A cold walk in the woods

Surprise! After clearing this forest road that is a short distance from the Griffith Creek crossing, we find more fallen trees blocking it!

Griffith Creek has a new log lying across it. High water will take it downstream eventually.

The grass seed we put on the new road is sprouting.

The view from the top of the new road shows frost down below. Brrrrrrr……


ODF and Shane the forester eyeball a rapidly eroding forest road

Robert, Zach, Sid, Joe, Bill and Shane prepare to evaluate the condition of the entry to the Rock Creek road.

There is a little bare spot on the hill, so Sid puts a bit of the seed we bought for the forest roads onto it.

This is the forest blend that Diana and Bill sprinkled onto bare spots in the forest.

Having gravel available is a big plus.


Safety first

On our way to place safety signs on the forest road leading to the hole I fell into when a big tree fell into the creek, we were stopped cold by a tree down. We promptly turned the Ranger around and went back to the farm to get Sid and the chainsaw.

The tree broke off on the creek side of the road.

Oh no … another obstruction! The chain came off the saw, and Sid walked back to the house, so Bill manhandled the tree out of the way.

The first sign warns Ranger riders that this forest road is no longer a throughway.

Another “no thru vehicle traffic sign” was placed on the other end of the road.

No vehicles signs were placed on either side of the stretch of road where the hole exists.

We placed the game camera in a spot we are sure to catch some wildlife.


Workforce arrives!

Newlyweds Nina and Will arrive to help around the farm while on their work vacations.

Chickens in the chickenhouse now.

Four of the little rascals live in the chickenhouse.

Gloves on, Will helps Sid secure the winch around a limb while Noah watches.

Nina and Will bought a nice big truck that will reside at the farm, helping with towing and hauling. Nice!

Both Nina and Will get lessons on Miss Tym. Here Will is dumping gravel into the Ranger so that the Ranger can haul it to form the base of the tool shed that will soon be built.


Yellow jackets impede road clearing efforts

There typically was a passageway between the little clump of trees you see on the right and the forest on the left. Sid set out to clear the passageway from various blockages on a fine Sunday morning when he discovered a decimated yellow jacket nest that had been dug up by a skunk or racoon (?). A number of the unhoused yellow jackets took offense and attacked! Sid was stung 7 or 8 times on the back. He felt a reaction setting in, so he epi penned himself, texted Diana and Sandra, and drove to Philomath urgent care. A steroid shot and an oral Benadryl dose later, the doc released him to his sister’s care. Here he is, showing Diana and Bill where the event took place.

As long as we were all here, Bill and I helped Sid finish clearing the passageway.

Our wild Elderberry has lovely berries.


Big rotten log cleared away

Sid tested the new chain for sharpness before heading into the woods to clear a forest road blockage.

The rings on the tree were very interesting, as was the star-like pattern near the heartwood.

Ask Extension ask@extension.org

I sent the top photo to Extension and here is the reply:
Tue 10/10/2023 11:01 AM
Dear blakney1, here’s the response to your question:

I suspect that is resin from branch stobs.  A longer one is quite obvious on the right side of the picture but does not show the white resin, and I believe the star like pattern is a result of other stobs not exposed as well but still resinous.  Branches are major invasion courts for wood decay (heart rot) fungi, and therefore, the tree will pack branches with resin to prevent invasion.  If you sliced off another inch, you might see the other stobs to confirm.

Need to reply to the expert? Click the link below, or simply reply to this email.


Taking advantage of fall sunshine

While Sid finishes mowing the far field, Diana continues the war against blackberries.

This leaning tree poses a risk.

Not anymore!

Oh oh! This duo is a bigger project.

Remember the hole I fell into? No longer safe for vehicle traffic, this temporary roadblock should cause Ranger riders to turn around.

Remains of a large underground yellow jacket nest. Skunk or racoon work. Bill got stung on the ear by one of the disgruntled yellow jackets.

