This May 8th; Mothers Day, Badgersett will hold our First
Annual Lamb - Blossom - Mom Day!
10 AM to 7 PM
|May 1 - On Schedule!|
We intend that this will become an Annual event - there will always be apple blossoms; there will always be new lambs, there will always be Moms who need a little time to enjoy the world with their kids, and there will always be friends we want to share it all with.
We have a Spectacular Day arranged for you!
Look below here for Authors, Artists, Things To See, Things To Do; and Things To Buy.
— Authors — Artists —
Beth Dooley - One of Minnesota's most beloved food writers - WILL BE HERE - to sign her new book In Winter's Kitchen ! How do we rate such wonderfulness? Well. One of the chapters in Winter's Kitchen is - "Chestnuts". And we get mentioned a bit. So she'll be signing her books- under chestnut trees for you. (We hope you're bringing some of your other books too, Beth!)
Tom Teller - a wood turner of considerable reputation - will be showing and selling his work. Tom has been interested in transforming several of the unusual woods we can provide into his art for several years. Not too surprisingly, some of our wood has proved - difficult. But you'll see from his other work how gorgeous his results can be- and you'll understand why we're not giving up.
Dee Teller - Internationally known Asian Brush Stroke artist - will be showing and selling her work. Her paintings of Horses - continue to win important prizes, and you will see why!
Josh Landy - Award-winning Mead and Cider Maker - will be here to talk about the cider he made from these trees last fall - and the hopes for scaling those test batches up. Beth Dooley got a little taste of it last November... All but a few of our apple trees are Heritage varieties; Golden Russet, Roxbury Russet, Westfield-Seek-No-Further - the cider they can produce is as different from regular commercial ciders as champagne is from grape juice... all starting with the blossoms.
And - More! We still have artists/artisans letting us know. Are you one? Let us know! What's Mother's Day without a sale or two for Mom to look at??
We - will of course be selling and signing our new book from Chelsea Green, Growing Hybrid Hazelnuts. This would be the one where Joel Salatin's enthusiastic comment was "Sign me up!", and John Torgrimson of Seed Savers: "Apply Johnny Appleseed’s pioneering spirit to the science of breeding and cultivating hazelnuts, and you’ll begin to understand..."
Speaking of Seed Savers! You should be aware of the chance for a great weekend here; their annual Spring Plant Sale; and Spring Garden School - happen May 7 - the day before Lamb-Blossom-Mom. And Seed Savers, in case you didn't know - is just 20 miles away from us.
— Things To See —
• Lambs - The big problem with young Icelandic lambs is that they are so adorable - you can just watch, and watch. They are distilled, purified, Life; and will light up any face. We will have a couple of the ewes penned close enough so that petting their little ones should be easy; though after they're about 3 days old they can get seriously frisky. We'll try; and we have several of the adults who love to be petted at all times, so some contact is guaranteed.
• The Running Of The Rams (And Lambs) - Something we've always wanted to share- when the sheep are let into their new paddock - with lots of fresh grass - they usually put on a show for us; not only racing in and around, but usually with a great deal of leaping and sheer exuberant kicking; the big rams included. It's fun to see Buster - 3 feet up in the air, forelegs going north, hind legs going south; doing a half-gainer with a half-twist before hitting the ground and chasing everything again. We're going to have the next paddock set up and waiting - and we'll do the Running about 2 PM, for you to see.
• Apple Blossom Time - Endless poems, stories, and songs have been written about apple blossom time - now you can find out why.
Come and wander anywhere you like under our full sized Heritage apples - which we expect to be in full bloom on May 8. Take all the time you like- in fact- bring a picnic.
• Chestnut trees, Hybrid Pecan trees, hazel bushes, solar greenhouse, horses, biodiverse ecosystem crop management - All the things we normally feature during our open house days are here of course; there's 160 acres of things to see..
• The Mystery Not-An-Orchid - It looks like there's an excellent chance we can see some on May 8. We'll introduce you.
• Biomass Harvest - Coppice - In Progress - We've been complaining for several years now that we were drowning in biomass. This year we've started harvesting it seriously; turning the chestnut and hazel wood into usable/salable products: fence posts, bamboo replacements, and biochar. Never heard of biochar? Then you should come. Know lots about biochar? Come. And yes, we'll have some of the products on sale.
— Things To DO —
• Blossoms For Mom - We have dozens of big apple trees- most of which actually need some pruning - if you ask us, we will cut a good branch (about 2 feet) of apple blossoms for you to give your Mom; either here, or to take home to her if she wasn't able to come out with you. Put it in water like any cut flowers and they can keep for at least a week.
• Your Mom Wants Nettles! Even if you didn't know that. Part of our sharing with you - you are welcome to pick plenty of nettles to feed your family, free. Lots of folks would love to have good spring nettles; but it's hard to find a place to just go and pick enough. Here we are!
