It was all hands on deck to get the seedlings put into the ground before a storm moved into the area that is expected to bring first snow then the coldest temperatures of the year.
We had a volunteer to help with the planting on this day. There were 20 spruce, 10 cedar, 10 maple and 20 white fir to get into the ground along the Nehalem River. Even Butler the dog helped by digging holes, I shooed him out of the way a couple of times to did a larger spot to place the 1 foot roots into deep holes.
Planting in thick brush consisting of snowberry and buck brush is hard work because of all the roots, but once down 6 inches or so the fine, silty soil below is much easier to dig.
It took four of us (plus the dog) 2 1/2 hours to complete the planting of the 60 trees. The wind howled at times up along the ridge of the hill and gusted between spitting rain showers and beautiful rainbows.
We had the opportunity to see a couple of bald eagles as they scouted the river and struggle to stay flying as the strong winds buffeted them during their patrol.
Within hours after completing the planting, the rain had moved in and continued raining until midnight.
While we were finishing the last of the fir tree planting in the area where we had logged last year, Jackson, the dog, found a tall stump to do a little supervising.
This stump is taller than most. Usually the cut is made much lower so there would be less waste of un-harvested wood. This tree however had been growing in the fence line and over the years, had been used to anchor the wires of the fence. The wires had grown into the tree and it would have been dangerous to use a saw in and around the wires and attachments.
As you can see, the stump is not totally useless. Jackson seemed to enjoy his supervisory roll, if only for a short time.
“How can you accidentally plant 325 more trees?”
This was the question that was posed to me the other day. I guess the correct answer is that I did not accidentally plant but I did accidentally get 325 more seedlings this year.
I was so elated to be done with the planting that I posted on 3/21 about the completion. The special bags we carry the seedlings to protect the roots while we did the holes had all been stowed away for the year. The straight shovels that we use to dig the holes had been cleaned and propped in their alcove. I was done. Another year in the books. Continue reading
The ledge of the river has been sloughing into the river for lack of vegetation along this stretch of the Nehalem.
With the water still at a high level, Mike and Butler set about planting about 40 seedlings in the wet ground.
Originally, this spot had large alders growing along the bank. As the waters flooded and receded over the last 100 years, the alders have succumbed to the river and the band keeps trying to take more ground each year.
If there are no damaging floods in the next couple of years, the root systems on the new plants will help hold what is left of the earth and stabilize the ledge from further erosion.
Eventually, all the green grass that is pictured will have a mixed stand of alder, maple, ash, grand fir, spruce, dogwood and many varieties of brush vegetation to aid in the stabilization and provide much needed shade in this location.
Now that we have the seedlings planted on the hill to replace what we had logged last year, the time has come to begin planting along the riparian zone. Our farm is located with the Nehalem River running right through the middle and we pride ourselves in working to keep the river healthy.
Riparian Zones differ from stream to stream, county to county, and state to state. Since we have both the Nehalem River and the tributary Robinson Creek that flows into it, we plant trees and bushes each year along them to create a cool space so the salmon and trout have good water temperatures. These vegetation buffers keep the sun from warming the waters.
We made the trip to the local nursery that stocks a variety of plants to use along the stream banks.
So far this year we picked up 27 Western Red Cedar, 27 Douglas Fir, 27 White Fir, 10 Blue Spruce and 10 Alder. They were all in 4x4x12 inch deep pots and filled the back of the farm pickup.
Bit by bit, over several days, the trees were loaded into the Gator and hauled to the river for planting.
In the next week or two, we will head back to the nursery for more dogwood, large leaf maple, vine maple, alder and a variety of bushes.
Dirt is fascinating in its complexity. Since I spend a good portion of my spring and summer in close proximity to the garden, many times on my hands and knees, I pay a lot of attention to dirt.
So when I was planting the seedlings on the top of the hill, I paid attention to the dirt as I was shoveling. I noticed a couple of empty snail shells, the residents long gone. I saw areas that had lighter/redder colored dirt and areas where it was very dark. There were spots around old stumps that showed the remnants of fir needles blanketed 6 inches deep, and roots of ferns that were white, fleshy and ready to break the surface as soon as the temperature rises. Continue reading
Thank goodness my right-hand-helper was able to pitch in and help get the trees up the hill and into the ground.
It took an effort for me to stabilize myself on the steep logging road, but when I turned to ask how his progress was going, the only words he could say between panting was, “Not well.” Continue reading