Since retiring from the computer business in 2008, I have spent increasing amounts of time developing Dexter Tree Farm.
I still dance a lot and travel from time to time. I am active in the Western Washtenaw Democrats. I keep my computer skills up enough to run the tree farm and keep our home networking functioning.
It is the tree farm that keeps me active in mind and body as I approached old age as slowly as possible.
In January 2008, I met some folks at a nursery convention who were selling special pots that grow better trees. There were two competing companies claiming to have the very best equipment for doing this. When I found out that they both based their products on the research of the same person, Carl Whitcomb, I bought his book and read it from cover to cover.
I started seriously growing trees for fun and profit back in 1999 when I bought some superior Walnut seedlings that were supposed to grow into highly valuable veneer trees worth thousands of dollars each in only 35 or 40 years. I was 55 at the time and I had seen other people retire with nothing to replace the old job when they retired.
The idea of having an investment to manage that was fun, would occupy me for several decades and would pay off just about the time all the other retirement investments ran out was very attractive. Now I think that both the value and the time to market were overly optimistic, but I have learned a lot about planting and caring for trees.
10 years before that my wife and I bought a very large barn in the country that was partially converted into a house. We had married the previous spring and spent the spring and summer preparing for a series of dance performances in Denmark with 40 dancers and musicians from Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky.
In the summer we spent two weeks in Denmark eating, dancing and making lifelong friends. Then we spent 10 days in England introducing me to my new English relatives. It was not the best time for buying a new house, but this barn is a one of a kind, especially for a couple of folks who want a really big ballroom.
In the deal, the barn came with 50 acres of land and this was the beginning of my fascination with planting trees.
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