If you ever have the chance to attend a log roll out, I would suggest that you jump on the offer. Every time I attend a session I learn new things and come away from the gathering stymied at the knowledge, common sense, errors, and issues that surround the logging industry.
This log roll out was at the Stimpson Mill in Clastskanie. Before we got to examine the logs, we had a brief safety lesson. Less than 24 hours before the tour, the mill was shut down due to the saws hitting metal in-bedded in the log they were cutting through. The saw itself was irreparably damaged and it was only by very quick action on the part of the operator that the mill was able to mitigate damages only to the saw itself and the broken saw did not become bits of hot, flying shards of sharp metal. If metal of any kind is found in a log, the whole log is taken out of the mill instantly and no part of it can be milled. One small piece of metal could be dangerous and the mill will not take the chance that there may be other bits of metal in the log. The demonstration showed lag screws, wire, electrical insulators, nails and bullets in-bedded in wood and stressed the danger. Continue reading
The thinning project has ramped up. Instead of just Mark Weller running the massive Barko harvester, he now has his younger brother Craig Weller assisting with the logging shovel.
Mark fells the trees as he tiptoes his machine through the thick stand to remove the ones that are dead, broken and damaged, or growing too close to the rest of the trees. As he falls each tree he uses the long arm on the Barko to shlep the full length tree up the hill and out of his way while he goes in search of the next one needing to be cut. Craig uses the long arm on his shovel to grab the tree, which still has the branches on the top half, to a temporary deck on ground that is more level than where the cutting is taking place. Continue reading
I will be writing a series of articles about the woods, to understand the series you will need a little of the backstory. The series will be about the land we have and how we came about being a part of the Oregon Woodland Coop in an effort to clean up our forest after a storm left acreage that needed clearing and pre-commercial thinning.
The areas discussed in the articles are small patches of forest where the snow, ice, wind all tortured the ridge line of trees at the top of the hill. Some of the areas are too small to replant trees and the openings that were made in the forest only opened up the canopy for the remaining trees to stretch out, giving them room to reach their potential. Other areas were bigger and needed replanting, the first step of that has already taken place last winter into spring. Continue reading
Although we have had some moisture over the last month, the ground is very dry. It only takes a day or two after a rain to see the dust once again and the overall moisture content in the forest drops.
With a few days of 90+ degree weather this week the area is now under a Red Flag Warning for increased fire danger and has been for a few days. Continue reading
I had the chance recently to tour the Pacific Fibre Mill just out of North Plains. It is the mill site that you can see to the south as you travel on Highway 26 to and from Portland. The tall hopper bins are most noticeable with massive log decks out beyond the hoppers.
Pacific Fibre Products has three whole log chipping facilities, located in Longview, WA., Molalla, OR and North Plains, OR. They supply wood chips to Nippon Paper and West Rock Paper, both in Longview, WA, and Georgia Pacific Paper in Wauna, OR. Continue reading
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
While we are gearing up firewood production for our own winter use, we are also ramping up production for the bundle project. Moving outdoors while the weather is holding clear and dry for a couple of days will speed up the process.
We have moved the portable Super Splitter out of the production area of the barn so it is closer to the log landing.
While one person is cutting the wood into 16 inch pieces, another one can be chopping the larger pieces into halves or quarters with the wedges and sledgehammer in order to make the heavy pieces light enough to lift up onto the platform table of the splitter. Quarters can still weigh too much to lift and will be split smaller if needed. Continue reading