Thursday, May 17, 2012
Yesterday was the final day of logging operations. There is still one piece of equipment to be picked up by a low-boy. After that we will order gravel delivery to finish our road rehabilitation. We have been very pleased by the process. The loggers were all very courteous to us and a pleasure to be around. Every single one of them drove a large pickup truck. Every truck had a large dog to guard the truck. If we approached the pickup the barking would begin. A voice would float down from the equipment operator for the dog to be quiet and then the playing would begin. One dog in particular loved to play fetch. All received pets and ear rubs.
The logs are down, but have not been dragged to road and stacked yet.
Another view with different lighting.
It is getting too wet to work and there was a several day interruption in the work to allow for things to dry out.
See how the forest is more open now. The smell of all that freshly cut douglas fir was heavenly.
Working on a slope.
A different view.
All and all a stellar experience. Now we need to schedule some Casita time, but a few obligations may keep us home for a bit.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
We are now two weeks into the logging operation. The changes to our property are stunning (shocking?). Since we originally planted our trees in rows and columns ten feet apart we can now remove every other row and an occasional mal-formed tree.
This is after the tree cutter has been through and before the logs have been dragged to the staging area in preparation for being loaded on the trucks.
The loader is working on stacking logs.
The cat is dragging the logs to the staging area.
The loader, the cat and the log truck are all in this picture. That little bulldozer is fast. He zips back and forth, wasting no time at all.
I was able to go ‘off-road’ and get a different angle on the loader the log truck.
The panoramic isn’t quite right because I could not get far enough away from the equipment. Day is done the the loader is resting.
This is our biggest stack of logs. I think we have about a week left on this little project. The cutter is almost done, so then it is getting the logs dragged into position and loaded on the trucks. They have barely started that so maybe it will be longer than a week.
We did go to the Northern Oregon Gathering (NOG) at Nehalem State Park. It was a very enjoyable time, but not much for picture taking. Too much drizzle and too much gabbing.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
We reforested our 20 acres in the late eighties. Trees were originally planted ten feet on center and some of have died and some have been removed for firewood, but not nearly enough for a healthy forest. The other day a commercial thinning process was started that will last close to three weeks. The tree cutter arrived! It was massive. A low boy hauled it to the edge of our property. The tree cutter (we don’t know its proper name) was off-loaded and it immediately headed for the trees. The operator said that is where it likes to live. We are glad that it doesn’t like to live on the roads because the tread would make mincemeat of them!
Watching this bad boy in action is really something. The arm can grab a tree up to two to three rows away. A giant chain saw cuts off the tree in moments. The arm moves the tree into a horizontal position. The rotating teeth start zipping back and forth along the log removing some of the bark and sawing the log into specific lengths. When the log is released by the teeth it is tossed to its resting place like it is handling a little stick instead of a giant log.
The thinned forest looks a lot different. It is almost traumatic to look at. Our dense, dark shade is now light and airy.
It won’t take long for the canopy to reform. The spring growth has not started yet for this year, so I hope we will see a little difference by midsummer even this year. Now the trees can grow without being too crowded and be at less risk for dying over the summer if there is a drought. It should make for prime lumber years down the line. The trees being removed will be used for pulp and sawn lumber. The branches will remain on the forest floor to decompose and provide nutrients. The machines being driven over the branches will help break them up somewhat.
We know how much work it is to saw one tree down by hand, to limb it and cut it up for firewood. It is truly amazing to see how fast this machine does the same thing. We could not possibly get our forest properly thinned by ourselves. Thank you, A-1 Logging!!
Friday, April 13, 2012
I just looked more closely at the Camp Chef camp oven link and that is not same camp stove that we purchased. My stove has two burners on top, not a burner and a grill. It did come with a griddle for doing eggs, pancakes, etc. This would be a better link: http://www.amazon.com/Camp-Chef-Camping-Outdoor-Burner/dp/B0013LLSZG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334368442&sr=8-1
On Tuesday morning we headed out to spend at least one night at the beach with our Casita. We didn’t have a specific destination in mind as we headed down the driveway, but we quickly decided to go back to South Beach State Park just south of Newport, OR. (I add the Oregon since I have noticed on other blogs that unless I am following them on a daily basis I don’t necessarily know where they are at!) The weather was actually sunny to the point of casting shadows upon our arrival. That didn’t last, but the rain held off that day for the most part. Setting up camp is sure a lot easier than when we used to tent camp and a lot more comfortable for the duration!
I almost forgot to take a picture of our campsite until we were leaving. The blue contraption on the trailer roof is Tom’s homemade antenna which works excellently, by the way.
The afternoon walk was pleasant. We walked north on the beach with our backs to the wind. The south jetty was fairly close The return trip was through the campground, so the south wind was buffered by the trees.
