To say that 2020 has been a horrible tear is the understatement of a lifetime. Clearly, the virus created more than enough misery to keep us all busy. But that was only part of it. The rest had nothing to do with the bug and included an endless stream of equipment breakdowns, repeated week long rains, and an abundance of tropical storms and hurricanes so numerous that we ran out of names forcing us to use the Greek alphabet to fill in the blanks. But we were told it would be a ‘summer of love’, If this was love, please send us some hate. Each night at bedtime I pray that 2020 is never repeated; no ever.
Nonetheless, we worked hard to keep our proverbial chin up and make some forward progress. So, unless we are beset with some unexpected surprise, we are planning to switch from print to television advertising via cable and satellite. Since print media has all but ceased to exist and since our test runs with digital ads has shown them to be nearly worthless, television was the only other choice. The critical break came with the discovery of the new DMA system (designated market area). So be looking for our commercials this season. They will be running in markets from Baton Rouge to Bay St. Louis. And wish us luck.
Early data seems to indicate that we will be unable to assemble a worker group of the customary size. This appears to be the result of the generous unemployment benefits provided during the lock-down combined with the upheaval in the public school system. If his situation continues, our only option will be to limit services. So, if you know of anyone wanting to work, please send them to Shady Pond. Those individuals engaging in this kind of behavior are making a gigantic mistake in my view.
But, it is Christmas time once again. And, we hope to see each of you at this most magical time of year.
Christmas Tree Varieties:
Writing this section is really unpleasant. We are all more than saturated with this subject. It would be wonderful if Covid would just vanish. Nonetheless, a discussion of the prudent precautions in our unique environment follows.
--1.-- The tree farm staff will undergo a body temperature check prior to gate opening. Those with a elevated temperature will be removed from the property. A high speed infrared thermometer will be used.
--2.-- It is your responsibility to conform to social distancing practices based on your own knowledge of the health status of each member of your group. Use the tree locations as a guide as to distance. Tree rows are planted 8-feet apart and the trees within the rows are 7-feet apart. In both cases the tree distances exceed the commonly used 6-foot distance. In the checkout and processing areas, the ribbon stakes are installed on a 8-foot spacing. Use theses stakes as a guide.
--3.-- The tree farm intends to have sanitary wipes available on site. But the problem as we all know is availability. If they are not available from our suppliers, they can not be provided. It is prudent to bring your own supply of sanitary wipes to use as backup.
--4.-- Due to the strenuous nature of the tasks performed by Shady Pond’s workers, they must have full breathing capacity. As such they will not be using masks. so maintain accepted social distancing from unmasked individuals.
--5.-- Under no circumstances will workers be allowed to tie trees to vehicles. They will, however, place trees on top of vehicles and then depart the area leaving the tree for you to tie-down.
--6.-- Customers riding on wagons is prohibited. Actually, the deck on the green wagon is beginning to deteriorate but replacing it will be delayed to discourage riders.
--7.-- Shady Pond reserves the right to check the temperature of anyone on the property.
Being in the outdoor environment at Shady Pond with the naturally occurring large interpersonal separation reduces the risk of contracting Caronavirus to an absolute minimum. This is as good as it gets under current conditions. The guidlines above are intended to address situations were the risk is increased. Please follow these guidlines. Let’s work together to have a Merry and Healthy Christmas.
Picture taking has been a part of Christmas probably since the camera was invented. It is fun to do and an excellent way to preserve wonderful memories. Here at Shady Pond we have always encouraged our customers to record the magic of Christmas with photography from the farm.
But in recent years, the sense of entitlement that is so prevalent in the population at large has made its way to Shady Pond. In ever increasing numbers commercial photographers and their subjects have arrived here expecting to be given free access to the beauty of the farm and its operational features. Interaction with these intruders often reveals an ‘I deserve it’ mind set. The fact that the farm is a private business housed on private property means absolutely nothing to them. With rare exceptions these commercial photographers are uninsured. And this represents a major financial risk to Shady Pond.
It is frustrating that this kind of unbounded behavior can not be controlled through individual self-discipline and managed on the honor system. But since it can not be controlled by such methods, we are implementing the procedure described below. We sincerely apologize to our customers for the inconvenience it will undoubtedly cause. But to allow this behavior to continue without limit would not be prudent.
Linda Duhon of Linda Lea Photography has been designated as Manager of Photography at Shady Pond.
----Photo Permit Pre-purchase----
A photography permit can be obtained from Linda in advance by paying a $75.00 fee and executing a Liability Waiver. This transaction can be completed electronically.
Contact Linda Duhon at: 985-710-6565 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you purchase a tree(s), the permit fee will be deducted from your purchase and returned to you as a credit and/or in cash. And the liability waiver will be returned to you. If you do not purchase a tree, the permit fee and waiver will be retained by Shady Pond.
----Photo Permit on Site Purchase----
A photography permit can be obtained on site from the cashier by paying the $75.00 fee and by executing a liability waiver. If you purchase a tree(s), the permit fee will be deducted from your purchase and returned to you as a credit and/or in cash. And the liability waiver will be returned to you.
If you do not purchase a tree, the permit fee and waiver will be retained by Shady Pond.
Also contact Linda to schedule all-day mini-sessions.
You will hopefully recall that the new Leyland cultivar developed here at Shady Pond was registered by the Royal Horticultural Society in England as x Cuprocyparis leylandii ‘Leighton Green-Gernon’. The registration by the British was a major step forward since they serve as the global authority for the assignment of conifer names. But more work is needed to totally identify the new tree. The missing component is a morphological trait to distinguish it from other Leyland cultivars.
Dr. John Frampton and I discussed this need often but since the distinguishing characteristic of Leighton Green-Gernon was resistance to the fungal disease Passalora the one and only means of separating the new tree from common Leighton Greens seemed to infect both with the disease and observe the resulting difference. But Frampton advised that such a deliberate infection had never been done before and that perfecting the method would be time consuming, expensive and could result in an iffy outcome. Given the bleak prospects I focused on more readily attainable goals like fairly large scale propagation, distribution of plants and continued testing in the South and East.
Then in a flash, as it almost always does, Christmas time arrived again. It was 2019 when I decided to advance things a bit further by opening one row of Leighton Green-Gernon in the original test area for sale. I planned to gauge customer reaction to the new tree. Little did I know what I was about to learn. Customers began selecting Leighton Green-Gernon during pre-tagging and they along with every customer during the regular season all said the same thing; the vote was unanimous. Every single customer observed that common Leighton Green has a yellow tint but Leighton Green-Gernon is blue. Despite the fact that the experts were unable to identify a morphological trait, the amateurs found it instantly. This was truly embarrassing.
When I called John Frampton to tell him that the elusive morphological trait had been found , the news came as a real jolt. Once he recovered from the shock to his ego, he indicated that growers and researchers in North Carolina discovered a similar phenomena in Fraser Fir some years earlier. A group investigated the finding and identified wax on the foliage of the trees. Apparently the trees had secreted the wax which refracted the light into the blue color range. Wax production by plants is fairly common and if we can verify its presence it will explain the disease resistance. Wax is a protective coating limiting the access to plant tissue by pathogens. And it will in all probability extend shelf life by acting as an anti-transpirant by reducing moisture loss.
So the journey continues. And the task for 2021 will be to locate the wax and devise methods to quickly verify its presence.