Monday, May 27, 2013

Making GardenScare Crows; 1st CSA Baskets and Canning Cherries

It has been a busy week here at the farm.  We packed and delivered our #1 CSA baskets to our wonderful members.  Unfortunately, I was so busy, I forgot to take pictures.  I started taking photos of the veggies as I picked, washed and bundled.  Then the time crunch happened and I had no time!!!In the baskets were turnips, beets, strawberries, apricots, small cucumbers, zucchini, pin wheel squash; snow peas, two types of onions, lettuce, two types of kale, Swiss Chard and cherries. A few of my members posted photos of the basket on Facebook which reminded me that I had not~~~
I was weeding the flower section of my garden when I remembered I needed to dress my scare crows.  All my gardens have figures in the garden, They are made by either raiding our own closets or picking some items up at yard sales as I see them and keeping them in the garage until I am ready for them.  I started out with the cross.  Then I started to dress them, last year I had 3, this year I have two.  I will show you the finished Mr. Scarecrow next time.  I think I may try and make a dog one. 
Bag full of clothes
Mrs Scare Crow

My friend Jackie called me and said her friend had a cherry tree that nobody was going to use and we could pick it.  So off we went on Thursday evening and picked the tree.  Friday, she came over along with some surprise visitors that showed up that night and we all canned our windfall cherries.  Sarah and Megan made a canned yummy sauce to put over cheese cake; Jackie and I canned some pitted cherries and some that we left the pits because we got tired of pitting!!! Canning goes so much faster and more fun when you do it with friends.  You would think my kitchen (we did it in the house!) would be covered with and stained, but it wasn't.  Only thing I had to do the next day was mop the floor as it was a little sticky.

What was really fantastic is Jackie brought sausages, fixings for a huge salad, rolls; Sarah brought a kale/cabbage/sunflower salad; I had a huge steak and we made all these things and shared a wonderful dinner.  After eating, we cleaned up and started our canning.  Wonderful friends!!
Best news this week is-the gopher that has been plaguing me in my garden eating my basil, the beets, the turnips the bean plants-has been out smarted by Frank.  Frank has been trapping him for 3 weeks, with each hole being filled in and a new direction made.  Well Frank put out 9 traps in a circle and the gopher had his last basil plant!!!  Thank goodness.  Farming is not for the "faint of heart". 
To the men and women in the armed forces; to the service people who have given their service or lives for this country, Frank and I give thanks to all of you, God Bless you on this Memorial Day.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Vintage Seed Packet Stamps, Flea Market & Farm Season Starting!!

Hello from Windmill Farm:  Hope your gardens are growing well.  More wind in Gridley this week as the temperatures went down, discouraging to try and go out and work outside. 
Our 2013 CSA season is going to start this Wednesday, May 22nd.  Big day
for my members to finally get to taste what they have been waiting to receive.  I always get a little nervous and a bit crazy too (ask Frank) trying to make sure everything is timed perfectly.  The apricots need to be picked today; the cherries need to be picked; the beets and turnips need to be picked and cleaned tomorrow. All the squash need to be picked and washed tomorrow; snow peas and strawberries picked late tomorrow.  Flowers cut and cleaned and arranged.  All the CSA baskets need to be cleaned and ready to be packed.  I am a bit of a clean freek out in my sorting shed/outdoor kitchen and have the cooler cleaned, the stainless steel sink and yesterday I cleaned out my big storage cabinet Frank made for all my flower arranging; canning; bags; etc. supplies.  Took everything out of the cabinet and re-arranged. 

Have you seen the new US Post Office stamps?  They are Vintage Flower Seed Packets.  Each stamp is a different flower, a "Forever" stamp.  I just love them and I think I might go back into town and get some more before they are gone.  They are so special, I know a few friends that would appreciate getting a card in the mail having this stamp. 
I went to The Gatherings Better Junque Vintage Flea Market on Saturday with some friends.  We had such a great time.  Holly Meyers does such a great job putting on a show.  I like them because the vendors have all the items I love.  Lots of old farm metal items re-purposed into lamps or yard art.  There is a booth that takes food strainers with the metal screen.  They cut the screen into points and create these crowns. 

boxes made to look like nesting boxes

They put on jewels around the band.  So darn cute.  Lots of jewelry made from keys and numbers and bits of scraps and they turn out works of art.  I don't know whether everyone seemed to start liking hotel silver or not, but it is one of my favorite things to purchase.  So I bought several cake stands and several silver pitchers.  My friend Sarah was bummed, she hesitated to decide to purchase a large embossed metal antique ceiling panel painted aqua.  As she told me and we were heading back to get it, out it went being purchased by someone else.  My daughter and I always laugh about sales, flea markets.  We never can remember all the great stuff we purchased over the years.  But we ALWAYS remember the ones we didn't get; the ones that got away.  Especially when you see someone pass you and they have something wonderful in their push cart or their hand!!!  Best advice this old seasoned flea market/yard sale person can tell you, DON'T HESITATE!!!  Buy it.  You will always find a place.  AND, like my daughter, her friends and I do, even if we eventually can't use it, we can always find someone who does and re-sell it.
Horse made from recycling items

lamp made from plumbing parts
Last fun item I want to show you from this flea market were paint can lids used as numbers.  Funniest thing I have seen in the world of re-cycling.  Can you imagine what the paint store guy said when that lady went into it and asked if they had any old lids?

