Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.
Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.
Fellow Community Voice - Family Guy (Peter Hart) has broached a topic rather near and dear to my heart.
I would like to thank those Tosans that opened his eyes to see the light.
While the typical Christmas tree is grown and harvested for one single purpose - namely the celebration of Jesus' birth; I am inclined to believe that the second member of the Holy Trinity would actually have spoken highly-of and possibly blessed the practice of TSI - timber stand improvement.
Euphemistically known as clear cutting.
I'm not talking about clear cutting rain forests for the grazing of beef cattle to feed America's fast-food appetite. I'm suggesting clear-cutting to mimic the impacts of nature (namely fire) that we have chosen to suppress, so that certain tree species have an opportunity to regenerate with human (in the absence of nature's) intervention.
In case any of you don't know this (or even care to know) my wife and I are tree farmers.
Yep, just like the farmer that grows corn, beans or hay.
We grow trees.
Like most farmers we deal with blights, diseases, insects, critters, poor weather and other unlikely and unpredictable events.
Unlike most farmers - the growing and harvest cycles for a tree farmer extend beyond one year to the next. They last decades, lifetimes and beyond.
Think: patient farmer.
We do not grow Christmas trees or nursery stock.
All of our trees are destined for the mill - either as pulp or saw boards.
A couple of months ago my wife and I attended the National Tree Farm Convention - hosted in Madison, Wisconsin. Almost 700 individuals from 38 states made a point of attending some or all of the event. It was the largest gathering yet.
Forests and forestry are a big deal in Wisconsin.
To get your arms around how big consider the following:
It is estimated that the forest industry in Wisconsin contributes more than $30 billion annually to the state's economy and supports over 100,000 jobs in the forest products and processing industries with more than $3.5 billion in payroll. Additionally, more than 125,000 jobs are indirectly supported in other sectors of the state's economy.
In 28 counties (out of 72 total) the forest industry is the largest employer. In 14 additional counties the forest products industry is among the top three employers.
Forests are the backbone of more that 1900 companies. Capital investment in the forest industry exceeds $811 million annually - second in the nation - and one-fifth of all investment in Wisconsin manufacturing.
Wisconsin is the number one paper making state in the nation and has been for more than 50 years. Wisconsin produces more than 5.3 million tons of paper and over 1.1 million tons of paperboard annually.
The combined value of paper, lumber and wood products shipped from Wisconsin in a single year is around $17 billion.
Forest-based recreation adds an additional $5.5 billion annually to the Wisconsin economy.
Most kids today don't have a clue about the role that trees play in their lives.
I think that stinks.
The planned State Forestry Education Center that is going to be built in Tosa on the County Grounds may begin to turn that around.
About that Christmas tree?
Do yourself, the Wisconsin economy, and the world a favor and guiltlessly purchase a real tree - a genuine renewable resource.
Jesus loves you for doing so.