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Typical Day In My Back Yard

Discussion in 'General Off Topic Forums' started by usedto, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. usedto

    usedto Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    15,531
    Location:
    Central Moonbeamia
    The shredder showed up this morning:

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    And here's what's left:


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    Most of these pieces are 2-3" long and fairly thin. Once they dry and the mower hits them a time or two, there won't be much left.

    The Flory shredder really clips along. This field is 250 acres. He started about 8AM, and almost has a third of the field done already. Of course there's not alot to shred so he can move right along.
     
  2. usedto

    usedto Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    15,531
    Location:
    Central Moonbeamia
  3. usedto

    usedto Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    15,531
    Location:
    Central Moonbeamia
    From what I hear, this variety of almond can throw a pretty good crop their second or third year - enough to break branches in some cases. A crew is going through and tying the main branches in a basket shape to prevent them from sagging and breaking off when the nuts set.


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  4. usedto

    usedto Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    15,531
    Location:
    Central Moonbeamia
    Almost .6 inch of rain two weeks ago, plus close to 70 degree weather after the storm, and mother nature does her thing:

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    There are just a few blossoms in full bloom right now - in a week or two the field should be covered with white.
     
  5. usedto

    usedto Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    15,531
    Location:
    Central Moonbeamia
    This week's project - remove the ties.

    With the ties:

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    After it's removed:


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    The worker comes along, cuts the rope that was tied around the center of the tree first. Then, he winds one of the legs around the knife handle and gives it a jerk, then the other leg. Most of the time it pulls the "W" anchor gizmo out of the ground. If not, it cuts the twine and leaves it in the ground to rust away and go back to whence it came.

    The put the twine in a 5 gal. plastic bucket and dump them at the end of the row.


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    The trees are on their own now.
     
  6. usedto

    usedto Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    15,531
    Location:
    Central Moonbeamia
    POSSIBLE DISASTER!!!

    Weather around here for the last few weeks has been pushing the 70s - perfect for pollination.
    This weekend, a freaky batch of unsettled weather is passing through - no big deal - except for one thing - HAIL.

    A single cloud passed over the orchard this afternoon and dropped this:
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    Hail stones about 1/4" diameter - just big enough to knock fledgling nuts off the trees. All in all we got about .2 rain/hail in about 20 minutes. Still too wet to walk into the field and see how many nutlings are on the ground. A friend of mine who has an orchard about 5 miles away got nothing but a little shower - no ice.

    These trees still have quite a few late blossoms that haven't popped yet, so they may still make somewhat of a crop. Still, what's gone is gone. I'll take a photo once it's dry enough to walk out there.
     
  7. usedto

    usedto Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    15,531
    Location:
    Central Moonbeamia
    Looks like they dodged the bullet. It's been pretty dry up to this, so I could walk out this morning without sinking too far. Just an occasional bud on the ground - nothing worthy of noting.

    Glad to see that.
     
  8. usedto

    usedto Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    15,531
    Location:
    Central Moonbeamia
    NUTS: A few early ones.............



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  9. screenersam

    screenersam aka Blind Sugar McGee

    Messages:
    2,630
    Location:
    East of the Mississippi
    hoping the drought doesn't put you out of business
     
  10. usedto

    usedto Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    15,531
    Location:
    Central Moonbeamia
    This field has two options for water. There is a well (salty water), and they belong to one of the local irrigation districts. Luckily the trees are still small and can survive on a little less water that full grown.
     
  11. usedto

    usedto Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    15,531
    Location:
    Central Moonbeamia
    HARVEST TIME!!!

    Well, it's time to reap the benefits of the process. Unfortunately, the first harvest does little to offset the cost of the orchard planting, but the nuts need to be removed from the tree anyways. Since the trees are small and the crop is light, it is all being done by hand. A crew of 25 or so started the end of last week. Bamboo poles are the tool of choice for removing the nuts from small trees.


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    There are more weeds in the field than normal, but since there is no mechanical harvesting being done, it isn't an issue. As a side perk, the weed layer helps prevent the ground from drying somewhat.

    The nuts are raked into piles and scooped into 5 gallon buckets.

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    They are then dumped in a cart pulled by a tractor.

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    Normally, the trees are knocked with a machine that shakes them, then sweepers come by and sweep them into a windrow. After that, a pickup machine picks them up, does a rough pre-cleaning, and conveys them into a cart, which is then taken to a truck trailer and unloaded onto a field conveyor that lifts them into the trailer.

    The carts they are using here have bottom dumps, so they are putting all the nuts in a single windrow in the middle of the field that will be picked up by the mechanical harvester when they're done.


