Walnut Rise

Growin' it in the ground

Harvest time!

Late September and early October are such exciting times of the year! Just look at that shimmery bud! It is the first test bud of Marion Berry Kush, bred by TGA Genetics. My process for assessing harvest time for the cannabis is surprisingly similar to the vegetables; as harvest time approaches, I will pick an early example, and check it out. For the cannabis, a wet trimming is an important aspect: does it look full? Good pistil color? Trichome color?

This is a nice top bud from the Marion Berry Kush, a little earlier in flower than the above, wet-trimmed bud.

And here’s the full cola from which the above bud was isolated. Nice structure, yellowing fan leaves, heavy weight as it leans into the path. Please take notice of the enormous Jesus OG plants to the right! The cola in the foreground is at eye-level to a six-foot-tall person (about 66 inches off the ground).

Here, I’m standing atop a six-foot ladder, looking over the top of the 9 1/2 foot trusses, into the south greenhouse. Everything you see is Jesus OG.

And here, we’re looking downhill into the north greenhouse, again from the ladder. When I do my daily plant inspection, I walk along the rows, then pull the ladder up and look from above. At right are the beautiful TrainWreck plants (getting close to harvest-time). At middle are more Jesus OG clones, doing their shedding and yellowing thing as they stretch, and at left are the modest-statured Black Buddha. I’ve added a section of greenhouse poly between the greenhouses to keep rain out of the gap. It makes a nice sheltered area for trimming and staging tools, and the edge-plants stay dry!

I’ve started harvesting the Lucy’s Lion (four plants filled the drying room completely), and I hung up the Lemon Sour Berry plants this week, as well. Last week I harvested the small Sugar Black Rose plants, and ran them through Blake’s trimmer this week; they look beautiful…all dense and pistil-covered.


Growin’ it in the ground!


Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has advised President Trump that six national monuments should have their boundaries revised (read: made smaller). If you look at the American Antiquities Act of 1906, it does not provide for the making smaller of boundaries (16 USC 431-433, Section 2):

That the President of the United States is hereby authorized, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.

By what rules are the Secretary and the President governing, that they think that this unprecedented step is legal?

One of the monuments proposed for a boundary reduction is our own Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (CSNM). The language in the Act declares “parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.” For the Cascade-Siskiyou, the objects to be protected are the biodiversity and geologic diversity of this region; thus, the parcel of land needs to be at least large enough to encompass the biodiversity to be protected. When the monument was first declared, by President Bill Clinton, in 2000, it was not as large as scientists had recommended to protect the biological diversity of the landscape. In January of 2017, outgoing President Barack Obama added the additional acreage to adequately protect the landscape.

While the main issue at hand is that no President seems to have authority to make monuments smaller, the rationale behind making monuments smaller also deserves rebuttal. For the CSNM, Zinke says that the size of the monument needs to be smaller so that federal timber revenue can be increased (read: more logging by private companies on federal forest land), and so that cattle grazing can be increased (read: make ranchers/militants such as the Bundy family happy). Monies made from selling standing timber on federal lands generally goes directly toward managing timber sales at the local Forest Service offices, but in most cases does not even cover the total cost of managing timber sales (counting road building and managing roads).

Ninth Circuit Opinions

In the latest round of Ninth Circuit opinions, we see the judges deciding for state’s rights over federal pre-emption, against a plaintiff whose unarmed brother was killed by police, for a student’s right to appropriate educational opportunities, against the head of the Border Patrol union.


The Association of Goose Liver Producers (is that the right translation?) filed suit against the state of California, alleging that the state’s ban on force-feeding poultry violated the federal statutes regulating poultry products, and therefore the federal statute should pre-empt state laws. The Ninth Circuit panel held that the State law was not pre-empted by the Federal statute; the main argument of the pate de foie gras producers was that state law cannot ban ingredients in poultry products, since this is expressly a federal issue.

The panel decided that a farming technique is NOT an ingredient, and that the state is banning an inhumane practice, but that even so, the state could ban pate de foie gras if the state so decided. The Ninth Circuit cited a horse-meat ban in Texas, where the ban was upheld by courts, since the federal statutes at issue only list the products and processes that the feds will regulate. The statutes would not say anything about a product that is not allowed by a state.


Ms. Woodward’s brother was shot and killed by Tucson police after they entered an apartment without a search warrant, after receiving a complaint of unlawful residency (a low priority call that would normally not necessitate a weapons-drawn forced entry by police). The sister was filing a wrongful death suit, with an unlawful search and seizure component. The panel found that since the brother was a friend of a squatter in the apartment (the friend had recently been evicted and had not yet packed up and moved out), the unlawful search component was not valid; apparently since he did not have a right to privacy, the police could lawfully enter without a search warrant.

