Signs of Winter

Signs of the season: I’ve seen the first Christmas tree truck of winter, taking a load of freshly cut trees to be sent on their way. A lot of Christmas trees are grown in my area. Cutting starts about now and usually ends the day before Thanksgiving, though last year there was some activity into early December.

The local Christmas tree industry was developed by a neighbor of mine, Hal Schudel, who developed sustainable, low-impact Christmas tree farming long before these buzzwords were popular. He introduced helicopter logging in 1955, so that Christmas trees grown on steep hillsides could be cut by hand and hoisted out by air, with no need for roads or heavy machinery — and hence no erosion. He also knew a superior tree when he saw one, introducing the Noble Fir (which makes a much better Christmas tree than the local Douglas Fir). Hal’s company, Holiday Tree Farm, has an interesting Web page.

I like having a self-made millionaire as a neighbor and role model.

Not that Hal’s the only one. My property borders on Starker Forests on two sides. As with Hal Schudel, T. J. Starker was into reforestation and sustainable yield long before these concepts caught the public eye. Both men were professors at OSU, too.

Starker has a good-neighbor policy which must be experienced to be believed. It’s not just a matter of, “Sure, take some of the downed wood for firewood, what the heck.” It’s more like, “We’ll unlock the gate for you and show you where the good stuff is. When’s a good time?”

One of the things I like about living here is the quality of our neighbors. They couldn’t be better. The only thing I would change is that the Christmas tree truck drivers could slow down a little. 40 MPH is pretty fast for a wet and twisty gravel road.

I Publish Books! Norton Creek Press

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Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

Author: Robert Plamondon

Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

1 thought on “Signs of Winter”

  1. I am a professional Christmas tree grower who received a lot of support from Hal Schudel back in the 1980’s when I got started. I was working for the late Bob Ruth of Blodgett, Oregon who was a friend of Hal. The year after Hal developed harvest by helicopter, Bob decided to give it a try. So in 1979, even though I was not at all convinced it would work, our crew became one of the very first to do it. We didn’t have even a fraction of the numbr of rope slings we would need and we were truly amazed at how fast things moved. I even got to fly on the hook (always dangerous and banned!). A lot of the things Christmas tree growers take for granted now were developed up Norton Creek.

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