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Just a meandering soul sharing my backyard. Visit my Flickr page too! www.flickr.com/photos/meanderingwa/

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Landtrust Magic

It is the time of year when my work with the Nisqually Land Trust shifts over to weekend volunteer events.  There is ongoing work every day of the week with volunteer Wednesdays staying popular with school, corporate and some members.  I have been able to join on a couple of Wednesdays due to over accumulation of vacation days.  I have to use them or lose them, so occasional days off, mid-week, keeps me on par.  When I feel caught up, I will take something more afield.

We work, rain or shine.  I can only remember one event cancelled and that was for frozen ground, a rare event here.  I joke that there is a bit of magic in the Nisqually basin that makes the rain stop at 9am and resume again at noon. So often threatening weather seems to pause for the morning.  When it is bad weather, it always seems to be not so very bad.  The few times it has really rained, it did not matter for we were in deep woods.

Last Saturday I joined a small work party on a new property in Eatonville.  This little wedge of land goes right to the edge of the Mashel River and the old pasture was starting to support Scots Broom. School children were going to come and plant native shrubs and trees but first we wanted to get a head start on pulling broom.

It was raining fairly well when I left at 7am but as I got further south, it was lightening up to a simple sprinkle.  Arriving at the site I donned my rainproof pants and discovered I had left my jacket at home.  Somewhere in the recent weeks I had brought in the supplies for washing and never returned them.  Ah well, I thought, I was going to get wet and sweaty anyway so why bother.

We got ourselves together, had a warming cup of coffee and bravely pushed on across the road.

And the rain stopped.

Scots Broom, introduced and encouraged for some foolish reason is a foul invasive that seems to have no normal enemy.  Fire will not suppress it for the seeds endure.  To make the task of getting these beasts from the ground we use everyone's favorite gadget, a Weed Wrench / Root Jack.

Clamp the base, pull the lever, toss uprooted invasive aside.  Great therapy for whatever frustration ails you.

We worked for about 15 minutes then stopped.  Layers were coming off for the sky went from rainy to this

The property, facing full east, quickly warmed up and before long we were sharing a gallon of water.  Everyone got slower and slower and by noon we had a pooped out, over-dressed work party and four huge mounds of broom.

We returned to the cars and sure enough, it began to rain.

Yesterday was the annual Ohop Valley planting.  This is my favorite property and I have featured it several times.  This day we are planting further south in the valley.  The plants from prior work in the area are still quite small, not the impressive regrowth of the areas planted five years ago.

 Having worked on these projects for some time it is rewarding to return to this property  in particular where you can see the beautiful red barn up the valley disappear behind the luxurious regrowth of bottomland trees and shrubs.

Volunteers of all ages and experience join.  There was a lot of coffee and Halloween candy for all.

This year seems like a smaller crew than usual but no matter.  There is plenty of hands to get the job done.  Once again the weather threatens, but never happens.   It remained foggy and cloudy the whole morning.  People were pulling off waterproofs and dragging them along as the army progressed.

We planted cedars, firs, pines, rose, willow, snowberry and cottonwood.  The soil was mercifully free of rock and was perfect for digging and planting.  The plants were beautifully done in one gallon pots.  We found plenty of worms in the potting mix and some plants had little mushrooms and good bugs like spiders and springtails to add to the ecology.

We started at the far end of this section and worked our way back to the vans.  There was a reason for this, the area near the vans was quite wet and every hole dug quickly had water seep in to the bottom. Shovels and gloves were covered in mud.  When you stepped in your finished plant, it seemed to sink into the ground a bit further, which is not good for the plant.  But they will love the wet rich soil.

If you think this is impressive , you should see the rest of the elephant.

It was a great morning of good work, good cheer and silly jokes.


  1. Great that you have the energy for that kind of volunteer work. And I wish for some of that rain to turn south.

  2. Wonderful work, Marti. Wish I had more time for that kind of thing. Perhaps in a few years after retirement, but now with regular trips to eastern Washington to see Neal our time is at a premium. And, on another note, you were correct about the location of Beebe Springs. It's just north of Chelan Falls and the bridge across the river there, and very near the fish hatchery. It's not a large area but great for a stroll and some pictures.