The beginning...

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:

  • 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.
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?

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 potential.
  • 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 for instance. 

The present...

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 grotesque lawn.

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.


  Return to Treenuts home Stuart Baker's home site



Intrduction to Treenuts
Planting 2003
Classic Treenuts Web site
Burr Oak from Seed (2002-03
Other things: