One hundred years ago, George Dorris, a lawyer turned farmer, knelt in the soil between the soils of the McKenzie and Willamette rivers and planted five acres of hazelnut trees. Dorris’s trees were the first commercial hazelnut orchard in Oregon.
With that orchard, Dorris planted the state’s hazelnut industry. Over the years, he planted a dozen more orchards and established a hazelnut nursery that operated for 40 years and produced about 70,000 trees per year.
Today, about 650 Oregon families grow hazelnuts commercially on 28,000 acres throughout the Willamette Valley. It’s estimated that more than half of those trees came from Dorris nursery stock.
“There’s been a lot of progress in the industry, but what was done with hazelnuts at the Dorris Ranch formed the starting point for where we are today.”
And today, Oregon accounts for 99 percent of the hazelnuts grown in the United States and is the third largest producer of hazelnuts in the world, behind Turkey and Italy.
The state’s harvest of hazelnuts, which are also called filberts, averages more than $30 million in farm sales. Hazelnuts have found their way into a distinctively Oregon cuisine. Dipped in rich chocolate, crumbled over a fillet of wild Oregon salmon, or munched whole and washed down with an Oregon microbrew, hazelnuts add flavor, crunch and a nutritional boost to snacks and recipes.
Hazelnuts are easy to love, but they are not always easy to grow. In the 1970s hazelnut growers in southwestern Washington discovered a fungal disease had swept through their orchards like termites, forming cankers that were slowly taking over the branches, it was eastern filbert blight. Spores carrying the blight travel easily in the wind and quickly contaminated entire orchards. By 1986, the blight struck the north end of the Willamette Valley.
In order to get more Oregon hazelnuts on the world market, growers must first get trees into the ground, and propagating adequate numbers of trees in a short time can be a challenge. To date, Oregon raises 99% of the United State crop. Many of our hazelnuts get sent out of the U.S. to places like China.
It takes about 5-7 years for the new trees to begin dropping hazelnuts. It is a waiting game for awhile. But we think it is well worth the waiting game. To our surprise on our farm; three generations now working on the farm we take care of our families as if they are family members.
There are times I second guess myself out of fear, being let down or someone else letting me down. Why is this? Am I truly just trying to make others happy or should I focus more on own happiness and make that be number one. So many people say you have to make yourself be happy first but isn’t that a load gun… ready to fire, type statement for all of us?
I feel I have to be the best mom possible to my children and I do put my own happiness aside because I am their mom. I figure it will all come back around when they graduate. I don’t know if this is right or wrong but part of me says I have to keep working on me…in five years what will be left of me if I don’t start focusing on me now. My children will be very busy in athletics, socially, and trying as hard as they can in school, just to complete high school and leave home.
I already feel my kids pulling away. It’s no longer cool to hold hands with me or put their arm around me when they are near their friends. It seems they want me less and less and Dad more and more. I wish I had a road map to being the best mom, the right mom, and give them exactly what they need when they need it. But the other side of me says, I would be doing them a grave dis-service because they are at the point where I need to let them figure somethings out on their own. (But not too much.)
I may be terribly judged for making this statement…but heaven for bid, I say something that most parents already think. Parents need parent time and it needs to be a priority. Moms and Dads both need time away from their children. Not because, you will both be running away from the kids screaming, “I can’t do this any more,” but because when you are in the full swing of parenting, people get tired, they focus only on the kids, and forget about the relationship and no one should neglect their partner for so long that one of them just starts to feel numb.
Romance, Intimacy, Sex, Conversations about things other than the kids, Foreplay, time without children, cannot be forgotten.
There was a time in my life that I stepped away and pulled back from all the people who loved me. I felt stuck in the life I had chosen and couldn’t talk to anyone about it. I was stubborn at my young age and was trying to convince myself that if I just pushed forward it would all workout.
I was falling deeper and deeper into an abyss of darkness and depression and unconsciously began to give up, thinking why would anyone want to hear me talk about this deep dark sadness that no one would understand in hearing. I was so tired of people telling me to just go work out and everything would feel better and be better.
I had thought about my first marriage starting with this burden but had told myself it was the only way. What a crazy thought right? I actually had to convince myself to go through with the wedding.
