We get this question a lot. Usually people are referring to the cute little stump that comes with each and every one of our calendars.

Don’t you love it? It really is great, and it’s perfect for sitting on your desk.

So, where do we GET those stumps? The short answer to that question is we make them ourselves. But that’s only part of the story. The long answer is much more interesting, and you’ll probably learn a thing or two, so keep on reading!

Our little stumps are cut from old branches of a tree called an Osage Orange.  Or, as we call them, a hedge tree. If you live in the great plains region of our country you’ve probably seen them. Hedge trees are the ones that grow those big green balls known as hedge apples. They grow to about the size of a softball  (which makes them good for throwing) and they look like this…

Did you know that hedge trees are either male or female, and that only the female trees produce hedge apples? It’s true.

There are a lot of hedge trees growing around here. According to my dad, who seems to know a lot, the hedge tree is the most widely planted tree in the United States. No other tree has been planted more than the hedge tree, which seems crazy, but he went on to tell me why.

Way back when the great plains region was being settled the farmers and ranchers needed a way to keep their livestock contained. They needed fences. Since barbed wire hadn’t even been invented yet, they grew their fences. They’d take a whole bunch of hedge apples and grind them up to make a kind of a slurry, which was full of hedge seeds, and they poured that slurry into a trench that they had dug around their pasture. Then they would have to wait for their fence, or hedge, to GROW! Talk about having to plan ahead! Seems like a lot of work, doesn’t it? I’m sure it was, but that’s how they did it. Hedge rows were planted all over the great plains, and we have old hedge rows on our farm. Of course, they aren’t used as fences anymore. Today they look like this…

So, this is where our stumps come from! Now, you should know that we are not cutting down live trees just for this purpose. No, not at all. We actually gather up dead branches from old growth. Wood from a hedge tree is extremely dense and highly resistant to rot and decay, so these branches have probably been lying on the ground for a several decades. Seriously.

Gathering up all of that wood is only half of the job.

The miter saw has pretty much taken up residence in the unfinished half of our barn for the past couple of months. This is where the branches are cut up into little discs.

Look at that sawdust fly!

Now, I have to give my Dad all of the credit here. He has actually done most of the cutting for us, and we are SO thankful. There’s not an exact count, but I’m pretty sure he’s already cut about 1500 little stumps, and we still can’t see the end of the tunnel. Not quite yet. Thanks Dad!

After we chop up the branches we head over to the table saw to cut that little groove in the top which holds up the calendar.

I don’t know if you have ever used a table saw, but it’s kind of scary. That blade. It could get you. When I use the table saw I am highly attuned to where my hands and fingers are at all times.

Cutting the grooves involves sliding each stump across the scary table saw blade. We have a good system for doing this, which involves some wood blocks that hold the stump in place and keeps our fingers as far away from the blade as possible. Rule #1: Don’t. Touch. The. Blade.

 

So that’s how it happens. That’s where we get our stumps! From the plains of Callaway County, Missouri, straight to your desk top.

Make sure you visit our shop real soon to pick up your 2013 calendar. And while you’re there grab a few more – they make excellent gifts!

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P.S.

Erin, thanks for the use of the photo that I snagged from your instagram feed. You are the only person I know who has a photo of hedge apples. I think this proves that we are related. Get yourself home for a visit soon. We all miss you!

♥ Carrie