Saturday, August 28, 2010

Your urgent help needed.

First; look at this video. It'll take a few minutes. The first 30 seconds or so of film show UNfertilized row; after that (when the bushes get big and green) the rows were fertilized.

That is our Badgersett Research Corporation expansion farm in Illinois.

You are looking at some 3-4 miles of harvestable hazel bushes; with a substantial crop ripe; right now today.

So far, both BEI and Korvan have failed to respond to our repeated requests for a picking machine, to start working on real machine development (in spite of our offer to pay up to $3k in costs).

We will be picking these rows by hand; on Sept. 2/3/and 4. All day; fast; all the people we can get. Almost everyone there will be volunteers.

We're expecting to harvest up to 2 tons of dry nuts; perhaps more. These will finally give us the nuts needed to work seriously on cracking/sorting etc. machines. We're hoping Lee Pothast will be working on this harvest to develop his husker further.

If you want to see what a real hazel harvest is supposed to look like; of nuts at commercial potential today (no 20 years from now) - you should come; volunteer; camp overnight, and help get this incredibly historic harvest in. This is it. The first real full scale harvest of neohybrid hazels.

Be aware; the nuts in this field are 10X better than yours. Or the ones you've seen at Badgersett. They represent the cutting edge of our breeding work (as of 2003). So they are 15-20 years beyond anything at Arbor Day Farm, for example; which contained no cutting edge material, even at the time it was planted.

Bring anyone you want who wants to help; but note; this is a restricted private research site; belonging to Badgersett; persons representing competitors or researchers from other entities are BARRED from attending this event. The owner does not want the site public; if you are coming, we'll arrange to meet groups in a town in NW Illinois, and then guide you to the farm.

More info will follow here; if you can come; comment here with your email for more info; or call our new corporate toll free number, 888-557-4211, and leave your info.

Now- look at that video again.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Field Day: More Details

A few quick updates and details about the field day as we do our final day of preparation:
  1. Remember, use the map on our website to find us- navigation systems usually don't work.
  2. Registration starts at 9:30 this year. First tours at 10.
  3. Morning tours: Woody Ag, and Mature Hazel Management. Hazel coppice demonstration!
  4. If things go well, we'll have a lunchtime raptor roost raising.
  5. Afternoon tours: Hybrid Hazels (possibly including harvest demo), and Animals in Woody Agriculture. Farm-hatched guinea keets!
  6. 3 PM other demonstrations and discussions start, possibly including fertilizer demo; brush puller demo, and husking. Q&A session.
The weather is looking pretty good; we hope you'll be able to make it!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Working in the Chestnut Shade

--- This post is from Meg, who due to my swamped-ness isn't yet an "official" author on this blog. -BLR -----

It is HOT today. The weather sites on the internet claim that the temperature in Canton MN is 90 F and the thermometer on the north wall of the cabin is reading 89F in the shade. So I would conclude that it is HOT.

We were doing harvest and other related field work this morning, but we abandoned that in the heat and are now working in the shade of the chestnuts. The plan is to do some pruning and clearing out to make chestnut harvest a tiny bit, or a whole lot, easier.

Hazel harvest is trickling in. I hope it will wait to crush us in an avalanche of nuts until I am in the cast so I can actually go out and help the field crews.

Brandon is continuing to scare the crows with the shotgun. If luck holds he'll hit one or two that we can hang up as a warning to other crows to enter our fields at their peril. Not that he's a bad shot, but crows are really smart. He's also wrangling the field workers and volunteers. Sometimes I wonder if it's a bit like herding cats, but they are getting a lot of work done and we are grateful for the help.

Philip is working on press releases and the tour content for the field day. He's sequestered upstairs with earplugs in so he can actually work and not be driven insane by Elly the Dervish. He, and all of us at Badgersett, are hoping to make it a really great event this year. Hopefully we'll see some of our readers and friends there.

Consequently, I am writing this quick update. I hope you liked it.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Pest Control

Never a dull moment!

Pest control– the harvest has started, and so have the squirrels and crows (jays and woodpeckers come later; mice and ground squirrels are a bit harder to see sometimes). Critical to know- squirrels and chipmunks will steal nuts before they are ripe; so you must really be on your guard. I was harassing them today, starting before dawn, with some good effect. Permanently de-commissioned four red squirrels; those little guys certainly pack away the nuts. We also put up a new hawk roost today; I think our first one made from a chestnut tree. Combine that with keeping the crows back, and maybe we'll get the hawks back for a bit. The owls, of course, use the roosts at night without worrying about crows at all.

Now (or maybe last week) is a good time to check out the vintage post on checking ripeness, and on determining ripeness, as well. New growers should check them diligently; you'll lose them! Before my work today, we'd already lost the entire crop on one of our earlier bushes.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

19th Annual Badgersett Field Day, August 21 (and HARVEST)

Every year we have our annual field day on the third Saturday in August; this year that is about as late as it can get– the 21st. Hazel harvest will be in full swing at that point; there may be fewer nuts left on the bushes but there will be more in processing.

We've been a little slow in getting the reminders out for the field day this year, partly because we're trying to nail down a machine harvest demonstration for the field day, and would like to include that in our notices, and it will have a substantial effect on the schedule of the day. Other than that, the form will be quite similar to last year, so you can start your planning based on that in the meantime.

As always there is a lot more for me to say here, but I need to get our greenhouse worker trained in watering today so that I can be out in the field more for harvest. We'll be posting notices about farm work scheduling (for harvest, hawk roost raising, etc) in the near future– let us know if you want to be on the weekend worker list!