Winter Chore Interrupted

While out beating the brush in the back of the 6 acre field looking for a missing calf the other day, I came across evidence of beaver in the area. We know they are around because of the many, many piles of sticks we find that have the bark chewed off but do not know where or how they survive since the landscape is not conducive for habitat. The smaller streams around our farm are not meandering and have steep banks, the river is quite swift and subject to wide swings of water levels, we don’t see a much lodge or dam building from beaver, yet somehow they are here.

During the winter time, we do see some larger trees being chewed on. A couple of years ago I had an old apple tree several hundred feet from the river that the beavers were nibbling on. After painting the bottom three feet of the tree with house paint they left the tree alone. (Mike still gives me a bad time about it because he says they leave it alone because I used pink paint rather than white paint like most people use. What can I say? I had pink paint left over from some craft project so I used pink paint…)

Anyway, while I was out in the brushy area along the riparian zone, I saw a good sized tree that the beaver had been working on to fall. The beaver had almost chewed through the base when he got interrupted. Our winter has been very mild and the river levels have not had super wild swings of levels as in some years so it is a mystery why this winter chore got abandoned before it was completed.

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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, SchmidlinAngusFarms.com!

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.

Since mrssusanschmidlin.wordpress.com is nearly out of data, the complete story can be found at SchmidlinAngusFarms.com. I encourage you to check it out, get your information in on the FOLLOW button spot, and get every story in full color. I would be grateful if you did want to do any cyber shopping to use my links on the stories on that site. By using my links, I get credit for directing people to shop and may make a small commission without any cost to you! Your support helps support the website to be available for the daily stories. Thank you for supporting SchmidlinAngusFarms.com

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, SchmidlinAngusFarms.com!

Timing Is Everything

I love going out into the forest. It is my calming spot even when there is a grueling, eight hour workday ahead (for the sake of honesty here, I rarely, RARELY work or play at ANYTHING for eight hours at a time. My tasks are simply too dis-jointed to have one job last that long in a single day, but I do love to go into the forest for work, play, or meditation).

I was kind of hoping that after all the hustle of trying to fill the garage with cribs of firewood and kindling that I would have a day off before heading away from the farm. My kind of hoping did not work. As I was down to one last day of splitting and stacking firewood for the garage, and one day to change gears from farm to session, our neighbor showed up with the seedlings we had ordered from the Columbia County Small Woodlands Association.

The seedlings are grown at the Lewis River nursery in Washington State with seed that was purchased over two years ago by the Association. The members of the Association get to order trees when they have been grown first in small plugs for one year then transplanted into the ground for a second year of growth before digging or ‘lifting’.

A lot can go wrong along the way. Seeds do not always germinate well, or small seedlings can have die off from extreme weather or soil disturbances. Lifting can’t occur if snow is on the ground or the fields are too wet to dig. Last year, because of a nursery issue, the seedlings for Western Red Cedar were only one year old and very tiny from the trees we normally plant. This year the nursery was not able to supply any Western Red Cedar at all. The Association was able to get enough  trees to fill orders of the native Western Red Cedar stock from Scholls Valley nursery located in the Willamette Valley.

With all the ifs, maybes and possibilities surrounding the delivery of the seedlings to the farm, I was hoping that I would be away to the REALOregon class in Salem and miss all but the tail-end of the planting for the year. As luck (however you describe it) would have it, the seedlings arrived two days before my departure.

The family switched gears from splitting and stacking, to planting. And now the race is on to complete this round of forest re-planting before I get to take off for Salem.

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A Race With The Weather

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I may have bitten off more than I can chew. This last trip to the nursery for the riparian seedlings tempted me to get a full pickup load of plants since the last batch had went into the ground so quickly. Continue reading

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.