A Group Of Helpers

Two cars filled with 3 adults and 5 teenagers came out to the farm to get a dose of exercise and nature. They became our planting crew for the day. We outfitted several of them with backpacks filled with trees and made the trek up the hill to the planting site.

A group of 8 helping to plant trees.After a few planting instructions, the crew worked to get the trees that we packed up the hill into the ground. While they were planting, Mike a few yards away, was digging seedlings that were growing too thick and needed to be transplanted.

Once we had the initial trees tucked safely into the ground, we began working on the full bags that Mike had ready.

It was a mild day and the rain that was forecasted held off until we were long off the hill. Two cars of mud-balls left the farm tired but happy from a good day out in the woods and we were off the hill in time to do the evening chores. It was a great muddy time and we are thankful for all the help.


Fitting It In

It’s time, it’s time. We should be up on the hill transplanting seedlings from the spots that are overcrowded to the areas that are sparse. The trees are dormant, the ground is wet and the time is fleeting.

So what is the problem? Daylight, chores, firewood project, my energy level, etc., etc. I simply have not been able to drag myself up the hill. Mike was so cheerful the other day when he stated that all we had to do was one day a week for a couple of hours, he used the term ‘just fit it in to the schedule.’ Continue reading

Blade Work

Scarafy blade on dozer.The teeth have now been added to the blade of the dozer to assist with the cleanup (scarifying)  of the debris left from the logging job.

The blade is made out of heavy metal just like the blade and can rake across the ground as the limbs are scraped into piles.

The limbs have dried considerably since the processor worked in the woods and are dry and would be hot burning fuel if a fire were to come through the area. By cleaning up the limbs and scarifying the surface with the blade, we are creating natural firebreaks and cleaning up the area to be replanted.

Cleaned up clearing.

All the stumps will be left to decompose naturally since we did not find any root rot or any other diseases that can spread to other trees.

We are nearly done with this small clearing with only a few more wood logs left after scarifying and debris moved away. The logs will be hauled down the hill to the landing where they will be made into firewood.


Putting In Seedlings In Riparian Zone

Seedlings in Gator by the river.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 seedlings in brush along the riparian zone.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.

Rainbow in hayfield.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.

Supervisor Close By

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.

A dog standing on tall stump watching man plant trees.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.

I Had Said Completed

“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

Serious Riparian Planting

A ledge of earth that had slid partway down to the river is being planted with seedlings.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.