.

Surprised I try to figure out which of my neighbors has such a dog and none comes to mind. He comes closer and I have to move to see him through the front door glass.

He stops at the outdoor table. He puts his front paws up on it and proceeds to grab a turned Madrone wood piece I had left out there.

It was in the shape of an hourglass and the dog must have thought it was a giant bone!

He proceeds to grab it in his jaws and as he drops down to all fours, I notice two other dogs coming down the path. Now I realize that they can't be dogs as I know of nobody around that has 3 huge black dogs!

I get it then that they are wolves! And then 2 more come down the path!

By now the first wolf has carried his bone up a bit onto a mossy bluff area beside an Arbutus tree and lies down to knaw on his bone!

Meanwhile the other wolves meander past him so I open the door and start talking to the wolf with his bone maybe 30 feet away.

He pays me no attention. Must taste too yummy!

After a couple of minutes, he gives up on it and takes off after his buddies up the trail to the cliff above and onwards doing their day.

I realize that these are the same wolves that chased me in my car one twilight evening while driving home a few months before.

They were having fun trying to outrun me. When I stopped the car, they would take off into the bush and when I started up again, they followed whether I went backwards or forwards!

They were probably adolescent wolves out having fun and trying to get into trouble without really trying!


May 28 2006

Riled Up Robins

I open the cabin door to put on my runners so I can go for an early run.

I see pieces of furry moss all over the porch. I look up and see that it was dropped down from a beam holding the roof. Some birds must have been building a nest very early that morning.

In fact it was rather loud the singing as I was slowly waking up. Can't have that over my entrance way ... fears of bird poop urge me on as I grab the broom and pull it all down ... it was spread out over about 8 feet!

I go for my run and come back about an hour and a half later. Lo and behold the moss is back in place above as before!

I grab the broom and start pulling it down.

As I just finish, two big robins come and land on my outside table 10 feet away and start squawking at me so loud... "How dare you take down our nest material?" they are clearly saying to me over and over. They were quite upset at me.

I was just amazed that they had no fear and could scold me as they wanted.

I felt no guilt. No nests above my door! There are lots of other places to build.

I guess they got the message as there were no more attempts at nest building there.


May 28 2006

Bucky made my day!

8:00 AM. Just walking back to the house along the trail. 
I step onto the grassy area behind the house away from the bluff and the ring of Madrone trees.

As I look up, I see a deer coming from my right on the path from my guest cabin.
 She had obviously seen me as I stepped onto the grass. She was only 25 feet away and another deer was right behind her.

Instead of stopping and running away, the lead deer keeps coming towards me as I had stopped dead in my tracks. I couldn't believe that she was that unafraid!

Then I notice that she has small bulges where new antlers will be growing and I realize it is Bucky, who I haven't seen in a good couple of months. His brother turns off the path behind him and heads for the bluff in front of my cabin, while Bucky keeps walking right up to me!

He stops 3 feet away and I say "Hi Bucky, how are you doing?"
 He just looks at me as I chatter on looking into his big brown eyes.
 I realize then that he is expecting his Arbutus tree berries!

About 20 seconds passed this way until he realized there was no feast from me today.

So he turned and walked off to join his brother on the way down to the beach.

I walked into the cabin with a huge grin on my face!

Bucky sure made my day!


March 13, 2006

Robins and deer feasting on Arbutus berries

I am being swarmed by hundreds of robins feasting on the very, very ripe arbutus berries. They swarm and sing and change songs, stop and start together. I wonder who the conductor is?

There is a doe just in front between the porch and the outside bathtub near a gorgeous Arbutus tree and she stands still watching and listening to the show!

Woops, the doe ain't a's Bucky! I could see the spots where his antlers grew before falling off...he is in Bucky Heaven!

The robins have dropped tons of Arbutus tree berries as they fly into the branches and pull on the berries...many fall down so all Bucky has to do is stand under the tree and feast...he has walked barely 10 feet in the past hour. You should see the happy expression on his face!

I guess it's like chocolate cake for us!

Imagine your smile!

And he is all alone in his feast....he's having his cake and eating it too!

No other does or bucks around to interfere. He's now eating berries that landed on my bench near the outdoor tub and all around. What a happy deer!

Sort of reminds me of that hot spring day in Montreal as a kid when on a Sunday afternoon, at the rink beside the house, the sun melted the snow and ice and all the change that was there from people flipping over the boards rose to the surface.

And it was all there free for the picking...just me! I made a fortune (for a kid!) :)

Now, a couple of hours later, a few does have joined the feast and are foraging all over the bluff with the robins doing the hard work above!


January 9, 2006

What a day on the bluff!

Last night's wind and rain storm brought down some more Arbutus berries. I am amazed at how long they stay on the tree! They have been there for months...since September. 2005 was a record year for blossoms and thereafter for berries as each blossom in the spring makes berries in the fall.

The deer are just loving it. Arbutus tree berries are a delicacy for the deer to feast upon.

And have they been feasting! Because the bluff in front of the house and workshop is so big and open, the moss carpet holds the berries in easy view for the deer to browse.

This morning the two year old twins were here can see the well formed antlers with 2 points on the end of each side to tell their age.

Then the younger one year old buck twins joined them in the search. Soon one of the younger bucks challenged one of the older bucks and they half friendly-like butted heads together for about 5 minutes.

Two doe females then appeared and all six were feasting happily for a while. The two senior bucks decided to take off at a trot. The does watched and after the bucks were about a hundred yards away, the does gave chase! What a role reversal!

The younger buck twins stopped dead in their tracks and just gazed at the departing does with quite the expression on their faces! Maybe next year?

This all happened within 20-50 feet from me. The younger bucks are still browsing now as they wander on their daily rounds.

They let me get quite close as I know them from when they were infants wandering with their mum. They let me get very close 5-10 feet before they move off.

About a month ago, I picked a branch with berries off an Arbutus tree and one of the bucks nibbled each berry on it from my hand!

The next day when he saw me at the same spot he came running towards me at a full gallop wanting more! The magic of Arbutus never ends!

Now three does are back feasting. And guess what? The bucks are all back. It's mating season. Before you know it, there will be some Bambi fawns around.

Well time to get into the shop and to start processing all the Madrone wood I just brought in from the bush. I have a huge stack now as I prepare for the coming busy summer season. Many steps to do but the first big one is done with the wood all here and the ends sealed, ready for making into Arbutus lumber.

Arbutus Ron ... smiling from Arbutus Heights :)

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