Although most of our acreage consists
of steep hillsides covered in conifer forest with trees an average of 50-80 years old, we have several acres at the bottom
of the canyon that is suitable for other uses. Every acre produces an abundance of resources in many forms and we
must be good stewards of all of them.
Round Prairie Creek runs through
our property for nearly a quarter mile and generally flows year-round. The riparian area along the creek, is protected
to ensure that it is lush, green, cool and tree-covered with maples, alders, aspens and cottonwoods. We have numerous
natural Springs whose water trickles to the creek, passing through small wetland areas, keeping them moist and allowing
some incredible plantlife to thrive. Many people forget that the native plants and shrubs in the forest understory are
just as important as the large trees of the forest canopy and are much more prolific.
great variety of wildlife live in, or wander through, our forest and come down to tiny spring-fed Ashley Pond for
water and food. Bears love it and we have seen bobcats, lynx, cougar, wild turkey, red & silver fox, grey
squirrels, porcupine, racoons and an occasional marten,or fisher. There are many tiny mammals such as red tree Voles
and deer mice. Several bat species can be seen hunting at dusk. This small canyon
sounds like an aviary in Spring because so many birds live in the varying levels of forest canopy. You can hear
Pilleated-head, tiny Hairy, and Lewis' woodpeckers pounding on trees, while blujays scream at Rufous-sided Towhees
& Bluebirds. Hummingbirds provide bright flashes of color as they seek nectar in flowers. Tiny Chirping Sparrows,
Flycatchers & Gnatcatchers flit in the ferns, and Meadowlarks warble in the grasses along with Quail. Wild
geese, ducks & other migrators sometimes pause for a rest.. Eagles, Osprey and several varieties of Hawks hunt,
soaring overhead on the breeze . We sometimes see Sandhill cranes, Blue and Green Herons, and even an Egret
on occasion, spearing fish with their sharp beaks.
We have several small meadows
which our horses share with the deer & elk. We contain the horses so that they
do not damage fragile areas and we rotate them so that they do not overgraze. During wet seasons, they remain off the
meadows completely. We use our horses to inspect our forest as we ride under the trees, and sometimes to drag
out a log or two. Everyone has a job on the Forest Farm. Even their waste is utilized to fertilize
areas where soil is thin. We grow food and fruit in our orchards and gardens and process
them so that we will have natural healthy food all year long and we collect native plants of all
kinds from the forest and grow them, along with seedlings, in pots/beds in our small nursery, all of which are watered
from natural springs. It takes a lot of work, but we take great pride in being as self-sufficient as possible.