Well, I had better get going outside.  Have a great week and I will show you photos on Thursday, of all our baskets ready to be delivered.
PS I want Frank to make this for me:

Friday, May 17, 2013

Great Slipcover Class & Whirlwind Mother's Day Weekend

When I schedule the classes here at Windmill Farm, I always ask myself "is it a class that I would want to attend"?  I have always loved the casual and comfortable style of slipcovered furniture.  I must say that I have moved past my old love of roses and floral fabrics on furniture long ago.  I now use more color on my walls; more interesting use of pictures, paintings, objects to have the star attraction in a room.  Most of my living room furniture is slipcovered in white or neutral.  I love it because with animals; grand kids and general usage, I just throw them into the laundry and out they come all fresh and clean.
So when I asked myself, would I want to attend a class that teaches you how to do basic slipcovering?  You bet, yes, sign me up.

The Upholster/Slipcover class taught by professional upholsterer Caroll Reece was a huge success.  She taught the class what are the differences between the two furniture coverings; showed us how we can add/change a look of an item by the use of the many varied styles and types of edging/trims.  She taught us about threads and needle sizes; how to make piping; where to purchase fabrics; and gave us charts on how to figure amounts of fabric to purchase for different furiture items.  Caroll then brought out an ottoman, plain vinyl top and she had made 2 different styles of slipcovers.  Then she showed us how to construct a slipcover from the top to the bottom.  It seemed so possible that we all could make these covers using Caroll's instruction and information given to us in a folder that she provided.  Great class and enjoyed by all those that attended.  We are planning on scheduling another class in the fall to cover some of the same basic information, but to make covers for dining room chairs and cushions.  If interested, email me and I will put you on the list to be notified when we set up the date.  Thank you Caroll for a great class!!
Caroll Reece's number is 530-743-5329 in case you need any upholstery or slipcover work done.
We had the class on Saturday morning and in the afternoon, the family and extended family started to arrive for the Mother's Day weekend.  What a lovely day it was having the grand kids play in the yard and ride their electric jeep and gator all around the farm.  It was a little warm but there was a nice breeze; Chris BBQ a tri tip and made fresh vegetables; a Caesar salad; we had sliced tomatoes with lemon juice and basil and mozzarella cheese; we even had fresh berry pie for desert.  Celli and grand kids stayed an extra day over to Monday so we were able to spend some really fun time laughing and seeing the kids go every 10 minutes to check on getting eggs from the chickens.  I received two wonderful Mother's Day gifts, besides having my family around me.  I got another Endless Summer Hydrangea and Katie gave me a bag of LADYBUGS for my garden.  Collin and Carli helped open up the bag and put them all on my rose and hydrangea bushes in the evening after the planted were sprayed with water.  Carli didn't like it very much as a few got into her hair, but we were able to rescue them and they flew off on to bush.
I hope you all had a great weekend.  Next week, the pressure is on, we will be starting our CSA baskets for delivery.  Do you belong to a local farm that grows vegetables or fruits?  There is a great site: that lists all the farms, CSA, special produce, all sorts of information wherever you live in the US.  Check it out.  There is also a great site site that also lists all the farms within your zip code that allows people to come and pick your own produce.  Great family fun.
Until next time-keep watering, keep up pulling weeds and enjoy your gardens.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Making Your Own Umbrella Cover

As you have seen, I try to have at least one class a month here at Windmill Farm.  Teaching life skills or having my friends and professionals come and teach these classes are a wonderful experience.  I started out having a few farm spa events, then a dear friend suggested having other types of classes.  I started teaching canning classes and from then on, it has exploded into about 1-2 classes every month.
But I like taking classes too, I think we are never too old to learn a new skill or improve upon the skills we may have already. 
Recently, Triad Plus had a class on how to cover an outside patio umbrella.  It seemed simple enough, but because the fabric is normally an outdoor/Sunbrella fabric; very expensive and difficult to sew on, I wanted to learn first before I bought it.  The class was great so I made my purchase and home I went to make my own umbrella.
I cut up one panel off the old umbrella, added 1" (1/2" around each side and bottom).
You flip it over to maximize the usage of the fabric. So short size is cut from last large end.  Only problem is that you have to make sure that the pattern of the fabrics look like they match or line up.

