Our Long Distance Relationship

2 1/2 hours each way is problem number one. Right now that means camping overnight and all the time in setting up and breaking it down too. We clearly need a trailer on the property to facilitate staying overnight. A road up would help. Our little Land Cruiser can make it up, but at a cost of turning our access field into a bog. Hiking up is doable, but exhausting when carrying chainsaws, shovels and provisions. Weather hasn’t helped. This weekend we had trees and shrubs to plant, and we did it in hail, driving rain, snow, and a few sun breaks, but not terribly fast. More trees are coming next week, but the downed alders and branches all over the property from that storm last month is making this harder and more dangerous.

The Little Cruiser that Could

The first time we went out we only had our little 2w drive pickup. We didn’t dare try to get up the hill. Hauling chainsaw and gas, provisions, and layers of clothes up the hill was exhausting.  Setting up a tea hut was one of our first priorities (digging a privvy being the first).

Having a dry spot to brew a cup of tea and take a few moments away from the the back-breaking work of clearing trees and branches was nice, but having a tea table and primroses was priceless.  The couple we purchased the property from dropped by to say hello and brought us the potted flowers and a bag of freshly baked cookies.  The tea table was a “found object” leftover from the clearcut next door.

Tea Time

Since we had ordered 200 bare root trees and shrubs from our local Conservation District’s annual native plant sales (before the storm), we really needed to clear out the fallen trees and branches from the areas we wanted to plant as soon as possible.  Bare root trees need to get in the ground right away and potting up that many trees and shrubs was just not an option.  We selected trees and shrubs that would work well for hedgerows along the southern border of the property: Cascara, Vine Maple, Red Osier Dogwood, Golden and Red Currants, Mahonia, Indian Plum, Serviceberry and Mock Orange.  This area is right up against recently clearcut property and we feel just a little too exposed to whatever the owners are planning to do with it next.  Of course, if we plant it thick enough, it will also help keep our livestock in.

We also purchased a variety of trees to diversify the woodlot.  There are a few Douglas Firs here and there on the property, but the woodlot is made up mostly of Red Alder and we lost a lot of those in the storm.  We will be planting more Douglas Fir plus Western Red Cedar, Noble Fir, Paper Birch, Oregon Ash, Grand Fir and Port Orford Cedar.  We tried to choose varieties that had multiple uses for the homestead.

Planting the trees and shrubs is taking a lot longer as we have to clear fallen trees and branches in the areas we want to plant first.

Storm damage at southern border

Storm damage clean up on southern border.  Just a drop in the bucket…

We decided to form a little hugelkultur with the fallen trees and logs near the property border. We still need to dig the trench to push the stuff in and top it off with soil, but it will afford a little protection for the newly planted trees and shrubs from browsing in the meantime, and eventually will help with some of the water coming down from the clearcut property next door.  We will  plant some of the hedgerow plants in it.

I can sleep anywhere but Lefemme had a restless night under the canopy in the truck bed. We definitely need a little travel trailer up there, preferably one with heat and some indoor plumbing. I always feel like she has the lion’s share of the work, as she plans the trip and packs while I am at work. I couldn’t even entertain this without her and her attention to detail. I feel like she is a better worker too, I’m better with the brain-dead stuff like clearing downed trees and doing what I am told.  That’s why she will be the farm manager.

About M. Agriculteur

Designer, motorcycle junkie, traveler, wanna-be iron butter (more butt than iron), builder, foodie, farmer wanna-be.
This entry was posted in Forest Management, Homesteading, Preparing the land and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Our Long Distance Relationship

  1. Louise says:

    Where there’s tea, there is hope!
    (And where there’s a privy, pee and poop.)

    Courage, mes braves!

  2. Kathy says:

    How are you keeping the deer away from all these new yummies for them?

    • Well, I looked into getting tree tubes but whoa – way too expensive. We will probably put up wire cages around them, but since we are under the gun to get these in the ground ASAP and only have a couple of weekends to do it, we’re crossing our fingers the deer will leave them be for now. Right now they are literally just sticks, so hopefully we have a little bit of time before they start budding and becoming more desireable. In the meantime we are hoping the hugelkultur we started will also serve as somewhat of a barrier. We’ll see…

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