Photo Diaries
Pictures and Words

by Noah Jackson

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December 13, 2005

"Snowed In"

November 30, 2005

  Several of you have been clamoring for updates but we've been busy.
The entire gang of Peace Corps folks came out for a potluck. Our
editor removed the photo of the gang from the daily take-- to many
scars-- I think. John's mom came into town and helped out in the
woodyard and supervised our Thanksgiving turkey and daily operations.
We took advantage of her consultant skills and the free labor and
reorganized our entire kitchen. All of our eating systems are much
more efficient. In addition to grilling a Hetturite turkey on
Thanksgiving Day that we almost had to fight for we also made our
first batch of smoked sausages. In the photo, the newest member to
our team is pictured. He is the one with the mouth open: an old
hunting dog from a good friend. His name is ROBO. The day after
Thanksgiving a neighbor volunteered to burn three of our slash piles
in addition to the wood-yard bonefire we started. Our flares burned
for days- four in all. I'm sure we could have done something else
with the carbon credits but it was nice to drink beers, let the dogs
roam, and feed the fires outside in between typing sessions inside.

November 14, 2005

Yesterday, high in the mountains on the border of the Scapegoat
Wilderness, the pulling season began. We are being ushered into the
seasons. John got a job which means Backdoor Conservation Init will
soon go interstate. As the snow begins to fall, my thesis grows
longer; it sits next to a pile of job applications.

November 9, 2005

Canning. A new series of experiments at the backdoor. We are now
accepting applications for an intern. If you are interested, please
send a letter describing how you would use 36 quarts of carrots.

November 8, 2005

We went for a walk this morning and wound up getting a mule deer.
Photo is of us all walking home. Mule deer is riding in the bicycle

October 31, 2005

October 23, 2005

  Grey light with a tinge of green tea
brakes against frozen windshield
I see
the forest rising I walked through
just shy of a full moon
amongst mountains
with branches cracking
the dog lunging up trail embankment
fear and excitement translated through harness ties
there were bears
somewhere off the rising hair of my neck nape
I descended through darkness
hands sometimes raised
sometimes clapping
back home
eddies of flame behind glass warm chilled air
coffee and charcoal gritty on fingers
rougher, wilder, warmer
from the trail
unseen when delivering white bread for this mornings’
fundraiser-bakesale for the hunters
opening day
the outline of me and my felt hat looms out of seven am darkness
‘man, if you need a mission there is one right here.’
I stare into the wood
voices fade
past halogen headlights sandwiched together
newspapers on the dash
bloodlines snake through grass
another day dawns

October 19, 2005

Returning from firewood gathering in the ponderosa forest behind
Morrison peak, the rough-road is illuminated by headlights

October 16, 2005

Outside the Rattlesnake Wilderness Area,
a forest nymph plays.

October 14, 2005

At home under the bigsky from the 'Slob-aru' window.
Somehow, the back-seat driver made it into the daily takes again.

October 9, 2005

Sausage grinding, mixing & spicing, and taste testing at the ranch.

October 7, 2005

We've been busy getting wood.
These were all taken in the yard yesterday.

October 3, 2005


Killer Cord
This is about the wood cord that almost killed us
first in the woodyard
chainsaw ripping through my chaps
another part sitting in the forest
tire-flatened trailer just
a few inches off the road we built
forearms strained from sawing old trunks to bare ground
then, later-
weaving on the highway
one tick over forty-five and the trailer is swaying
I’m driving a truck behind
four pairs of wet brakes touch
wet road
trailer blowout
one cord of wood is not quite heavy enough
to flip the Toyota
but gives another blowout
after an afternoon of rain
tarped wood hidden off
highway 200
tarped for an afternoon
it’s finally delivered
into a woodshed
past the dogs I almost hit
and 300 head of sheep
finally out of our hands
into another woodyard
we finally breath
let our arms and cuts rest
from the killer cord
now feeding a 50-gallon drum wood-stove


September 25, 2005

First Kill

September 25, 2005

  Mortal fall rain
diesel logging trucks hammer past
I can feel it in my bones
up and down highway 200
doug and ponderosa rattle roofracks
and ranch glass
along the draw of the road
where life moves too fast
and close to blood stained deer remains
along white road guide marks
and up bar oiled-stained pants
across thirty inches of the Stihl blade
and in workgloved sawdusted gasolined softened fingers
and along the brow I didn’t shave
where there’s a new scar
one more since last year
some kind of growth, maybe
maybe some allergy
a sign of mortality
I swing the axe and
the maul continues commuting through wet cold
recycled air from
a hunting camp in Maine or, maybe
some hypothermic peak just above snow-line
some place between decay and preservation
today air comes from The South to The North
from Catrina
or Rita
female names
pretty names
more mortality
makes me feel old
and miss friends
conquering peaks
working in refugee camps
ashes resting
sifting, decomposing
sawdust or ash from one of those fires gets in my eyes
when I’m staring at the bark-beetled infested tops swaying
white flecks against blue storm sky
I feel vertigo
in the silence
the dog is nuzzling under some slash pile
she’s found something living or dying
while ash is falling
making the scene a grainy, time-slowed analog movie
in this moment when life is up for grabs
it’s fall
things living and dying
slicing and dicing
I think about writing some ethical will
or at least re-editing nagging questions that set-in this time of year
will the wood be got in?
should I get 14 inch tires or 17?
do I have enough logging orders to get a hitch for the Subaru?
how do I get all the burs off my pants?
will my clutch make it through winter?
will I be sleeping with anyone other than my dog?
I know my questions should be different
I’ve been wrong before
falls ago when I fell asleep in a closed DC subway
and at the end of the summer
when I thought death was upon me
fighting icy river current
a tree falls
the forest laughs
things reigning in the air continue
one cold day ends
another begins to begin
one commute meets another
tire hum greets sunrise rain
mortality lives