Cabin Trip

We just went up to my mother’s family cabin Tuesday until today.  We travelled over Chinook Pass after stopping at the Black Diamond Bakery.  The weather was beautiful, and Mount Rainier was gorgeous!

We brought the dogs with us.  They had to stay in the cabin due to the highway being nearby. Ryeleigh enjoyed her own personal window.

Here is the view from the front porch where I spent a lot of time, mostly reading.

My Mom and Al were there the first day.  Steve enjoyed being petted by her.

We went on a lot of dog walks.  This is the view looking up on one of the walks.

I also admired the flowers on our walks.  Here are some wild roses.

For reasons that are completely inexplicable, Steve decided suddenly that he likes water.  He has only walked in very shallow water in the past even on a really hot day.  But he relished being in the river this trip.

I resumed reading Green Mansions for which this cabin is named.

Tom meanwhile went to Yakima to purchase a bike,

and went riding on his new-to-him 250  The first day was up Rattlesnake Creek to McNeil Lake.

Tom didn’t believe me about Steve until he saw it for himself the next day.

More flowers:

On Wednesday Tom rode to up the Little Naches, and I finished the book.  For dinner we had kabobs.  It felt like we were eating at a gourmet restaurant with a riverfront view except it was more private and there were dogs.

Yesterday morning I walked the dogs again, admiring more flowers.

Then watched a young buck walking along the river bank.


Tom and Steve relaxed while I made a nice breakfast.

That is wild huckleberry syrup on French toast made with Crystal Mountain bread.  We were nourishing ourselves before an assault on Edgar Rock.

And we made it to the top.  There were burnt trees all around the top, but many looked like they would survive.  Here is the site of the lookout with a tough tree.

Here is a photo of what the lookout used to look like in 1942.

And here are the views from the top.  I was trying to see if I could spot the cabin, but I couldn’t.

I think this might be our neighbor’s cabin.

There was a butterfly fluttering around the rock.

Then we headed down.

And then the dogs enjoyed a creek at the bottom.

Tom went on ride to Bumping Lake and Copper City in the afternoon while the dogs and I took it easy.

One other odd dog behavior this trip was that the beagle climbed the steep stairs at the cabin twice to get up to Tom.  I am not sure how she did it.  It is impressive.

Today we came home.  It had started to rain.  And it was quite cloudy near the top of Chinook Pass.  It was hard to see.

We made it home safely, only to find out that 4 of our geese were killed.  It must be some tough predator to kill our geese.  So now we are dealing with that.

But we had a wonderful relaxing trip, and it was nice to climb Edgar Rock again.

P.S. I went down a rabbit hole looking into the history of Edgar Rock.  First I looked into its geologic history.  It is actually Edgar Rock Volcano, a Miocene-age (~26 Million year old) stratovolcano with Andesite composition.  The cone exceeded 10,000 ft elevation, and Edgar Rock is a remnant of the volcano.

And then I delved into the history of its name.  It was named after John Edgar.  When I was a kid, my understanding was that he was an Army officer that jumped from Edgar Rock into the river rather than be captured by pursing Indians. Now I knew this wasn’t true since you can’t get to the river from the rock but figured they must have meant another rock.  But the truth, per (to which I subscribed), he was an Englishman from West Ham in Essex and had previously been employed as a stockkeeper and later as a shepherd at the Hudson’s Bay Company post at Fort Vancouver. Edgar had then signed on for five years to tend sheep with The Puget Sound Agricultural Company (PSAC) which was created from the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1840. He arrived at Fort Nisqually in 1842 at 28 years old.  This is where he met his future wife Betsy. Her father was Yakama, and her mother Nisqually. Owhi apparently was a regular customer at Fort Nisqually and would have brought his daughter Betsy. In the 1840s Owhi made a trip to Fort Nisqually and while there, he purchased cattle, probably trading horses for them, in order to take them back east of the Cascades.

The U.S. government offered 320 acres to any American male and another 320 acres if the man was married. John Edgar had formally married Betsy in 1849 and acquired his American citizenship in 1853. Then he applied for and received a Donation Land claim at Yelm.  John Edgar had chosen 640 acres on the edge of the Yelm Prairie to start his farm, build his home and raise a family. They had left Fort Nisqually just before an outbreak of measles had killed many, especially natives. In Yelm he raised sheep , horses, cattle and pigs. Edgar climbed Ta-co-bet (Mount Rainier) in 1852. In May 1853, Edgar attended a meeting to discuss opening a wagon road from Puget Sound to Walla Walla. The path would cross the Puget Sound foothills, cross the rivers flowing off of the northwest side of Ta-co-bet, then head for the pass, following the Naches River down the east side of the mountains. Per  the Upper Valley Bulletin Board “On June 10, 1853 twenty men left Fort Steilacoom on the west side of the Cascades to clear the Naches Pass Road to the summit. John Edgar, a scout for the construction crew, went ahead to the Yakima Valley to scope out the proposed new road. With little money and the coming of winter the road was never completed to the extent it could be easily traveled. As time passed hostilities broke out with the Indians and the military increased its use of the Naches Pass Road.”

