We knew there was a chance of rain ruining the drive. When I got up, I checked weather.com and saw little risk of precipitation until around 3 P.M., at which time things got riskier. Cliff decided to watch the TV weather-guessers, who said rain was coming right then. Now that's quite a difference in forecasts, so Cliff called the club member who was in charge of this little ride and asked if it was still happening. Yep, he said. It was.
We learned that the Rasa family established the orchard in 1922. Of course it was much smaller then. It's a family operation, with the brothers, their wives, and their children who are old enough all having a part in it. I asked him if they all get along, and he said yes. Then he explained how the work load is divided up among them. There is also a cattle operation on the property, and one brother takes care of that, along with the haying and other work that goes with it.
Norman's main job is to oversee the orchard. They have six year-around employees, but they hire around forty people to work in the shed during harvest as well as the migrants who pick the apples.
Times have changed since I worked for Larry. The government has a whole bible of rules to follow, and there are federal inspectors visiting, even during the off season, checking everything out. The machinery that sorts the apples is high-tech, and Norman said the replacement value of all the computer-run equipment would be at least a million dollars.
Louisburg Cider Mill in Kansas.
This was probably the best tractor drive I've been on, mostly because we did something besides just ride around on back roads at twelve miles per hour. It's a shame there was such a low turnout.