Description of the scene in which he was shot was very sympathetic to the killed man; while one officer testified that the killed man ran at him, brandishing overhead a hockey stick, the second officer testified that the man approached at a slow walk, and the hockey stick ended up being the two-foot section of handle of a broken hockey stick. The fact that the officers decided that the apartment was illegally being occupied, and that they could therefore enter with guns drawn is disturbing, but the panel was not deciding this; instead they were determining if the sister had any right to sue on behalf of her dead brother, and if he had privacy rights that were violated.


The department of education in Hawaii was sued by a parent and minor child who was removed from a private school for autistic children as part of an individual educational plan. Judge Derrick Watson, of the Muslim travel ban fame, was part of the opinion. The court held that the child was entitled to go to the school that was most appropriate for his educational needs.


Edward Tuffly, the treasurer of the Border Patrol union (which is an extremely-pro-Trump group), sued the federal government over a FOIA request, in which he sought the names and allege crimes and other details of immigration detainees who had been released from federal detention centers after ICE found their detention budget could not sustain the levels of people in detention that they were holding. The people who were released remained in deportation and criminal proceedings; essentially, they were released on bail, as it were (without having to post bail). Many will likely be deported or called for trial on criminal charges. Mr. Tuffly wanted to know who they were. The courts consistently denied this request, saying that the people had a substantial privacy interest that outweighed the public interest; they characterized the people as non-criminals and other low-risk detainees. And, the judges wondered why the treasurer of the Border Patrol union would be asking for this information “in the public interest”, but they noted that the “why” was not relevant to the release of information.


Ta-Nehisi Coates’s essay in The Atlantic

He takes on Nicholas Kristof and Bernie Sanders, and of course Mr. Trump! Joe Biden, too.

I cannot stop reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’s new essay (The First White President) in this month’s The Atlantic. The essay is excerpted from his newest book, We were eight years in power. Definitely need to read the book.

This essay is amazing and despairing and hopeful. Thank you to Mr. Coates!



Fire ecology in the west

The smoke is thick and stinky in the Willamette Valley today, but tomorrow rain returns. And maybe with the rain, some sanity, too. Let’s talk about fires in the Western states, shall we?

I’ve been shouting at the radio and at the New York Times this week, as journalists report on wildfires “raging” across the West. “One million acres have burned in Oregon,” was one of the more memorable and shout-at-worthy lines I kept hearing. Can we be accurate? You could say, “The area encompassed within the reported fire perimeters in Oregon stands at one million acres.” But that is way too wordy. What does it mean? It is confusing, sure.

But, journalists choose, instead of accurate-but-confusing, to lie. One million acres have not burned in Oregon this year, to be clear. Even the most intense fires produce mosaic patterns, with severely-burned, moderately-burned, lightly-scorched and completely-untouched areas. And that gets at what is so powerful about wildfires, so valuable: the creation of mosaics, of diverse, meso-scale landscapes. This diversity of landscapes promotes diversity of plants, plant ages, fungi, lichen, animals, and geological activity.

I am not dismissing the loss of human life and property that accompanies wildfires. The loss of one home is devastating for that family, and the death of the young women and men who work the frontlines of fires is tragic. And the asthma is real, in the smoky air of the Willamette Valley.

I am, however, furious with an Interior Secretary who uses the wildfire season to promote “land clearing” projects; read: logging and heavy grazing on land held in trust for all of us. For a wonderful, thoughtful perspective on fires in the West, in contrast, I encourage everyone to check out Jerry Franklin, one of the Northwest’s titans of forest science. His book, The Natural Vegetation of Oregon and Washington, is amazing. And his article in Science so many years ago placed our temperate coniferous forests on par with the Amazonian forests for scientific interest and incredible complexity. Franklin was interviewed on Think Out Loud, OPB’s noon-hour radio show, recently; the depth of his knowledge was on vivid display.

Growin’ it in the ground, and thinkin’ about forests.




We’re in full bloom right now, with high pungency. And the Jesus OG in particular are really stretching. I saw this last year, at mid-bloom. What seems to happen is that while other strains put on bulk in the top colas, getting fatter with buds, the Jesus OG (and to some extent the other TGA strains) stretches out, in order to fit all the buds on the stalk, without touching. This action allows maximum airflow around the buds, which allows for maximum health as the plants mature their buds. Since Jesus OG has one of the longest bloom times, it is critical to maintain healthiness.