Then came the Puget Sound War. Per yelm “Gov. Stevens was particularly concerned about mixed race families like the Edgars. His worry was that the Hudson’s Bay men were helping the Indians, in return they received what amounted to protection from raids. Stevens threatened “anyone who can remain on his claim unmolested is an ally of the enemy.” He expected HBC men to serve with other territorial residents to help put down the uprising. Stevens made himself clearer, there was “no such thing as neutrality.” Edgar’s situation was complicated. He was an American citizen, but his past Hudson Bay connections made him a suspect in stirring up trouble. His wife was Indian. Her father lived where fighting had already taken place. Her cousin, Quiemuth, was a half-brother of Leschi and they were both wanted by the acting governor.”

Per  the Upper Valley Bulletin Board “On October 5, 1855 Captain G.O. Haller, and his men who were from the Dalles, Oregon, encountered a large group of Indians on Toppenish Creek south of the Yakima Valley and a confrontation took place. Greatly outnumbered, Haller and his men made a hasty retreat back to the Dalles, but not before suffering eight dead and seventeen wounded.

As Haller was engaging the Indians at Toppenish Creek, Lieutenant Slaughter had been sent across Naches Pass from Fort Steilacoom with forty men to join Haller. While encamped at Spring Flat above Cliffdell, John Edgar, Lt. Slaughter’s scout, was down the Naches Valley about a mile from camp when he ran across two Indian scouts. Edgar, being wise to the ways of the Indians and knowing one of them, Old Teias, who was his wife’s uncle, fell into conversation with them. Pretending to warn them of Slaughter’s approach, Teias came back with news of Haller’s defeat and retreat. Teias also made it known to Edgar the force that had defeated Haller was now camped near the Nile and their intent was to locate and wipe out Slaughter. Knowing this, Edgar wasted no time in bidding his uncle farewell and headed back to Slaughter’s camp to recall Slaughter and his troops. Because of this meeting between John Edgar and the Indians along the river just below Cliffdell and in the shadows of this great rock, it was named Edgar Rock.”

Per “Following this chance encounter with Edgar, Te-i-as’ party turned back down the east side of the pass and soon ran into Qualchan. Te-i-as told about his encounter with Edgar and the army, emphasizing their reluctance to advance to this side of the mountains. Qualchan would have none of it. Te-i-as had allowed their prey to escape; he was afraid to fight. An angry Qualchan told his uncle to return to the Kittitas Valley and live with the old men and the women.

Having dispatched his uncle, Qualchan doubled back to catch up with Maloney and the men. Failing this, he let it be known that Edgar was no better than a dead man; vengeance would be his. Edgar was now a marked man operating in what many whites called a war. Once back from the Naches Pass, Edgar continued to work with the army west of the mountains where the level of fighting was escalating. …. on the evening of Nov. 6…the column approached the Carbon River, which some referred to as South Prairie Creek. Fallen trees bridged the stream and Edgar, with Addison Parham following, began to cross. Shots were fired; one tore into Edgar. Fired from relatively close range, the shot passed through Edgar and struck Parham. It was if Qualchan’s warning had come true. Edgar was a bloody mess. Rudimentary attempts were made to stem the bleeding. It was decided to send him back to Steilacoom…. he had a gaping hole in his chest. The bullet exited his back. Huggins described his condition as “deplorable,” his suffering “severe.” Tolmie recognized the symptoms of gangrene.”  He died November 18th.  The newspaper then described the systemic disintegration of his family and his assets following his death.  So that is the story behind Edgar Rock.

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Splitting Wood

We have spent the last three days using a wood splitter on all of the rounds of wood left from the felling.  Tom came home with the splitter Friday afternoon, his father joined us, and we got started with the pine in our front yard.  Here is the set up we had.

We then split most of the birch by the road.  At that point we were exhausted.  For dinner, Tom and I headed to Katt’s Westside Stories.  I was hoping for their Reuben sandwich, but they didn’t have any corned beef so we had Wrangler burgers, and they were amazing.  The fries were great as well.  It was so nice just to sit down and not have to cook.  Here’s the view of part of the bar.

