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Cohoho – and Raindrop – Rendezvous

Posted by on Dec 10, 2015 in Blog |

Being an experimental forest, we like to – well – experiment. Two years ago when it as 8 degrees F. at the starting hour of our annual celebration welcoming the globetrotting swimming Coho back to Lousignont Creek in the Timber Forest, the experimental question was “how many of the 100 folks who RSVPed will show up – and how much chili will be left over?”.  In spite of the cold and the dodgy driving, nearly half showed up to welcome the fish and help eat the chili. When yesterday dawned wet and cold with a reliable forecast for daylong, heavy rain, we took another run at the same experiment.  Wonder of wonders, over 65 brave and deranged troopers showed up.  Undaunted by the promise that they would see no fish and would surely die if they fell into the muddy flood waters, they defied us on both counts.  Several large, strong coho were spotted in the raging creek and all lived to tell the tale, and eat the chili. . As always, a highlight of the day is the diversity of good hearted people who join the celebration – artists, teachers, woodworkers, business entrepreneurs, nuns, commercial fishers, musicians, doctors, conservationists (by profession and avocation), meteorologists, priests, contractors, architects…….  everything except candlestick makers. For those of us who organize the day, one of the many rewards stands high above all of the others – having kids see and be amazed by the big fish for the first time.  A mother reported that when young Ella was tucked into bed, at the end of the big, wet day, her last question before falling asleep was: “Can you believe that we saw a salmon that big?” A highlight of the day was the chance to learn from Rob Walton of NOAA Fisheries about the proposed plan for recovering coastal Coho. The proposed plan may be found at:  http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/hot_topics/2015/Oct/proposed_recovery_plan_for_coho_salmon.pdf Comments are welcomed encouraged until the Dec. 31st deadline. Thanks to all who came – particularly the...

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Troublingly Attached to ……….

Posted by on Dec 10, 2015 in Blog |

      Over the past nearly thirty years of owning and caring for our forests we’ve discovered that we have become troublingly attached to certain species of trees  – particularly Oregon white oak.  We’re fortunate to have many acres of both savannah oak and oak woodlands in the 750 acres of our Mt. Richmond Forest.  With each passing year, as we help struggling young trees, monitor the birds using the oak habitat, reinvigorate old ones by removing the light robbing firs, and, yes, log sick, dead and dying trees and mill them into beautiful flooring and furniture, we become ever more fond of both the trees and the species.  We like how this recent video helps sum up the history, status, value and potential of oak in the Willamette Valley – and share the link because you may too.  ...

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Generations, Generation, and Regeneration

Posted by on Dec 2, 2015 in Blog |

  The combination of memory, calendars, and cameras help us appreciate how time passes and how forests change and regenerate, if we let them. This past week, 23 year old Molly has been the “crew boss” as we continue the hard, rewarding, long, and meditative work of pruning the lower branches from a plantation of fir trees.  12 acres times 400 trees per acre gives us plenty of time to contemplate life’s persistent questions – and the forest around us.  As we ended our lunch break, refueled our saws and headed back to work, she recalled the sequential photos taken of her, her brother, and her grandfather taken in the same place.  Ned planted the trees in about 1995. Molly and Ben joined him in admiring the struggling seedlings in about 1996 .  In 2008 they, as teenagers, stood with their grandfather in the tree’s growing shadows.  And now, with her grandfather having moved on to fertilize new trees, Molly is tending the twenty year old forest, regenerated from what was once a pasture.  Over lunch we hear the calls of various birds that are now finding their lunch, homes, and nesting habitat in the regenerated forest. Looking down from our pruning we see the burrows and scat of forest nurturing small mammals that have moved in. While still mulling the interrelationships between generations, generation, and regeneration, I noticed and became excited about recent changes down along Lousignont Creek.  Since this land was clear cut, railroad logged, burned over and left back in the 1920s, the regenerating forest has been dominated by a single species – Douglas fir.  It has now grow to a relatively similar age and size – 90 years.  While we and others find the forests to be beautiful and uplifting, we’re aware that they lack the complexity and resilience that we appreciate in older, more complex forests.  But that is changing.  A few days after working on Molly’s pruning crew, while clearing out creekside trails, I was surprised and thrilled to spot the vital, young shoots of naturally regenerated Hemlocks and Grand fir.  “So, what’s the big deal?” you might reasonably ask.  The big deal is that, with time, the forest is beginning to do...

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