Mostly, in the above photo, you can see Jesus OG plants. At far left is a Marion Berry Kush, further through bloom. I am starting in on the third pruning now, so the stalks are getting more exposed. The shortest T-posts in this photo are six feet out of the ground, to give you some perspective.

We have such a wide range of flowering times that I started harvesting already! The Sugar Black Rose was ready (only eight pounds wet weight, but I can check it off the list); beautiful, dense buds with a strong bubblegum smell. And the Lucy’s Lion mothers (purchased from The Clone Brothers), are within days of harvest. I may start cutting top colas from these high-CBD plants today or Friday.

Green Leaf Lab has the July harvest of Amnesia in testing right now, so we’ll get a sense of potency soon. From 50 plants, so far I have about sixty pounds of a mix of trimmed and untrimmed flowers. I am eager to get results back, so I can transfer to The Joint on Market Street, Ancient Remedies, Willamette Botanicals (Kris’s first round of Amnesia glycerin tincture is in testing), and possibly to Jerritt at the ReLeaf Health.

I love (I think!) being humbled, learning, making mistakes that provide a lesson. And one lesson from this year, as it turns out, is that buying un-inspected clones is a way to bring pests to your farm that were not previously present. Yep, I found spider mites on eight plants that I purchased as juveniles, and to a lesser extent on the clones that I cut from those first eight plants. Because I have not had mites, I was not looking for the evidence of their presence or for their eggs, etc. And that allowed the mites unfettered freedom to procreate, and a full-blown outbreak, which so far is confined just to the clones and mothers of this particular strain. So, I girded my loins, purchased Grandevo and Venerate from Marrone Bio-Innovations, and sprayed the infested plants! I’ve never chosen to spray anything on the farm with an insecticide, so this seemed a big deal, but I could not allow the infestation to move to the healthy, clean plants. And I really want to harvest from these infested plants, so I needed to act. So far, the predatory populations are staying high (lacewing larvae, ladybugs, praying mantids), and I’ve seen little additional activity from the mites. We’ll see!


Growin’ it in the ground, and gettin’ humbled!



New Feature: Ninth-Circuit Appeals Decision Summaries

I’m outing myself as a law-nerd now, but I am starting a weekly review of Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals opinions. I am selecting for review here decisions that are interesting to those of us in the Pacific Northwest, and those that are far-reaching (by my estimation).


The plaintiff-appellants here are a group of Central Oregon and Deschutes County wilderness advocates, and John Allen is the forest supervisor of the Deschutes National Forest. The 9th panel decided in favor of John Allen and the Forest Service, in a lawsuit brought to challenge construction of a parking lot primarily designed to accomodate snowmobilers and snowmobiling in the National Forest. The coalition of wilderness groups argued that the Sno-Park (as we call them in Oregon) was inconsistent with the Deschutes Forest Plan, and the panel decided it was consistent with the Plan.


This decision has already been stayed by Justice Kennedy, as he argues that the Supreme Court needs to be the deciders, here, in October. The 9th circuit agreed with Hawaii and the district court that mothers-in-law are immediate, close family members, and that the refugee-resettlement agency relationship counts as a “bona fide” relationship as required by POTUS executive order (the Muslim ban). This decision would have allowed refugees “in the pipeline” to travel to the US to re-settle, and would have allowed mothers-in-law to travel to the US freely from the seven countries on the Muslim ban list.


David Updike prevailed in his attempt at being awarded damages after being mistreated in Multnomah County jails and courts. Updike is deaf and lives in a deaf community (friends and family are all deaf and communicate by ASL); he does not read or write English well and does not lip-read. Updike was not provided an ASL interpreter, at many steps in the legal process. Basically, he was never able to consent to much of anything, and was not allowed to communicate with a lawyer after booking. The big feature of this case is the Americans With Disabilities Act, and the application of it in jails and the justice system.


Live Journal has an online community, Oh No You Didn’t, that is apparently very popular. Live Journal tries to make a profit from the high volumes of traffic to this celebrity-gossip online forum. Photos from Mavrix, which takes candid celebrity photos and sells them to gossip magazines, were posted on Live Journal. The 9th decide that this was infringement. The list of supporting organizations is huge…it is particularly interesting to see who supports freely-available posting of images and which organizations do not.


Sovereignty for native nations within the US are what is at stake here. No big deal! The 9th decided that a counter-claim against the Quinault Nation could not go forward, as people (or even nations) cannot sue sovereign nations, apparently. That was new to me, but I’m glad. The Nation and two members and brothers were involved in a conflict over cigarette taxes, the Nation alleging that the brothers’s store was conspiring to evade paying the taxes. The great thing is reading that the 9th circuit understands native nations within the US borders ARE sovereign. The judges are clear in affirming that indian nations cannot be sued, except in rare situations (which does not arise here).


