Last Week This Week

Remember the stories last week about the Washington County and Columbia County Small Woodland Associations and their dueling/competing plant sales happening at the same time?

Marilyn had the fun and pleasure of working in St. Helens with the event taking place outside in the worst plant sale weather in the history of the event (she had a blast, by the way, her co-workers and the customers made the day fun). But the driving snow and wet pavement had everyone bundled up in winter garb.

I worked the Hillsboro sale where I watched from inside a wall of windows as fits and starts of snow  that swirled furiously between bouts. Both counties worried that the weather would deter the plant people that flock to these sales each year. Both counties were surprised by the attendance numbers and the support of the respective communities.

And now for this week… Of course it stands to reason that after each of us working at a plant sale last week, the story today is of us now planting the seedlings that we each brought home. Mike got to enjoy the job of helping to plant the seedlings we had brought home.

It began along the riparian zone of the river where Mike had bulldozed a path gouging out invasive blackberry plants. We are trying to establish trees in this area before the blackberries try to take back over their ground and are using about fifteen varieties of seedlings in the hope that some will stretch up before the berries encroach too thickly.

Then we moved to the hillside that had the small acreage that was cleared of timber last year and filled in Douglas fir and Western Red Cedar seedlings in spots that were thinly planted in February.

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I am delighted to announce that the new book by MaryJane Nordgren, Nandria’s War, is available to the public and can be purchased through my website,!

Take Thee To The Riparian

I will continue to post on this wordpress site for as long as I can but time is limited because I am nearing the end of my data allowance. To see the complete story with pictures, to follow and to comment, please go to!

My readers are the best! A while ago, I had mentioned that November 1 was the beginning of the dormant season and that I was planning on doing some seedling planting. I was gently reminded that although I talked about the plan, no story of actual planting was getting posted. I appreciate the nudge, so here is the story that I almost forgot. Continue reading

Finally Feels Like Fall

All this last week while I had been away from the farm, I was afraid that I would miss a good time to get my little baby strawberry plants into the ground before winter really took hold. The dry and cold pattern made me hold off most of October and well into November. I did not want to try to plant the tender little plants while the ground kept freezing at night with lows in the 20’s.

These plants were the runners that I had coerced into trays of potting soil after the berry season had ended. I was able to keep the tender tips moist all summer and most of them sprouted roots of their own so they could be cut away from their mother plants and survive on their own.

I had driven home in the dark after several days away from home and the weather was still dry, so first thing in the morning I got the rototiller out into the garden and revved it up. I could already see little leaves of those dreaded buttercups poking up through the soil that choked out the last patch. I made a couple of sweeps through the garden and parked the rototiller at the edge of the patch thinking that I could give it one last go-over the next day. But showers had moved in overnight. Ditching the idea of the perfect tilling job, I planted two rows of plants.

Now I will sit back and watch Mother Nature put the little starts to rest for the winter and hopefully they will perk back up in the spring in enough time to have delicious strawberries in June.

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The Wicked Witch Is Dead

If the walk down off the hill wasn’t so treacherous with melting snow and slick mud, I would have been singing the old show tune at the top of my voice.

The project of seedling planted had been expected to take a very busy two weeks to complete. Nature stepped in and thwarted us at every attempt. There was at times too much snow or way too frozen to dig in the ground. Just when the weather looked like it would cooperate another weather front would roll in and it would be several days before another attempt could be made. The whole project became a weighty problem and we were all antsy to get it completed before the seedlings came out of dormancy or the ground became too dry. The short project stretched from two weeks to two months . Continue reading