Saturday, July 30, 2016

In which we revisit a Trail Masters article from a while back

I can't believe it's been TEN YEARS.

Santa Jim and Faithful Trail Dog Mimsy, 2006

After we completed the AERC Trail Master class in 2006, I wrote a little article about our experience, and Endurance News published it.

This week, the newest AERC Trail Masters (including Gail, Duana and Jason!) are attending classes at Silver Falls State Park in Oregon.  

In their honor (and illustrated with photos from the current class) I dug up that ten year old E.N. article, and I'm posting it below.  

Mike Riter leads the classroom portion of the training.

Compulsive Trail Maintenance Syndrome:  there is no cure  by Aarene Storms

1.  Have you ever carried loppers to early-morning staff meetings?

2. Have you ever calculated the average grade of the WalMart parking lot?

3.  Do you include trail equipment in otherwise normal sentences?  (Example: "I think I'll take the dog and the Pulaski for a walk.")

4.  Do you find yourself eyeballing the sandbox at the local preschool, trying to figure out what the correct binding amendment would be if the box was placed on a slope of 5 to 10 degrees?

5.  Have you ever wondered how much trade-in value your truck would have towards the purchase of a new Ditch Witch diesel 650?

6.  Have your neighbors ever requested that you not clear three feet into their yard from the sidewalk?

7.  When you tell your family you're taking the dog for a walk, do they assume you will also take a Pulaski?

If you've answered "yes" to any of these questions, you may be suffering from Compulsive Trail Maintenance Syndrome (CTMS).

CTMS patients report an inability to concentrate when confronted with trails that violate the 50% rule.  They feel a strong need to measure slope declination, and a desperate yearning to re-route fall line trails onto sustainable contours.

measuring the declination.

Advanced CTMS cases will spend hours walking trails, checking and repairing back slope issues, and will cheerfully spend countless evenings with land owners, park rangers, forestry reps, and anyone else who will listen to them talk about multi-use trails.

The classroom portion of the training is often collaborative,
as so many trail projects are!

Recently, seven Northwest Region members who exhibit symptoms of Compulsive Trail Maintenance Syndrome gathered at the Naches Ranger Station for four days to learn efficient ways to design, build, and maintain trails so they don't wash away in the first rainstorm, blow away with the autumn leaves, or become every-widening freeways in the wake of thousands of feet, tires and hooves.

After the classroom work is finished for the day, the group
moves outdoors to apply what they have learned.

These newly-certified AERC Trail Masters are in the early stages of CTMS--and they want to help you help your trails.  Be kind to them, won't you?  Volunteer your time, donate money to trail maintenance projects, and educate yourself on the care of your local trails.

The class of 2016 designs a sample trail

And when you have trails that need work--whether it's a swampy spot that just won't drain, a steep stretch that keeps washing out, or an overgrown stretch of blackberry paths--invite a Trail Master to come and help you.

Because a Pulaski is a terrible thing to waste.

Congratulations to 2016 Trail Masters!

2006 Trail Masters:  Jim Beidle, Charleen Farrell, Dennis Grow, Paul Latiolais, Carol Crawford Myers, Aarene Storms, Gail Williams.

Attending the 2016 class: Carlene Benson , Tani Bates, Gail Williams, Becky Fiedler, Beth Skaggs, Jason Williams, Duana Kolosskova, Libby Kalkoske, Molly Farkas, Shelby Edwards, Larry Worel, Mary Krauss, instructor Mike Ritter, and Jason and Stephanie from Silver Falls Park.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

In which not all gardens are tidy, and a Tomato Curse Update

Jim and Henry and I spent the weekend at the annual Powellswood Storytelling Festival.

Storyteller Donald Davis onstage.
Donald Davis has a Ted-X talk!  Watch it HERE.

Every year when we attend the festival, my camera is busy taking pictures of the beautiful gardens.

Event photographer shares his flower pix with the performers

Back home at Haiku Farm, the gardens don't feature quite as many spectacular colors.

Red bean blossoms, yellow tomato flowers...everything else is green!

But we are just starting the time of year when the yard explodes.

The apple trees are so heavily laden with fruit
that the branches touch the ground

At least 4 varieties of apples trees in the orchard.
We have so many apples that I think we'll have
to make cider this year to use up all the fruit.

Under the Yellow Transparent tree, a wide shady spot perfect for Foxie to lurk.


The Amazing Plum Tree tipped over with the weight of all the unripe fruit.
We will try to harvest plums before we chainsaw the tree out.
We planted a dwarf plum tree over the grave of Pickles Marie, and
that tree is bearing fruit for the first time this year.

The beginnings of Giant Pumpkins

We've been eating blueberries for weeks, and the harvest isn't slowing down yet!

"Mystery Squash" plants that sprouted in the bean patch.
Each year I have to decide if the volunteer squashes have some redeeming virtue
to allow the plants to continue their quest for world domination.
The 2015 Mystery Squashes were pretty but only the dogs would eat them.

One of the 2016 Mystery Squashes--a yellow zucchini hybrid, probably.
Some of the mystery squashes have ribs like a delicata, but no stripes.
Mild and sweet, delicious raw or steamed.

This photo shows one (1) floofy dog and three (3) tomato plants!

In keeping with the tradition of the Tomato Curse, it has rained a lot this summer,
and we are just now starting to get green fruit on the tomato plants.
Bright side:  no forest fires so far this year!

L-to-R:  beans, butternut squash, tomatoes, with photobomb by Roo.
Somehow, the walking paths between beds have gotten overrun already.