The Center is busy suing the Secretary of the Interior, who is busy riding his horse (is it HIS horse?). Secretary Zinke has advised the President to reduce the size of the Cascade/Siskiyou National Monument. Science-haters. Ecologist advised that the original size of the National Monument in southern Oregon should be much larger than the size when it was designated, so Obama agreed to enlarge the monument, to encompass more highly-diverse landscapes (this region is a hot-spot for biodiversity). But back to the Center for Biological Diversity suit: the Center alleged that the Sonoran Desert Area bald eagle was a distinct population and deserving of special protection to maintain their population. The 9th decided that the bald eagle population was not distinct, by the definition of distinct as both discrete and significant. The judges affirmed that while the desert eagle was discrete, it was not significant, and that if it went extinct, there would be no prominent gap in the taxon. How crazy that judges are making this decision, rather than scientists!


Mister Kennedy decided to pray, prominently and obviously, at the 50-yard-line after his football team’s games ended. The Bremerton school district administrators viewed this as a statement of religion by an employee of the district, and fired him after warnings. The removed football coach then filed motion of injunctive relief, on First Amendment grounds. The panel of the 9th affirmed the district court opinion that Kennedy was acting as an employee, and noted that he was likely in violation of the Establishment clause of the Constitution. The organizations supporting Mister Kennedy included the First Liberty Institute. Opposing his request for preliminary injunction were a diverse array of religious organizations.


Even before Anwar Al-Awlaki was assassinated by the US government in September of 2011, journalists and activists have sought information on the rationale behind targeting and killing him. Dirty Wars, written by Jeremy Scahill, provides an in-depth analysis of the timing and motivations for the US targeting and ultimately killing Al-Awlaki in Yemen; he was the first known American citizen to be killed by the extra-judicial drone-killing program. The First Amendment Coalition had sought, through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, memorandum detailing the legal justification for killing Al-Awlaki without charges or court proceedings or a sentence. After the memo was leaked, the Coalition’s lawsuit was moot. But the Coalition sought to obtain attorney’s fees damages through the FOIA regulations. Ultimately, they prevailed, and the 9th returned the suit to the district court for determination of damages awarded.

Support Dreamers

With Jeff Session’s denunciation of Dreamers echoing in my mind, I am thinking about how innovation, change, and optimism are encouraged. And I think that Dreamers are a key part. I suppose that is part of why Sessions and the cowardly president do not want Dreamers or their families in the US: innovation, change and optimism are at odds with the anti-immigrant mindset.

Let’s support, speak up for, and encourage the Dreamers and their families who surround us. I am excited to see what these young people can teach us, what they can learn, what they can contribute, what their priorities will be.

Katie and I have always worked to focus on kindness, gentleness and patience in our own relationships with each other, our children and with people in our community. What would it look like for the federal government to emphasize kindness in its interactions with all people, US citizens, residents AND people in other countries? A revolution, it would be!


Still growin’ it in the ground!


Early-bloom update

Most plants at Walnut Rise are now in early bloom! The photo below is a Sugar Black Rose. It is WAY ahead of all the other strains, and super fruity-smelling.

Below, I’m in the north greenhouse, looking south, towards the south greenhouse. The big, netted plants in front are TrainWreck and Jesus OG rows.

Below is the south greenhouse, with a six-foot ladder for scale. And eight-foot T-posts. The truss bottom chords are at nine and a half feet, with several Jesus OG shooting past them. I added six-foot hortonova to the tops of the plants, which smooshed them down a bit, and then added the same netting vertically along each side, to support the long side-branches and to allow me to walk through without touching or harming the plants.

The flower below is from that beautiful, late-maturing auto-Blueberry. It came out really beautiful! This plant’s flowers are nice-enough that it takes the same amount of time to hand-trim all the way as to dry-trim with a machine and then hand-finish the other buds. That is quality!

I’ll start machine-trimming the Amnesia this next week, during the heat.

And I’ve been busy pruning up and out on the big photo-period plants. Pulling leaves from the interior of the smaller strains, like Sugar Black Rose and Lemon Sour Berry, too. Nice, full-shade work!


Growin’ it in the ground!



Reply to the Capital Press editorial on cannabis

Capital Press headline: Oregon’s marijuana law has created questions that have landed in the laps of the Legislature and the courts, which will be sorting through them until further notice.

Published on August 10, 2017 8:24AM

Last changed on August 10, 2017 3:29PM

When Oregon voters approved an initiative to make marijuana legal under state law — but not federal law — they should have expected it to create as many questions as it answered.