Do you think there is enough sand?
I love what people do with the driftwood. This shelter would be nice for a very short person, maybe about three years old!
They even have a flagpole!
Here we are on the south jetty looking at the Newport bridge.
Tuesday morning we went on a long walk on the Cooper Ridge Trail. This would be the park evacuation route in case of a tsunami. There weren’t very many long distance views. But there were lots of rhododendrons and huckleberry plants.
By late morning we had decided to pack up and head south about 20 miles to Beachside State Park. This is a fairly small park, but the camping is really close to the beach.
This is our new campsite. The blue antenna is now on top of the car. The beach is just beyond that row of brush. Some of the campsites have less brush and better views, but they were taken.
Our afternoon hike was heading south into the wind and I didn’t last very long. I had forgotten to bring a wooly hat and the wind was brutal.
We were treated to another beach structure. This one was tall enough for short adults. Tom is slightly stooped over.
This is our guard seagull. He was perched in sight of our beach access walkway.
A lovely sunset and in the opposite direction:
We had rain on and off all night. I was very happy to have the MaxAir vent cover so we could leave our roof vent cracked. The humidity did build up.
The next morning, between rain squalls, we were treated to another rainbow. Unfortunately, the rain began in earnest so we packed to head home. Of course, as soon as we were on the road things cleared, but that made the driving more pleasant.
It was a very good trip and our modifications seem to be working well. The sleep sack worked great. There was no problem with the velcro holding the sheets in place and we were warmer with the ability to zip up the sack.
Another addition to a camping gear was a Camp Chef Camp Oven http://www.campchef.com/outdoor-camp-oven-with-grill.html. We had purchased it a Costco a couple months ago for about $160. It worked great! I baked some chicken it it the first night and was able to do the veggies on top of the stove at the same time. I noticed it was back in the Salem Costco today. I think it will be wonderful during warmer weather to make fantastic breakfasts and baked items.
Time to go make dinner now….
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Sigh. Things seem to be always getting in the way of our taking off. First of all, the weather has not been cooperative. March was almost the rainiest March around here on record. We were 0.2 of an inch away from beating the all time record date back to the late 1800’s. Eight days ago the forecast for tomorrow and the day after was for 20% rain at the northern Oregon coast. But when I checked the forecast a couple days ago the coming time period now calls for 40-50% chance of rain and near 100% humidity. We currently have plans to head out on Tuesday even though things may be on the damp side as long as our other issue does not interfere.
The other issue is that almost 25 years ago we reforested our 20 acres with 5000 douglas fir seedlings. They are now ready for their first commercial thinning where roughly half of the surviving trees are removed and sold for sawn logs or pulp. We contacted a logger a couple weeks ago and since it is slow for him right now he is hot to trot and could be getting a crew out to our property as early as the next week or two. The logging process will take about three weeks as we understand it. We would definitely want to be here when they first arrive to answer questions, help sort out any issues they might have. So if we get a phone call that they have finished their current job and are ready to start our job, we will cancel any camping plans.
It is hard to take a photo that actually captures the essence of standing in the trees on the spongy ground, the quietness, and the coolness.
My other big project which I have finally completed is my version of an RV Superbag or Travel-Sac—a two-person sleeping bag for the Casita. I used the dimensions given on the RV Superbags web site for the queen size bag, adding an inch to both length and width to compensate for how the quilting process shortens the dimension of the finished product. I should have probable added just a bit more to match the Superbag’s dimensions.
There is a heavier side or the bag and a lighter side of the bag created by two different weights of polyester batting.
This is the winter side up.
This is the summer side up.
There are three reversible, two-way separating zippers, size #5. These were mail-ordered from the RainShed in Corvallis, Oregon, a shop that specializes in outdoor fabrics for the home sewer ( http://www.therainshed.com/). The zipper across the bottom is only 50 inches, but I felt that an unzippered space a few inches long would not affect the functionality of the bag and it did make it easier to sew to not have the zippers starting a stopping right next to each other.
This is one side of the bag with the sheet held in place with velcro.
The sheet is turned back here on the lower corner of the bag. The sheet is a twin flat sheet available at Walmart for just $5. The twin sheet is more than wide enough. It had to be shortened and also narrowed just a bit. The velcro is sewn onto a flange which is basted to the edge of the bag along with the zipper. The binding is then added to finish off the sandwich.
Here the two quilts are being zipped together. That zipper can also be unzipped from the foot end to help keep from getting too hot at night.
We tried both crawling into the bag last night and it seems to be large enough to give us some wiggle room. I think it is going to work very nicely. Hopefully, there is enough velcro to keep the sheets in place. There are five 2-inch strips on the top and bottom and 9 2-inch strips along each side.
We are keeping our fingers crossed that we will be out of here this week for at least overnight!