After 11 years of supporting and maintaining HOS’s online activities, head webmaster Steven Reid will be taking a step back to focus on new opportunities. Steven’s contributions have been profound and we are very thankful for his efforts getting us this far.
Steven will be missed but we are in very good hands. This new website is just the beginning. Check back often for new information, updates on the latest HOS events, and a growing community-driven support forums.
I know you’ve seen them, and have likely used one, but do you own a Tripod Orchard Ladder? My first memory of such a ladder is that of my Father climbing a tall 3-legged Wooden Monster at a U-pick cherry orchard. He’d toss down fat black Bings to us kids scrambling below.
My frst climbing experience with such a contraption was in the magical orchard of a past friend, Helen Webb, of Yamhill. She’d insist that I maneuver her 12 foot heavy, awkward wooden ladders so their hinged leg always aimed uphill. I then learned to set that extending leg. While standing on the bottom rung, you give the entire ladder a shove forward, in order to break through any hidden gopher or mole holes. Helen had picked cherries throughout her life, accumulating years on these ladders, so I respectfully listened and learned. Quickly gaining an appreciation of their stability, I also realized the necessity of a Tripod Ladder in my Orchard.
Until then, I’d used my four-legged folding stepladder to prune, thin, and harvest my varied collection of fruit trees. Though four legs may appear safer than three, I’d long ago lost track of how many times I’d bailed off that collapsing stepladder! Next project: hunt down and purchase an 8 foot Aluminum Orchard Ladder. They weren’t cheap, even 15 years ago; but that ladder has paid for itself several times over! I’ve used it to: hang wallboard; prop lumber while building a trellis or outbuildings; hang bird houses & swings; and paint the house from a hillside… It’s a marvelous freestanding platform that shows no ill effects from living year-round in our orchard and quickly became one of my most valued tools.
Countless times I’ve been eager to step into a pruning project while visiting a neighbor, family, or friend only to realize my life would soon be in danger as they’d inevitably haul out their prized 4-legged step ladder. I’d do my best… but highly recommend they invest in a real Orchard Ladder. With that recommendation; two of them have recently done just that. After their repeated Thanks,”they now wonder how they’d ever gotten along without one.
If you don’t already have one, do yourself (and your helper) a favor; buy an Aluminum Tripod Orchard Ladder. Their size range varies from 4 to 16 feet, usually increasing by two foot intervals. I inherited a wooden 12 footer, I try to preserve it with linseed oil just as my Grandfather had, but I much prefer my short & light Aluminum Buddy! My 8-footer seems the ideal size, it’s a Tallman brand (made in Hood River, Oregon). It’s of excellent design & quality. Though most I’ve seen work well, I prefer a straight extending pole leg; as opposed to some designs curved near the top.
Today’s hunt for such a ladder should be much easier. I’d suggest an online search, or try Teufels Nursery Supply. Never mind the expense- what’s a re-set collarbone worth these days? And an Aluminum Ladder should last forever,” your heirs may not fight over it, but it just might save one of their lives. Just remember: set those twin legs parallel to a hill, aim that third one uphill, check for gopher & mole tunnels… I can hear Helen now!
Editors Note: Warning! Ladders can be a major cause of injuries. Please be very careful whenever you use a ladder and be sure to read and follow all instructions and warnings on the ladder.
Joanie Cooper has been bugging me for some time to find a way to control box elder bugs. These are the ones with the red edge to their wings and which congregate in the fall around most buildings.
Note color of the building they migrate to and then paint some old plywood, poster board or similar material with a similar color (yellow or white work well) and coat it with petroleum jelly, tanglefoot, or some very sticky material. Place the trap where ever the box elder bugs are swarming. Place similar traps wherever box elder bugs are trying to get inside buildings. When your traps are full just scrape the box elder bugs off and recoat the trap.
A home remedy to get rid of box elder bugs–30% dish soap and 70% water in a spray bottle. The spray is a contact poison and will kill box elder bugs.
Place nontoxic diatomaceous earth or boric acid powder in the cracks and crevices around your home to prevent box elder bugs from entering. To be effective these material should remain dry.
Diatomaceous earth: Food grade Diatomaceous Earth is an abrasive powder made from the mineral remains of singlecelled aquatic algae. It is like glass slivers and kills by abrading and dehydrating crawling insects.
Another deterrent is to spray WD-40 around windows and other entryways.
Why do box elder bugs come into our buildings? Because our buildings mimic the caves, tree cavities, or other protected spaces where the insects normally congregate to overwinter.