Monday, May 30, 2016

Woody Ag #3: All Hands On Course

The course we're running June 21-25 is essentially our training tool #3; the first is the Short Course (not offered this year), the second is the Book; and now for the first time we're offering the next step: "Hands On", 5 days in the field with both direct work experience and training in "what" and "how"; in detail and with practice.

Exact activities on each day will be determined by the weather (since this is 100% outdoors); but we expect to have:

2 days of twig by twig, leaf by leaf, hoof by hoof examination and training on neohybrid hazels, chestnuts, and pecans; and the accompanying animals we now include; sheep, horses, dogs, and cats.  Some content about our heritage apple orchard may be possible.  We now consider all of these to be important to making the farm work, and have sufficient experience with the integrations we feel able to teach others.  Other animals and other tree crops will be adaptable to processes and principles you can learn here.  Badgersett is home to the northernmost germplasm collection of Black Walnut, a joint project with the USDA and the Walnut Council; that grove will be included.

2 days will be actual planting of crops; hazels and chestnuts; by both hand and machine processes.

1 day will be training in the necessary skills and habits of "seeing".

Attendees are invited to camp here on the farm for the duration; or local motels are available (though not as convenient).  Facilities are primitive; both tent and vehicular camps can be accommodated.

Cost: $970 for the 5 days.  Food is not included in that price; we hope to be able to offer 2 meals a day catered very reasonably; or attendees are welcome to do their own camp cooking (we can provide  wood for campfires.)

Attendance will be limited to 15.  Spouses and children are welcome to join the camping process; but only paid students can be present for teaching procedures.  Multiple possibilities exist for daily activities for families, lists will be provided.

Course content will be provided by Philip Rutter; this will be an exceptional opportunity to spend time with the originator of these neohybrid crops.

Day 1, June 21, classes will begin at 9 AM (camping the night before is welcome).  Since that day is also the Summer Solstice, we will be having our annual Solstice Bonfire that evening, families welcome of course.

The final day, June 25, we expect to end official activities at 3 PM; those wishing to stay/camp longer are welcome to do so.

More details as we have them.

To register, please email with your information, and arrange payment.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Short Course- Becomes Long Course...

Notice is short, but - instead of our usual Annual 2 Day Short Course - this year we are going to run an entirely different, and much longer event.

We're looking at the last full week of June.  The event will probably start Tuesday, June 21, and will run for 5 full days.

Content and format will be completely different from all past courses.

At the moment, details are still a bit flexible; if you're planning to attend, your input is requested in the next 5 days; then specifics will be determined.

We will not be using the meeting spaces and classrooms at Eagle Bluff, rather 100% of this event will take place outdoors, on Badgersett Farm.  We hope, and recommend, that attendees will plan to camp here for the duration; either tent or vehicular camping is welcome.  Food- is yet to be figured out, but might be easiest if folks planned mostly on a little camp cooking on their own.  If you want to cook on a campfire - we can provide the wood.  (That's humor.)

Approximate content: 2 days will be spent on "whole-systems integration"; looking at the interactions of the various crops, and including the livestock, coppice wood, biochar, and biodiverse pest management.  We'll walk, see, and discuss; 2 days is not too long.  2 days will be spent actively planting the next breeding cycles of all 3 crops; neohybrid hazels, neohybrid chestnuts, and neohybrid pecans.  This is a major planting year; moving the genetics of all 3 up a notch; genetics details will be explained as we plant.  And one day will be devoted to teaching and learning to "see." As explained in our book, Growing Hybrid Hazels, these crops all require farmer geneticists - who have to know what they see - just as dairy farmers can look at their cattle and see the details invisible to those not involved.

When you register, we will immediately ship you the DVDs for the past 2 Short Course years.  You'll need to watch and be familiar- material covered there is NOT going to be repeated during this event.  This is "next stage" information.

You can put comments here; to register and for further details please email

Details as fast as we can provide them; right now- have to get on the plow and get land prepared for machine planting, before the ground prep done by the horses goes to waste-

Thursday, May 5, 2016

This post is an update; main Lamb-etc. Day Activities list is just below.

The weather forecast for Mothers Day: PERFECT.  Not kidding!  Sunny, top temperature 70°F, top winds- 5 mph; chance of rain 0.  And my farmer-weather-expert confidence in those projections is around 95%.

The apple trees and blossoms are absolutely on track to be at PEAK on Sunday.  Here is one of the first to reach "early-full", from yesterday:

And we ARE in luck - our Mystery Bloom IS GOING TO BE PEAKING on Sunday!  Not only are these Gold Buds everywhere; but the earliest trees are already nearly at "peak orchid" stage! Took these photos yesterday.

I have to wonder if Robert Frost was seeing these buds, along with the flowering maples and oaks:

"Nature's first green ... is gold. Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf's a flower; but only so an hour..."   His poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay"

 Adding to our list of distinguished guests and artists; we will be having a "mini-show" - and sale - of ceramic art from Iowa's Potter Laureate, Dean Schwarz.  Dean has pots in museums around the world.  He and his entire family are dear friends; and for the first time anywhere, we will be displaying the vase he created especially for us; for Philip and Meg's wedding.  It's gorgeous; and not for sale, .  Four of his pots will be for sale, and we'll also show more of his work in the "nfs" category.
And the lambs!  We're at 16 this morning; and counting - the tiny thing that looks like a rabbit on the left is a 2 day old; the 2 all the way to the right are 2 week old lambs- that were much the same size when they were born.  Icelandics are born that small, and they grow that fast!  Come and See!