During The Logging Lull

We had tried to make it up the hill into the forestĀ  driving the Gator via the back road, this is the old skid road we have to get up the hill. It is much steeper and more narrow than the road we have been using. The thought was that there would be low vegetation like grass, vines of wild blackberries and dog fennel, growing on this seldom used road would help with traction.

Mike had the Gator in low gear and in 4-wheel drive as he began up the road but ran into trouble of the first switchback, he could not get enough traction to propel the vehicle both up and around the tight turn. It took a 12-point turn in order to get the Gator facing downhill to make it down the short trek to the bottom.

Our loggers have both the Barko machine and the large shovel stuck up here while the roads dry out enough to move them back downhill. Luckily the crew has projects on other properties that they can work on while this site is on mud delay.

grass pasture with black angus cowsSince we have been stuck on the lower end of the property, we have noticed that the pastures have started to green up from our series of thunderstorms over the last week. The herd is enjoying the fresh greens since this is most likely the last growing spurt of the summer.

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Up And Down

The last few warm days has certainly helped to dry the farm out a bit. The loggers have been chomping at the bit hoping to get the pole truck in for a load of long logs but it has just been too slippery on the slopes that lead in and out of the property, the landing where the logs are neatly decked and the edges of the river crossing. low Nehalem river looking upstream from our bridge

With all the rain, the river had risen as the excess moisture flowed into the stream but has once again receded to acceptable levels for crossing. Of course I forgot to snap a pic while the river was high so here is a picture of what the river looked like before our 2-1/2 inches of rain in two days, the river doubled in size, and is now back to looking serene just like this photo! (You just have to use your imagination on this one). Continue reading

So You Think You Can Wood 2

Part 2 in a series of stories about our farm, the firewood production project and our involvement with Oregon Woodland Coop. In Part 1 you heard about the history of the property, logging and planting protocols.

Story 2- Assessing capabilities

Our farm is tucked into the Coast Range of the Pacific Northwest. Most of the flat ground on the property is in hay fields, open range areas for the herd of Black Angus cattle, the Nehalem River and riparian areas. Most of the forestland on the property is uphill from the fields, steep uphill. The top of the ridge is over 800 feet higher than the elevation at river level. One of the biggest challenges we have in the firewood production project is ability to have wood available to process when we need it. Continue reading

When The Landing Is The Highway

Cows walking through log landingSimply wanting the cows to move from one area to the next can be a challenge, especially when we place our log landing right in the middle of the path that they chose to use as the highway between one pasture and the next.

We have large fields for the cows to meander around and this time of year they have many, many acres to do just that. They tend to think of all the ground as their space and make their paths wherever they feel compelled to walk. If one cow walks a path, several others will walk the same path and before long there is a highway with designated stops and hazards. Continue reading

A New Late Addition

The three heifers and the more senior cow, Topanga, have been effectively keeping the neighbors grass trimmed during the summer. On a typical year, the grass would have all dried up by now and we would have moved the traveling herd home. But with these series of small storms, we have had enough moisture to keep the grass growing so the four critters are quite content to continue with their work. Continue reading

Quiet On The Set

Man inserting nose clip into calf in barnIt’s that time of year when the farm takes on the look of a movie production. It makes me think of Hannibal Lecter in his face-mask during the movie Silence of the Lambs.

Four of the oldest calves are ready to begin the weaning process. It takes only moments for the temporary clip to be inserted without pain or undue hardship. The new face guard is a simple green plastic clip that fits into their nostrils. The guard swings easily to allow for the calf to drink water and eat grass while getting in the way enough so the calf cannot attach to a mother cow for milk. The calves go back to grazing moments after the clip is inserted. Continue reading