Monday, September 21, 2015

Pumpkins and Pomegranates Ready; Wedding Flowers

Seems like one season ends and another one starts.  We were just taking a bit of a breather doing some repairs here at the farm and getting ready for our up and coming classes on September 23rd and October 7th.  Frank has cut out all the chalkboards we will be using in the Chalkboard Writing/Art class and I am painting them with the chalkboard paint.
I decided I need to re-vamp my stand and put out fall decorations, corn stalks and pumpkins. Picking pumpkins isn't as much fun as it seems at the pumpkin patch. If you notice, all the pumpkins are normally already picked and sitting in the fields.  The stems of pumpkins are covered with sharp and prickly spines.  Almost like a cactus. I picked about 30 of them.   I always try and cut the stems as long as possible because I think pumpkins look more natural as decorations on a table or on your front porch, having their stems.
I sorted out the smaller ones to put out on my roadside stand, along with some applies and the corn stalks.

I received a call from a buyer asking if our pomegranates were ripe yet.  I had not even thought about them for a while.  I loaded up the dogs in the Gator and took a drive through the orchard.  I picked several and I think they just aren't ripe enough.  They look like they could be, but the seeds are still not sweet enough.  Hopefully I can leave them on the trees long enough to ripen but not before the break open.  Timing is everything in farming.
I have been working on making a few large paper flowers to use as examples in my flower class.  Each one has a different look.  I tried using all types of different papers, such as this one, I used old travel maps.  I know those young people under 25 years old probably can't imagine looking for an address using a fold out paper map!!! What not on my phone???? Well, in my glove box of my car, I found about 20 of these old ones-meaning about 10 years old.  I think the flower turned out really cute.
I also made one using old sheet music.  I almost felt rather bad about cutting them up, but they were in very, very bad shape. And when you smell the flower, it smells like an old trunk in the attic.  Not very sweet.
I made some small ones that looked like roses along with a large rose.  I still have 2 openings in the class, sign up and have some fun with us here at Windmill Farm scheduled for Wednesday, September 23rd, 6-8pm.
I have wedding flowers to do this coming Friday for the wedding on Saturday.  I am so excited about it, but also a little nervous, big responsibility to put together farm fresh flowers in arrangements, boutonnieres and bouquets for a person's biggest event of their lives.  Thank goodness for my good friends Barb and Pete, owners at Sacramento Valley Floral Supply, I had my list of items I need for this wedding, ribbon, wire, moss, floral glue, floral spray, tape, boutonniere pins, etc.  I get such personal service with them and the items get delivered right to our farm!!!  Ordered them on Wednesday and they showed up at my door on Friday-like the of the floral world. 
Will post photos of the completed flowers next time, for you to judge for yourself how they turned out.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Flowers; School Farmer's Market Displays; More Flowers

Lots happening here as we are blasting through September.  
Our Gridley fabulous fair was so much fun. New generations discovering raising animals; growing food; and having flowers isn't just for grandmas any longer!!!
While at the fair, I saw a color of chickens I just HAVE to have.  Lavender Orpingtons.  I have always had Buff Orphingtons, a light blond colored chicken. They are so sweet, gentle, large chickens and lay large brown eggs.  The Lavender Orpingtons are just another color-a beautiful light purple, honestly!!!  I want some.
The lady at the fair was just selling roosters, but said in spring, she has a special breeder and she will raise some for me.  Can't wait.
We brought our display items and produce to the Cooley Middle School in Roseville on September 1st.  I had some corn stalks that were dried so I brought them, along with flowers, our watermelon, apples, kiwi, peaches, squashes, tomatoes, plums, pluots and more.  The PTC coordinator took the photos when the tables were finished and stated the teachers LOVED the idea of fresh produce-Farmer's Market theme for Teacher's Appreciation.

 These Teacher Wellness and Appreciation events are becoming a bigger part of our farm produce markets.  One school is telling another school and now we are doing about 6 in the spring (as school ends) and 6 in the fall (as school starts). Our Windmill Farm is fitting into a fun niche where we have fruit, vegetables, flowers and darling antique display items.  All a school has to do is schedule us, we put everything together for the certain number of teachers and staff at that school; show up at a designated time and the PTC board puts it out on their tables.  A couple of times, the PTC group didn't know what it was supposed to look like, so Frank and I helped set up.  Since the schools have predominately been in the Roseville and Auburn area, it does take us several hours of travel time.  But is still a lot of fun.
 And September came with several flower events.  A few were the last minute requests, which I don't mind actually.  If I don't have anything planned, it is always fun to just devote yourself to picking flowers and letting them be at their best and to make someones life a little bit brighter!

This arrangement was very beautiful, but I forgot to take a photo before it was delivered.  The lady was so happy, she sent me pictures of it sitting on her coffee table.
It had baby roses (which started to re-bloom recently), cockscomb, hydrangeas, straw flowers, Bells of Ireland, zinnias, Queen Anne's Lace; lambs ear, butterfly bush, dusty miller.  I do this to myself all the time, someone gives me either a price range; or vase size to work with; and I just can't stay within those confines.  This client just said give me a great bouquet.  I started out with a mason jar, then emptied that and went to a larger vase; filled that vase but still had more flowers I wanted to put in, so I went to my stock of vases and got the one with the widest neck.  That is what makes a flower farmer different than a traditional florist.  The flower arrangements are rarely the same; they represent what is blooming at that moment; didn't travel over thousands of miles to be put in the vase.  These traveled only a few hundred yards from the fields where they were grown to the client's vase.  AND they were picked within a few hours prior to being delivered.  OH, and I don't charge for delivery if my clients who live close.  A neighborly thing to do in my opinion.
Special classes coming up:
September 23rd-Making large Paper Flowers
October 7th-Chalkboard Writing/Art Class
December 2nd and December 3rd-Holiday Fresh Wreath Making Classes.  Sign up early as they fill up.