At The Fence Line

It is a convergence of two different worlds at the boundary line of our property and the neighbor who is doing a very large clear cut.

From our side of the line, we have no vehicle access to the area because of the steep terrain, and the non-rocked hauling and skid roads until next summer. All the our roads have been water-barred for the winter with deep channels dug across to divert rain and runoff in an effort to keep from carving deep grooves on the downhill slopes. From the neighbor side of the line, logging has been in full swing for more than a month and will continue throughout the winter. Continue reading

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A Very Local Tour

Man standing at edge of thinned woodland talking about the processThe Columbia County Small Woodland Tour happened to be just up Timber Road a few miles from us.

The Courter’s have owned property in Columbia County for nearly 80 years, this tract of land is managed under the sustainable forestry standards of the American Tree Farm System. Continue reading

Final Field

With much trepidation over the weather forecast for the last week, we had been waffling between mowing and not mowing the last and smallest hay field. It becomes an intense workout of being ready to go yet not going for days on end. Finally with the promise (or simply hope and desire) that the weather was going to warm and hold clear for the next five days, Mike mowed down the thick, wet grass during a rain shower that was supposed to be the last one for a good stretch of time. Continue reading

On Hold

We have finished with the hay harvest on all the fields except the very last 6 acre field. This horseshoe shaped piece is surrounded by the meandering river on all but about sixty yards across the small neck of the field. It stays damp from the effects of the river and grows the thickest grass on the whole farm. It is the field that must have the most sunlight and warm days to complete the drying process so we can only cut the grass when the forecast calls for at least five days in a row with optimum weather.

trucks and tractors sit in the barn until a break in the damp weatherFor the last week, the forecast has called for rain and possible thunderstorms to roll through the area for anywhere between two to five days so we are on hold with harvest.

The equipment is all tucked into the barn for the time being while nature takes time for a cleansing rain.

The mower will be hooked up and can start even while the grass and ground is wet as long as the following five days allow for the grass to dry. In the meantime, we will let the main herd into the fields that we have completed so they can do the cleanup work on the missed edges, where wind whipped the grass out of the wind-rows and around the edges along the fence lines. That should keep the herd busy while we finish off the hay season with the last 6 acre field.

Grandma On The Breeze

Mike has often told of stories of his Grandma and what he remembers growing up on  the farm. One story had to do with poppies. Grandma was known for her poppyseed  cake. It was a cross between a coffee cake and a jelly roll. A firm cake was needed to hold a thick slathering of her secret poppyseed filling recipe while still being pliable enough to roll and create that signature pinwheel look with each slice.

She did not go to the store for the seed. She cultivated the showy poppies in order to harvest the special ingredient, and law enforcement was involved. Continue reading

Ready Rhubarb

rhubarbI noticed the commercial rhubarb fields in the valley are being harvested. Acres and acres of rows are cut off the plant with machetes, the leaves are removed leaving the stem of the rhubarb to be tossed into large totes throughout the field.

The stems are shipped all over the United States. Much of the fruit is made into desserts, jams and syrups. Most of the time it is mixed with strawberries to calm the tart flavor of the rhubarb. My family happen to be rhubarb purists and don’t like mixing other fruits with the rhubarb (other than a little lemon or orange juice crystals added to make the flavor pop). Continue reading