I sat in this beautiful white dress with a vail draped over one shoulder, eating apple slices, and I was in such a state of panic that I couldn’t contain my nerves and started to have a panic attack. My dear friends and sister were in that room and after I took my anxiety medication, the chaos and stress seemed to slip away. It was as if I was looking through rose colored glasses. Everything was blurry but I felt okay. I was ready to walked down the isle.
When I look back now I wonder how many people thought that marriage was a bad idea. On my side or his side, I am sure there were both. His eyes were welled with tears when I walked to face him and my dad kissed my cheek and presented me to him. Giving me to him and I stood there wanting my dad to say no but he did not.
We got through the vows, the rings, the first kiss, and back down the isle to sign the marriage license. The music swirled around us, people eating and enjoying the venue and love that filled the room that everyone was feeling made me dishonest. I knew that I loved this man but there were too many barriers, too many reasons I should have said no, and they hurt we had caused each other already was unrepairable.
There was a scuffle about what to cut the cake with and why his mother had to be involved, and a gift was given to my new husband but not to me…it was only for him. I cried in the parking lot as his real father and step mom were leaving. Wasn’t this supposed to be the best day of my life?? Why was I hurting so much and why was I alone?
Soon after our married life began, after the honeymoon, we were home trying to fix the problems we had before. They didn’t get better, easier, or go away. They, in fact, got worse. We both tried to figure things out but papers were signed, Thanksgiving my family moved me out of our house in the pouring rain. The rain felt right on a day like that, I was exhausted with my own tears so the rain helped because I was numb. I was numb and I was empty.
I would love to tell you that love won out in end, we had some amazing reconciliation, but we didn’t. There is more to this story but today I’m not ready to go any deeper. As I still feel this sense of loss for the mistakes I made, the part I took in breaking the “us” we once were. I can say, that he is happy and I am happy for that!
I watched his large hands under the facet sink every day when he came home from work. Suds bubbled as he rubbed his hands together under the water and greeted us with a hello. His hands were wet and reached for the dishtowel on the orange counter top. Both wrapped around me in a circle when hugging me.
These hands gripped an ax during the summer as our family chopped wood to make money for school clothes. They threw wood into the bed of the pickup we drove. Gripping the chainsaw handle and showing us the way to work and work hard. Our small hands stacked and organized the wood in rows in the bed and just high enough so he could see out the back window. His hands were often calloused and cracked in the summer but those same hands could be soft and gentle.
When I was sick, his right hand cradled a spoon and feed me nourishment and medicine, held a thermometer in my mouth and wiped my tears. His other hand would rub my forehead and push my hair out of my face. Those hands were comfort for me for many years, he cradled my hand in his as I learned to walk, and as an infant, I am certain my tiny fist was wrapped around one of his fingers.
All through childhood I watched those hands teach us right from wrong and sometimes showed us stern punishment if we needed discipline. As they could be tough, calloused, rough, and thick skinned they could also be the opposite. His hands were stable, strong, gentle, and always secure in their love for his children.
He could fix any car engine with those hands and stroke piano keys and guitar strings in perfect harmony in the same day. Those hands made music. Music that was so amazingly beautiful I will hear it for the rest of my life. I will always be able to see his fingers on those keys and on those strings; in only his hands purity dripped from those fingers.
The best thing about his hands were the way they looked in my mom’s hands. Her hands were small and delicate, soft and loving. He took care of her hands and cradled her heart with them. They fit together like puzzle pieces and the hours they were together far outweighed the time they were apart. I will always remember their hands together and the way it felt for one of his hands to hold mine and the other to be held by my mother.
Today, I went back to a place that I haven’t been in awhile. Rather, I went back to an activity that I haven’t done in awhile. I found myself in three different classes in Turner, Oregon. Each class was about 30 students and I found a passion ignite in me that I thought I didn’t have anymore or at least, I forgot that I had.
Side note #1: Back November 2015, after many years at the same job I painfully came to the decision that I needed to leave. Not because I wanted too but because my children were struggling with school and had just moved to the middle school. It was a difficult transition and I knew if I didn’t leave my job I couldn’t give the amount of time and energy to what was my #1 job…being a mom. I remember the day, crying and saying, “I have to resign.”
I left something I loved doing and something I believed was important for students to know about (agriculture) because I knew I could never get this time back with my children. Years pass by so quickly with children and every day that passes, they change, and with the difficulties they were having I couldn’t possibly not leave my job. Today, I know I made the right choice.
