Before I get into all that, some quick farm news. We hear back from the county next month….I am pretty wore out with waiting, luckily work has been busy and keeping me somewhat focused. Somewhat. The apples from the old tree at the Bunion are excellent, and we put as many as we could to good use. I think it is a Gravenstein.
And, they have finally finished the logging. I am really glad that they got the bulk of that work done before we bought, as they have grrred all over the farm. The upside, we got a lot of new rock on the farm roads and should have quite a stash of firewood from the slash piles. The downside, well, you can see the downside.
I have been spending a lot of my spare time in the last few years trying to acquire the skills and information I’ll need to make my business and farm work. I have never had my own business before, and while I feel pretty good about my abilities to raise animals (at least rabbits and honeybees and chickens) and grow vegetables, and in general build stuff like greenhouses and fences and animal housing, I am much more nervous about the business end of things. In particular, marketing. The first thing I need? A good farm name. I played around with this for a long time, and came up with a lot of names:
Here’s a partial list: corny names (Soggy Pocket Farm),slightly off color names (Horny Goat Farm, Dirty Hoe Farm), just plain bad names (Silly Goose Farm) names that were already taken (Sidewalk’s End), Portlandia style names (Do It Yourself Farm), minimalist farm names (Earthy), obscure literary reference names (Yeasty Ferment Farm), brutally honest farm names (What You Really Want is a Pony Farm, Midlife Crisis Farm), bad pun farm names (Wiseacre Farm, Rural Growth Boundary Farm), low moment farm names (Invasive Nonnative Farm, Weed and Feed Farm), homage to Joel Salatin farm names (Your Ass is Grass Farm), gen X farm names (MudHoney Farm….may be some trademark issues with that one, but a pretty good Oregon farm name I thought!), AC/DC inspired farm names (Dirty Deeds Farm)….the list went on and on. And there, at the very end of the list, maybe 4th from the bottom of over 60 possible farm names, there it was. Long Run Farm. Now this farm name has a story, which is the second thing I need for marketing.
Long Run is what my family has always called that beautiful piece of land outside of Shelbyville, Kentucky that my grandfather Roscoe Dalton bought with his cousin Ed Dumesnil back in the late 50’s. Papa D bought that place I think not with an eye to its usefulness as a piece of agricultural ground (the soils are mostly clay, though there is some decent bottomland along the creek) but because it was beautiful, and in particular, it was really good foxhunting country with its gently rolling ground, brushy thickets, and year round streams and ponds. It was also good for raising some beef cattle and hay (and a LOT of white tailed deer), which is primarily what that farm has done ever since. But my grandfather started Long Run Hounds, and was famous for sweet talking all the neighboring farmers into letting him and his friends ride through the country chasing red and grey fox every winter, and he may have even convinced the horsier ones to come along. The creek that runs through it was always known locally as Long Run creek, though it was not officially named so until the 90’s (the name is actually redundant, as a creek in that part of Kentucky is often referred to as a ‘run’). When the hounds get on the scent of a fox and take off, and the field of riders follow behind as fast as they can get across the country, that is also called a run, so of course the name for us has always been a double entendre. When I was a kid we would have a big fish fry by the creek every summer, under a beautiful old sycamore. In the fall we would go to the Blessing of the Hounds, the opening day for hunt season, and of course, whenever Dad could drag me out of bed (which I am very sorry to report was not very often!) I would join the hunt in the winter time. The best part of the hunt really was when the day was over and we would all gather for a potluck around a roaring fire in the lodge, and I would listen to my uncle Stuart and Carl Rankin in particular tell hilarious anecdotes with the particular dry low key humor unique to that region (if you have read any Wendell Berry fiction you have had a taste of it). A lot has changed over the years, most of the surrounding countryside has been lost to development, the old sycamore is gone, but my family still owns that land (and the ‘back farm’, an additional property that was purchased later on). The hunt lodge is still there with it’s millstone step up to the porch, with pictures on the walls of my grandfather, my uncle, and lots of other colorful characters that are gone now too. Every time I go home my father and I make time to go out there and ride (or lately, drive) around the place. It is as beautiful as ever.
So, I will take the name Long Run for the Bunion as my little piece of family and of Kentucky that I can put into this Oregon venture. If we land the Bunion, I will have a little clay, a little bottom land, a year round creek (though it is by no means long, I think it heads up less than a mile from its mouth in the Tualatin), and lots of brushy thickets. And of course, it is a double entendre for us too, it has been a long run getting to where we are now (currently we often refer to it as Long Wait Farm), and we hope we will be there for a good long run, and of course, we will farm it with an eye for the long term too. Maybe I will plant a sycamore down by the creek some day…though perhaps it should be a red cedar, and we should have salmon bakes instead of fish fries under it, Oregon style.