Monday, November 28, 2016

A loss-


As you'll know, we now use horses and sheep as an integral part of growing our nut crops.  If you've visited, you almost certainly know we also have dogs.  The dogs are here to protect the sheep; and horses- and cats, and children.

We have had three; all neutered rescue shepherd mixes.  Saturday night, however- Daisy, half working collie, half German shepherd - did not come home.  She was very friendly with strangers, incredibly healthy and energetic, and not a wanderer.  Normally our 3 dogs will be seen together; so when we had only two at sundown- I was worried.

At 4 AM, I was up.  No Daisy.  So I went out looking, taking Theodore, our oldest dog along- and asking him to "Find Daisy.  Where's Daisy?"  Until sunrise, he led me over very rough parts of the farm- a good two miles- but eventually it became a circle; and no Daisy.

Much of the rest of the day was spent searching also, on foot, from the tractor, calling neighbors and the sheriff.  Not a trace.

We lost a dog this way once before; it's never easy; but Daisy is harder; she's been an important part of the farm and family, for a long time.  We loved her.  She loved us. And she told us so constantly.



That direct look might be interpreted as a threat from a strange dog, but here it's just absolute focused attention - "Yes? What are we doing next?"

A few years ago, she had a pet cat.  Really.  She'd carry the cat around the farm, in her mouth.  The cat - came to Daisy, to be carried.


This isn't her pet, but another.  They're sleeping on a raw Icelandic fleece; one that got too old and feltcd to sell- except maybe for dog beds.  This one has been under the house for 4 years now- warm when wet; dries out fine- felts a little more each time they sleep on it...


video

I made this movie to illustrate that yes- dogs like and eat pecans.  One after another.  Mostly, we let them; it's pay for the work they do.  But- the movie also illustrates why it was hard to catch a good photograph of Daisy.  Once she saw you were focused on her - she would drop everything she was doing, and come- as close as she could.  Sitting for portraits wasn't her thing; I had to sneak them in.

A piece of us is missing.  I notice constantly.  And our team of dogs is now much less effective; she played an important part in motivating them all.

I could go on and on- as most folks who have had canine family could also.  But this is enough.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Now Open Weekends - Until Christmas!

Fall is early this year, so we're a little behind in getting everyone notified - but - it's time to come and see and enjoy trees you can't see anywhere else - and - gather in your own chestnuts for your holidays.

We're open Saturdays and Sundays, 1 PM to 6 PM, until Christmas.  Right now in October, you can "pick your own" chestnuts; later we'll have them ready to sell, fresh off the farm.

We'll teach you "how" if you're not familiar.
They're picked up off the ground, very easy to find right now.  Last year at our Fall Open House (Oct. 15 this year!!) we had a bunch of pretty small kids collecting chestnuts; and in spite of the burrs, they had a wonderful time.

And - we will always have a fire going.  We'll show you how to "roast them on an open fire"; and we have free marshmallows for kids - and amazingly - free marshmallow sticks.  Actual sticks, not steel wire...







Fall color season is here now - in the early stages; you'll need to walk around a bit to find something like this  - but you're entirely welcome to wander.










This year the maples are not turning the simple traditional colors right away; the strange growing year is giving us some non-traditional patterns; also gorgeous.

We have LOTS more to see- and buy; our hybrid pecans (available nowhere else) - wool, wood of every kind you can think of, for any purpose- apple, chestnut, maple - for turning or anything else.  And you can arrange to buy plants for next year now, too.

Come and see - and stay!



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hard to catch a break.

If you would like to know why your plants may be late in shipping, here's why:



Decorah is the town we usually ship from - roads damaged, and out -



At the moment; water is still rising; and it's raining again in a spotty but heavy fashion; I just got soaked to the skin in a downpour that was not on the radar when I went out to check the sheep fence. We're not flooding here, yet; but our ground is totally saturated; and our neighbors are in real emergency situations.

Just so you know!

Friday, August 19, 2016

More - Major - Wind Damage


There is a radar picture to bring tears of joy to any meteorologist - it's absolutely classic, absolutely clear - and dangerous.  The kind of storm where they truly save lives, by giving warning in time.  This is known as a "bow echo" storm formation; because they resemble an archer's bow.  See that little white plus sign, just to the right of the middle of the bow?  That's Badgersett Farm; precisely.

And that's absolutely the most dangerous place to be for one of these storms; and if you come this weekend for the Field Day - you'll see why.  That's where the most violent winds are; trained observers in Preston reported gusts over 70 mph (hurricane) for this storm; as I watched it, I was guessing 70 to 80 mph.

From that Wikipedia entry: "Bow echoes are capable of producing straight-line winds that are just as strong as many tornadoes. A strong bow echo will produce more widespread and intense damage than the majority of tornadoes. "

Yup.  We can tell you that's true.

We got hit by a similar storm - very hard - just a few weeks ago.  This one - was worse, in one particular way.  The first storm broke a lot of trees; but left the pecans and chestnuts pretty much entirely still on the trees.


Some idea of what it looked like as we were scurrying for cover - our radios did give us the NOAH emergency warning in time.  It was darker than this, though; the camera couldn't catch it.

This storm - broke more trees; including some pecans (first one didn't break pecans) - but it also took a huge part of the nut crop off the trees.  For the chestnuts, there is no hope those downed burrs will ever have any nut inside of any use.  The pecans - are far from fully ripe; but it's not impossible they might still "force-ripen", using resources in the shuck - and make pig food, anyway.

In any case - we'll now have to pick up the downed nuts - before the true harvest; to prevent the bad ones getting mixed with the good ones.  Only twice the work - for maybe half the crop.

Come see.  It's part of the whole picture.  There ARE things you can do with your planting to minimize storm risk.  We've had chestnut crops survive astonishing winds in the past- they can.  But not this time.

Still haven't fully assessed the damage.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Annual Field "Day" - Saturday AND Sunday!

As the entire world knows, our Annual Field Day; which we've been holding every year for more than 25 years; is always scheduled for the 3rd Saturday in August - which is this weekend; Saturday the 20th.

And it looks like rain.  Really looks like rain, in this very rainy summer.  So - we'll be having Field Day activities on Sunday, too.  If Saturday is what fits your plans, and you're willing to risk the rain- we'll be here for you.  And we'll be ready for you on Sunday; too (the weather predictions look great for Sunday - at the moment - clear sky, light wind and a high temperature of only 66°F...)

This has happened only once before - but in fact we have made the decision that from now on this is how it will happen every year.

And.  Even BIGGER NEWS - we've made the decision to be formally "OPEN" - on ALL the weekends, from this start in August - until Christmas.  If you can't make it here for our Field Day; you'll now be able to just COME - any Saturday or Sunday; from 1 to 6 PM.

And.  Besides 'seeing the sights' - on those days you will now be able to "Pick Your Own!" - both hazelnuts and chestnuts.  When they're ripe, of course.

We'll show you how, and teach how to handle them afterwards.  We're going to be learning how to teach and show, of course; but we're ready to do that.

So.   COME SEE.  Come pick.  Come talk.  (And come buy; we do have products to sell nowadays.)