Vivid To Bare

Fall seemed to only last a week this year in the Pacific Northwest.

Oh, I’m sure that we will still have some pleasant temps and a few sunny days, but the vibrant hues of the trees as the leaves turned from greens to wild splashes of color was only in full display a short while.

Storms that came in from the ocean sent wind and rain driving sideways at times. They lashed at the vegetation and ripped the tender stems of the leaves right off the trees that are drifting into slumber in preparation for the cold ahead.

Even the alder trees at the rivers edge lost their leaves so quickly that the normal fall of leaves gently floating into the water to steep and turn the water darker than tea didn’t happen. The river rose, swept the leaves away just as fast as they dropped and now the river is receding without a trace of dark stain. It does make it easier to watch the salmon that are coming upstream to spawn. Whereas in most years, we only catch a glimpse of a top fin as they struggle to continue upstream at the crossings or hear a splash now and again. This year we can see the salmon even in the deeper pools and also as we walk across the bridge.

Susan’s note: This site is nearly out of data space, at last check less than .08%  is left even after deleting and downsizing. I will continue to post on this page as long as I can before I am blocked completely. If you would like to see the whole story including pictures, please visit the new farm blog at SchmidlinAngusFarms.com or simply click this link. The follow button is now working on the new site, even if you signed up before, the connection did not go through due to some very technical keystrokes that I failed to execute. By trying the follow button now, you will be prompted to insert your email address and will get an email to attest that you are indeed a human. If you see the words ‘Cowpies to Treetops’ below the heading of Schmidlin Angus Farms, you know that you are connected. Thank you for hanging in with me on this journey of switching.

 

Racing To Beat Wet Weather

Susan’s note: This site is nearly out of data space, at last check .08%  is left even after deleting and downsizing. I will continue to post as long as I can before I am blocked completely. If you would like to see the whole story including pictures, please visit the new farm blog at SchmidlinAngusFarms.com or simply click this link. The follow button is now working on the new site and you will be prompted to insert your email address and attest that you are indeed a human. If you see the words ‘Cowpies to Treetops’ below the heading of Schmidlin Angus Farms, you know that you are connected.

With up to a week of rainy days ahead we have been busy preparing for mud. The area just outside my show barn has a nasty habit of collecting the rain water and puddling it right in front of where the cows walk into the barn. During heavy rain events the puddle overflows and sends water sluicing through the loafing area of the barn. I try to beat the puddle to the punch and trench across the doorway so the water (and liquefied muck) to slide downhill toward the field rather than through the barn. The cows with their big hooves take little time to mess up my trench so it has to be re-shoved every time a new storm system rolls in.

Sometimes I get the timing correct, other times I do not and the barn cleaning is much more detailed than the trenching.  I have tried putting in a 6 inch drainpipe and covering it with rock so the goo can have a path away from the barn, but the sludge gets bogged down and then dries inside the pipe thereby blocking the path for water and more soluble fluids to run.

The bull pen barn has a different water issue. When building this barn we were trying to keep the water from puddling at the entrance like my show barn and put up gutters along both sides of the building. The downspouts clear the water from the area and sends the water out into the swamp that is already wet anyway. It was a great idea until we found that the 120 foot tall fir trees that grow around the areas of the bull pen love to throw their needles to the wind where they fall into and clog the gutters.

The barn walls were built 20 feet tall so the hay stacker would be able to tip a stack of hay into place without hitting the trusses. It makes for a very high gutter area. To clean them it takes a minimum of two people, a front loading tractor, a secured 12 foot ladder, a lot of patience and nearly a full afternoon. This was the first time we had cleaned the gutters and we are now convinced that this may not have been the best idea to solve our puddling problems.

Susan’s note: This site is nearly out of data space, at last check .08%  is left even after deleting and downsizing. I will continue to post as long as I can before I am blocked completely. If you would like to see the whole story including pictures, please visit the new farm blog at SchmidlinAngusFarms.com or simply click this link. The follow button is now working on the new site and you will be prompted to insert your email address and attest that you are indeed a human. If you see the words ‘Cowpies to Treetops’ below the heading of Schmidlin Angus Farms, you know that you are connected.

 

Delay Extended

For the past two weeks the logging project has been on rain delay. We had expected a few showers, then we expected a few thunderstorms, then more showers, there were more wet days than dry days. It seems like the summer just gave up on us and moved on. The loggers cannot make it up the hill, and the trucks are having a hard time making it in to get the loads out that are waiting in the landing. Continue reading

Up And Down

The last few warm days has certainly helped to dry the farm out a bit. The loggers have been chomping at the bit hoping to get the pole truck in for a load of long logs but it has just been too slippery on the slopes that lead in and out of the property, the landing where the logs are neatly decked and the edges of the river crossing. low Nehalem river looking upstream from our bridge

With all the rain, the river had risen as the excess moisture flowed into the stream but has once again receded to acceptable levels for crossing. Of course I forgot to snap a pic while the river was high so here is a picture of what the river looked like before our 2-1/2 inches of rain in two days, the river doubled in size, and is now back to looking serene just like this photo! (You just have to use your imagination on this one). Continue reading

Wetter Than Normal

Typically, by now the hot summer days would be baking the ground and causing lots of dust on every road and trail. We were fortunate to get our hay crop in when we did because the last two weeks has had many muggy days with light rain showers or thunderheads looming. We are still lower than average for the total amount of rainfall for the year so this dampness a welcomed opportunity for the newly planted seedlings, and for the fields.

It is a different story for those who have not yet been able to get their harvests completed. In the valley, the grass seed farmers have had their fields swathed (cut down) during this stretch where the crop is supposed to be drying, but the ongoing moist days are keeping the ground beneath the wind-rows damp and threatening to rot the crop before the drying can occur. The farmers are starting to doubt their ability to get the crops harvested.

cows eating green grass in far hay field.Our far field that was the first one cut for hay, has greened up considerably with the moisture so we moved the main herd back over there to eat the new grass rather than letting it go to the resident elk herds.

There is enough new growth out in the field and around the brush at the tree line to keep the main herd busy for a week to ten days. These are valuable days that we will not have to feed the limited supply of the harvest from the barn, and easing the worries about the harvest being enough to supply the cows through the winter months.

 

Heavy Rain Day

Critters have their own way of dealing with weather. Thunderstorms with bouts of heavy rain brought the two remaining bulls  from the bull pen, out of the comfort of the barn, and out under the big leaf maple tree.

bull standing under a big leaf maple treeThe two bulls were not so worried about the showers as they were waiting for the leaves to grow heavy with rain so they drooped low enough to snag a tasty morsel.

Bull #35 figured out the plan first. As the rain came down, he stood near the electric fence with his backside toward the trunk of the maple tree. He stood in one place for about 20 minutes, but I could tell he was thinking about his snack because he was licking his chops and swinging his tail the whole time.

bull reaching up into big leaf maple tree to eatThe rain continued, the leaves and entire branches got heavier and heavier with moisture and began to sag.

As the branches got lower, he was able to stretch up, curl his tongue around a few leaves at a time and give a good yank. He would get only a mouthful at a time while getting a cool and refreshing shower. The dampness didn’t deter him from enjoying the wet and tasty maple leaves. The other bull joined him when he realized he was missing a tasty treat.