welcome to Willowspring

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On October 2, 2015 we arrived in a secluded valley north of Corvallis, Oregon. Welcome to Willowspring, our home in the country.

Here is a picture of the property. It’s based on a view from some time in the spring of 2015. I have updated it in Photoshop to show the changes we have made so far, including removal of almost all fences. Many areas look quite different now, including the meadows which do not currently feature white flowers, and the marsh at the left (west) end, which is now mostly brown in its winter dormancy.

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Here is a version pointing out some of the features:

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It starts with a strip of mossy, sweet-smelling pine forest up by the road at the right (east) end. Down the slope from there are the upper, middle, and lower meadows (overgrazed for ten years by multiple horses), followed by the horse barn, house, and garden plus various other outbuildings. Several of those will be removed soon, including the massive horse barn and the icky old goat shed, long empty.

A seasonal creek runs along the driveway, then flows under it through a culvert into the deciduous riparian forest. At the bottom of the driveway is the namesake of the property, a huge old willow tree that drinks from a spring. The output of the spring also flows under the driveway and into the riparian forest.

The low, marshy end of the property features sedges and cattails, all the way down to the creek where a lot of trees have recently been killed by flooding when beavers created a dam downstream. The whole property is just under 5 acres. The exact size varies from year to year because the lower end is defined by the center of the creek, which moves almost every winter.

Here are some interesting views:

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Early morning from mid-meadow on November 2. The west ridge is in the sun but the meadow is still dewy and dark. The small orange dots are flags marking where we are creating paths. The fences in this view have since been removed. A bit of mist drifts across the tree tops in the distance.

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Looking up from mid-meadow there is a forest strip by the road, which runs across behind the trees. The driveway is off the left edge of the picture. A fence used to run across from the center left and back into the forest.

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A distinctive feature is Hanging Snag, a fallen but still living tree in the riparian forest. When we arrived its base was tangled in old fencing. It has since been freed of the wires, and now a path runs under it. It is a strong power spot.

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West from just behind the house. The goat shed and wooden poles will soon be removed, leaving a clear view of the marsh and the glorious dead trees beyond. At the far right is an old apple tree, its limbs covered with fuzzy lichen, its leaves fallen to the ground. It bears delicious, small, red apples, much loved by us and by the deer.

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Way down in the marsh beautiful snags rise from a nearly impassable jungle of reeds and bushes. There is more than an acre of fantastic scenery down here. Here are a few more views of this amazing jewel, these private Oregon wetlands.

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