Saturday I got up early to do the chores so we could start splitting by 10:00.  We had taken in some chickens from a friend whose coop was under attack by a predator.  There is one rooster, Mr. Pink.  He is trying to find his way among three of our roosters.  Even the 2 turkey hens and one peacock are harassing him.  But he is just keeping his distance and doing OK.

Saturday we split the spruce rounds from between the house and the trailer.  I was the one positioning the rounds on the splitter, Tom’s dad was operating the switch, and Tom was taking the wood away with the tractor.  He was also helping move the rounds to the splitter.  I was exhausted Saturday, falling asleep at 7:00.

Today I got up early again (5:30) to do the chores.  Here is the sun coming up over our operation.

I enjoyed seeing the cows look so relaxed in the morning sun.

Here is the wood pile near the barn in the morning.

Tom and his father got started at 8:00, but I was still finishing the chores.  I joined them at 9:00.  We whooped up on the remaining spruce by the trailer and barn.  I was surprised to see quite a few ticks on the spruce we were cutting.  I didn’t know we had ticks on our property.

For some reason the dogs really enjoyed us splitting wood.  Not sure why, but they were both every active and happy.

And at the end of the day we had these two piles near the barn,

and this pile by the vintage trailer out front.

We were done today before 2:00.  We had lunch on the back porch yesterday (smoked pork chops) and today (grilled burgers).  That helped with the fatigue, and I think we were all good at staying hydrated.  Plus we kept the shade shelter over us which really kept things cooler.  Overall a very successful operation and happy to be done with it!

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Felling Trees, Part 2

Today was the second day of tree felling.  Here is the huge spruce between our house and the trailer.

And here are the three birch trees by the driveway.

The team arrived at 6:30 in the morning and started with the spruce.





Then the attention went to the birches in front.

This is what the large birch liked inside.  All three birch were rotten inside

There was a nail in the large birch but also this.  Apparently the previous owner had put a plant hanger up, but over the years the tree had overgrown it until it was barely visible.  This could have been devastating if they had hit it with a chain saw.

The dogs had been kept in the house all morning since the front gate onto our busy road was open through this whole process plus there were trees falling down.  But I figured their bladders were bursting so I took them out to the back forty (actually 4).  Here is the view now of our farmhouse without the spruce trees  It looks weird.

I found some foxglove in bloom.  In the past we had a lot of these in the back, but I could only find this clump.  I am not sure why.

I also noticed this stump with large fungi growing on it.

When we returned from our walk they were finishing the birches.  Tom’s father had come over to watch the “logging show” as Tom put it.  Here they are on the road watching the final clearing.

The company we used was Primal Tree Service, and they were amazing.  They cleared up all of the debris, and all we had left are chips and wood rounds.  Safety seemed to be quite important.  We would highly recommend them.  And it turns out that the owner is an ex-patient of mine so that made me feel proud.

Here is the view from the dining room now as I ate lunch.  You can see the fields across the street now and the damaged produce stand is quite visible.

Here is the view from our back porch.  The trailer is quite visible.  It is obvious that I need to pressure wash it soon.  But you can see the fields and the trees out back now.

Now that the birch trees are down we can focus on repairing the produce stand.  Here it is when Tom first built it.

And here it is just before the trees came down.  You can see how much the rhody as well as other things grew.  We are using the ice chest to sell our eggs now, but it is not the same.  Hopefully the stand will go up quickly and will be better than ever.  Plus the free library will be back in business.

In other news, on Saturday Tom’s son came for an unexpected visit.  I roped him into help moving the dead pellet stove out of our house.  Then I proceeded to remove the dilapidated mantle underneath.  What we found is the wood floor the color from when we bought the house. There was a Pay ‘n Pak sticker on part of it.  But we found remnants of an old wall we did not know about.

This means that the decorative accents in the living/dining room

and between kitchen and the dining rom are from the 1970s and not earlier.  They may have even come from Pay ‘n Pak.  These actually helped endear me to this house when we bought it.

Tom spread the chips around this afternoon.  There is a risk that they could combust like wet hay otherwise.  There was a funny moment.  He was bringing the tractor back through the gate from the pasture.  He was petting his beagle and then asked her to move away from the gate.  Instead she immediately ran through the gate and went crazy.  He had to chase her down.  I wish I had taken pictures because it was so funny.  It was a classic beagle move.  Tom was so mad, but I had to remind him that he wanted a beagle.

So that is the exciting news from Schoonover Farm.  The next step is splitting all of the wood into fire wood.  We will have a lot.

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