Blue Mushrooms

Several years ago we had come across a patch of blue mushrooms in our forest. They were only around a short while, less than a week then they disappeared until the next fall. Mike noticed the mushrooms first by a sweet smell, akin to honey, as he was walking through the woods. Since we had no idea what variety they were we did not go near or touch the fungi. Continue reading


Run, Run As Fast As You Can

I try not to take things too seriously, but I’m thinking my vegetables had begun plotting their escape.

Carrots growing extra 'legs'.These guys look like they are running away from the dehydrating plans I have for them.

Sliced thin and sprinkled with orange juice and cinnamon, they should make tasty vegetable chips for snacking.

(Imagine me with a cackle) Now don’t be afraid my pretties, come into my kitchen for a spell and let me warm a bed for you…

Lose A Bull, Gain A Bull

One of our long time bull buyers from Clatskanie called the other day. He needed a new bull for his herd.

In the bull pen we had two bulls that were a year and a half old and three bulls that we had weaned last month that were 9-10 months old. We also had the herd sire that is nearly four years old and weighs well over a ton. Since we have used our herd sire for two years already, we need to switch out to a different herd sire for a new bloodline. The critters in the bull pen are all his offspring so are all half-brothers to each other. Continue reading

A Truckload Of Payback

Getting help a few weeks ago to fix the switch box in the wood burning furnace means heat for the house and another kind of heat also, the kind generated when making a load of firewood to payback the help.

A pickup load of fireword ready for delivery.Our outdoor furnace can take large wood pieces up to 3 feet long. We have made more than 10 cord so far this year of this long heat source so it was difficult to saw pieces that are only 15 inches in length to fit the size of his firebox.

I had to go so far as to measure one piece to use it as a guide when cutting the seasoned cherry, fir and alder that was stacked along the edge of the landing from our logging that we had done nearly a year and a half ago.

My right hand helper and I had been able to get wood cut, split and loaded into the bed of the pickup on a beautiful fall morning. The frost on the ground kept our feet cold while the activity created fine beads of sweat at our temples and runny noses during the process.

I think I’ll save the unloading at my brother’s house for Mike, I would not want him to miss getting his share of the warmth from this payback.

The Palette Of Fall

Fall colors show bright through the tall timbers on the hillside.The understory of vine maple trees in this patch of tall Douglas fir trees are showing their bright red fall colors. The picturesque scene hides the fact the the forest may not be as safe as it seems.

Vine maples are considered a nuisance tree by many loggers. The limbs are known for their flexible qualities. It is easy to get tripped when walking through a patch of vine maple even when the multi-trunk bases of the trees are large enough make a good sized firewood log.

When using a chainsaw or driving equipment through vine maples there is always a risk of long, willowy limbs getting bent back and snapping forward with a dangerous whipping motion. The growing tree can hold an inner tension and can twist as it is being cut. The long branches can get twisted in with logs as they are being dragged along a skid road and slap at trees and anybody close by as they are dragged along.

There are a few uses for vine maple wood. The wood is dense and heavy. Creative people are able to use the twisted, gnarled larger limbs for table legs, decorative furniture pieces, floor lamps and the like. I would rather keep the vine maple in this natural state to enjoy the beautiful green leaves all summer and watch the season change with the turning foliage.


Planning Ahead

I was asked the other day if I plan supper ahead of time, so that when I am out in the garden or in the woods or gone for classes or tours I have the meal already come time to settle down for the evening.

The answer was no. Usually not. I just don’t spend a lot of brainpower on this subject. That is the reason that there are many times, usually just before supper, that I am thawing a package of hamburger, or scrounging through the freezer for something to cobble together for a meal. Continue reading

Carrot Chips

The carrot crop is still abundant even though we have been harvesting for almost every meal for the last couple of months. In an effort to use more of the root vegetable I’ve been trying to make carrot chips for snacking.

Continue reading