Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dayton "Dirt" - November 26, 2010

It’s finally time to pick out a real Christmas tree for an old-fashioned Christmas.
No, a real tree is not as convenient and easy as a pre-lit artificial tree but then that’s the fun of it.

The “fun” is the search for the perfect tree with just the right shape, needle length, color, height and width.

Getting outside in the fresh air and maybe snow with the entire family and you might just have to make a “day of it” instead of family members going his or her own separate way.

Our trees are all Ohio-grown and as I’ve written in earlier blogs, ours are very fresh!

The Owl Barn is filled with trees, gift items, poinsettias and such that give the inside of the building a Christmas glow.

You’ll have to come by to see the 11 foot Fraser Fir decorated against the north wall.

Its lit up with more than 800 LED lights that cut power usage by as much as 80% compared to the old incandescent types.

I like the LED Christmas lights as they are cool to the touch and don’t tend to dry out the tree.

For nearly 30 years, we’ve been making and displaying quite an array of grave decorations that are ready for pick up or delivery.

Live and artificial wreaths, door swags, roping and greens are displayed inside and outside the Owl Barn.

Come on down to take a look at our beautiful trees and displays and visit the new Owl Barn Market.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dayton "Dirt" - November 12, 2010

Without a doubt, the holidays are coming fast!

Our cut Christmas trees will be ready for sale by November 24th so that if you want the “pick of the litter” that would be the day to come over toe pick out your tree and have it held until you’re ready for it.

Our trees are from a small family operation in southern Ohio and are extremely fresh and of high quality.

I pick out about a dozen trees per year for customers that let me know the type and shape of tree they want.

Generally I do well except with rare exceptions on satisfying the customer.

The grave blanket business will be in full swing this week as we just cut our branches.

I will be delivering many of the grave decorations just before Thanksgiving although deliveries or pick ups go on until Christmas Eve.

In addition to the live greens and wreaths, we’ll also have many artificial wreaths, trees and grave decorations made up.

On the nursery front, even now is a good time to plant your favorite tree or shrub and we’ve got plenty in stock.

The large Maples we received just last week are gorgeous!

Hope to see you at our holiday open house November 26-28.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Dayton "Dirt" - November 5, 2010

Today the rain and/or snow is a welcome sight as the ground is still on the dry side!
Soil moisture is especially important for broadleaved evergreens as they tend to transpire water more than other evergreens so that adequate soil moisture is important while they are in the dormant stage.

We just received a large shipment of different varieties of Maples in a 2 1/2 “ and 3” caliper size and in the range of 12 to 16 feet!

This size of tree tends to be a size that you could call “instant” shade.
We have finished up covering our own overwintering houses with white plastic film and now are anticipating a run of mice in the houses that will eat bulbs, perennial roots and even bark off trees and shrubs.

Our way of dealing with mice is a good old-fashioned mouse trap baited with a single sunflower seed.

Its not unusual to kill 30-40 in the fall and winter season!

Well, its back to unloading trees and setting them up.

Arriving next week is a load of beautiful Cleveland Select Pears as they could not be dug until all the leaves had fallen.

I just don’t like wrestling around the 500 pound plus root balls!

Back to work,

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dayton "Dirt" Green Blog - November 2010

The debate about energy consumption, cost, carbon taxes, “clean” coal, wind and solar energy is sure to rage on for years to come.

One note of good fortune for most of us that heat our homes and businesses with natural gas is that the supply seems to be great and the cost relatively low as compared to just two years ago.

At the nursery, lower natural gas costs are a blessing as we typically use about 1400 MCF of this fuel to mostly heat our greenhouses for the production of annual flowers to be ready for sale in May.

Before the last surge in natural gas prices, heating the greenhouses was typically about 20% of the total production costs.

Even though gas costs seem to be declining, our goal is to increase production of annual flowers with less gas or at least using no more than our current consumption.

Three ways that we will achieve our goal of less natural gas use is from the 93% greenhouse heaters we installed last spring, heat curtains that close over the greenhouse crop at night blocking heat transmission through the roof, and by growing “cold crops” in a separate greenhouse where the minimum temperature for a quality plant is as much as 20 degrees than many other plants.

Some experts believe that at the current rate of consumption, the United States has a 62 year supply of natural gas with never drilling techniques.

You would think no one would question the lower natural gas cost but think again.

Debate is raging over the practice called fracking in which water and chemicals are injected at high pressure deep into shade rock foundations in New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia & Ohio.

The concern is that such techniques to extract the gigantic locked up reserves could damage ground water supplies.

If wide spread contamination of ground water does occur due to drilling, the jubilation of new found suppliers of gas at a lower cost will be short-lived.

How our water supplies will fare during this drilling boom only time will tell.