A Log Roll Out

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.

a demonstation of what metal objects inside of wood do to the sawsThis 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

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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

T Minus Eight And Counting

Sunday afternoon Mike and I were working on the mess on the top of the hill that is our property line, barb wire fence line and wind-ravaged, fallen and broken trees that litter the ridge line. He cut through a few fallen wild cherry trees and was going to pull them out of the way when strands of barb wire ended up wound up in and around the tracks of the logging bulldozer.

With him inching the dozer forward and backward while I tugged at the broken strands, we were able to free the dozer to once again attack the criss-cross tangle of trees and fencing. Continue reading

Men and Machines

a logging shovel in the landingThe 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

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