Self-Imposed Jail Time

Jackson and Butler, the two farm dogs, keep us company while we are working. They complain and pout if we go across the river for any reason and don’t take them along. The John Deere Gator is a sure fire clue to the dogs that someone is about to go somewhere. If we head toward the Gator, the dogs perk up and begin to anticipate the next adventure.

A crib made to haul firewood sitting in the bed of the John Deere Gator with dog insideOn this day, Mike had just completed another crib to hold firewood. This crib was fashioned with a regular sized pallet for the base and salvaged wood from the house that we tore down about 10 years ago.

It fits nicely into the bed of the Gator so it can be hauled across the river where a stack of wood is waiting to brought inside before the rains begin that are expected to last a week. Continue reading

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What I Thought Was A Bird

Working in the barn bundling kindling or firewood is not the nose to the grindstone kind of job. We have music playing in the background, the dogs come by to check on us now and again, we can watch the traffic that travels along the county road and I watch out the open end of the barn to see clouds as they scuttle across the sky, or the distinct V shape of honkers heading one direction or another. While doing all this we do make bundles but it is more enjoyment than work.

Something white in a distant treeThe other day while bundling I noticed a rather large white something in a tree over by the show barn. Between bundles, I saw that a big white bird kept moving around the top of a crab apple tree, then moved over to a tall elderberry tree. I had to stop bundling to grab my camera to get a picture since we do not normally see big white birds around this area. Continue reading

Delivered

More than a month ago, a farmer from above Seattle was inquiring about purchasing the last herd sire (Grasshopper) that we had from the bull pen along with a pregnant cow that had no relation to the bull.

Black Angus cow with calfGauge is an excellent mother and produces some healthy, quality calves. From those who have followed the farm stories for a long time know that Gauge was born down in the woods beyond the barn, and was featured with a video of her minutes after birth searching for a claiming her first meal. She is part of the Erroline heritage that has enriched our breeding program over the years. Continue reading

The Getaway Garden

An overgrown garden and a black wheelbarrow heaped with foliageThe garden had gotten out of hand early this year, I believe it started way back when I began planting.

For some unknown reason the spaces between rows just seemed off. I always try to think as I plant and space things according to how they grow. For zucchini plants that grow tall and round with those huge leaves, I like to give them a wide berth so they don’t feel cramped. The lettuce on the other hand can be squished and even planted along with the seeds of something like radish and can still produce an abundance. Continue reading

Between Showers

A daring move was made between this week of days of muggy warmth and days of rain. While we were in one of those gap-days of no rain but some expected in the late afternoon/evening, the pole truck was ordered.

In anticipation, Mike had been sprinkling rock along the dirt road in those pockets that held sludgy muck. With the bulldozer, he scraped off the top layer of gooey mud from the edge of our front landing because the pole truck would have to drive through this area to get to the back landing and the deck of poles. With the bucket tractor, he scooped  the piles of bark and small broken wood pieces generated from Marilyn’s marathon firewood splitting to sprinkle over the top of the remaining mud to give a little more traction and so the mud did not lodge in between the dual-tires on the long truck. Continue reading

During The Logging Lull

We had tried to make it up the hill into the forest  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.

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