Time to Redefine our Lives in Oregon

Posts tagged ‘Giant Sequoia Trees’

We Thawed, They Moved

As brief, beautiful and fun as it was, it is good to see the vibrant green of our Oregon home once again. To read these words one may think that we have been trapped under ice and snow for weeks…well 5 days is a long time! {ducking as tomatoes are thrown by those in the midwest, etc. who have spent months in a deep freeze} There are reasons we moved to Oregon rather than, say, South Dakota…5 days of snow, then a thaw is apparently one of them.

The vibrant green of the moss on the trees is striking!

The vibrant green of the moss on the trees is striking!

Expanding the view of the vibrant green moss on the oak trees.

Expanding the view of the vibrant green moss on the oak trees.

The ice-rain layer covering the snow left some damage, and broken limbs…but thankfully most of what we are seeing is minor.

Minor branches broken and debris is most of the damage we have found so far!

Minor branches broken and debris is most of the damage we have found so far!

We’re still hoping that the damage, if any, to our newly planted trees is minimal. Although we’re not too worried about the 300 Douglas Fir babies as they are built for Oregon winters, and the fruit / nut trees are also quite resiliant to the cold while they are dormant, the Giant Sequoias are a greater concern. So far, the tension and suppleness in their young branches seem okay…only time will tell (at least another month) if they will survive. Here is what they looked like in the snow/ice…

As we thawed, our band of cabin fever poultry showed great happiness in being able to stretch their legs. Literally, as soon as they noticed a path out of their cabana without snow those little chicken feet ran to the great outdoors. They were so happy!!

The “Chicken Littles” on the other hand had GREAT BIG changes awaiting them. With increasing bullying going on in the bigger chick brooder, it was time for them to move into the adult chicken house. Thursday night was the big transition. In preparation, I had cleaned the big house, and added a lower roost that afternoon. About an hour after dark….my son and I carried each one in, sitting them on the lower roost. The older chickens didn’t seem to really notice or care about what was going on below them…funny how darkness kind of lulls chickens into a daze of some sort. Since Little Austin Healey and Honda are 2 weeks younger than the oldest Chicken Little, I hooked up the heat lamp in their original brooder (within the big house), but left it open so that they and the others could hop in and out as they wanted.

First night in the hen house...it's actually dark, except for the flash!

First night in the hen house…it’s actually dark, except for the flash!

I worried, but they survived the night! I put up a barrier to keep them inside the house and cabana areas, but would also allow the older chickens out…well at least I figured the older chickens would find their way out, and they did. Benedict was hanging around the “Littles” and seemed to be accepting them quite well. I hadn’t seen much pecking going on by either hens or rooster so I was hopeful…

Since then they are struggling a bit with their courage…I find them all in the brooder area most of the time, although they know how to get in and out of it. I did see some pecking going on from the more dominant hen toward the young ones, but it was more attention getting than trying to harm…however, Benedict, our rooster, did go after one of the little suspected roosters in a much more “assertive” way. I scooped up that little baby and held him…..okay a little over the top, but he (hopefully she) closed his eyes and snuggled in…they are still my babies!! We’ve had stormy weather everyday since Thursday, and I’m hoping that once the older birds get out and about more, the younger ones will start becoming more adventurous, and grow their courage..the combs on about 3 of them sure are. NO ROOSTERS!!!



Douglas Fruit Trees???

I stepped outside Sunday morning…there was a distinctive winter chill to the air, but it sounded like spring! As I looked over to the pond, the “foreigners” who have been absent for three months were paddling around in the water. Up the road, guinea hens were loudly boisterous, and the songs of the robin were like beautiful waves of melody. My neighbor’s horses were once again in their front pasture..it seems that spring may be attempting to bloom.

To speak of the seasons, you speak of events choreographed in nature. Spring is a time of renewing as trees bud and push out new growth; it is the season of gardens, gardens, and more gardens. Ironically, this season of young, delicate, sprouts is really too late for planting trees. Generally, a tree planted in the springtime will struggle. The good thing is that it will probably catch up the following year. As the ground warms, summer is a time of fullness as the canopy overhead shades with a lush, green umbrella. Planting trees in the fullness of this season can shock them badly, causing a loss of leaves, fruit, and stunted growth that could last 2-3 years. Fall then is a time of harvest, fruit is ripening and tired trees are getting ready to go dormant for awhile. Yet just beyond the harvest season, late fall, in the colder parts of the country, is the best time to plant trees.

