Aren't those creatures of the great northwest?
I ask myself that every time I see a silhouette of a Bigfoot in the trees or a field of Nebraska.
They seem to be everywhere.
The fence along the west side of the property runs close to a line of cedar trees.
An inaccessible clearing was created at one point, by cutting off a cleft into the tree line.
Inaccessible is barely an exaggeration.
Cedars grow close together, with tightly spaced long branches that intersect each other, like meshing the straightened fingers of your two hands, only all the way around like a Christmas tree.
The low branches mostly die, leaving hard unbending thickets of scratchy criss crossed branches.
Cedar wood is hard and dense and pitchy.
The sticks and branches make excellent fireplace kindling; we gather it for this purpose.
The heart of the thicker logs is a deep purple red.
The smell is spicy and distinctive.
It is used to make souvenir plaques, trinket boxes, etc. throughout the west.
Cedar wood is used to line closets and chests because some people believe it repels moths.
The clearing is the lowest spot in the entire yard.
Rainwater drains down and across the south west corner of the property through the clearing.
The water backs up against the road, which has a culvert to allow the water to go under.
The culvert does its job but it is slow and a pond forms for a short while after a heavy rain.
Over the years, erosion sculpted the clearing to form a levee, with a little cut at one end where water carved a path out.
We buried a small culvert of our own through that cut, under the path of the fence;
it allowed the fence to pass straight across neatly, without letting the dogs get under.
The other side of the cedar trees backs up tightly to a brake of wild plum trees with row crops beyond.
A trail is carved through the trees, between the plums and the cedars.
I don't know if this is true in other places but the thorns on our wild plums are toxic.
Plum trees are covered in short little branches that are thorn-like but not really thorns.
The bark on these proto-thorns is dirty and rotty, often hosting fungus.
Thorns of plum trees readily scratch the skin.
They also seem to puncture the skin fairly painlessly to sink deeply into the flesh.
Puncture wounds emit bits of rot and bark for a time.
Wherever the plum thorns damage the skin, infection forms that weeps pus.
The damage to the skin leaves a permanent bumpy scar when it heals.
Plum tree wood is crap.
It rots quickly, often before the tree is completely dead.
Any dried wood that doesn't rot is stringy and resists separating when broken.
Those qualities, combined with the toxic thorns, make plum wood unsuitable for most any purpose including kindling.
I cut an opening from the trail to the clearing, next to a mulberry tree growing like a fence post.
The opening is just wide enough to drive the mower through.
Mulberry trees spring up everywhere thanks to birds who eat their berries.
The berries look a lot like a raspberry or blackberry though they are not very flavorful.
They are one of the first fruits to ripen in a season.
The ground below is usually covered with rotting fruit that attracts flies.
I keep my mouth closed when mowing under mulberry trees.
Mulberries grow like weeds in this area.
Young mulberries seem unbothered by other trees, often growing mere inches away from their trunks, and climbing straight up for the sun, quickly, wending their way between branches.
They have an amazing ability to thrive in dense growths of other trees, such as cedars.
Mulberry wood is very hard.
It is tough enough that they make tennis rackets and hockey sticks with it.
Mulberry leaves are the food of silk worms.
Forests of mulberry trees are grown in China to feed a large voracious population of silk worms.
I have not heard of anyone growing silk worms in this area.
Bigfoot stands in the clearing.
He is positioned to be only visible to drivers travelling from north to south.
The camera view of Bigfoot in the clearing is facing to the south; his eyes look to the northwest.
Anyone who drives around at night will see pairs of eyes gleaming back, from the many nocturnal critters that roam the country.
For fun, I gave Bigfoot little round reflectors for eyes.
They don't work super well because he's so far from the road and it's the opposite side of the road from the driver.
We walk the path around the yard most mornings.
That includes the path through Bigfoot's forest.
The first morning we walked through there after I put up Bigfoot, the dogs went bananas.
Their barking and scratching and posturing was hilarious.
It took some time to get them to calm down and walk over by Bigfoot to see that he wasn't real, that he was just a toy.
Northbound travellers on the road descend a hill just as they get to the clearing.
Bigfoot is not visible from that direction.
He is behind the branches of a cedar tree.
Each of Bigfoot's eye reflectors came in a package of different colors, with only one white one.
I had to buy two packages to get two white reflectors.
This left a bunch of other colors to do something with.
Before Bigfoot, I thought it would be fun to fill the grass in that area with reflective pairs of eyes, lots of them.
I didn't bother before we built the fence because I figured they would just be shot or stolen.
I also hadn't stumbled across the right reflectors.
The little round ones work great!
The red reflectors became critter eyes in the Bigfoot clearing, facing to the south, visible to northbound traffic.
These really work well, distinctly redder than the shine of bunny eyes.
They catch the headlights nicely as you drive past for more than a brief flash, long enough to see well.
There were also blue and amber reflectors.
They became critter eyes at other places along the fence.
Blue is barely visible, not nearly the electric blue-white shine of wolf spider eyes.
Amber is probably the best and brightest of all; I should have used them for Bigfoot.