The lengthy project of clean up and replanting on the hillside has taken much longer than we anticipated, but with the last of the seedlings planted the task of closure took us into the house to complete the documentation.
This spur takes off just before the head of the canyon and swings around the hill to connect back up with an established road.
The trees cleaned out from this area will need to be removed from the woods and hauled down the hill to our own log deck for hauling after this latest heat streak has been scoured out with a good rain. It may take a month or more before we can complete our load of logs.
The thinning and cleaning up in the forest is showing a dramatic change. Where this area was perpetually twilight with dense, overcrowded and damaged trees, now is a small open space where new trees will be planted this spring along with the thinned existing stand left behind to protect the young seedlings from harsh winds and blistering sun.
As the debris is piled up around trunks of living trees (to allow for decomposition to feed the stand), the open area will be raked with the blade to loosen and mix the soil. The process of cleaning up the area makes it easier to plant trees and breaks down natural materials into the ground keeping vital nutrients available the the new plants.
By leaving all the natural sticks, limbs and rotting residue from the logging operation to do its natural decomposition, there will not be a need to burn any of the debris.
Spare time found between rain storms, chores and wintertime laziness has me back along the old fence line. This is the fencing that had already broken down when we purchased the place 40 years ago and had never gotten around to getting the area cleaned up.
Slowly working my way through the brambles, I have still been locating stands of rusting barb wire grown into roots and buried in silt from the high-water floods. Continue reading
The plan was to have my right-hand helper come to the farm for the day to help with the cleanup of the old fence line around the river. Some spots have half buried cedar posts, some places have bits of barb wire fence that has grown into the brush, blackberries and small trees that have continued to multiply where the fence had been 50 years ago. It is a labor intensive process and it helps to have extra hands.
Nature got in the way of the plans and sent a gusty storm that brought dangerous waves to the coast line and whipped the trees throughout the Coast Range and into the Valley. Here at the farm we know that there was at least one tree that snapped off back by the log landing and we lost power about 8am. We cancelled the fence line clean up until we have a day that is not so tumultuous.
Just before dark we got electricity back, we had just finished the evening chores and was looking at the possibility of PB&J sandwiches for dinner. With the power back, we were able to have a hearty dinner and catch up with the news to see how things were going with the rest of the world.
Being without power for just a few hours reminds us that we really have things easy and comfortable and makes us grateful for the return of our creature comforts.
I have been concerned about how I have been describing the harsh winter weather we had. I have heard other farmers, loggers, neighbors and city folk talking about the same winter I had, and they agree that it was a tough season but they don’t talk about the amount of damage that is noticeable around here.
Until I went to a meeting of our local chapter of the Oregon Small Woodland Association (for you jokesters, this means private woodland owners not small landowners). There is a yearly gathering held to see first-hand how a neighbor is working their tract of timberland. It is a jam-packed day of tours through the woods with professionals like Foresters, Naturalists, Arborists and Conservationists. Continue reading
December 14 is when our winter started to kick in. Snow, silver thaw, ice and more snow has continued into the first of the year.
Although it was not big amounts at any one time, the temperature has steadily hovered right at the freezing level for three weeks now. There has not been a moment when snow could not be seen hanging out on the shaded side of the pastures, banks that had slid of the tin roofs, and what was plowed off the roads by the county crew. For us, this is a good, solid winter.
The bulls huddled so close around the fire that it was impossible for anyone to stoke up the flames by adding cleanup branches.
With a lot of pushing, shoving and general horse (cow) play, the bulls effectively put out the fire in short order and dismantled the stacked fuel supply. The next try at cleaning up this spot will have to be when the firemen are not on duty in this pen.