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Guys and Gals,

For those of you who have any interest in seeing the actual harvest of the walnuts you snack on or find in your cakes and pies, the links below provide some interesting watching. The first segment shows the same size trees in the orchard right beside the one we harvested in Red Bluff, California. These huge Hartley variety trees are about sixty years old. The second segment is in the same farm and shows the Chandler variety trees. You can clearly see several things which are germane to the future of gunstock wood harvests from commercial orchards in the next ten or twenty years.

First, the older trees that were planted on fifty-foot centers are all being replaced as they reach their fiftieth to sixtieth years of production. These are the only trees big enough to actually yield wood that is wide enough for gunstock use. Second, the big trees are all being replaced with newer varieties - visible in the second clip, planted on twenty-foot centers - which produce faster, produce more heavily and, subsequently, lose productivity and are removed after only twenty-five years. The Chandlers you see in the second clip are eleven years old and will produce for only another fourteen years. They will never be big enough to yield anything for gunstock use and will go straight into the chipper when harvested.

When folks in this industry reveal that commercial sources are drying up, they're telling the truth. It isn't because the land is being converted to industrial or residential use, but rather that the current commercial walnut varieties, those planted within the last twenty-five years, are simply never going to be big enough to yield wood for our use.

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrWx7HA8KlE
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bj5tEn2Jta4


For your viewing pleasure, Mike Mann White Creek Gunstock Blanks LLC
 

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How I remember eating that dust. I grew up just south of there and my family owned hundreds of acres of almonds and walnuts. I worked in the harvest every fall right up until the day before school started. I drove a broom that "rowed up" the nuts for the pick up machine, or picked up and delivered to the huller shed the trailers towed behind them, taking the empty trailer back with me. When the wave shakers first came out there was all this talk about that they would tear the hair roots off the trees and kill them and so on, but all they did was make a dirty job that much easier. I'm old enough to remember a cat tractor pulling heavy canvas tarps under each tree and men knocking the nuts down with hand held mauls made of a hardwood handle and something like conveyor belt material rolled up on on end. They would climb up in the tree to do that. Now without the need for men to get up there the trees can be pruned for far more efficient growth pattern. After knocking the nuts onto the tarp the men would lift the edges and force the nuts into a row, then shovel them by hand into a trailer. It was hard hot thirsty dirty work.
 

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A lot of widow makers in those trees. I can see where a limb still rests on the top of a cab. One scene shows a big limb crashing to the ground next to the shaker. I'll bet their pants were stained a little then.
 

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Ricks1,

Look closely at the big trees in the video. Although the productive part of the tree is the Hartley variety English Walnut, the black bases are all Royal Walnut which is a long-ago developed hybrid of your Eastern Black Walnut and Western Claro Walnut. Commercial orchards in California have a 100+ year history of grafting the English to the hardier Royal and Bastogne bases which draw water faster and are more resistant to natural threats than the more sensitive English rootstock.

Without some of your "good stuff" in the ground, there wouldn't be quite as many walnuts on the Holiday tables this year.

Mike
 

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Hap,

Hopefully it doesn't shake when you've got it mounted and moving toward a target. If it's P English, it may never have been shaken since most of their English Walnut did not originate in commercial orchards but rather from massive wild trees in Turkey or that general area of the world.

The shaking, at least in my case,. comes from the shooter, not the English.

Regards, Mike Mann
 
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