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    Note all of the dust up ahead. That is coming from the orchard across the street, which is a year older. It was harvested completely by machine, so I walked ahead so see if I could get a photo. Pretty dusty and I had to shoot between cars, but here's the pickup machine and one of the newer self-propelled carts that follow the machine.


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    Here's the next cart that will take the place of the other when it fills up. The pickup machine never has to stop.

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    I imagine they'll bring that machine to pick these up when they're done knocking here, so I'll try to get closer photos then.

    Here's the nuts straight off the tree with hull and shell

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    Hulled

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    And shelled.

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    Last edited: Sep 4, 2015
  12. onwardjames

    onwardjames Hoardimus Maximus Subscriber

    Messages:
    14,527
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Yummy, thanks for sharing things right in your backyard.
     
  13. Hyperion

    Hyperion Roobarb & Custard Subscriber

    Messages:
    37,400
    Location:
    Hertfordshire, UK
    Those shells can be really tough to break, you need a 'proper' nutcracker for them.

    Interesting series of pictures - thanks for posting.
     
  14. usedto

    usedto Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    15,531
    Location:
    Central Moonbeamia

    These are softshell almonds - easy to open with your fingers. Hardshells are generally used as pollinators in the Nonpareil variety. They have really tough shells.

    This particular variety is self-pollinating so there is no need for interplanting.
     
  15. Hyperion

    Hyperion Roobarb & Custard Subscriber

    Messages:
    37,400
    Location:
    Hertfordshire, UK
    Another thing I have learnt from you and AK !

    I don't think I have ever come into contact with a 'soft shell' almond. We don't grow almonds commercially in this country, so everything is imported.
     
  16. usedto

    usedto Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    15,531
    Location:
    Central Moonbeamia

    The Nonpareil, a softshell, has been the most popular for years. It's a nice size nut and appealing to the eye. They bring the highest price. Hardshells can be short and pudgy. They're also harder to get out of the shell without chipping the nut itself. They're cheaper to begin with being less popular, and even more so if still in the shell. They pretty much all taste the same, though.

    The Jordan almond is also a hardshell that's a little larger, but they command a good price since they're commonly candy coated and used as wedding favors, etc.
     
  17. ooba tooba

    ooba tooba Super Member

    Messages:
    2,760
    Location:
    NW Ohio
    Interesting thread. Thanks for the information and pics:)
     
  18. btol

    btol Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    837
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    Yes. Thanks for sharing. I eat a lot of almonds and have always wondered about how things operate at the various farms we pass by whenever we drive out of or back into the Bay Area.
     
  19. usedto

    usedto Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    15,531
    Location:
    Central Moonbeamia
    Since the equipment was already across the street, they decided to pick up what was already windrowed. Here's a front shot of the pickup machine. It straddles the row and picks the nu[ts up, then run the nuts over a screen to let the small dirt fall out, a large screen to remove any branches that might be in there, and a fan that removes the majority of the leaves.

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    A conveyor at the rear of the machine drops the nuts into the cart in tow. There are augers that spread the nuts out evenly.

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    Here's the rear of the holding cart. Notice the gizmo under the elevator with the hydraulic hoses hooked to it. Now look at the front bumper of the self-propelled cart in the next photo.

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    When the holding cart attached to the pickup machine fills up, the driver of the transport cart drives up behind and pushes on that gizmo in the previous photo. That activates the elevator in the holding cart, and the nuts are transferred to the transport. Once full, he backs off and the conveyor stops. He then turns off and heads to the truck trailer to unload. Also, note the hinged door just above the "bumper".

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    Here's the augers in the cart that move the nuts to the rear.


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    Straddling the row

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    Nuts going into holding cart

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    And the final step - into the truck. The transport cart drives straight onto the field loader, aligning that front hinged door with the base. The door opens, and two large cylinders raise the rear of the cart bin, dumping the nuts onto the conveyor, which lift them into the trailer.

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    When full, it's off to the huller.
     
  20. mfrench

    mfrench Super Member

    Messages:
    4,242
    Location:
    Friendly Village of Fallbrook
    I've spent some time in a town called Winters, west of Sac'to. My friends lived there, and, I had an open invite to stay there when I'd go to the north bay area for concerts.
    One night, their neighbor directly behind them (large acreage of almond trees) decided it was a good time to harvest almonds, all night long.
    They had a tractor-like machine that came along, and spread an upside down umbrella under the tree, and another arm that would reach out, and clamp to the tree, and shake the heck out of it. The almonds would drop out of the tree, and into the umbrella, which would somehow transfer them into a collector.
    OK,... that was a long sleepless night in an otherwise really quiet little town. That tree shaker made the ground shake like an earthquake, and, clatter really loud.
     

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