Spring in the woods

Our new battery operated chain saw works great … but the small battery Sid already had to operate his other Milwaukee tools doesn’t allow for more than what you see here. We have ordered a more powerful battery as a result.
Sid and Bill, social distancing.
Fairy slipper (calypso bulbosa). We always called this lovely forest orchid “lady slipper.” As it turns out, however, lady slippers, while related, are not what we have in our woods.
Buttercups are still buttercups, luckily. There are different kinds, but they all carry the name buttercup so I stopped my identification investigation there.
Not good news. This is shiny-leaf geranium and it is a much disliked invasive. It is really hard to control. Pulling it up every time you see it is about the best you can do.
Do NOT eat or taste this guy! He/she is a rough skinned newt. A guy in a bar once ate one on a bet and dropped dead. The only predator it has is a certain garter snake.
This beautiful bloom on a creek side shrub shall remain unidentified for now. I just couldn’t figure it out. Plus, I was supposed to be pulling up scotch broom with Bill.
Western wood anemone (aka Lyall’s anemone or Anemone quinquefolia)
Snowberry. We have lots of it and it is an important browse plant for our animal friends.
Snowberry leaves up close.
Trillium.
Bill walking out of the woods, Sid in the far distance … weed whacking.

First day of Spring 2020

Oh no! A big log fell across the forest trail that leads to the clear cut planting site.
Our new battery operated chain saw made quick work of it.
This beautiful trillium was growing in the smaller planting site. First one I’ve seen this year.
Our little Doug-fir seedlings are doing well.
This is the third Yew tree we have located on the farm.
The Griffith Creek culvert.
From Wikipedia: Petasites frigidus,  Arctic sweet coltsfoot[, is a species of flowering plant in the daisy family Asteraceae. It is native to Arctic to cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in northern Europe, northern Asia and northern North America. It is a herbaceous perennial plant producing flowering stems in early spring, and large leaves through the summer. The upright flowering stems are 10–20 cm tall, and bear only 5-12 inflorescences, yellowish-white to pink in colour. The leaves are rounded, 15–20 cm broad, with a deeply cleft base and shallowly lobed margin, and rise directly from the underground rootstock. The underside of the leaves is covered with matted, woolly fuzz. It grows in moist shaded ground, preferring stream banks and seeping ground of cut-banks.
The leaf stalks and flower stems (with flowers) are edible and can be used as a vegetable dish. A salt-substitute can also be made by drying and then burning the leaves. This black, powdery substance will provide a salty taste. However, given the high likelihood of the presence of toxic unsaturated, diester pyrrolizidine alkaloids in this species, consumption should be very limited.
A large wood structure near the pond on Griffith Creek.
A friendly slug.
More downed logs bite the dust (or the moss and salal).
That darn scotch broom.
Sid is digging up a rock that interferes with mowing.
This tractor attachment was so heavy it took three of us to move it.
Long story. Despite our having spent some time removing mowing barriers, the minute Sid started mowing with the riding mower, hidden wire got tangled in the blades. The riding mower lift was stored in the garage, blocked by the tractor. Sid had to move to tractor to access the mower lift.
The mower is on the lift.
Safety first, little brother … put those gloves on.
Wire removed successfully!

Apple trees sprayed and pruned

It may not look like it, but these trees were pruned by professionals. They have also been sprayed.
Kay and I walked to check on the 2018 clear cut plantings. They are doing well. Bianca ‘s inspection of said seedlings made her too warm, so she took a dip and a drink in the creek.

New battery-operated chain saw makes short work of big log blocking the trail to riparian plantings.

Before the chain-saw gang began work.
Sadly, we got the saw blade pinched and thus the chain became disengaged and we had to finish the next day.
Riparian plantings are doing well.
The next day we couldn’t find the battery for the big saw, so we used the 10″ battery-operated chain saw to finish the job.
The pond.
The large wood placements are doing their job.
Log cutting is hard work!
Bianca loved the snow that fell a few days ago.

Visit to Freres Lumber Co. mill

Sid, Bill and I went on a tour of a new mill where Freres Lumber Co., an old (1927?) family owned business has expanded to make mass plywood panels (mpp). This mill is in Lyons, Oregon (south east of Salem).
 
Per the company website, MPP is a massive, large scale, structural composite lumber based panel designed as an alternative to Cross Laminated Timbers (CLT). CLT products have been used in Europe for decades as a substitute for concrete construction, and have recently been used in multi-story construction in the United States.

Early March at the farm

From Wikipedia: Lysichiton americanus, also called western skunk cabbage (US), yellow skunk cabbage (UK), American skunk-cabbage (Britain and Ireland) or swamp lantern, is a plant found in swamps and wet woods, along streams and in other wet areas of the Pacific Northwest, where it is one of the few native species in the arum family. The plant is called skunk cabbage because of the distinctive “skunky” odor that it emits when it blooms. This odor will permeate the area where the plant grows, and can be detected even in old, dried specimens. The distinctive odor attracts its pollinators, scavenging flies and beetles. Although similarly named and with a similar smell, the plant is easy to distinguish from the eastern skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), another species in the arum family found in eastern North America.

The plant grows from rhizomes that measure 30 cm or longer, and 2.5 to 5 cm in diameter. The short-stalked leaves are the largest of any native plant in the region, 30–150 cm long and 10–70 cm wide when mature. Its flowers are produced in a spadix contained within a 7–12 cm, large, bright yellow or yellowish green spathe atop a 30–50 cm stalk. The flowers are numerous and densely packed. It is among the first flowers to bloom in late winter or early spring. 

While some consider the plant to be a weed, its roots are food for bears, who eat it after hibernating as a laxative or cathartic. The plant was used by indigenous people as medicine for burns and injuries, and for food in times of famine, when almost all parts were eaten. The leaves have a somewhat spicy or peppery taste. Caution should be used in attempts to prepare western skunk cabbage for consumption, as it contains calcium oxalate crystals, which result in a prickling sensation on the tongue and throat and can result in intestinal irritation and even death if consumed in large quantities. Although the plant was not typically part of the diet under normal conditions, its large, waxy leaves were important to food preparation and storage. They were commonly used to line berry baskets and to wrap around whole salmon and other foods when baked under a fire. It is also used to cure sores and swelling.
This patch is located just off of the lower field on the house side of Rock Creek. There is a ditch in the woods there, and the skunk cabbage was enjoying the accumulated water.
There are many types of willow that are known as pussy willow. We seem to have a lot of them along the creek. Great beaver food!
I’m not sure what this lovely shrub/bush is. Early ninebark maybe? Or not.
Large wood placement caught a nice tree headed downstream.
Bianca guards the perimeter as Sid and Bill load firewood onto the Ranger.
Clipping blackberry vines away and out of the new fence.

The posts on the slope down to the field are where Sid replanted the grapes. A great location!
View of the new grape arbors from the hill.
The swimmin hole is particularly beautiful right now.

Daffodils, firewood and clean-up

Unk’s daffodils are in bloom.
Sid and Bill deliver firewood to the house. I was weeding.
The old stove needed to leave the big garage and get ready for Republic to pick it up.
What would we do without the Ranger?

Scotch broom, downed tree, firewood and violets

Sid put fencing up the property line from the loop trail to keep Bianca on site.
Sid’s raised garden is taking shape.
The perpetual fight against Scotch broom.
Oooops! Yesterday’s wind felled a tree.
A stream violet (pioneer violet)
A bed of said violets

Sunshine in February

Three Ranger loads of firewood.
Boys went to get firewood while I mowed and weed whacked.
Sid is building an amazing raised garden bed.