Thursday, April 24, 2014

Surprise 10 New Baby Chicks; Flower Bouquet CSA Open; Planting Vegetables, Keeping Potatoes Snug; Easter Fun

We have started opening up our Flower CSA memberships.  This is the first year for it and I have many rows of different flowers planted so that each bouquet will be filled with wonderful blossoms. This was our first bucket of flowers: lilac, iris, roses, lavender, mint, rosemary.   We will be able to deliver bouquets every other week; once a month or even for special times.  Think of us when you need flowers.  There is nothing better than having flowers that are fresh picked from a country garden instead of flown over 1500 miles from over seas to be placed in plastic at a grocery store.  If interested in joining our Windmill Farm Flower CSA, contact me at; 530-846-3344 phone; or Facebook me at Windmill Farm.  Our produce CSA memberships are full at this time but we will gladly add your name to the waiting list.  If our produce really does well this year; and our allocation of water remains as stated, we may add a few slots once we get going with deliveries.
Our greenhouse isn't large, but it is amazing how fast seeds sprout and are up; ready to be planted.  Sometimes I get so anxious to plant, I start seeds a little too early and they keep
 growing and growing in the greenhouse and ready to land their feed in dirt, but the weather outside just isn't ready for them. With this great weather, it has been time and that is what we have been doing.
Unfortunately, Frank prepared the soil to plant a month ago, but it rained and up came the weeds and it was hard as a rock!!! So he disked the area one last time and I have been rushing to get these seedlings in and drip tapes in place to water.
The potatoes have been planted for several weeks and were given a new cover of some soil and topped off with straw.
We did play a little hookie from the farm for a few days and went camping with the grand kids at our favorite camp site, Sycamore Ranch.  The weather was perfect, kids loved to fish and we played lots of games; and sat around the campfires. Perfect time spent over school Easter Vacation.
Surprise when we got home, next morning a stray chicken brought out 10 new chicks to show off to us.  She had been sitting on her eggs in our front ivy.
Never a dull moment here at Windmill Farm

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Collecting White Ironstone Pottery; New Class-Learn To Paint Furniture May 7th

I have set up a new class here at Windmill Farm.  It will be a basic Learn to Paint a Piece of Furniture-using chalk paint.  People can bring any relatively smaller item they wish to try their hand at painting it.  My classes are meant to take the fear out of trying new things whether it is baking, canning, knitting, upholstery, sewing-I try and either bring in experts to teach people or if it is a skill I know, I teach the class.  Wonderful thing about chalk paint is it works on just about anything-metal, wood, plastic, even produce!!  Remember I painted pumpkins last October?
Class is May 7, 2014 6-8:30pm.  Due to the high cost of supplies, class will cost $35.  Please call me if you would like to attend.
When I was looking for my photos of the table I painted using chalk paint, I saw the one picture of my finished cabinet I also painted for the dining room.  I have a few Ironstone platters hung above the cabinet.  It reminded me of how much I love Ironstone and how I have had a love affair with it for over 40 years.
When I first started collecting Ironstone, it was in Nevada County and at that time, every yard sale or estate sale had more than one piece of Ironstone.  Every household had pieces given to them from a relative or found in a basement, or used as a cat food bowl; it wasn't considered a high quality, expensive item, like china.  I routinely would have platters or plates soaking in my sink over night with water and bleach which was an excellent way to take out stains on them.  Once you start collecting, your eye automatically goes to any piece you see and it isn't long before you have soup tureens, bowls, platters and more platters of all shapes and sizes; dishes; chamber pots; sugar bowls; cups and pitchers.  My very favorites are rectangle shaped platters.  They may have scalloped edging; deep dished; even some have patterns on them.  From Ironstone platters I went on to collect brown transferware on platters.
As with all collections, it is especially fun in the beginning; you buy everything whether chipped or stained or if you already have 5-6 of the same things.  Then you become more selective, learn more about the markings on the bottom of items; know which ones are older and better than the rest.  But then, because it always happens, the items you love become what everyone else loves, too, raising the prices from less than a $1 to being moving towards $30-$50.  And with the case with me, called Murphy's Law, that may be the time I think I might sell off a few pieces so I can get some of my money back to start another collection.  But darn, it is about the same time everyone else is thinking the same thing and prices tank.  Or the other event that happens that changes collection values-Martha Stewart or someone else starts to reproduce the item you are collecting so well, it becomes difficult to tell old from new, so people stop buying them all together.  We all
like our collections to be unique!
So over this 40 years, I have bought some, sold some, broken some, lost some, stopped looking; looking for something different, like McCoy pottery.  But I still love the rectangle platter and have put the few I have left out to enjoy every time we use the dining room or when I walk past it. What are your collections?  Do you like Ironstone too?  Love to hear about them. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Airstream Trailer Group Tours Farm; Planting, Planting, Planting

