Welcome to the Inland Northwest! The land of the mountains, beautiful forests, and the Columbia River.
Let me tell you about the location your garlic is coming from. The farm is high up on a mountain in an isolated pocket of forest. We’re so high up; we’re above the inversion layer. Just in case you’ve never seen what it looks like, here’s a picture from the back porch.
Before getting into garlic, the family was involved in a large-scale reforestation project on the property by reintroducing natural tree species that are meant to be in the ecosystems around the property. A big part of this project was to get bird boxes setup. It was fascinating to see that several of the birds on the list for birdboxes were Woodpeckers along with some species of owls, and bluebirds (which are rare in our area of the state).
Like with many animals we have around here, the local woodpeckers are what’s called a keystone species – a species in the animal world that other animals depend on. Abandoned woodpecker holes become nesting for other birds (like owls, bluebirds, and cavity-nesting ducks) and mammals (like chipmunks, squirrels, bats, mice, and raccoons). So ensuring these birds are happy is a key part of having a healthy and diverse forest. (https://www.birdnote.org/show/woodpeckers-keystone-species)
(Image of a Wild Mock Orange from the backyard)
A few years ago, we reintroduced mason bees to the property and ever since we’ve been planting the kinds of flowers the local bee population needs. (To find out more about the Northwest’s Bees, check out https://www.arboretumfoundation.org/about-us/publications/bulletin/bulletin-archive/pacific-northwest-bees/ )
(Butterflies flock to our Lilacs on most days.)
We also have a variety of flowering plants that the local butterfly population loves. Keeping both of these important species happy involves protecting the natural flowering plants like the Indian Paintbrush.
And of course, we do things for our animal neighbors by being good stewards of our forest. This resident deer enjoys coming for visits.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of the ecology surrounding the farm.