Walnut Rise

Growin' it in the ground

Riverbend and persistence

For the past eleven years, Waste Management Inc, a Texas-based garbage company, has been trying to expand their dump, Riverbend, just outside of McMinnville. And for the past eleven years, Ramsey McPhillips and the Stop the Dump Coalition have been working to stop the expansion. Through all those years, our local land-use decision-makers (Yamhill County Planning Department) have consistently given Waste Management the go-ahead to expand.

The courts of review, including the Land Use Board of Appeals and the Court of Appeals, have gone back and forth in remanding, reversing and sometimes upholding county decisions. The stop-dumpers are incredibly persistent, fighting year after year to stop the expansion. In the court of public opinion, Ramsey and his partners have won; in Yamhill County, sentiment has shifted completely. Ten years ago, people thought it unfair to oppose such nice people who just wanted to keep their landfill going, for the good of our community. Now, the county and the city of McMinnville are strongly considering moving their garbage to Washington or the Columbia River Gorge’s Arlington dump, and people are tired of the ugly, stinky eye-sore mound of garbage in their beautiful valley, beside their beautiful river.

And now, after agreeing to review the conflict, this morning, the Oregon Supreme Court heard oral arguments. I attended, and sat between the Capital Press’ Mateusz Perkowski (who wrote the article in May about our cannabis farm) and the News-Register’s Nicole Montesano (former veggie customer). Across the chamber sat most of Yamhill County’s planning staff (in front of them sat Todd Sadlo, the former attorney for Baker Rock and now the assistant county counsel), and beyond them were Ilsa Perse, Sid Friedman, Ramsey McPhillips, Susan Meredith, Lilian Frease, and Susan Watkins. I have known all of them at least ten years; most of them we met in 2006, the year we moved to Yamhill County and started the veggie farm.

At issue is the application to expand the dump onto exclusive farm use zoned land. Since depositing and storing solid waste is considered a non-farm use, just like a quarry or a house, land use laws say that the proposed use cannot significantly affect existing farming practices and cannot significantly increase the cost of those practices on the surrounding parcels. Waste Management (and the county) decided that they could mitigate the problems by forcing conditions of approval on the neighboring farms. If they pick up the trash before Ramsey cuts hay, or purchase all of Lilian Frease’s berries at retail prices, then the problem goes away, right? Today, the justices get to decide if the law allows for forced mitigation of a problem, or whether these mitigation measures actually constitute a significant change in farming practices and in the costs of farming.

Justices Landau, Walters and Balmer were especially active in questioning the attorneys. When they issue their opinion, it has the potential to completely change how planners decide non-farm use applications in farm-zoned areas. With 27 officially-acknowledged non-farm activities that can be allowed, with permission, on EFU land (exclusive farm use), returning to a standard where the applicant must defend their request, rather than forcing farmers to provide evidence of possible harm, will completely shift the decision-making process. It will be harder to justify non-farm use of EFU land, and applicants will have to mitigate on their land, rather than forcing farmers to show damage and accept outside mitigation on them.

Stay tuned!

Pennywise and TrainWreck potency

Green Leaf sent the latest round of potency results yesterday! Pennywise is testing at 8.5% THC, 8.5% CBD, while TrainWreck is 18.7% THC. Not too bad, though the numbers could certainly be higher.

I am bucking the final round of Pennywise, as it is more modest than the TrainWreck, Lucy’s Lion or Jesus OG harvests. The buds smell great, nice and dense, and have many orange trichomes. Very mature.

In a sign of the maturation of this industry, I received a civil subpoena yesterday, demanding email and METRC records related to another producer who is in the middle of a lawsuit. This is a positive development: imagine how ludicrous it would have been for a lawsuit back in the prohibition days!

Oh, and I am starting law school next August at Willamette! The college has a part-time program, which will allow me to continue farming while in school.

Speak out and act up against sexual harassment in the State Capitol

My email:

Senator Boquist,

Please speak out in condemning sexual harassment in the State Capitol. I expect to hear a response from your office.

Thank you, Casey Kulla, farmer, Dayton


Their reply:

Dear Casey Kulla:

Thank you for your note. Our office works hard to address issues of harassment, to include all forms of abuse.

Again, thank you for your email.

