No. 5. Forestry Project 1

We are getting ready to plant a 2+ acre forest on our farm during the first week of April. Preparations have included ordering 700 trees of a number of varieties, acquiring 5-foot tree tubes and bird netting. We were able to organize the donation of 500 tubes from a source that wishes to remain anonymous. These protect the young trees against deer and other vermin; most will be small seedlings. The bird netting will prevent birds from attempting to nest in the tubes, getting trapped, dying, and also killing the trees. We’ve also bought a portable auger to drill the holes to plant the seedlings and test-bored about 20 holes so far. We’ll open more holes in a more concerted fashion as the planting date gets closer.

One part of the preparation involved removing several dead Ash trees from the periphery of the area. Here are pictured the three I cut down and removal by a neighbor, Kenny Reppert, who has a sawmill. The Repperts were able to cut over 600 4-foot stakes out of these logs. We opted to go for inch and a half square stakes by 4-foot long. Many tree stakes are 1 x 1 cut out of white oak or Black locust, both durable hardwoods. Ash is not as durable, but we calculate the fatter stakes will still serve us for a long time.

Jay M. Ressler

Jay Ressler Composite Photography, Encaustic Art, and Oil Painting He is an outstanding location photographer and painter, with an eye that can capture the soul of a Havana back street as beautifully as the sip of a hungry hummingbird, often with compelling black and white images. Jay Ressler is best known for artistic expression that lives in layers between opposites. “I like to explore boundaries,” he explains. “Boundaries between consciousness and the unconscious, between reality and imagination, between certainty and skepticism.” He does this by compositing his own photography in multiple layers to produce stunningly original, interleaved images. Using Photoshop, other image manipulation software and a variety of digital effects, he paints one photographic layer on top of another. He takes advantage of textures he's captured along with an array of processes for manipulating light, contrast, and color to tell the story. “Distorting and reinterpreting the literal 'machine moments' captured by the camera is as old as the art of photography,” he insists. Jay occasionally extends his multi-layered approach to encaustic mixed media creations. Based on ancient techniques, the process begins with cooking his own recipes of beeswax and damar resin and applying this medium between the layers of photographic images, along with various pigmented compounds and materials to add color, texture and expression. Either way, the results are riveting. The viewer is drawn into an unfolding, dreamlike scene that might be heart-warming, haunting, gritty, poignant or magical. Sometimes, within the various layers, all of the above. The award-winning photographer/artist has many dimensions himself. He studied advanced digital photography at Pittsburgh Filmmakers and advanced encaustic techniques with leading instructors in the field. He worked as an underground coal miner, steelworker, machinist, labor and civil rights activist, copywriter and commercial printer. He has a BS in Psychology from Albright College.

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