Tree Farmers of the Year show off their work during tour

By Larry Mauter
Linn County Small Woodlands Association Writer

Leaning on his U.S. Army training, Lee Peterman explained to a small tour group the virtues of his 22-pound weed puller during a tour of his “Bogwood” tree farm Saturday, Nov. 7.
The tool can pull anything out of the ground except English hawthorn, which splinters, Peterman said. He carries it around his tree farm on his shoulder, like an M-60 machine gun.
Peterman and Shirley Jolliff are Linn County’s 2020 Tree Farmers of the Year.
A COVID-19 modified tour of their 80 acres near Roaring River County Park attracted 17 attendees  broken into two groups on a showery Saturday during Veterans Day weekend.
In normal years a pot luck meal and tour is usually held in late summer by the Linn County Small Woodlands Association to honor the awardees.
Peterman is currently wrapping up a two-year term as the chapter president. The couple was chosen in 2017 as chapter Volunteers of the Year. They are also active in other organizations including the Scio library, South Santiam Watershed Council and the Willamette Valley Ponderosa Pine Assoc. Peterman is president of the watershed council.
At Bogwood, power is all electric, with 7 kw of solar panels powering home, electric vehicle, tools and even a sawmill on site.
Peterman has done the majority of eradicating invasive species, (English hawthorn/Scotch broom/blackberry) and thinning of the Douglas fir and valley ponderosa pine to release Oregon white oak and other native hardwoods.
Peterman walked through his hand tool and electric power tool inventory, explaining their uses.
Federal NRCS incentive programs have helped  provide income for the farm.
The harvesting of cascara, maple and other hardwood sticks in the winter months is another source of income. The sticks are used as broom handles for a business in Eugene. Peterman also does woodwork and harvests pine poles that are sold for teepees.
“I’ve worked in many fields – military, construction, office, aviation,” Peterman said.
“I’ve never worked harder, physically, at any job in my life, but never been happier or satisfied than I am being caretaker of Bogwood.”
Among their NRCS projects is restoration of a wetland prairie. Beaver-like check dams have been put in place to allow water to soak into soil. Invasive plants have been removed.
During the past five years, Jolliff has collected native seeds for the wetland restoration. Tour goers followed her into the farm’s native plant nursery, where seeds have been cultivated, transplanted into pots and eventually ready to be replanted into the wetlands.
Roughly 1,000 native plants are now ready for the meadow, she estimated.
The tour wrapped up with conversation and baked goodies.
Peterman and Jolliff along with other county’s tree farmers will be honored at next summer’s Oregon Small Woodlands Association annual meeting.