Saturday, July 21, 2012

Always Make Room for Flowers in Your Gardens

When I was 20 years old, I was working in a hardware store while attending San Jose State.  An "older" cute guy (25 years old) used to come into the store all the time to purchase items as he worked across the street.  The owner of the store thought we should know each other so introduced us, 2 months later we eloped to Carson City, Nevada much to the horror of my parents because Frank hated the thought of having a big wedding.  We just celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary this week and I still feel he is the most wonderful guy in my life. Where does the time go????
Over the years Frank has restored a great many vehicles, a 1960s Porsche; VWs; old trucks; 1933 Pontiac; so many, I have forgotten.  His latest project is the 1947 Ford Tractor and it is now finished.
Before picture.
I love the design on the front
Just finished.
 Flowers are everywhere on our farm, I just can't live without something blooming in the yard much of the year.  In the vegetable fields, each year I add more and more flowers not only because I love them myself, but because they have become part of our business too.  I had a special order for several bouquets from a wonderful lady this week who was giving a huge family party.  She brought me her vases and had a few special requests like the stargazers in one vase and my limelight hydrangeas in another vase.  But the remaining ones she said to have a "garden bouquet".  The arrangements had lambs ear; hydrangeas; zinnias; cosmos; mums; basil; mint; and a few surprises here and there.

 In a few weeks I have another customer who is having a special birthday party for a friend and has 40 people coming for dinner.  The theme is country and wants lots and lots of farm fresh picked flowers for the table.  When I finish those arrangements, I will post so you can see how they turned out.
We had our Pickled Dilly Bean canning class this week and had a good turnout and met lots of great people.  We had some door prizes (floral arrangements) fresh watermelon from the garden; and a basket full of fruits and vegetables.  Everyone learned how to can and went home with the finished pickled beans.

More canning classes are scheduled all summer long and will be held almost every other week since all the fruits and vegetables are becoming ripe.  The next one is set for August 1st to can peaches and to make peach jam.  Future canning classes will be to can tomatoes; learn how to make floral arrangements; making bread; painting furniture and lots more. 
Don't forget to be a "friend" of Windmill Farm on Facebook as I post about the classes there sooner than on the blog.
Happy gardening!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Painting an Antique Cabinet and Produce Harvesting

This last week reminded me of the President Harry S. Truman statement, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen".  It has been very hot and in Gridley, it has been hot!!  So if you don't like the heat, then you would have to stay out of the garden here in Gridley.
I have been getting up early to do all the watering, picking and some weeding and then do inside cores until about 7:30pm and then go out to the garden again until dark.  Honestly, the evening time is so beautiful.  I get to see the fabulous sunsets, I occasionally get to see wildlife trying to come out when cool and find water or dinner.  I very often see the owls that are nesting in our back owl boxes bring their babies out to hunt in the early evening.
 During the hot afternoons, I did some painting projects inside, of a couple of items I have been wanting to paint with the Annie Sloan paint. This was a cabinet that my daughter had but it didn't work in her house.  Frank put some casters on it for me as I wanted it up off the floor and able to move it around.  The outside was rough, but the inside was a beautiful mellow T&G wood, I just couldn't get myself to cover it with paint.  I painted the outside with Duck Egg blue of the Annie Sloan paint and only waxed the inside with clear wax.  I do not use AS wax as I have used Briwax for years and love it.  It comes in different stain shades or clear and very easy to apply.  I used the darker color Briwax stain over the chalk paint on outside and as I said, the clear on the inside.
Frank has been working on his restoration of his old Ford tractor.  I took these pictures to show how cute all the details are on it.  Hard to believe Ford would have put so much design into a fuel cap, looks like an Art Deco design on an old car.
Our crops have been just cranking out.  Each season Frank and I will say how one crop is doing well but another crop is not so good.  Our favorite crops are tomatoes and peppers.  Well this year, both crops are fabulous!!!  The tomatoes are not only tasty but look beautiful and the peppers are the biggest I have ever grown.  This last Wednesday was our CSA delivery boxes and in them our members received: strawberries, figs, squash, egg plant, green beans, tomatoes, 3 different kinds of peppers, peaches, nectarines, plums, basil and cucumbers.  Pretty nice variety I think from this small farm.  It made me feel so good to see one member's children run to the basket to see what was inside and grab a nectarine and start eating right away as we left it on their doorstep.  That nectarine was on our tree that very morning so we feel pretty good knowing that child is eating something so fresh and without any sprays on it. 

We have a Dilly Pickled Bean Canning class set for Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at 6:00pm.  Should be a fun class as I plan on having people actually pick some beans (some people have never picked beans before!!); I will show how easy it is to blanch beans to freeze; then canning instruction with people having a hands on experience on canning them.  I am going to have several door prizes given away-2 fresh picked watermelon right from the garden; giving away a country garden flower bouquet and a basket of our fresh picked peaches/nectarines/plums and tomatoes.  All for $25.  If interested, give me a call at 530-846-3344 or email me to sign up at
Have a wonderful week-
From Frank and Paula-Windmill Farm

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July

Go out and have some fun.
Enjoy being with family and friends today.

Be dazzled by the fireworks.

But most of all be Proud to be an American!!