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Still in the Orchard

31 Mar

Well folks…I’m still out here.  Getting closer to done everyday, but still here for now. 

I took a few photos of what we are pruning on our trees. Our goal is to make them look more like a tree first of all (hazelnuts like to grow as a bush naturally) and secondly we are pruning to get growth. 

Before:

And after:

These trees got very stressed their first year due to a very dry and hot summer.  So we are now going in and getting rid of a lot of the stressed wood and making room for lots of growth. 

I promise I will have more to post on rather than just trees soon…hoping to be out of this orchard soon!  

On another note it looks like we are getting a pretty good stretch of spring weather coming up!  So hold onto your hats…there are going to be farmers running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to catch up!!  Which means lots of stuck tractors in muddy fields, lots of impatience, lots of longs days…but man it’s sure going to feel good to get out in that sunshine!!!!!!!  

Personally I’m looking forward to not wearing 17 layers by the end of today! 

Happy Friday!

Goodbye to Old Grey

6 Mar

Old Grey has been on our farm for 22 years.  22 fertilizer seasons of running around loaded down from field to field.  22 summers of hauling grass seed, clover, wheat, even filberts on long hot days.  22 years of wear, tear, washing and waxing before each season.

I realize it might seem silly to have an attachment to just a piece of equipment on our farm, but silly or not, I was sad to see her go.  Maybe it’s because I always think back when I was a kid and that steering wheel seemed so big!  I can perfectly imagine it’s what Hoot is thinking right as I took the photo below! Or maybe it’s the memories later, sitting in the driver’s seat of Old Grey, learning how to drive a semi, while dad sat in the passenger side and told me to “Take it easy on her!” and inevitably cringing while I grinded every gear heading down the road.  Old Grey is the truck that didn’t have the get up and go of her new counterparts at our farm, but I’ll be dammed if she didn’t always get you where you wanted to go….eventually.We bought a new truck that is currently being put together, painted up all pretty and shiny.  She’s newer than Old Grey by a long shot, has more horsepower, and will be a great addition to our farm.  When we bought her and made the decision to sell Old Grey, it was the end of an era.  This is the first large purchase that Matt and I have made since buying the farm from my parents.  In a way Old Grey represents the past generation on our farm and the transition to the next.

So while Hoot was farming with me on Friday, we went to say our goodbyes.  I gave our boy, generation number 4 a chance to stand on the seat and pull the horn one last time, just like I did growing up.

Obviously Hoot didn’t quite feel as sentimental as me, he was just excited to go see the combines haha! But regardless I said my thank yous for being such a great part of our farm, and for always getting us where we needed to be….eventually.

A “Little” Hazelnut Pruning

24 Feb

final-58I went out with Matt today to do a little pruning on our youngest hazelnut trees.  I say a “little” pruning because I only made it about four trees before I realized that I was no where near dressed with enough clothes on for a 33 degree wind chill.  final-59But what we were able to accomplish was some consensus on what we were going for, once it warms up or I get more layers on, we will be able to get the job done.

Trees, especially hazelnut trees (which are naturally more bush than tree) take a lot of work get looking just right.  We were working today on making sure that the crotch of the tree has the correct angles for the most support system to hold up the branches and the weight of nuts.  final-60Also we were looking at branches coming up through the middle.  Light in a tree is a very important factor.  And then just the overall shape of the tree, are there branches going just one direction or in all directions?  How tall is the tree and all of the leaders?  Lots of questions…final-57

And since every tree and the way every person looks at a tree is all very different, it’s important to get try to start on the same page, where you end up will probably be all over the board (haha!), but starting out on the same page is good!

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