‘Save the Nut Tree!”
“Save the Steelheads!”
These are all familiar themes here in S’lano County, where men are men and women drive tomato harvesters to the bowling alley on Friday nights.
Unfortunately, none of these rallying cries seem to inspire the collective imagination for more than about 15 minutes every six months or so.
Vacaville’s historic Nut Tree site – once the toast of Northern California travelers – has become a haven for itinerant jack rabbits and seasonal tumbleweed infestations. The Solano Steelheads haven’t picked up a baseball bat since August and agricultural land is being gobbled up by rampant residential development and fast food restaurants.
Even dairies are having a tough time finding a home on the bucolic county’s sprawling pasturelands. Cows, it seems, smell funny and sometimes make noises that could lower neighboring property values …
Just about everyone seems to agree this is a sorry state of affairs and there’s plenty of head shaking around the bar at TJ’s Tavern. But nobody’s ready to step up to the plate with the kind of good old American know-how needed to save any of these endangered S’lano County treasures.
There is hope, though, if we move quickly and decisively to preserve the region’s unique heritage.
The trick will be to combine all three of these beloved local institutions into one self-supporting enterprise that will be attractive, fun and educational while paying for itself and providing milkshakes for thirsty children everywhere.
If we play this right, the old Nut Tree will be alive, well and bigger than ever before.
Yes, it’s time to open the doors on The Old Nut Tree Dairy Farm Stadium – bring the cows and the baseball fans will follow!
This is really a very simple concept. Kids like baseball and ice cream and cows. Parents like anything that will keep their kids away from drugs and automatic weapons. And senior citizens like anything that will keep their grandchildren away from hard time in San Quentin State Prison.
Think about it – what could be better than a colorful demonstration dairy (i.e.: ice cream tastings, cow-milking contests and a bully-go-round) at the site of a low-mileage baseball stadium?
The possibilities are endless. Do this right and everybody goes home happy with one of those goofy little milk mustaches.
Admittedly, we might have to change the name of the Solano Steelheads to the Vaca Vacas or the Gorgeous Guernseys, but it’s a small price to pay for saving the Nut Tree, agriculture a nd minor league baseball in one master stroke.
Throw in some comely milkmaid tour guides, book weekend concerts by the Beverly Beer Bellys and offer udder-shaped hot air balloon rides in the springtime and Vacaville will once again be pulling in wide-eyed tourists from Antioch to Arbuckle.
Please, don’t fall all over yourselves thanking me. Seeing the smiles on children’s faces when they stream through the gates of The Old Nut Tree Dairy Farm Stadium will be thanks enough …
Originally published November 17, 2002