Friday, April 29, 2011

More Plant Shipping, Nut Shipping

Remember: standard tubelings don't ship before 5/15; we usually field-plant most of our own in July.
Bare-root dormant shipping is delayed; we have very few orders for the material we actually have on hand. We do not have XL, XL-select or L-select bare-root dormant hazels. We DO have quite a few bare-root dormant hickories, and chestnuts (except for Tree type) available. If you are early on the shipping queue or antsy to get your plants in the ground, we may be able to convert your order to Bare-Root Dormant for chestnuts, hickories, or Medium or Wildlife hazels.
We'll be working hard to get these things figured out in the next few days, and should be able to start shipping early next week.
Ryan, who is working overtime to make up for some of our backlog, is currently working on processing hazel nuts to eat; if you've got a paid hazel and/or hickory order with us it should ship on Monday or Tuesday.
If you're near Lanesboro, tomorrow we'll be at the 2011 Root River Earth Day Celebration put on by our friends at Eagle Bluff. We'll be selling hazels and hickories to eat, t-shirts, smokewood, and some chestnut food products under development.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Plant Shipping

We're slightly behind on bare-root dormant shipping; we should be able to start on Tuesday the 26th. In addition to all the snowstorms and such, we've had some unexpectedly missing personnel in the past month, and are a couple of weeks behind. Also, Philip had a tooth pulled on Thursday, but I'll spare you the rest of the details.
Standard tubelings are coming along well, and we expect to be starting the decapitation process to harden them for the field next week. If the weather is reasonable, this should result in first shipping close to the hoped-for 5/15 date.
Hopefully we'll be digging bare-root butternuts this coming week, and will alert those of you interested in receiving our last shipment of those for some time.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chestnuts to Eat: shipping done for the season.

Since it's that time of year, and what we have left will sprout like mad if we mail it, we are no longer taking orders for or shipping chestnuts from the 2010 harvest to eat. We are working on a couple of new processing methods, and may be able to offer a couple of processed chestnut items later on. Thanks for understanding!
Also, while we're at it: current order processing is about a week behind; today we handled orders up to about April 2, and our next order processing date is on the 12th.

Short Course This Weekend

The short course is going ahead as planned this weekend; at the moment we've got around 20 attendees in total. We can take last-minute registrants, so if you haven't registered yet don't let that stop you!
Events start with supper on Friday at 5:30 PM; doors lock at 10 so let us know if you'll arrive after that!
Continental breakfast Saturday at 8, lectures start at 9 and go ALL day.
Breakfast at 8 and lectures at 9 on Sunday
We're looking forward to seeing you there!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Latest excuse

Quite a lot of our work here on the farm consists of coming up with new excuses for "why we haven't gotten back to you yet."

Here's the latest one:

Like all good drama, there is both tragedy and joy in this story. This is "Atlas", born 1:30 AM, March 31st, 2011; about 12 hours before this photo. His sire was Brigadier. But- his sire is dead. We lost him to colic, months ago; a devastating thing for us, and still painful.

He left us with two mares pregnant; and yet more tragedy. The day before Atlas was born, his half-sister was born- in a breech position, and she did not survive. Meg was able to save the mare, which was great, but did not entirely ease the pain of the lost foal.

Then- 24 hours later- Atlas arrived. His dam is Lacey, an Appaloosa. He seems to have his father's size. It was mostly an easy birth, but he still needed help. His hips are so big they stuck; Meg had to pull and rotate, to get him out. She was there.

Then there were hours of "imprinting". It's critical to get a foal used to humans immediately; all of us had to spend time with him. Not onerous- but time consuming.

And in the background there, you see a big part of the reason for the horses. Grass. In hazel rows.

Last fall, before chestnut harvest, we did put the horses on pasture under the chestnut trees. We used temporary electric fence, which they are trained to, and watched carefully. Mostly, we wanted them to mow the grass, so we could find and pick up chestnuts. But the results were actually far better than we hoped. They mowed the grass- and they also cleared brush, under trees were machines can't go. I think the dollar value of the work they did, in terms of cost of diesel fuel and human labor replaced, was certainly more than $2,000.

At this point; we think we'll be able, in a few years, to show that the expenses of keeping and managing the animals will actually total out as less than the alternative expenses of machinery, time, and fuel necessary to control grass in the nut plantings.

We've experimented a bit with the horses and hazels; and initial results are more than encouraging. Even in a couple rather uncontrolled circumstances, the horses leave hazel bushes virtually untouched, apart from an experimental taste here and there.

We'll see.