Peggy Boquist
Legislative Assistant to
State Senator Brian Boquist
Oregon Senate District 12

The email correspondence above says so much in such little space. Like, what’s minimum effort needed to answer a constituent’s request? Or, how can I not say anything but still reply? In Oregon’s State Capitol, sexual harassment complaints have revealed a culture and atmosphere of “don’t tell” and “look away.” It is shameful to have our elected representatives not speaking out and decrying the harassment that appears to be prevalent in the Capitol.

Governor Kate Brown and Speaker of the House Tina Kotek have spoken out and proposed solutions. But the silence of men in elected positions leaves them complicit in the abuses (I’m talking to you, Senator Boquist). Years of abuse need to stop, and an institutional fix needs to be implemented, including a process for preventing situations that promote abuse and for reporting incidents.



Democracy inside other democracies

Catalonia and Kurdistan have voted in referenda to declare independence. Why is the US government not supporting these emergent democracies? We declared independence; it is in the fabric of our country. We should support and lift up these regional, cultural movements.

Harvest: first potency tests in!

Green Leaf sent me great news on Friday.

Jesus OG #1 is 24% THC (the official number), with 29% total cannabinoids. Ten percent higher numbers than Jesus OG was last year. Yay!

MarionBerry Kush came in at 20% THC, with 25% total cannabinoids. Nice.

I have my first orders for these two strains, from The Joint on Market and Ancient Remedies, in Salem. It is nice to be back in the sales business, after a busy harvest season.

Growin’ it in the ground,



Patricia Roberts-Miller redefines demagoguery. She says a demagogue is not what you might think: not a loud, obnoxious orange populist with authoritarian tendencies. Rather, demagoguery is any movement that defines categories of people by separating people into “us” and “them,” and of course, “we” are right, and “they” are wrong. And thus, demagogues are people who use the language of divisiveness for their own gain. Her tiny book (fits into my palm) is packed with explanations of the rhetoric of division. And she gives the reader tools for working toward unity and away from divisive rhetoric, while confessing her own deficiencies when it comes to internet trolls.

In the past, after a long day of cutting down plants or digging carrots or weeding, I would sit down to read and just squirm and squirm and squirm in pain, trying to find a comfortable position. Chronic aches and the acute, sharp pain from a day of insults (physical, not verbal) kept me moving (until sleep comes, at least). But now, I am pain-free (or at least below 0.5 on the ten-point scale). All thanks to a coconut oil infusion of home-grown Lucy’s Lion! I am now a proud user of cannabis! I take a teaspoonful in my evening tea (it does not taste great, but whatever). After nearly two weeks of a teaspoonful per day, there are no gaps in the pain-reducing effect with only taking it once per day (I attribute this to eating the oil, and the fat-soluble characteristic of the CBD molecule). I have not tested Walnut Rise’s Lucy’s Lion harvest yet, but it is supposed to be 22 CBD : 1 THC; I can testify that the 1 is there, as when I took two teaspoons, I experienced everything you might from being high, including a sudden strong urge to eat something delicious, a dry mouth, a little head-spin, and a slight disconnect between my eyes and my hands, along with a small gap in memory (wait, what was I doing before I put the butter in the fridge?). Pretty exciting!

In harvest news, I just finished hanging up the last plants; in this case, the Brain Freeze crop. Very fruity and purple. And I have begun trimming and testing. Last Friday, Will Perry from Green Leaf picked up my first round for compliance testing: MarionBerry Kush (2.55 pounds from two plants) and the first of five rounds of Jesus OG (12.5 lbs of what looks like maybe 70-80 lbs total).

The fourth round of Jesus OG was six plants, and upon cutting them down, I filled 30 bins with two pounds each of branch, leaf and buds. It looks like one bin of two pounds becomes about 0.75 to 1 pound of trimmed buds, which puts the yield at a ridiculous five pounds per plant. I also trimmed up the first TrainWreck plant, as it was ready well before its daughter plants: two pounds trimmed buds from one plant. Yay! Looks like our yields are going to be near my aspirational numbers.

Ninth Circuit: Contradictory Bay Area Opinions

In the last ten days, the Ninth Circuit published two fascinating opinions. Fascinating because the two opinions appear to be at odds, where judges seemed to rule on opposite sides of “compelled commercial” speech.

