Glad you are back and healthy.
I have 4 dorm fridges full of chestnuts and sawtooth oak in my basement. I have buried buckets underground on the shady side of my house for 2 years, I will be digging up the 2nd group in about 2 months. I use 2 gallon buckets and like to use play sand to layer the nuts in. It has worked well, I use the same hole each year. That is how the old timers winterize their stashes. I hit rock in the ground due to a basement wall (house built in 1952) so I put a small rectangle of wood to build the right depth. The top of those buckets are 9 to 10 inches beneath the surface.
My change in approach was guided by I want as many of my seedlings as possible feeding deer. People are so busy that they don't have time to grow the seedlings or if they do, they make great killers (sudden death). So my satisfaction comes from me growing good seedlings and giving people a chance to plant them.
Regarding how many chestnuts I have shipped via the Postal Service, the number is 22,420 since I began in 2014. At my busiest time, I had over 700 bucks out in postage. I stopped shipping until some of those funds came back to me. People are great at paying, I only had one jerk from Michigan that stiffed me. Unfortunately, people are horrible at returning growing containers. Over half have not returned their containers from the last 3 or 4 months. But that is part of the process to put nut bearing trees in front of the deer and turkeys.
I am using worm castings in my planting holes this week, 1st time ever. I am about to compost effectively, still got my learners hat on now. Purchased an aerator tool from Home Depot and I love it. I will post photos and explain the process later. Our farm was logged, and I run into compacted soil especially on ridgetops. So I am amending the soil some and definitely improving the aeration. I have been brewing compost tea in the past and 2023 is gonna be a huge compost tea effort. The aerator tool will help me get that resource closer to the roots.
Lake Erie Chestnuts helped me get a good metal tag system acquired. He is on Facebook is how we crossed paths. He is a nice guy and good resources. I use Route 9 Cooperative in Eastern Ohio, formerly the Empire Chestnut Company. Greg Miller who heads that up is the chestnut whisperer of all the whisperers IMO.
I added a 15 gallon stainless steel kettle to treat my chesntuts to 120 F water to kill weevils. Water heater elements usually have a low setting of 120 F. I am pleased with how that turned out. I am confident the germination will be normal for those chestnuts - stay tuned????
So even with me laying low, I have been active with my trees. I have lived long enough to know the giver gets more than the receiver. The seedlings are my way of giving back to the whitetail deer. I will turn 70 in late April and I have hunted whitetails since I was a 12 year old boy. So I believe I need to give back.