Yesterday, I went to the middle school and found that both of my boys were chosen by two different teachers’ for a “Teacher’s Choice” award. They both were recognized for their smiles, positive attitudes, their drive, and they never quit when it gets tough – this made me very proud. The assembly went on and without really paying attention I heard one of my son’s names called for Honor Roll. I was shocked, fumbled for my camera and got one picture. This showed me I made the right choice. Both of my sons are thriving!!
The job I left was with Oregon Agriculture in the the Classroom. I worked there for quite a few year’s and I loved it! Still to date, my favorite job! I loved the people I worked with. I believed in the message of the program to share agriculture with students in the state of Oregon and to educate students about what agriculture means to all of us.
There all things about every job that we like more than others but for this job, it was simple. For me, it was teaching students about agriculture. I could be having a rough morning; the kind you really don’t want to get out of bed but when I walk through the door of almost every classroom I have been in I thrive! The curiosity in their eyes when they look at me gives me such a rush, I know that I will be able to teach them something they didn’t know before they arrived that morning and I know each one of them will take a piece of that information with them!! It’s a challenge. I walked in those rooms today, I knew how to present, how to grab their attention, what to talk about, and I knew they would listen. It was awesome!!!
Side note #2: During my job interview, I couldn’t define the word “agriculture”, like at all! I couldn’t say farm, dirt, truck, tractor….and I actually requested that we come back to that question. (Oh, the embarrassment!)
I have always had a goal to make sure I get an “ohh” and an “ahhh” out of a teacher during my presentations. When I run out of those, I need to educate myself more. (Or at least that is what I think.) I research and I find something else, sometimes it takes a lot of digging. Politely, I love having a teacher ask me a question I know the answer to and seeing the surprise in their faces. This was always something I did in my job. I wanted teachers to know without them noticing that I was one step a head. I took so much pride…. real pride, in teaching about agriculture and the importance of it when I was working!
I am confident that I am able to teach students something new but when I can teach the teacher something…that is what I want to do!! That is the good stuff – the sweet spot! I love love teaching students but when I can stump the teacher…that, is the sweet spot!
The students are amazing (not all of the time) but I know how to command the attention in the room…I’d like to say I inherited that from my father (a teacher for over 30 years). He was an awesome teacher not because he was my dad but because now at 39, I still have people on the street ask me about my dad and what he is doing and they always, always share something about how my dad impacted their lives. Now, that is a good teacher! Who wouldn’t want to be remembered that way. I only wish that as I get older and when I perhaps pass that people talk about me the way they talk about my dad.
So, today after teacher three classes. I am honored to do it again. Monday, in fact I am lucky enough, I get to teach again. Not because it’s my job any more but because I truly love it. I am passionate about it and it makes me see the world differently. Seeing something through the eyes of a student or young person can change your life. I know when I am teaching about agriculture, I make an impact and I know I am good at it!
Today, I made a difference. I taught about 90 students, three teachers, and someone peaking threw the door.
We drove for miles, tracing the road with one headlight. In the front of the car there was chatter of fumbles, passes, and touchdowns during that night’s game. The asphalt curved around a bend in the road beneath the 80’s Honda Hatchback. A dent in the front bummer from rear-ending someone.
The night was so dark, the windows were down and I could see my breath in the crisp moonlight. She sat next to me, long locks of blonde hair curled around each ear, she smiled and giggled at the conversation in the front seats. I never knew why because the conversation wasn’t funny.
She was so much fun and for a shy girl who never really knew where she fit, this was the girl everyone wanted to be around. She was something! She was beautiful, she was my friend, and her energy and laughter were magnetic.
Maybe that is how I found myself in this car. She liked this boy so much and I came with “her” to keep her company. The driver turned his conversation to her and he reached back with one hand and stroked her leg. I was so cold, the window still down and the first words I spoke were, “please, roll the window up.”
The other guy, there to amuse me, I assume, didn’t seem to want to talk but I guess, neither did I. The road turned to gravel and it felt like we were driving on uneven ground for miles but to tell you the truth I have no idea where we even were…at all. I had this uneasy feeling as we started up a hill and around a corner, the car slowed and we stopped in front of a huge metal gate like the entrance to a spectacular home.
