Gone Fishin…

You wanna know something frustrating? We still haven’t caught a fish. We have tried. LOTS of times. And there are supposed to be steelhead and salmon here. People, who know more than us (the gas station attendant in Taft, the bartender at Shuckers etc.), have been giving us the play-by-play since spring as the Salmon were on their way down from Alaska… tracking them as they apparently hit the Colombia River… and estimating that we should have begun seeing them swimming up the Siletz late March/early April. Actually, telling us all of this in envy since along with quite limited public access, we live on one of the few rivers in this area that allows fishing during the Spring Run… supposedly due to the number of fish!

Map of public access and bank fishing areas

Map of public access and bank fishing areas

As you can see…. fishermen care about this river. They talk about it, they study it, they fish on it! What are we doing wrong? We are 10 miles from the ocean and we are in the tide-water. You do want to be out of the tide-water to find where the fish hang out, but during all the salmon runs up from the ocean in spring and early summer, not only should they be passing right by us…. we have read that they should be hanging out and resting right here while the tide is changing.

You may recall a few glimpses of our efforts off the dock. Before we could enjoy it, Mitch had to machete all the overgrown grass and blackberries to make way for Fred to float it down and tie it up.

As we work away at becoming experienced fishermen, we took a break last weekend (for Mitch’s birthday!) to see how the pros do it. We went out on an ocean charter with Captain’s Reel in Newport to catch rockfish and ling cod. OK… did I mention they’re pros? Captain Chad has a fish finder radar and a bunch of friends on the radio. The result being that he knew exactly where to go to be sure that all 8 of us on board could literally drop our line and pull up either one or TWO rockfish within a minute! Mitch and I fell short of our maximum daily¬†allowed by one (with 13!). I didn’t realize how fun fishing was… catching the fish is quite a bit more exciting (to say the least). In fact, a few minutes would pass without hooking anything and Chad would tell us to pull up the lines so we could go find some more! I thought fishing required patience…

And then it’s back to our dock for another fish-less day. We’ll keep trying… letcha know if we get somethin!

Xo, K

Advertisements

Exploring the Land

With Mitch taking the Permaculture class, we have been adventuring around the property more and more to check out what exactly is going on here.

I hope you find a little walk through the property as interesting as we have. It is hard to believe the amount of natural diversity covered in such a small area.

Beginning from the beach, you cross the Siletz Bay Wetland Refuge.

Then you climb more than 800 feet in 2 miles through a collage of deeply wooded forests and clear-cuts and then quickly drop about 600 feet back down for the next 2 miles. This side of the mountain dead ends into a dramatic bend in the river, creating a secret little peninsula. It’s a place where cell phone towers don’t reach, where cable and gas companies couldn’t justify running their lines and where the mail lady can only deliver to mailboxes placed in clusters.

Going down our totally hidden driveway, you come out of the trees and into the open space that gradually drops to the river. We are bordered by a creek surrounded by old growth trees. To understand what I mean by old growth… these are old springboard notches. And there are 30+ year old trees growing out of their stumps.

From the high ground at the house, you wind down to the wetlands (which Mitch mentioned here) through the center. The land rises slightly again before dropping into the bank of the Siletz. Framed by the creek and with a yearly flood in the lower field, the property is ever-changing and we expect that these explorations will be full of new discoveries as the seasons change as well as year after year.

Studying the soil, the water movement and the sun’s path, Mitch has discovered so much about the dynamics of the property. Move ten feet and you will be standing on a completely different type of ground. These are soil samples from the upper field, the wetlands and the lower field. Once settled, they are worlds apart!

Pretty amazing, huh!? Here is what he determined about the way the property is made up….

Soil Map

I am not sure what we will end up doing with this information… guess that is what his class is for! This was previously a dairy farm. When the farm was inherited by the next generation, they retired that business and no farming was done. A neighbor told us that they used the coop to grow pheasants, which was a program set up by Oregon State University years ago to replenish the bird’s population. We also know that the rows of alders were planted in an attempt to continue to receive the farm tax credit. It seems that in this climate and location, there are very limited options for sustainable growth. That is hard to wrap my head around… looking out at vast green and abundant life everywhere… how can it be so hard? Obviously, as with everything we are trying to tackle out here, we have a LOT to learn.

The last thing we noticed on our recent trek is a little sad… this is a before-and-after series of a beautiful tree near where you enter the property. I am not sure which storm managed to break it apart… there have been so many! Although sad, it is definitely not tragic. As you can see, there is no shortage of breathtaking beauty here.

Hope you enjoyed the tour!
Xo, K