Thursday, June 19, 2014

Roadside Fruit Stands-You Would Love To Stop And Buy Produce

Supporting local growers of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers is so helpful to all of us that grow them.  Thank you for doing that.  The top photo is of our roadside stand.  The top of it is an old chicken brooder; I glued scalloped oil cloth around it; and the red round tube is where you insert the money.  The table was an old carpenter's work table.
We all don't sell our produce at Farmer's Markets, some sell it through a Community Supportive Agriculture membership farm (CSA), like ours, or through little local roadside stands which are mostly done on the honor system. 
We have a roadside stand out in front of our house where I put out any extras that I may have of anything.  I try to do it regularly, but sometimes when it is our CSA delivery week, I don't make it out there, but don't give up on us.  Drive by your favorite stand periodically, you will see some days have lots, others may be empty-especially when it is hot hot, the stands may be empty because it is too hot to leave fruit/veggies out.
I have gone on Pinterest and am sharing some really, really cute roadside stands that I know I would stop and buy something.  This one is so darn cute, using old windows and old benches.  And the flowers look so beautiful, I would be stopping there every week. How about you?
I wish I had put rollers or wheels on my stand like this one.  It would have made it easier to move it when we aren't using it or when we rake the front of the house.
Simple yet darling.  And old ladder with boards through it.

This isn't an old trailer, but what a great idea for a stand to use a 1950s/60s style trailer. I thought the name was cute, "The Farmacy".
This next one is so clever, an old dresser/vanity. The person lined the drawers with burlap (my favorite fabric) and put oil cloth on top.  I am a huge fan of using chalk boards and I have used them for years and years because I never could find a piece of paper to write prices for the produce.
This last photo is our garden shed that we made from a horse building that was on the property.  Not a stand, but it could make a really fun one.  It originally had 3 open sides, Frank rolled it to where we needed it by pulling it with his tractor.  We found some old windows, an old garage door; and I finished it off with found columns and the chicken tin weather vane/copula.

 So cruise on by some of your local farms, they just may have some fresh picked produce out front for you to support their farm.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Drying Fruit and Vegetables, Floral Supplies

We love to preserve any fruit or vegetables that we may grow.  It is hard though to fit the time in to do it with all our other farm work.  Most people know that preserving time happens right in the middle of summer when the family wants to go places, do things; or it is too hot; people come to visit you; kids are home from school.  But it is so rewarding to enjoy fresh food in the winter months.
What we do is try and have something in the food dehydrator; or out in the sun drying screen; or being sulfured in the sulfur shed as much of the summer that we can.  The first two photos are apricots drying after being sulfured and the last photo are peaches drying.
Small quantities of fruit can be dried in small air dehydrators or larger stainless steel dehydrators.  We have the larger one with 9 shelves which dries large amounts of tomatoes or apples quickly.  Here are a few examples:
 Even ovens can be used on very, very low heat.  The process of drying has been used during the pioneer times too.  I do dip the produce deluded with water using fresh lemon juice or Fruit Fresh to maintain the color and freshness. Here are some photos of antique ones.  I have seen in a few of my farming magazines, that you can purchase new ones using patterns from antique ones.
Old ideas, new again.
Now that the official vegetable and fruit season has started, why not try something new, dry them.  Kids love dried fruits for snacks.

I wanted to mention to you about a great family owned floral supply business I have recently started using since I have started my CSA-Flower Membership and selling flowers for events.  I love supporting family businesses.  It is called Sacramento Valley Floral Supply.  They are strictly on-line, but Peter and Barbara are so helpful with any questions you have.  And they deliver right to your door by their delivery guy-Tony.
It is such a learning experience taking growing flowers to the next step of selling flowers or bouquets, there is so much I need to learn.  It is nice to know there are still people out there willing to take the time to explain products and how to use them.
Thank you for reading my blog and our life experiences here at Windmill Farm, a small, family owned farming business.  Come back again or "Like" us on Facebook.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

So Cute New Garden Shed

Frank can build just about anything, all I have to do is ask.  Problem:  I do most of my day to day farming/gardening work out back past the main house.  We have a garden shed that is near the small orchard/Frank's shop/front yard.  It is cute too, but it didn't start out its' life as a garden shed.
When we purchased the house, the front yard had horses in it owned by the previous owners.  We changed the driveway so it came through that pasture area, but in the middle of it was this 2 sided building where the horses stood out of the sun and rain.  One day Frank said where do you want it and in a frenzied moment, the building was chained to the tractor, peeler posts were put underneath and away it rolled until I said I think it could go "here". And that is where it stayed.  Of course, Frank made it 1000 times cuter.  We got some old windows; sided the rest of the open sides; found some cute old turned posted for the porch; installed a re-claimed sliding barn door rescued from our daughter's neighbor's garage being torn down.  Lastly, we shingled it; put on an antique chicken cupola and some chairs.  Who could want more? 
Well, in my one day casual remark when I said it is so far to go get garden tools when I am in the back gardens.  Frank said well, I can build you a tool shed in the back so you can have just the items you need for back there and keep the other items you need more for the front part of the property.  Gosh knows, I do have a rake fetish.  Whenever I go to a hardware store, I love to look at rakes and brooms.  I truly must have 10 or more rakes.  I have this idea in my head of the perfect, perfect woman's rake.  I always compare it to my all time favorite rake.  The wood on handle wasn't too thick, light weight, perfect strong metal rake part.  I had it for years until one day, a PERSON who I won't name, drove over it with his tractor.  Ever since, I try and find another one just as perfect but have yet to find it.  But I keep trying.
After discussing sizes, shape and location, off Frank went to find inexpensive wood; side it with some old galvanized tin he had purchased from a tear down barn from a friend; concrete floor; and can you believe it??  A skylight.  And of course, I wanted an old barn style sliding door which Frank made the door using scrap wood.
Once he had the building built, I started to think about what would finish it off.  I had the old metal yard chair; and I was at a local big box store and saw these concrete pavers on sale for 88 cents.  They would make a perfect garden path to the shed.  My old horse trough went on the side, some new gravel and Frank built some wooden hooks to hold my many rakes on the inside.
Notice the art work in the shed?  I took a painting class and have decided that the perfect place for this masterpiece is in the shed.  Adding a bit of culture to a rustic shed.  But I like the colors, maybe the door color???
I can't believe how really cute the garden shed has turned out.  I almost hate to put dirty things inside of it!!!  Now, what color to paint the door, any suggestions?  I will post the final painted door in the next blog. Have a great weekend!