07/25/1945: My parents worked half of their life's building
up an 80 acre farm. When they bought it in the 40's the land was
so run down that it "couldn't grow quack grass". By the time they
retired in the 80's, the land that was producing record corn yields.
After investing so much into this effort they found their options
very limited and decided to rent to a neighbor in order to "keep
the land productive". This income paid the property taxes which
helped them -- although minimally -- to afford to remain on the
farm and continue to support their charities on a fixed income.
The idea of taking the land out of "production" and seeding it
into forest didn't make much sense when first proposed by my brother
Roland in the early 1990's. He argued that:
After deciding to keep the farm in the family and accepting the fact
that an 80 acre dairy farm can't compete in today's economy we began
to accept the Roland's wisdom. But how can we afford it?
- Allowing the land to be planted into corn and beans year after
year was destroying fertility and soil structure of the land that
they had worked so hard to build.
- The massive herbicide use demanded by modern no-till farming
was poisoning the soil and ground water.
- For all this they were receiving "nothing" -- when compared
to the cost.
In order to succeed we must come up with a plan where the farm
- is self supporting -- we're not rich.
- Land continues to work -- producing a crop -- to its maximum
- Soil quality maintained or improved.
- Farm remains intact / undeveloped!!
|"Planting nuts requires a vision for a future that goes beyond
one's mortal reach. If we envision ourselves as participants
in same grand, complex web of interactions as the forest, then
planting [nuts] is like planting part of ourselves. The morality
that comes from such a vision of ecosystem-as-life is a common
thread that, if taught and encouraged, could unite all of mankind.";
The Trees in My Forest by Bernd Heinrich.
This is a wonderful book. Check it out at Amazon.com.
07/22/2002: We've planted nearly 80,000 nuts, seeds, 1,
2, and 3 year transplants.
We've sprayed, dug, stomped, picked, mowed, collected, and nursed
nuts, acorns, seeds.
We've learned about planters, spayers, squirrels, hawks, deer,
grasses, broadleaf, Semazine, release, plans.
We've taken advantage of government programs (CRP, Forest Tax Law,
Managed Forest Land Grants, DNR nurseries) and have formed a close
working relationship with our DNR county forester!
We've also learned about logging companies, thinning, "High-Grading"
(we learned about this the hard way!), consulting foresters, contracts.
And we've watched as all the farmland surrounding us was sold off
to developers and planted into ugly houses surrounded by acres of
Maybe we started this web site too late...
-Stuart (the Treenut)
PS As a way of continuing my Treenuts chronicle I have also started
a new web log here. This makes it easy to share information, update
on new developments sustainable forestry, and pass along links to
other chronicles. The entries below change somewhat irregularly
but there will usually be a few days worth. You can access previous
entries by selecting from the list at the end of this page.