After cutting out the number of triangles you need to start sewing them all together(count the number on your old umbrella or from the supports on your umbrella frame).  Mine had 6 pieces.  This will create your smaller round opening at the top.
After I sewed the 6 triangles together, I wanted to make sure it fit before I hemmed up all around the bottom raw edges and the top edge.  I clipped it on the frame using folder clips.
It fit fairly tightly, could have been a bit bigger.  Then I sewed under 1/4" all around the larger ends and around the circle.  Next came making the little pocketed you sew to the inside to keep the metal frame in place.  I forgot to take a photo of that.  I cut out the old one from my old umbrella and cut 6 of them.  They were basically a square that you fold over to make a triangle, flap in the sides of triangle and the center point and make a small square.  Sounds easy but it wasn't.  Turned out this part was the hardest and took the longest time.  Then you sew this pocket on to the tip of each point of the triangles.  Unfortunately, for most people, you do not have an upholstery machine.  I do and even then, it struggled to go thru so many layers.  You have the 2 layers from the folded over edge of the umbrella, you have 4 layers of the folded over pockets and you then sew all 6 layers at the corners.  There is a larger circle you cut and place over the hole at the top and then there is a 3rd circle on top of that,, all those go on top of umbrella, like a cap,  you make a slit and the top ball of the umbrella goes thru that hole to hold it down.  I hand stitched the circles where each frame sits.
The finished umbrella, felt pretty good about completing it.  This is what I learned:

1.  Pick a fabric that is bold.  As you can see from this photo, even though I thought the fabric was bright and bold and had lots of colors, outside it looked fairly light.  And you look up at the umbrella from the bottom on the underside of the fabric, so it was pretty washed out colors.
2.  After it was all sewed and finished, the finished edges started to fray so I now have these small string hanging around edge, it was not fraying when I sewed it.  I should have allowed extra yardage to fold over finished edge twice.
3.  I spent $75 on fabric. Took about 3 hours from beginning to end.
4.  Frank and I went to Target the other day and they had 6' umbrella, beautiful bright colors on sale WITH THE UMBRELLA CRANK FRAME for $60.00.

Moral of story, it may not be worth it to cover your old one, just purchase a new one.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Strawberry Season-Baking Class a Success-Upholstery.Slipcover Class Coming Up Next

Hello again from Windmill Farm-
I picked strawberries until my back was too sore and then the next day picked more.  I just didn't have time to do any jam so I cleaned them all up and put them ready to go in the freezer.

The baking bread class here at the farm was so wonderful, you missed something if you didn't attend. Jackie Whitnack made us home made Quick Biscuits. She had baked a batch just before the class started and then made one in front of the class while it was cooking. When ready, I had fresh honey, butter and my own pomegranate jelly put up last year from our own pomegranates; ready to spread on the hot rolls right from the oven, yum yum. Then she made yeast breads, yeast rolls and quick Irish bread. She just took the mystery out about yeast and made it all look easy and fun to make for your family. We were all so full after tasting all those hot breads. I wanted to especially thank Katie F.  She has been a member of our CSA farm since the first year we started.  And she has attended almost every single class, spa, event we have had at our farm.  She is such an adorable young woman and we feel so blessed to have her as a friend and supporter of all that we do here at the farm.  Melissa A. is another wonderful young woman who is an avid attender and supporter of Windmill Farm activities.  If I don't see or hear from all of our farm "friends" either by email or Facebook I miss them.

Still openings in the next classes-Upholster/Slipcover class May 11th 10-12:30pm. And the Discover How to Do Genealogy class May 15th - 5:30-7:30pm.  Call me if interested.
I wanted to thank a lovely lady who works at the Butte County Health Department who was very helpful in my process to obtain the Cottage Bill Food Permit.  So I picked her a lovely bouquet of hydrangeas and peonies + some other things blooming.  Wrapped the container with burlap and delivered it.  Some people just take the time to be so helpful.
Tractor Supply has teamed up with Jonsered to be the exclusive retailer of their branded products within the United States. Jonsered invented chainsaws and is one of the world¿s most respected brands of power equipment, with a range of products for both professionals and occasional users.  I went to the store the other day and had so much fun browsing around in the feed section and the garden section.  They still have bulbs and seeds available and some great gardening tools.  Check them out!!!
We are getting anxious to start our CSA season.  My members are so super.  Cherries are showing red, turnips and beets are getting big; lettuce is looking great.  Won't be long soon before we start.
Until next time, thank you for coming back to our little farm blog.