Monday, June 29, 2015

FUN Chalkboard Art/Writing Classes At Windmill Farm - Part 1

Classes here at Windmill Farm just are so much fun.  Each one we learn something, understand the needs of the people who teach and the people who attend.  You might have to talk to someone who attended to get their point of view, but from our point of view we think they are pretty fabulous!!!
Our subject:  Learn to do Chalkboard Art/Writing.  Theme:  4th of July coming, let's use that idea.
Instructor Andrea Bradley, owner of Mockingbird Studios gave us Wednesday, June 24th as the date.  I put the information out there on Facebook; my blog here; and my farm site I use
Within 3 days, that class was full.  Andrea gave us the next day, Thursday, June 25th as a date for another class.  When we spoke we decided that if not enough people signed up, to make it worth her while to drive clear from Grass Valley, we would cancel and think about a fall date.
Within 4 days, that Thursday class was full and I had a waiting list!!!!  Because I have so many interesting and fun photos to show you, I am going to show you all the prep work and set up photos first.  On Friday, I will add another post showing the people who attended and their final art work on the mason jar chalkboards.
Frank cut out large mason jars out of wood and I painted them with chalkboard paint.  He also cut out cute rectangle marque type chalk boards that we decided to sell at the class if anyone wanted to use it as a gift or take home for themselves.
My daughter Celli made darling banners to hang up around the room.
Andrea cut out mason jar shapes out of paper and wrote sayings and pictures to provide inspiration and we hung them from the banners.
I moved all the furniture in the front room out and brought in 3 fold up tables; used 3 of my own tables;
provided a worktable for Instructor Andrea at the front of the fireplace.
We rolled out black construction chalk paper on the tables so people could practices writing and drawing with chalk, while Andrea was giving instruction.
Mason Jar Chalkboards, rulers, chalk sharpeners, Qtips, water, rags, all kinds of chalk were placed at each table and each person could take their supplies home with them.
And then we had food.
Celli had made me this darling drink container with our farm logo on it, I used it for Iced Tea.  We had fruits, a pasta salad, nuts, cookies and even used black paper plates in case someone wanted to chalk write on them!!!
I put bottled water inside an old suitcase, just for fun.
 Come back on Friday to see more photos of the classes.  We took pictures of people's chalkboards as they left with their big grins.  I think what was really fun, was people came with their friends; we had mother/daughter groups; and we had a teenager who came on her own, dropped off by her mother. All ages loving doing crafts together, learning something new.  See you Friday!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Our CSA Basket; Chalkboard Classes; A Farmer's Week

We have had a very busy week here at the farm.  Bad enough that it has been high 90s-over 100 degrees for so many days, it is just too darn hot to be outside!!!  Some of the highlights of this week at Windmill Farm:
Put shade cloth over the peppers, they were getting burn spots.
Planted more glad bulbs for late summer cuttings
We picked, sorted, packed our Community Supportive Ag member's boxes and delivered them

Frank cut out all the chalkboards for our up coming classes, Wednesday, June 24th and Thursday, June 25th. I painted them all with chalk paint, 3 times one side, 2 times other side. Our classes are full!!!

Three of my old hen stock died in the last 10 days, this heat is really hard on them.  They were all over 8 years old, makes me feel very sad.
I have had a sprinkler in their yard; sprinkler on top of the hen house, windows open but too much stress with the heat.  Egg production in general is down-no body and nothing likes to work when it get so hot.
Wind blew my shade cloth off the peppers, put it all back.
Burned the seed openings in the weed cloth and planted 3-200 foot rows of pumpkins to be harvested for fall.  One section caught the drip tape on fire and burned a 5 foot section of the cloth.  Now we have to repair the drip tape before we can start watering.  I can not be trusted with a propane torch.
Weeded all the watermelon and cantaloupe rows.
Turned compost piles
Baby sat our daughter's dog.
My quarterly flower growing article was featured in the Field To Vase blog. Check it out!
Took all the furniture out of front room and set up tables and chairs for upcoming chalkboard art/writing class.
Noticed how dirty my white slip-covered couch and chair were in the front room, washed all the slipcovers.
Noticed how dirty my front windows were in the front room, washed the windows.
Noticed how dusty the wooden floors were in the front room, washed the floors.
Noticed how dusty all the cabinets and surfaces were in the front room, dusted.
Frank took whole house fan cover down, washed it, vacuumed blades and tightened motor down.
Frank vacuumed air vents into the commercial refrigerator.
Cleaned out fruit/veggie cooler.
Propped up tree limbs getting heavy with peaches.We cut and dried trays of apricots.
Mowed back field and lawns.
Cut flowers this AM to make into arrangements used as door prizes for classes.  And cut flowers for a customer bouquet of only white flowers.
Ever thought about being a farmer of a small farm??  One that can't afford to hire help?  Well, this is a pretty much normal week, work.  But Frank and I wouldn't do anything else, other than take an occasional trip in our trailer!!!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Jam Making Class and New Chalkboard Art Class Coming!!