Such as:

  • The state may be able to regulate growers and sellers under the registration system, but how does it regulate the black market, which feeds off legal marijuana?
  • How does the state prevent barely regulated medical marijuana growers from selling their “extra” production on the black market?
  • How does the state reconcile federal law, which specifies that marijuana is illegal, with the state law?
  • Is marijuana production included in the state’s Right to Farm law?
  • Where do water rights and the laws relating to water use start and stop for marijuana growers?

For farmers, the last two questions are especially pertinent. Our guess is not many voters considered the right to farm and water use when casting their ballot for the ability to smoke pot.

Now those and other questions have landed in the laps of the Legislature and the courts, which will be sorting through them until further notice.

It’s a great time to be a lawyer in Oregon.

We were never fond of an initiative that would partially legalize recreational marijuana and partially regulate medical marijuana.

The loopholes in that new law are big enough to drive a 1964 Volkswagen mini-bus painted with day-glow flowers through.

In the meantime, 2,788 growers, processors and sellers are taking a chance on recreational marijuana as a crop in Oregon.

Multnomah County, which includes Portland, has 496 applications pending as of July 27. Interestingly, Jackson and Josephine counties, with a combined population that’s only 37 percent the size of Multnomah’s, have 649 applications pending. One wonders whether that marijuana production is destined solely for the Oregon market.

If you consider only producers, 685 are now licensed by the state and more than 800 have applications pending.

At $800 to $1,200 a pound on the market, marijuana will continue to attract a lot of interest, among both legitimate operators and others who seek to take advantage of the loopholes in Oregon’s poorly written law.

If it isn’t already, Oregon will soon be awash in marijuana. The state already grows about five times as much marijuana as can realistically be smoked here, according to Rep. Carl Wilson, a Grants Pass Republican who is vice chairman of the Oregon Legislature’s Joint Committee on Marijuana Regulation.

That leaves many Oregonians scratching their heads about the problem they created.

The failure to properly regulate marijuana is further proof that the initiative process in Oregon is wide open to interesting concepts that lack the full vetting the legislative process provides.

The result is laws that fail the public.


My reply:


At best, the Capital Press editorial from August 10th, 2017 showed your publisher’s fear of new crops and bigotry toward a small number of farmers. At worst, CP’s editorial board is fear-mongering, attempting without facts to incite readers toward fear, hatred and action against the small number of small-scale farmers who grow cannabis as part or all of their rotation. A photo of our farm accompanies your false claims and innuendo, but I do not share your fear.

Some points I take issue with:

1) You complain about Oregon’s initiative process and compare it to the legislative process, when in truth, the content is what you do not like. You neglect to point out that the initiative must be translated into regulation, and that regulation is continually revised and updated through legislation.

2) You present the number of farmers who are licensed as producers, with no comparison to the number of farmers total in Oregon; in reality, the number of OLCC-licensed producers is vanishingly small compared to the total number of folks in Oregon file Schedule Fs.

3) Tell me who is getting $800-$1200 per pound for their flowers? I need to tell them they should be getting more like $2400 per pound!

4) You repeat Carl Wilson’s claim regarding the amount of cannabis produced in Oregon versus the amount consumed without presenting any evidence. No attempt seems to have been made to verify this number.

5) “Day-glo flowers painted on a VW minibus”? Really? I drive a 1993 Isuzu NPR box truck or a white 1998 Dodge Ram 2500. Stereotypes are only useful when you are trying to incite your supporters; it does not work to convince regular Oregonians, and especially Oregon farmers.

Of what are you afraid? I have some ideas:

1) Successful farmers who don’t follow your advice and are not afraid to think for themselves.

2) Pesticide testing. Right now, every cannabis harvest is tested for the presence and quantity of 60 different pesticides, both chemical and organic-approved. I bet you can imagine the fall-out from requiring all farm products to pass pesticide testing before sale. Your advertisers would lose their market share.

3) Farmers in METRO. A farm base in Oregon’s urban areas are not going to be swayed by your arguments against wolves, hippies, or success.

4) Small-scale profitable farming. If Oregon can produce farm products on a small-fraction of its farmland base, we can convert those extra acres to affordable housing or re-wilded to forest or meadow or estuary. Scary!


I submitted this reply as a letter to the editor. I doubt they will publish it, so here it is. The “five-to-seven times more cannabis grown that consumed” number appears to be from an invalidated draft report by the Oregon State Patrol that they’ve just denounced, with support from Governor Kate Brown.

Growin’ it in the ground! Getting big!



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