We were busy this last week, sorry for not posting earlier.  All the concentrated rain got me a little behind in my planting of the fields and we are just getting started.  Frank had rotatiled the fields prior to the rain, but because of that, the soil is compacted again.  Then it was too wet to get the tractor in without getting it stuck to do it all over again.  So guess what we have been doing the last few days?  Packing in weeks worth of work into a few hot days.  And dang, I had not had hardly any weeds in the rows because-guess, no rain.  But since it rained, weeds everyplace.
But I need to tell you all about the Airstream Trailer Group tour.  I had such a great, great time.  Lots of work ahead of time; cleaning up the yard; making jams and jellies; making home made laundry soaps; getting eggs together; picking some lettuce all to have available for the group as I was told they had wanted to purchase something made here at the farm.  I had purchased a bunch of bales of straw for seating and made a couple of lemon lavender cakes for a sweet treat for them.  Frank cleaned up his 1947 Ford Tractor and had it displayed; and put out signs of the tour out front.  My neighbor's teenage son has taken up foraging and metal work-blacksmithing in the last few years so I asked him to set up to demonstrate.  I thought the guys in the tour would find that very interesting.  I put out our 3 little chicks that had hatched recently in a special cage so they could see them and pick them up if they so wished.
The good news is I took a bunch of photos before they came.  Bad news is I got so into talking and explaining what we do, I forgot to take pictures of the people!!!  Dah, I just hate that I did that.  A good friend Luana had volunteered to help me the day of the tour in case anyone needed anything and also to help ringing up any sales of the jams and items I had out to sell.  Frank was busy at the forge with Jessie and several of the fellas enjoyed talking to him about his tractor and farming.

I believe the group had a great time, I know I did.  They were all just so interested and gracious about our place and was particularly interested in water issues.  After the tour, we were invited to visit their trailers and arranged for their tour the next day.  Frank and I went to the fairgrounds the next morning and had another few hours visiting with them.  I can honestly say, I would have loved it if every one of this group lived here in Gridley, They would all make such great friends!!!  They were from Modesto, Sacramento, San Rafael, Cotati, Grass Valley, Fresno, all over Northern California.  Their Airstream trailers were each unique and beautiful.  We even toured an Airstream Motor Home, I never knew Airstream made them.
So I believe our first farm tour was a success.  No problems (except no photos of the visitors); sold some farm items; and I believe we gave them a glimpse of what we do here at Windmill Farm.  If any of the Airstream group happens to read this blog, thank you all for supporting our farm and for spending a few hours with us.  Hope to see you again sometime.
Tonight, after being outside since early AM and in 85 degrees weather, I am sun burned, my back aches; my hands are chapped.  Tomorrow we will be ready to start again to get those beans and cucumbers in the ground.  Next week, I think I will plant tomatoes and peppers.  It is earlier than I normally do, but hard to believe it will be cold again now.  Farmer's have to be always positive otherwise we would have given up a long time ago.
Am working on setting up a couple new classes:  A furniture painting class and an acrylic art painting class.  More info and the dates coming soon.
Until next time.