Out here in the west…specifically the west coast, contrary to popular belief, winter is a time for planting. Seems odd, why plant while the ground is cold, and growth is almost nonexistent? Something magical happens under the ground while trees lay dormant above it. Roots, young and old roots stretch their “legs” and grow during the cold of winter. While a tree stands motionless, sometimes to the point of, “Is it alive or dead?”, the underground world is active and working hard to gain strength, gather nutrients, and find new ground from which to sustain itself.

On that note, this week has been a time of planting on the hill. In late November, numerous trees arrived. We planted the Giant Sequoias (post – Replanting the Forest), and have been protecting the yet-to-be-planted fruit trees. Over the past two months we (more specifically Tony…with a little help from our son, Will, and I) have added 347 trees to forest and pasture areas. Within that count are 300 Douglas Fir one gallon seedlings, and 37 varying 15 gallon fruit, and chestnut trees all wrapped in wire cages to keep the deer away. Timber and fruit…Douglas Fruit trees..haha…I can’t wait to see them grow!! A nice gift from nature…deer are not attracted to Douglas Fir seedlings…Whew!!…glad we didn’t need 300 tiny wire cages around those little beauties!!

A hillside of Douglas Fir seedlings.

A hillside of Douglas Fir seedlings.

Rocky, muddy soil...use a post hole digger to plant 300 fir trees!!

Rocky, muddy soil…use a post hole digger to plant 300 fir trees!!

After the holes are dug, someone has to plant the trees!

After the holes are dug, someone has to plant the trees!

An orchard full of 4 types of apple trees, and 2 types of pear.

An orchard full of 4 types of apple trees, and 2 types of pear.

Cherry trees line the driveway.

Cherry trees line the driveway.

Contrary to what Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog said….the neighbor’s Peacock flock are converging on our hill once more, another indication that spring is on the horizon.

Really, this year, who knows? It’s predicted that we’re to dip down to the single digits again this week. We’re on the coast side of the Cascades so temps like that are not a winter common.

RePlanting the Forest

One of the realities of our homestead is the fact that we are living in a forest. There are some cleared areas of rolling pasture land, but the majority of our 34 acres consists of Douglas Firs, deciduous Oaks, and Maples. Around 2004 – 2005, the previous owners logged the front 12 acres of the property, the back 22 were logged back in the 1980’s sometime. Thankfully, they chose not to clear-cut which left young, mature trees and an ecosystem that would more easily maintain, and regenerate itself. It did create a mess that nature could naturally take care of, or we could help with. Eight years later, the forest is thriving. The Douglas Firs are popping up above the Oak trees, which in turn will create a natural reforestation of conifers. As you walk the property, there are baby firs everywhere. It has taken a lot of sweat equity in cleaning up piles of logs, limbs, and branches, and years for the land to heal. This fall, actually, this weekend, marks our first attempt at phase two for our forest management plan…tree planting.

We planted a grove of 10 baby, Giant Sequoia trees that we can see from our main windows, as well as, a line of them down along the fence line toward the pond. If you know of our ties to the SF Bay Area, and northern California, you may be able to understand our camaraderie with these beautiful trees. Apparently, these young trees are like candy to deer so protecting them is crucial to their survival.

Tucker and Penni enjoying the new trees

Tucker and Penni enjoying the new trees

Tony and his helpers!

Tony and his helpers!

Cutting the fencing...16 ft. for each tree

Cutting the fencing…16 ft. for each tree

One of our cute, little, protected Sequoia trees.

One of our cute, little, protected Sequoia trees.

What a nice little grove of GIANTS!

What a nice little grove of GIANTS!

Beyond this, in terms of conifers…we will be planting much smaller Douglas Firs around many different areas.

We’ve also designated an open area as an orchard with the hopes of having a little “Fruit Stand” set up in the front pasture….that’s a different story!! However, being mindful of this, the trees waiting to be planted this week are Honey Crisp, Braeburn, Fuji, and Melrose Apple trees; Bartlett, and Comice Pear trees; Bing, Lepin, and Stella Cherry trees; and Chestnut trees. From the time we bought the property, Tony’s dad, Joe, wanted to plant Chestnut trees on the property…he never got a chance to do that…our Chestnut grove will be in his honor. BTW…he also wanted to put a couple of beef cows out there…..UHHH OHHHH!!!



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