KC at the farm

Sid hurries to assemble his new tool chest before KC arrives.
Sisters and bro all in one place!
Diana and Sid with videographer Pat. On September 4, he videoed an interview with us and toured the farm in preparation for the video he is making for each of the Small Woodland Owner of the year nominees.
KC, Pat and Sid.

Molly and Noah come to help

Bill and Noah in the Ranger, loaded with path-making tools.
Sid, Molly, Noah and Bill find ways to make crossing Griffith Creek on foot possible.
Looking for long and substantial fallen limbs to mark a trail to the Griffith Creek channel created by the large log placements.
Molly, raking the forest floor.
Where’s Molly?

Windows, firewood and turkeys

Sid takes delivery of the windows that will be installed (by Sid and ???) in the big garage.
Clearing the woodland trails is darn near a full time job.
Clearing the road of turkeys is much easier!
Two or three Ranger loads every day we are in the woods may seem slow going, but as the tale of the turtle and the hare teaches us ….
The pile is growing!

Turkeys, a Yew tree and firewood

A raft of turkeys on and near the bridge.
Bianca sends them flying and squawking to safety!
Our yew tree. Here’s a few facts copied off the internet:

Taxus brevifolia, commonly known as the Pacific Yew or Western Yew is part of the Taxaceae family.  
   Let’s start with Yew’s dark side.  Once called the “graveyard tree” in England (Stewart, 2009) the Yew has a reputation for sudden death in both people and livestock.  There are even some reports of ancient yews being uprooted with bones intertwined in their roots (Stewart, 2009).  Every part of the tree is poisonous excluding the red arils, although these still contain a poisonous seed. Children are highly susceptible to poisoning due to the enticing berries and livestock and pets have had a bleak history with yew.  Once used for suicide during war times even food and drink vessels made from the wood of the yew could poison those who ate from them (Stewart, 2009).  This historically deadly tree owes its fame to an alkaloid, specifically Taxine.  This phytochemical is stored in almost every part of the tree but its red, juicy arils, and is the yews main form of defense (Bryan, 2011).  Being that trees can’t move when they are attacked they have to be creative in their defense mechanisms.  Although Taxine is deadly Yew also has another chemical up its sleeve, Taxane. 

So how did the Yew go from deadly to medicinal? In 1962 the US National Cancer Institute collected plant specimens all over the country to test for any useful cancer treatment properties.  The bark of T. brevifolia was found to have taxanes, a diterpene, which contains paclitaxel.  This discovery was significant because paclitaxel has chemical properties that, when in the body of an animal, disrupt mitosis and acts as an antitumor treatment (Abal, 2003).  Once it was found that Yew bark was a source of this new anticancer drug there was a rush to collect as much as possible putting the trees in danger of extinction.  Push-back from environmental groups who feared losing these trees helped drive the pharmaceutical industry to create a synthetic version of the phytochemical (biologically active chemicals in plants).  With the discovery of endophytic fungi growing with Yew trees and producing paclitaxel some relief may come to the trees, though this is still a relatively new discovery (Somjaipeng, 2016).  Taxol has not yet been entirely synthesized and the trees remain one of the best sources of Paclitaxel.  Scientists are searching Taxus species around the world for more taxanes that may contain similar properties similar to Paclitaxel as starting materials for synthesis (Sun, 2015).  Taxol, the partially synthesized drug derived from paclitaxel, has now made its way into mainstream treatment of breast and ovarian cancers.  This treatment is due to the interactions between Taxol and the way our cells divide. 
Sid, Bill and I began slowiy moving firewood from where Mike cut it to the landing on the loop trail.
First we moved the pallets we recently acquired to the landing.
Then the hard work of loading cut wood onto the Ranger.

Scotch broom again?! Visit to Lane County’s tree farmer of the year nominee’s place.

Hard to believe, but as Bill and I were prepping for the September tour of Shiver River, we spotted Scotch broom growing in a spot we had completely denuded of the pesky weed last spring!
Keeping the loop trail free of obstacles.
More Scotch broom. Grrrrr….
Keeping it real.
This is the view of the Rock Creek large wood placement that will be on the tour.
Smoky and I are getting ready to go on the Whitewater Tree Farm Tour (Lane County nominee for Oregon Tree Farmer of the Year.
About 40-45 folks came on the tour.
Owner had spent his life logging and working for mills as a log buyer. He is now an international consultant having visited logging operations in Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, Australia, New Zealand and some of the Baltic countries. Wow!
Looking for (and finding) evidence of laminated root rot.

Pre-tour planning, preparation and more

See how closely St. John’s wort looks like Tansy Ragwort?
St. John’s wort.
Sid’s foot and the stair nose he hand crafted! He is putting laminate flooring in the room above the garage.
Scott, Diana, Dave (Sid and Bill, too) met at the farm on July 25, 2019 to plan the tour of the farm’s forests in conjunction with its designation as Benton County’s 2019 nomination for Tree Farmer of the Year.
Scott pauses during the pre-tour planning walk.
Dave contemplates.
Dave log walking.
The day after plotting the path the tour will take, Sid, Bill and Diana start the arduous process of clearing obstructions. A first effort — more to come.
Bill rearranges the rocks in Griffith Creek to make crossing on foot easier.

Post-wedding slow return to action

“Tansy ragwort is an invasive, toxic biennial weed from Europe most often found in pastures and along roads and trails. Although animals tend to avoid it, they may eat enough of it to become ill and even die.  The highest risk is after the plants have been cut or when mixed in with hay, because the plants are not as bitter then and just as toxic. In spite of efforts to control it, tansy ragwort is widespread in the Pacific Northwest.” This particular plant is one of ours. We have both tansy ragwort and St. John’s wort on the farm.
We checked the clear cut plantings. They are doing well, it appears.
The flower beds needed weeding and the lawn needed mowing less than two weeks after the wedding. Stuff grows in Oregon!
Sid and Miss Tym, the tractor. Oh … and Bianca, too.
Blackberries decided to take over the loop trail.
A pilated woodpecker seriously enjoyed a snack in this beetle-infested stump.
For the first time (for me), alongside the loop trail I found what we used to find in Tiller – black caps! Here’s info I found on the net:

The Black Raspberry

Physical Description: A small, black-colored raspberry with very small white hairs.  Known by farmers as a “blackcap” due to the berry coming clean off the bush without a plug, making it hollow inside.  The individual cells of the berry are small and do not protrude very far out from the berry.
Taste: More fruity and less tart than a blackberry. Also contains less sugar so is not as sweet. Has a very unique taste that is not really similar to any other berry.
Health: Black raspberries are one of the healthiest berries on the planet.  They are lower in sugar than most berries and also contain a lot of fiber (around 8 grams per cup).  They contain large amounts of anthocyanins, and around three times the antioxidants found in blackberries.  They are also one of the most well-researched berries, especially in the area of cancer prevention.

Quick checklist:
Is it hollow?
Is it about the size of your thumbnail?
Is it make up of small fruit cells?
If you answered yes to those three questions, you probably have found the rare black raspberry!  If not, you still have a tasty berry, but it is most likely a blackberry.
It is hard to see when surrounded by other plants, but just slightly right of the center of the picture is the pale leafed black cap berry bush. Very tiny.