Don't know about nettles? Beth Dooley does - she says that was the thing that pushed her over the top on her decision to come. Michael Pollan has eaten our nettles - harvested from under our hazel bushes. He's not sure he remembers the soup (likely 10 years ago), served to him in a restaurant in Minneapolis - but he loves nettles, and told me a new way to eat them, when I was asking his permission to tell you this story - on pizza. "I love nettles -in soup, on pizza- so fine."
So- with that in mind, Beth Dooley has a recipe for Forager's Pizza With Nettles - which we'll be handing out to those who come and pick.
We have never had so many beautiful, easily picked nettles as this year. They are one of the few things that grow well in the dense shade of the hazel bushes; and our Biodiverse Management means we let them grow there- they're not only good food for us; but for the entire ecosystem here. Picking them won't hurt a thing; they'll grow back; they're a crop.
As food - they are crazy delicious, and astonishingly nutritious. It's because they're so good that they have such effective defenses; but just wear leather gloves while picking, and before they're cooked, and they're easy to work with. Boiled or steamed - 100% of the sting is gone. We're nettle experts here, and we'll show you how- it takes about 20 seconds for the whole class.
Come- and pick - all you want. Well- all you want to feed your own family; if you're interested in harvesting and selling our nettles as a business; we need to talk. Yes, we have that much. We're doing a lot of hazel coppice right now; and as a result, the young nettles are incredibly easy to get to; and abundant. BRING - gloves, scissors or a knife to cut them off, and something to put them in; any bag or bucket will do.
Oh; and if while you're harvesting nettles you should happen to run into some gorgeous Dandelion Greens - you're welcome to harvest those, free, too.
• Wildflower Scavenger Hunt - KIDS - All our tree crops are growing on land that was corn and beans. But now - we have wildflowers coming back into the almost-forests of our groves; things like Jack-In-The-Pulpit, Mayapple - and more. Meg is the organizer of this hunt, and will hand your kids a list of wildflowers to find. If the find them all - and they can pick them and bring them to show - there will be small prizes.
• New Wildflower Species Hunt - Adults - Every year we find a new species of wildflower or other wild plants that have found their way to co-exist with our crops; and we can use your help finding and identifying them. If you're a native plant enthusiast - this is for you. We'd like to do this every year; it's part of the science, too. We can get you started, and point you; but we really need a good baseline list launched.
• Help Us Plant Hybrid Pecans - we've got tubelings overwintered in the greenhouse that need to get out, now. You'll need to plant at least 10 for it to be worth while for us to show you how and where; but if you want to plant 100 - we can arrange that, too!
• Learn to divide and propagate hybrid hazels - This will likely be a one-time demonstration, around 3 PM. We developed this technique of springtime, direct in-field propagation; and will show you how. If you're interested enough - we could use some volunteer help to get a serious amount of this done here this year; not on May 8; but very soon.
• Things You Could Teach US - One of the things we're doing with our coppice chestnut wood is building horse corral, using split rails. We know about 10 ways to do it- and don't like any of them. Some take too much wood, some are unstable- If you know how, or have suggestions - Come Teach Us! Another thing - we're novices at handling wool; and we have all of this year's Icelandic fleeces waiting for us to do right by them. We don't even really know how to "skirt" a fleece- can you show us? This would be a good time!
• Solar Greenhouse - We think we are the oldest solar off-grid business in Minnesota, and our entirely solar heated and powered, earth-sheltered greenhouse is a big part of that; you're welcome to take a look inside and hear about it.
— Things To BUY —
Icelandic sheep products - raw fleece, tanned skins, horns, and registered breeding stock
Hazel wood - hiking staff/ wizard staff / quarterstaff unfinished blanks. Did you know that hazel is the #1 choice of wood of the British Quarterstaff Association? Yep. Garden stakes; pea, bean, tomato poles; marshmallow sticks - We're calling this "Minnesota Bamboo" - because you can use it just like bamboo - but it wasn't shipped from the other side of the world...
Chestnut wood - shiitake logs, fence posts, heavy stakes, some very small saw logs, carving bolts
Live plants- sweetgrass, highbush cranberry, and our special "Sheep-o-Lantern" pumpkins. (no, sorry, we will have not nut seedlings ready to sell yet)
Nuts To Eat - NOW
Badgersett Hybrid Pecans - these are at peak flavor, and stored in our freezer to keep them there - EXCLUSIVE with us; no one else in North America has these.
Fresh Chestnuts - If you think chestnuts are just for the winter holidays - you should buy Beth Dooley's book! We have these available May 8th, in fresh condition. The Atlantic Monthly used them to make a chestnut-asparagus dish; we think chestnuts and nettles are likely to work well too.
AND - There's a good chance we will have a NEW chestnut product available for you to try, and buy; something no one has ever produced or marketed before. Not our chestnut polenta - something else.
And Don't Forget -
Books — Wood Turnings — Art — And MORE ...
May 8th, 2016; 10 AM to 7 PM
How To Get Here: Map
Updates to all this will appear here on this blog and on our Facebook sites; and hopefully our website.
Meg's cell: 507-481-6946