I am in the middle of writing a blog about my Antique Pond Boat collection.  But since I started it, I need to take more photos of our boats and so much has happened, I need to tell you about before I post the boat blog.
It has been pretty hot, hot here in Gridley, so most gardening is done sun up without working in gardens past noon time.  Then after dinner, I do venture out again for at least an hour or so before it gets too dark to check the watering, pull a few weeds.  Last evening, I was tieing back the tomato plants that are growing higher than the support fence.  It got so dark, I fell over Annie, my German Shepard dog who is black and tan.  She is permanently glued to me 24/7 since she has been little.  German Shepard love having a job, they love working.  Annie decided I was her job early on and whatever, wherever I go; whoever is here, she needs to be with me or near me.  She was lying in the straw between the tomato rows, in the dark, while I was pulling string across the plants and down I went.  We both felt pretty stupid, she forgave me, as usual, dogs always think it was their fault.
On Thursday night we had a fabulous Strawberry Jam canning class.  In spite of the heat, it was actually cool in my outdoor kitchen/sorting shed.  I put out a couple extra fans, just in case.  I had made some fruit skewers for snacks; I put out crackers and 3 different jars of strawberry jam already made for a taste test.
One with low sugar; one with regular sugar; one made by Sarah Reynolds using the Blue Chair/copper pot method without the use of pectin.  Her jam won the test as having the most extreme strawberry flavor.
We had a very good turnout, a last minute cancellation by 2 woman, opened up the last minute request for my dentist and his fun wife to come join us on a whim.  He was so much fun, got right in with the group of ladies.  Everyone gets their hands in the jam making so they all have the experience.  A few people took a break and did a mini tour of our farm.  I really love it when Moms and grown daughters attend and we had that happen.  We had flower arrangements as door prizes; along with baskets full of apricots, blackberry, beans.  Then after doing our 3 batches of jam, everyone got to take home a jar each of the low sugar; regular; and The Blue Chair method of canning jam.
There comes a point in the cycle with kids, when they are married and have kids of their own and going shopping for clothes just isn't that much fun any more.  Learning a new skill that you can use in your family life is just as fun.
Then we have a quick turn around on another class, our Chalkboard Art/Writing class set for Wednesday, June 24, 2015, in the evening 6-8:00pm.  The class won't be outside like most of my classes, it will be inside in our large front room.
The instructor is a wonderful lady from Auburn, Adrea Bradley, she owns Mockingbird Studios.  She has been doing the Chalkboard Art as a part time business, as she is actually a school teacher.  Andrea is hoping to expand her work so that she can be at home with her young children and do this business and get back to teaching when they get older.  The class will be her first outside of her home town and I appreciate that she will be coming here to Gridley.
Space is limited so if you might be interested, contact us as this new class is guaranteed to be a blast.  Oh, and Frank is cutting out large Mason Jar boards, we will be painting them with chalk paint and this will be given to each person attending the class to use as their final project and take it home with them.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Scarecrows For The Garden-Even Glam Ones

Every garden needs scare crows, for fun, function and fantasy.  Each year I think about what I want my scarecrow to look like, I usually have big ideas of making a head out of burlap, drawing a face, filling with straw; even to make a horse scarescrow!!
But mine pretty much always look the same; one for me (the woman); one for Frank (the man).  I used to be able to pick up bib over-alls real easy at thrift stores or yard sales, but not any more.  Guess the old style farmers are gone, now wearing designer jeans and tennis shoes?  Maybe, but not bib overalls.
And even if you find something, it costs too much, like $4 for an old flannel shirt at a thrift store??  
This year, I went into my own closet (and Franks); and the Dollar Store. 
These are scarecrows in my past gardens:
 All in fun at Windmill Farm.