Tuesday, October 29, 2013

If A Tree Falls In The Yard.....

....will the person in the kitchen hear it?  Yes, she will, especially as she was in there checking the wind speed on the weather station at that precise moment (33 mph, just for the record).  9 pm on a rainy, windy late September night after two days of massive rainfall, a limb at the 81' level on one of the ancient Oregon white oaks gave it up and came down.  Normally, this sort of storm hits later in the season, when all the leaves are gone and there is a lot less wind resistance, but this storm hit early and hit HARD.  Luckily, Vernon and his crew from Buena Vista Arbor Care had been out last summer to do a lot of tip weight reduction on that very tree, so the damage was minimal.  It wasn't nearly as bad as it looked, and was a fairly easy clean up and fix up.  We had put off putting the new roof on the dairy barn garage this past summer, and now we are glad we did!  And the best news was the next day when Vernon came out to see it, he said that the tree didn't need to come down, his guys would come out and do some more work to insure that any future limb drop would clear both barn and garage roofs.  But since the crew and bucket truck were coming out anyway for the day, we figured that we could finally do away with the two Doug firs out front.  The first one was the skinny one right next to the driveway that anyone with a 5th wheel trailer will tell you is a royal pain in the butt to get around when turning in or out.  The other was the bigger one by the old red barn; another oak had shed a limb last year that sheared all the branches off one side, thus rendering it a very lopsided tree; not terribly attractive and the remaining limbs were over the roof of the old red barn, so it could go as well.
On a fine, sunny Friday morning Chad, Beto and Rocky showed up with the big 80' bucket truck and the massive chipper truck and went straight to work.  First one down was the pain in the butt Doug.  These guys know their job and have skills that you would have to see to believe.  Beto up on top of that tall Doug, at least 30' above his bucket, swaying and whipping around like he was in the middle of a hurricane, calmly using the chainsaw to top it and drop it, his safety man Chad watching and clearing lines, and Rocky getting rid of the debris as fast as it was raining down, a pile of logs for Jody to turn into firewood, the rest into the maw of the chipper.  We joked that had the bad guy in 'Fargo' been using one of these in the end, the job would have gone a LOT quicker and there wouldn't have been nearly as much left over.
Once the two Dougs were down, the crew moved on to doing more tip weight reduction and deadwood removal on all the ancient Oregon white oaks out front, including the gorgeously contorted one by the garage/shop.  When the sawdust cleared, two trees were gone and the rest perfectly pruned and ready to weather another 400 years.
Vernon and his crew of professional arborists at Buena Vista Arbor Care have been our go-to guys since the first gigantic oak limb was shed back in 2008.  Vernon has a special place in his heart for the old oaks, and if it can be saved, he's the man to do it along with his crew of talented and dedicated arborists.  They do everything right, and they will always be the guys we call when our trees need help.
Don't forget to click on the first picture to start the slideshow!
 The morning of September 29th.  It looks a lot worse than it was.  This dairy barn garage was built around the turn of the last century.  Had it been a more modern built building, it probably would have come down like it was built of toothpicks.  That's something to be said about the full cut lumber used to build it

 The guys arrive and get right after it
 That's Beto up there - WAAAAY up there.  Remember, the bucket goes to 80' at full extension (where it is in this shot)

 Look closely, you'll see Beto casually whacking limbs up there

 I didn't know if this shot came out as I had my eyes closed

 Preparing to top the tree.  The part Beto is working on is less than 6" in diameter


 Cricket supervises, of course.  The bucket truck was really noisy, and not to mention the massive chipper right behind her, but it didn't bother her.  She was just waiting for them to take a break so she could scrounge for treats.  I had already warned the guys not to give in to her begging

 The final cut for the pain in the butt Doug.  Chad wields the big saw expertly

 Checking the face to make sure it'll drop where he wants it to and yes, there of course is a guy line on it, just in case

 Nobody yells 'Timber' in the logging world.  It's 'Look Out!'.  Down comes the pain in the butt Doug

 Jody will have a lot of fun whacking it all up and splitting it.  Better him than us

 Beto tackles the lopsided Doug, taking down the remaining limbs.  The rest were removed courtesy of the big oak limb last year

 We left a tall stump, as that is where the Morgan River sign hangs.  We have toyed with the idea of having it carved into a totem

 After finishing up work on all of the trees around the front

 One last look at the lopsided Doug, the day before it would be coming down

 And the pain in the butt Doug, centre of the pix

Now you see them.....

