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Category: Ecological Enrichment

Finding Treasures in Nature

I am an expert in digging holes. That I can do. There is no shovel Olympics but if there was, I could easily bring home the silver. Every hole I dug began with a certain anticipation of what I would find. There would be dirt and rocks and sometimes a few cool rocks but what …

Category: Ecological Enrichment

Commercializing the Thimbleberry: The Cultivation of a Wild Plant

The thimbleberry represents one of those plants with a certain mystique around it.  Many people throughout the world know this plant in its northern arboreal habitats as well as in mountainous regions within the United States. It is one of many of circumpolar plants found on many continents. Yet no one cultivates it. Why would …

Category: Ecological Enrichment

One Farmer-One Mission-One Goal-Oaks

When I started my farm after college in the early 80’s I soon found out that my limited resources was not going to allow me to plant a typical orchard of grafted fruit cultivars let alone a barn to work in or irrigation. (That took me another decade to accomplish.)  I began to look for …

Category: Ecological Enrichment

Dreams, Pillows and Curiosity

The Milkweed Forest On one of my family’s Christmas tree farms a great expanse of milkweed existed. This was due to an over application of Simazine herbicide which sterilized the soil for several years.  This not only wiped out all existing vegetation, it prevented everything else from germinating.  Apparently milkweed was immune to this.  The …

Category: Ecological Enrichment

Dude, what happened to your corn?

It all started with jury duty. In this case, it was purgatory with magazines. The waiting room was stacked with magazines as it was the era before cell phones.  A Smithsonian article on corn and its possible origins caught my attention. I dove in. Apparently a scientist discovered a species of grass unrelated to corn …

Category: Ecological Enrichment

The Thicket Bean Makes a Return to Michigan

Last seen on Belle Isle, Michigan in 1896, the thicket bean established itself in the thickets of this island in the middle of the Detroit River. It was never seen again. “If native, this was surely at the northern edge of the range for this species” wrote Edward G. Voss in Michigan Flora Part 2 …

Category: Ecological Enrichment

The Last Great Hur-rye

Not too far from this wonderful slippery elm tree on my family’s farm was a great field of rye my father and I created. Like this tree, the rye field idea was latent and was not discovered until later in life. Who knew it was there all along? The field was the last thing we …

Category: Ecological Enrichment

The Musical Fruit Tree

To grow a pear tree as a source of wood for musical instruments seemed like a long shot when I first started. I got the idea initially from a Hohner pear wood recorder I purchased in high school. I had quit playing trumpet and needed another avenue. Please note I was not aware of Miles …

Category: Ecological Enrichment

Pawpaw Seeds-Create a Whole Forest

I am always surprised to find that no animals will consume the pawpaw seed. There is really only a very insanely small number of seeds that animals or insects will not eat. I often viewed my nursery seed beds as the most valuable portion of my nursery as well as the most expensive buffet of …

Category: Ecological Enrichment

Plum Good: North American Plum Selections

Starting from beach plums, I began growing lots of plums at my farm in the early 1980’s.  I had no irrigation at the farm and filled 5 gallon buckets from my house 25 miles away. (I always had to take corners slowly!) I was a fan of yucca extract and humates and used them in …