Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.
Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.
Late winter and early spring is a good time to be catalog shopping.
For instance, all of my garden seed has been ordered, purchased and shipped - all from the comfort and convenience of the warming glow of my computer monitor.
On the tree farm winter is also maintenance and inventory time. That means time in the shed wrestling with the replacement of a balky brake switch on the tractor, lubing equipment, changing oil and filters and checking to see what else needs repair or replacement parts.
One of my favorite places to shop (on-line of course) is A.M. Leonard - Serving the Horticultural Industry Since 1885. I was shopping recently - mostly for sprayer parts and bulk herbicide - and I got to thinking that I didn't have to do any significant tree planting this spring. This is an unusual change in my routine.
I'm taking a break.
For the last half-dozen years or so I've been routinely ordering ordering a thousand or more trees from the State Nursery and diligently planting them on the tree farm.
For the uninitiated among you, planting one-year-old bare root stock is tedious and back-breaking work. You start with a forged steel planting tool to drive a hole into the ground. Then you take a baby tree, prune the roots, carefully place it in the hole, make sure the roots are not bent, check that the root collar is at the correct depth and stomp the hole closed. To plant a thousand or more trees is a monumental amount of bending and stooping. Plus all the while you have to keep the little trees cool and damp.
The net result is that for the duration of the planting project the beer fridge in the machine shed is filled with trees. Not beer.
A couple of years ago my wife abandoned me. Not literally - just the tree planting part.
Tom, if you are going to insist upon ordering all those trees then you can plant them yourself.
She had a point.
And because she is the brains of the organization she also had a brilliant idea.
Somewhere along the line she suggested that I drive the truck to Green Bay and go to where the day laborers hang out. I was to bring a couple of guys back to the farm, explain the job, feed them lunch, return them to Green Bay and pay them cash money for an honest day's labor. She figured they could accomplish all of the planting in one day - maybe less.
As is my nature I ignored her advice.
I'll show her a thing or two. Besides, there would be language difficulties. And I persisted in ordering large numbers of trees and planting them myself.
That is until this year.
So back to A.M. Leonard.
As I'm filling my on-line shopping cart I spied something that immediately caught my attention.
Wouldn't you know it - there it was - a brand new item!
Item #BK67 the Treegator English/Spanish Handbook. Common phrases for the job-site translated.
Just what every middle-aged tree farmer with a bad back needs.
No trees to plant this year but there's always next year.PS - You can read more tree farm tales over here at the other blog.