Now you don't

My Fave Season

I love the fall.  Everything is changing, getting ready for the winter, finishing up with summer.  Still haven't made the full transition to my cold weather uniform of sweats; not until someone pries my beloved shorts off my cold, frozen legs will I give them up for the season.  But this morning I did have to put on my thermal lined flannel jacket to go out and feed, as we had our first frost of the season today.  Yesterday afternoon was spent getting all the tender pots moved into the greenhouse for the season, which pretty much filled it to near bursting.  But it's also much better organized this time, compared to the first season.  The sweetpea seeds are all planted, and the broccoli and cauliflower starts are out ready to go in the ground.  Most of my bulbs have arrived, and as soon as the rest get here, all of them will go in.  Pony the Wonderhorse looks like a yak again, but the cows haven't yet started to put on their winter coats, except for Millie, who seems to be shaggy year-round.  The dogs spend their evenings snoozing around the pellet stove, and it's time to break out the towel warmer again.  It's also almost time to move from the flannel sheets to the wondrously warm and soft fleece sheets that stay on all winter.  Dale and I light the burn barrel every few nights, in the dog run, and sit around it burning scraps from various projects and deadfall from the trees while watching the stars pop out (when it's clear) and downing some fine Oregon wine, dogs snoozing all around.  It's also time to crank up the firepit table on the deck and start the fall fondue parties going.  Those are best with good friends, good food, cool temps and a little rain to add to the ambiance. 
Fall in the Pacific Northwest is the best season of all
 It's actually 0725.  Someday I will remember to fix that glitch in when it makes the time change

 I never stop trying to show the stunning beauty that is Bellfountain, as seen from the ranch.  Cows graze contentedly, oblivious to the show around them

 On the way home from Crater Lake, a small park/boat launch on the North Umpqua River near Roseburg

 My little potted Japanese maple on the deck dresses for the occasion, in two different light settings

 I included this shot because of the two clusters of trees, centre and right of centre.  They are usually not very visible because they blend into the background of more trees, but when the mist and fog is behind them, they stand out

Bovine Standoffs

When the sun comes out this time of year, the kids get frisky
 Hilda and Roar's son Spud faces down the Lamb Brigade

 This is a nice pair of shots of a good cow dog teaching a young calf some respect without touching her.  Cricket schools Vicky and Roar's daughter Autumn.  Autumn makes the first move towards Cricket, who allows just so much from cheeky youngsters.  I don't know what kind of drunk took the second shot, but it was unpublishable.  What you would have seen would be Autumn being strong-eyed by Cricket and turning her head in respect of that little dog's power.  And below, Cricket rewards Autumn by taking the pressure off as well.  Autumn then went back to the safety of big momma Vicky.  Cricket never had to take a single step, bark or bite, but she let Autumn know that all of that awaited the calf that dared to challenge her

Vicky Cristina, daughter Autumn, and Zamora, sire of Vicky's 2014 calf (I hope)

Crater Lake National Park 2013

I guess the only good thing about the latest government gaffe is that the North Entrance was open again by the time we made our annual trip to Crater Lake National Park.  It was about as perfect as it gets - it was hard to tell sky from lake, the remains of the 6' of snow a week previous just added visual appeal, and with a near perfect 60 degrees on the thermometer and few visitors, it couldn't have been more perfect a visit.
At the end of the photo session is a series of shots of Sybil being, well, Sybil.  A bird caught her attention, and you can see how that came out with trying for a nice portrait of the goofy girl.
Definitely don't forget to click the first pix to start the slideshow!
 Sybil, Cricket and Dale

 Yes, that really IS snow, in spite of the 60 degree temperature

 Just a pretty shot of the Jellybean with sky, trees and snow

 Wizard Island in the background

 Hey!! A bird!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Yet More Cool Clouds

Have I mentioned lately that we have the coolest clouds up here?