07 September 2019

"Regrets, I've had a few..."

The photo above reminded of one regret.  In the 1960s I owned a small parcel of land (a couple acres) in northern Minnesota.  Not lakeshore, nothing special - some trees and a meadow.  At the time I considered planting a tree farm.  Seedling trees were available at the time at little or no cost from the Forestry Service.  I knew that hardwood trees like walnut would be a good long-term investment, but I was busy with my career and kept deferring the action.  Decades later I sold the parcel for a pittance.

Those trees would now be about 50 years old.  Not fully mature, but substantial in size (assuming no cowboy loggers found them and stole them).  And they would have monetary value as timber:
Black walnut trees are native to the central and eastern U.S, but also do well in other parts of the country, and are grown for both nuts and timber. A walnut orchard can take a few years to come into full production, but then produces up to 6,000 pounds of nuts per acre. Black walnut logs bring premium prices, and have since the 1700s, with single trees bringing up to $20,000. Bruce Thompson, author of “Black Walnut For Profit,” estimates a mature stand of black walnut trees can bring about $100,000 per acre in timber value alone. The fine, straight-grained wood is used for furniture, veneer and gunstocks.
If you are 50 years younger than me, take a hint...


  1. Thousand cankers disease is killing Black Walnut with 100% fatality rate here in the American West. Lumber from affected trees is usable, and safe to transport if it has been kiln dried. So if you had a large stand of it in the East, I'd suggest to harvest it before there's a glut. It's a shame, because they are rather beautiful both alive and as furniture.

  2. Like you, as I grow older, I keep finding things that, as much as I wanted to, I will now NEVER be able to do. That canteloupe farm on the plains of Colorado, with the beautiful Rockies looming to the west, and me allowing migrants to build permanent housing on the property and take 50% of the profits (in order to ensure their dedication to excellence, etc.)...it's not going to happen now. Unless....

    I will tell you something I believe God placed in my heart a while back as I pondered how I would ever complete my novel, etc. (still not there yet!):


  3. I'm amazed at the number of simple things I could have done, but didn't, that would be worth money now. I'm not talking about "if I'd only known"s; I mean opportunities that pounded on the door, wanting nothing but couch-cushion change, then to be forgotten for 40-50 years.

    I think the lesson is: get up and answer the door!

    (Emotions represented in this message are for reference only, and do not indicate actual depression or despair. Results may vary.)

  4. "The best time to plant a tree is 50 years ago. The second best time to plant a tree is today."
    ~ aphorism from somewhere or other

  5. I have a couple of mature black walnut trees in the back yard, but no one wants them. The trouble of cutting a tree in town is higher than its worth, according to tree cutters who want me to pay them big time. So I will keep the trees, and keep eating black walnuts.

    1. Wisconsin has an organization called "Urban Wood" that tries to help monetize city and suburban trees -


      Although we had a big oak fall in our backyard woods and the terrain made it totally impractical to harvest.

      You might consider inquiring with craftsmen (cabinetry specialists, woodcarvers etc) who might purchase a limb or two... ??


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