Large mushroom found in the middle of the new forest road that bypasses the hole I fell into. I couldn’t figure out what kind. (Added comment: with the help of a fellow Benton Small Woodlands Association member (Dave H.) it has been identified as an Amanita calyptroderma.

Amanita calyptroderma

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Amanita calyptroderma
Scientific classification
Species:A. calyptroderma
Binomial name
Amanita calyptroderma
G.F. Atk. & V.G. Ballen 1909
Amanita calyptrata
Amanita lanei
Amanita calyptrodermaMycological characteristics
Gills on hymenium
 Cap is flat or convex
Hymenium is free
Stipe has a ring and volva
Spore print is white
Ecology is mycorrhizal
Edibility is not recommended

Amanita calyptroderma also known as coccoracoccoli or the Pacific amanita,[1] is a white-spored mushroom that fruits naturally in the coastal forests of the western United States during the fall and winter and spring.


This mushroom’s cap is about 10–25 cm in diameter, usually orange-brown in color (but sometimes white),[2] and partially covered by a thick white patch of universal veil. It has white, close gills.[3] Its cream-colored stalk is about 10–20 cm in length and 2–4 cm in width,[2] adorned with a partial veil. It has a partially hollow stem (filled with a stringy white pith), and a large, sacklike volva at the base of the stalk.[2]

The spores of this species, which are white,[2] do not change color when placed in a solution of Melzer’s reagent, and thus are termed inamyloid.[3] This characteristic in combination with the skirt-like annulus and absence of a bulb at the base of the stalk place this mushroom in the section Caesareae.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

This mushroom occurs in conifer forests,[3] forming mycorrhizae with madrone (Arbutus menziesii) in the southern part of its range (Central California northwards to Washington). However, in the northern part of its range (Washington to southern Canada), its preferred host is Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii).

Amanita calyptroderma in Oakland, California


Experienced mushroom hunters regard this mushroom as a good edible species,[4] but caution must be exercised when collecting A. calyptroderma for the table, since it can be confused with other species in the genus Amanita.[2] This genus contains some of the deadliest mushrooms in the world, most notably A. phalloides and A. ocreata.


Mowing the far field

Taking advantage of the beautiful fall days, Sid and helper Bill attach the mower to Miss Tym the tractor so Sid can start mowing the big field across the creek.

It has been a few years since the far field has been mowed. Bill and Diana began chopping down obstacles to the process. Trust me when I tell you it will take several years of effort to beat back opportunistic tree and blackberry growth.

The septuagenarian workforce is only good for an hour or so of chopping at a time.

When poison oak turns red, it is easy to spot!

There are two small areas where last winter’s blowdown created places to plant. This is one of them.

This is the other.



Native grasses and forbs

FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council, an international non-profit founded in 1993. It helps protect the world’s forests from unethical and illegal logging. The FSC is a voluntary program through which forest management and chain-of-custody operations can pursue certification. During the certification process, an FSC-accredited Certifier (independent of the FSC and the company being audited) will assess the operation. If it fits the FSC’s criteria for sustainable and ethical management, the operation will receive certification. Shiver River has been FSC certified for many years. The photo above is a new sign indicating the certification.

Native grass seeds recommended by Steele Acres will be spread on the entry hill to the farm. At 15 pounds per acre, the seed being spread is 35% California Oatgrass; 35% Roemer’s Fescue; and 30% Blue Wildrye. We bought 30 pounds to cover the bulk of the 3.25 acres.

Forbs (flowers) next. For the sides of the entry road, we used the following mix from Steele Acres: 36% Achillea millefolium ssp. occidentalis; 27% Eriophyllum lanatum; 37% Prunella vulgaris ssp. lanceolata.

For the edges of the road that now circles the base of the hill the farmhouse sits on: 9.1% Clarkia amoena ssp. lindleyi; 9.1% Geum macrophyllum; 18.2% Gilia capitata; 5.5% Lupinus polycarpus; 9.1% Potentilla glandulosa; 9.1% Sidalcea virgata; 18.2% Dwarf poppy; 9.1% Delphinium menziesii; 12.7% Erysimum capitata.