We all got out of the car, it was still and quiet. Tree branches crackled under our feet, overgrown with weeds we found our way around the gate. He held her hand and the other tried to hold mine but I pulled away. Bats above our heads and the wind blew threw the trees sending the fall leaves to the ground. We continued on the incline up the hill, I was shaking partly from the cold and partly out of fear.
We broke off into couples and as we walked further we found the foundation of what looked to be the beginning of a building. We stepped further, he grabbed for my hand and this time, I took his. We crested a hill and found what seemed to be three walls of a home. We stood there on the wooden floor in the center of this building. The floor was covered in leaves, branches had fallen, two-by-fours cast about…I looked up to the darkness and closed my eyes. Whatever this place was, it had been abandoned and it seemed like years since anyone had been there.
The Douglas fir trees whispered around me and I caught a glimpse of the moonlight. I heard giggling from somewhere in the darkness. I turned around to face him and before I could speak he kissed me.
I have seen this quote before or different forms of it. It sends a slight nervous feeling down my spine, an uneasy feeling in my stomach, and a quietness in my mind. Memories flood back. Something flawed and something I regret, something that would probably cause people to judge me. I know I could make a difference…even if only, to one person. Raise awareness…
I am considering speaking about something in my life that happened. I am so worried about what people will think if they hear me speak…maybe, not that I amworried but worried about what it will make my family feel. I don’t want to embarrass anyone or have this be a reflection of others around me.
I know I have something to share, a point of view, something that will “split me open” and I don’t know if I am ready for it. It often floods in and out of my mind, my writing and I always erase or delete it…I keep telling myself, let it go.
Family is Family by Kasey Musgraves (humorous song…does not depict my family. I love humor!!)
I used to think so much about my childhood, (I still do just not as often) I held it to a higher standard than everyone else’s. I thought my family was pretty awesome. I held my parents on a pedestal for being high school sweetheart’s and still being together and in love, for being just great parents, they loved us all, and supported us, taught us right from wrong and when it was time for us to step out on our own they allowed that with much support.
I think it was the most difficult on me (among my siblings). I came home every weekend from college never wanting to go back but I did. Every weekend my mom would come get me my freshman year, it was the best feeling getting back in her car and feeling safe, I was a part of my family and I was going home. I made it through the year and eventually ended up back at Oregon State, closer to my family and friends.
I still hold my parents on that same pedestal. I love them both so much…with all my heart, I know I don’t say it enough but I hope they feel it. I am, who I am partly because of my childhood with them. So many many memories of Happiness-I remember being taught lessons for mistakes that I had made as a child and I know now, why I was punished and the importance of that punishment. I understand because daily I now face the same situations with my own children.
There was a certain time in my life that I started taking steps without them. They may not have liked all of them but they did support me. There were disagreements along the way but I kept pushing forward. I needed to find me, who I was without them but still needed so badly to know they were there for me…and I always knew they were.
As I have grown, I know that families come in all forms, it no longer is just a mom and a dad… and I value the diversity that my children now see and are living through. What once seemed like the only way when I was very very young, is now history. Letting my children see that there isn’t just one way to make a family, that diversity is good and normal, and that my children respect everyone for who they are. This is something that is so important for me to teach my children.
Many of my friends have parents who live outside the United States, outside the state they live in or don’t speak to them, or just only see them for holidays. I feel I am lucky because my parents were just that, my parents. There were always there and still are.
I don’t claim life is perfect, I don’t claim my childhood was perfect, and even now family situations happen but I try my best to move on and push past things that have brought me down, caused pain, and sometimes loneliness. Life needs to move forward, keep going, and not looking back helps!
There is this strange thing that happens when you marry and create your own life. We have chosen our paths, all have children who we now are trying to show them our way (our beliefs), we are making our way in adulthood with the foundation our parents built us. We have made our own choices that might not have been what our parents wanted for us but we chose and we were allowed that freedom. At 39, I am just going to throw this out there-I still worry about what my parents think of my choices.?!?! I still seek their approval?!?!
I have been married 13 years and there are ups and downs but I always find my way back to my family. My parents helped show me that, always go back. My husband and children keep me calm, keep me laughing, challenge me DAILY, keep me level, and give me the world and some days are just rough days for me and those are days, all three of my family show me a million little ways they love me.
I am not perfect; I am perfectly flawed. Thank you, Dad and Mom for always having my back even after 39 years.