• 48-inch or smaller 3-point hitch tiller
• Old barn boards
• Hay, leaves, manure, or anything organic to help build up our garden soil
"The diversity of projects and issues makes the Mill a very interesting place to work."
—Tom Parsons, Park Ranger
With ducks snoozing on the bank of the mill race and the recently returned swallows relaxing on the phone wires, you might get the idea that Thompson’s Mills is a sleepy place. While that may be true for some creatures, the staff here are wide awake and working on many challenging projects.
A sampling of our ongoing tasks includes the first round of pruning on our 2 year old heirloom apple trees, and the planning and initial soil prep for our heirloom garden. Elsewhere we’re looking at solutions for the top outer lips of the silos, where the concrete has begun to crumble, and we continue work on two grants we’ve received for improving the state of the mill’s archives. Big Thanks to BMS Board Member Tom Adams for his work in securing both grants.
Ranger Sara has lead the charge to identify the deficiencies of the outer skin of the mill—every place where there is a need for repair has been identified and will be prioritized and then dealt with.
We’ve started to standardize our guided tours to make them as effective and meaningful as possible. We’re spreading the word that we’re here for school groups in the area.
One tooth broke off a head gate gear, so we’re giving the gears some attention. Each gate has different gearing, so we’ll document what we have and try to be ready to make repairs as needed. Speaking of the head gates, new slabs of local Oregon White Oak are on their way to replace all the wood. That will surely be an interesting and fun job.
Our shop is getting a long overdue rearrangement—we had been trying to preserve the artifacts as they were, along the outer shop walls, but we are now documenting everything, on every shelf and hook, and will box the items for safekeeping. This will allow us to use the entire shop as work space, instead of being restricted to the center island. With new lighting and some heat we’ll have a much larger year-round shop that might have even impressed Ott Thompson.
As I said at the beginning, though, this is truly just a sampling of what we’re working on. The diversity of projects and issues makes the Mill a very interesting place to work.
And by the way, as you read through these projects you were mostly reading a list of tasks that would not be possible without the help of our volunteers. Our on-site hosts, currently Al and Elaine Lutzeier and Carolee St. Clair, as well as our weekly volunteers, are why we are moving forward. Bill Stormont, Jim Ballard, Tom Adams, Patrick Newhall, Dan Merrill, Carl Browning, and new guy James Muncrief, have each taken on roles and tackled projects that are making Thompson’s Mills one of the coolest little state parks in the country.
Drop by sometime to see what’s going on. You will probably see a lot of napping—especially if Bucky is around—but chances are good one of the humans will be busy somewhere, working on something to preserve and enhance Thompson’s Mills.