This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Old residents say that the rains commenced here nearly two months earlier than usual. There were very few fine days in October, fewer still in November, and the steams were higher than had been known for years. December, however, has been very pleasant, especially the last week, which has been clear and frosty. Plowing and wheat-sowing have been going on for two months or more, and are still in progress.
As might be expected in so moist a climate, ferns, mosses and lichens abound. In many places the trees for a foot or two from the ground are covered with flat, leathery lichens, in shape resembling the flat, branching antlers of some kinds of deer. Some of these are green, some brown, laced with silvery grey. I never saw such riches of moss. In low grounds every shady place has its carpet, every stone and stump and fallen tree its covering, every fallen twig or strand is taken possession of, and covered with little green plumes overlapping each other with exquisite grace. Finest of all is a kind that seems partial to the ends of oak logs, which looks like long, graceful, interwoven leaves, fine and soft as velvet. The timber of this region is chiefly fir and oak, and the oaks are completely covered with a fine light-green pendant moss, which looks at a distance like leaves in early spring, and contrasts agreeably with the dark firs.
One of the prettiest things at this season is an evergreen shrub known here as"Oregon Grape," but which has leaves like a Holly, though I have not seen flower or fruit. It has glossy dark-green leaves with sharp spines, and is said to bear black, or dark purple berries. [Mahonia aquifolia. - Ed.] The"Oregon currant" must be a beautiful shrub. Usually, flowers, like prophets,, are without honor in their own country; but specimens are found in nearly every yard and garden, and every flower-lover is enthusiastic in its praise. The leaf is similar to that of the common garden currant and its habit of growth, only it is very much larger, and in spring it is said to bear a great profusion of bright scarlet flowers. [Ribes sanguinea. - Ed].
Almost every clear day I go out to look at Mt. Hood, only a few steps up a hill, and I see it rising in calm majesty from the dark surrounding ridges, glittering snowy white in the sun. From other hills, not far away, we can see four of these snowy giants : Jefferson, Hood, Ranier, and St. Helen's. Somehow these bold isolated peaks, standing in lonely grandeur, landmarks for hundreds of miles, seem even more inspiring than the long line of the Nevadas, seen from the California hills. No wonder that the dwellers among mountains love their"ain countree;" no wonder that something of the calm steadfastness of the eternal hills abides in their souls.