The first case (AMERICAN BEVERAGE ASSN. V. CITY & COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO ) involved theĀ  Beverage Association suing the City of San Fransisco over the City’s requirement that all sugar-added drinks have a health warning affixed to all ads and retail labels. City officials passed an ordinance requiring the warning label with the public health goal of reducing sugar intake, in order to reduce rates of obesity and sugar-related chronic diseases like adult-onset diabetes. The Ninth Circuit decided that the freedom of commercial speech was violated by the required warning label. Commercial speech can be infringed, legally, if several rules are met. The judges decided that the City had not met those rules, and therefore was violating the beverage manufacturers’ right of speech.

The second case (CTIA – THE WIRELESS ASS’N V. CITY OF BERKELEY) has the Wireless Association (a cell phone trade association) suing the City of Berkley, across the Bay, to stop the implementation of a point-of-sales warning about the dangers of radiation from cell phones. The Ninth Circuit decided that city officials had the authority to compel commercial speech, even from unwilling for-profit businesses. Compelled commercial speech has its own test to be met, and the judges ruled that the city won the test. A dissenting judge in the Berkley case objected to the seeming contradictory decisions: how can these two cases be aligned?


Buds and books

I just finished Unwarranted, by Barry Friedman. Amazing. Devastating. Hopeful. He addresses probable cause, warrantless wiretapping, surveillance, and the need for communities and our nation to establish rules for police. He argues that police misconduct is the product of our abdication of responsibility to regulate the police.

Here’s a selection of buds from this year’s harvest. TrainWreck, Pennywise and Jesus OG, mostly.

Two-thirds through harvest!

METRC says I am two-thirds of the way through harvest! At the beginning of harvest, I had 106 plants, and I’m down to around 35 plants remaining. Yesterday’s harvest of three Jesus OG plants weighed about 160 pounds of branches! I’ve been consolidating branches into storage bins, and I weighed the buds (untrimmed) of five TrainWreck plants at 50 lbs; now, it is unlikely that five plants yielded ten pounds per plant, since I still need to trim. But, that still puts the per-plant yield at near or past five pounds per plant.

These are the remaining Jesus OG clones in the north greenhouse (above). As the water-leaves shed, the colas are pure buds on a stick.

Looking south from the north end of the north greenhouse. I harvested that solo plant this afternoon. Foreground shows one of the scattered Brain Freeze plants. I used these clones to fill in gaps. To the left are baby clones that I planted after harvesting the Blueberry Autos (a few Jesus OG babies are seven feet tall, planted in early August).

These are three of the five remaining Pennywise! The fresh-weight buds from this year’s Pennywise fill the palm of my hand, and they shrink down to finger-size as they dry hard as a rock. Dense.

Tidal wave? Avalanche? Amazing.

It is hard to express in words the feeling of terror, amazement, responsibility, and sheer volume of work involved in harvesting the very large plants of this year. They are healthy, and burdened by the increasing weight of their ripening buds. But, wow. Lots of work to harvest and get stable.

Is harvest like a tidal wave? Or more like an avalanche? No. Purely a positive outcome, but overwhelming in the moment. Awesome is the perhaps the best way to describe it all.

Better yet, as the stalks dry, I get to see what the final product looks like. And wow again. I was unloading branches of MarionBerry Kush from drying racks yesterday, and I wondered why the buds looked so funny (like they were covered in cobwebs). Then, I realized that they were simply shimmering, sparkling in the sun. Completely covered in diamond-sparkle trichomes!

METRC tells me I had 106 plants in the greenhouses, and now it says 60, so I am making progress. The walls of Jesus OG plants are variable in their maturity, thankfully, so that while I started harvesting them on Tuesday, it looks like I have at least another week before over-maturity. Below are two different demi-sec buds from the Jesus OG; foreground is from a clone, background bud is from a seedling. The seedling buds are bigger, with more fan and sugar leaves, while the clone-origin buds are denser and smaller, with shedding fan leaves and tiny sugar leaves. Interesting.

And I harvested the first of the TrainWreck on Wednesday (a monster mother plant that weighed 50lbs after I let it wilt for a few hours). The buds start out huge, and then dry down super-dense.

Growin’ it in the ground, and dryin’ it as fast as it will let me!


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