Before I begin this post, a warning is needed.

LOP stands for Land Owner Preference and is the tag that is purchased through the Oregon Fish and Wildlife for harvesting elk that roam on our property. For those who object to harvesting i.e., hunting and shooting wildlife for food, do not continue to the next page. Continue reading


Dad-gum Critters

Between the Stellar’s Jays and the squirrels, the filbert trees were wiped out and I wasn’t able to harvest a single nut. I do believe the Jaybirds called every relative in the county to feast upon my trees, we could hear them sitting in the tall fir trees on the other side of the river before sending in reinforcements to plummet the bounty. The squirrels were sneakier and did their looting at night, the dogs kept up a stream of barking to scare them but each evening they got bolder and bolder.

Luckily for me, one of my brothers has a walnut tree that produced more nuts that any critter could possibly steal and I was able to  collect several buckets full to dry, crack, peel and bag for winter.

Freezer bags filled with dried walnut meats.The bags of nut meats will be put into the freezer along with all the fruits and vegetables that were harvested throughout the summer and fall.

A visitor to the farm wanted to purchase some locker beef. When I opened the freezer and they saw the variety of our harvesting efforts, they remarked that from the looks of it I must be gearing up for Armageddon.

Not exactly, but having the mixture from all the garden, beef and hunting sure makes things more comfortable during those dreary days to come.

Last Log Truck Load

The final log truck load of the year has been sent off to the mill. Our season in the woods has been rather dis-heartening because of the amount of damage we found.

Overall, the trees that we planted 30-35 years ago took the brunt of the winter storms. The trees were well on their way to being a good timber stand when heavy, wet snow combined with sudden wind storm snapped the tops out of many of the trees without leaving enough of the green crown to support continued growth of the tree. Many other trees that did not get broken from the weather completely uprooted and slumped over. Some fell flat to the ground but those that did not hung up in trees around them creating spots where fire could ‘ladder’ from the ground up into the crowns of the live trees.

During August the overall fire danger in the woods from the very warm weather curtailed most attempts of working in the forest and this was during the time that the Columbia River Gorge Fire exploded into a raging inferno shutting down the I-84 road system for weeks. With so much of our local fire suppression crews working long hours away from the area and the fire danger rising here in the West, we pared down and completely stopped our work in the woods to avoid the possibility of a fire of our own.

The harvest of forest lumber in board feet from our farm this year was less than half our normal output. Cleanup and road building took up most of our efforts and we are starting to see improvement in our stand of timber. With that we have also opened up large areas that will need to be replanted in January and February. Trees have already been ordered and we have that to look forward to after the winter.

Field Number Three

Bale counter on the baler records bale number 2253.Field number 3 is now safely stowed in the barn.

The counter on the baler says we have punched out 2253 bales so far. About 5 of those have broken. One because of a twine malfunction when baling, one when the stack in the barn fell over, another happened when it got stuck going onto the Stackliner and two happened last night when an elk herd decided to come into the hay field while we were sleeping to play with the 300 bales that still needed to be picked up.

It must have been a fun game for them running around those bales in the field. It looks like they were knocking the bales around just for the heck of it. It is good that the bales are now under the roof and away from the elk and deer.

Field number four is being  mowed now and is going to be fluffed tomorrow.

Last Of The Carrots Pillaged

Carrots pulled from the garden show rodent damage.Rodents moved into my garden when I wasn’t looking.

I went out to harvest the last of the carrots out of the soil and found them mostly eaten away by rodents.

I have ruled out squirrels, chipmunks and raccoons since the damage on each carrot was started at the bottom end under ground. That leaves gophers, mice, rats and voles.

Rats usually take a lot larger bites than this and voles a lot smaller bites, so I am looking for a herd of mice or a couple of hungry pocket-gophers. But no mater how you look at it, the rodents got to my crop before I finished my harvest and now I’m cranky.

Once the winter is over, I’ll have to be vigilant with planting in the spring in case the varmints are wintering over with me otherwise I could lose all my root crop next year.

Slim Pickens In The Garden

Fall is the winding down season. Cooler weather means anything left in the garden and orchard slow and decay. The copious amounts of rain have helped with the melting process.

Picking an apple or pear off the tree before heading out to do chores has become a habit.A single asian pear of the season still on the tree.

Today I picked the last Asian pear off the young tree. This is only the second year of producing for this newly acquired variety and I was very pleased with the crisp, sweet taste of this planting as well as the quantity.

Only 3 Golden Delicious apples remain on the tree.The Golden Delicious apple tree is not far behind and I will be picking the last of those sometime later this week.

It has been a good year for tree fruits this year as well as the filberts. I have a freezer full of dried nuts, apple and pear bread, along with apple and pear chunks (for making pies).

The dehydrator had been busy most of the summer.

Counting Down From Ten

Ever since that downpour we had during the summer and the subsequent gift of finding fall Chanterelles in July, I have counted down after each rainstorm. The rule of thumb for mushrooms to grow is that the ground needs a good soaking and in about 10 days after the rain, the mushrooms should appear if all the other conditions are right.

Each rainstorm we have had since that first small spattering of woodland delicacies, I can be seen x-ing off the days on the calendar and trekking out into the woods with my bucket and mushroom knife.

It has only been hit and miss so far. The ground is still pretty dry under the dense stand of tall fir trees, that is until this week. We have had a series of days where we have gotten more than an inch of rain, so it was time to head out and see what the woods has to offer.

The very first patch I headed to gave me hope, I found new growth. As you can see from the pictures, they are very small, it was hard to find them in the carpet of dead fir needles.

I spent the next hour moving from one known patch sight to another, but the woods have just not started to produce much of the fungus yet.

Twenty some Chanterelle mushrooms.This was the total for my efforts. The mushrooms themselves are still very dry and brittle, and they don’t show their shiny orange brilliance the way they will when they are full of water.

To make the best of things, I divided these few into several different dinners. Chicken and mushroom pizza, diced into a pasta sauce, and hunks mixed in a white gravy to serve over chicken fried steak. All that did was whet my appetite for the delicious flavor of wild mushrooms.

With more moisture moving into the area this week, and as long as we don’t get a killing frost in the meantime, the mushrooms will be in full bloom soon. So I’m back to the count; 10, 9, 8…