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Aldo's Sawyer

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by northwinds, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2006
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    south central WI
    My wife and I took the day off yesterday and went up to Aldo Leopold's Shack which is only a short distance
    from our place. I've read Sand County Almanac, but really didn't know much about the man or his family.

    It turns out that his wife Estella was the sawyer for the family. When they settled on their weekend getaway,
    lowlands next to the Wisconsin River, the land was was all used up from farming. The Leopold family focused
    on planting pine to bring back the land back. The new Leopold Center was recently built from that wood on the
    property, including from pines that Leopold planted.

    Leopold's family planted thousands of pines on the abandoned farm. One of Aldo's quotes is ""Acts of creation
    are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets. To plant a pine, one need only own a shovel."

    Aldo's shack is a converted chicken shed and full of poop when the family arrived in the dead
    of the winter back in the 30's. The Leopold family added a bunkhouse. His son built an outhouse which he
    named the Parthenon. The unassuming buildings still stand. The shack is locked up in the winter, so we
    didn't get to see inside. The pines in the area are quite mature now. There were a bunch of trees downed
    this winter, and I couldn't help but wonder if they would let me in with my trailer to help clean things up,. :)
    My own land is closer, so that was a foolish thought.

    Besides planting and cutting down trees, Estella was excellent with a bow and arrow, winning the state archery
    championship.

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  2. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Baraboo if I remembered correctly? SCA was a bit hard for me to read with his writing style. I'll have to try again in a few years. I enjoyed the message he tried to get across.

    Matt
  3. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    south central WI
    Yes, it's between Baraboo and the Wisconsin Dells. I doubt if Aldo would choose the
    site for a weekend getaway today. You can hear the hum of interstate close-by. Neighbors
    with junk piles and burn barrels.

    The property itself has huge oak and mature pines. It's a short walk from the shack to the
    Wisconsin River where we found the hired hands spraying for buckthorn along the banks.
  4. NH_Wood

    NH_Wood Minister of Fire

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    southern NH
    We discuss Sand County Almanac quite a bit when I teach Wildlife Conservation and Management (actually teaching it this semester). Leopold's writing is poetic and brings a sense of urgency to our need to rethink our use of natural resources. He was an avid hunter - try reading Round River if you like nature writing and hunting. He used the land, but understood poor land use better than most. Would love to see the sands of Wisconsin where he spent so much time. Died aiding a neighbor fight a wildfire (a heart attack, not fire related). Leopold is certainly one of the great voices of modern conservation ethics - right up there with Muir, Pinchot, and others, albeit from a different viewpoint from the Muir and Pinchot traditions. Egad, it's the weekend - I feel like I'm lecturing! :lol: Cheers!
  5. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    When he died, I believe the fire went over him.

    Matt
  6. NH_Wood

    NH_Wood Minister of Fire

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    Egad - that's nasty. Cheers!
  7. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, but when I read it, I kinda felt like he wouldn't have minded it assuming he was already gone. In a way it seemed oddly fitting.

    Matt
  8. SnapCracklePop

    SnapCracklePop Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2010
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Southwestern Penna
    Baraboo. Now, there's a name from my past. I spent many happy hours climbing rocks in Devil's Lake, camping in the campground in winter when there wasn't another soul except our climbing party, and... drinking beer at a bar in Baraboo. We were asked to leave when we got silly.

    I went there from the University of Iowa with other college kids, all of us members of the Iowa Mountaineers.

    Those were the days. "Big Girls Don't Cry" was at the top of the charts...
  9. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    Devil's Lake is one of my favorite places for a day hike. I'm not a rock climber, but it is very popular for that.
    Gibraltar's Rock is very close to my home. That also was popular for rock climbing, but after a few people fell
    off/jumped off, it's closed for that purpose now. My favorite local day hike is from Gibraltar's Rock to Devil's Lake.
  10. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    As you may notice from my sig line this guy is something I've long appreciated. I would love to visit the area. It was good to hear your story about it.

    pen
  11. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I like the old timers that saw the value in trees as more than just wood

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