Thursday, July 28, 2016

CLASSES COMING AT WINDMILL FARM-Flower Arranging, Crocheting, Canning, Baking

I finally got my schedule together and have the next 5 month schedule for the classes being provided here at our farm.  Each one is special, unique, hands on and you go home with a skill, a product you made and friendships.
#1 Class-Crocheting Granny Squares Aren't for Grandmas Any Longer-newest craze coming back is crocheting.  With learning just a few stitches,
I will teach you how to make a pot holder, to a pillow; to an Afghan to a bedspread.  And the colors of yarns are bold, young and fun.  DATE:  August 9, 2016; TIME: 6:00-8:00pm. COST: $25.  Everything provided for you, yarns, needles, hands on instruction, pattern, light refreshments, door prizes.  Space is limited to call 530-846-3344; email: or Facebook me at Paula Carli or Windmill Farm

#2 Class/s-Flower Arranging At The Farm (2 Classes given): Cut the flowers you want to use in your arrangement right from our beautiful flower field. Then we will go to our cool outdoor design studio and we will take you on a step by step instruction on how to make a unique, country flower arrangement. Flowers, vases, all floral arranging supplies provided. And what a treat to walk thru a field of blooming flowers, you learn to make an arrangement and take the flowers home!!! I am giving this class two times to accommodate people's schedules. Wednesday, August 17, 2016 6-8pm.and Saturday

August 27, 2016, 10:00am - Noon. $30. All supplies provided + light refreshments.To sign up- 846-3344,, or FB
#3 Class-Canning class, September 7, 2016 6-8pm.
Learn to can/preserve. All canning items supplies + produce. $30.  I will know what product we will be canning as this date gets closer.  
We use fruits and/or veggies right from our farm so it will depend on what is ripe on September 7th.  This is a skill you will use off and on your whole life. Food prepared by you to eat when the product is no longer available.
 Sign up early as space is limited, we can in our cool, outdoor kitchen.

#4 Class-Learn To Make Stromboli-what a fabulous and easy way to make this delicious food which can
be used as a main course; for lunch; or an hors-d'oeuvre. October 6, 2016 6-8pm. It can be changed depending on what you want to fill it with, artichokes, tomatoes, cheeses, deli meats, pesto, pizza sauce, the list is endless-depends on your taste.

#5 Class -November (date to be determined) Learn to make Gnocchi, yum yum. This is fairly easy and loads of fun. You make it from potatoes, roll it out, cut into pieces and add sauces that you love. The Gnocchi can be cooked and eaten right away or it can be put in freezer to cook at a later date.

#6 Class - December - 2 dates (dates to be determined) Normally the first week in December in middle of the week.  Make your own fresh Holiday Wreath.
This is our 5th year giving this class and always a sell out on both days. We provide an array of greens, flowers, Christmas ornaments, bows, wreath frame + supplies and then take home a completed fresh wreath for your door for the holidays.

Check your calenders and contact us to sign up for any or all these classes.  We have people who attend over and over because they are so much fun, always learning a new skill.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Antique Farm Grain Bins and Pie Safes Used As Furniture

We used to call old farmhouse furniture, "Primitives".  Items usually made by the homesteaders and farmers themselves as utilitarian pieces.  My favorite pieces were never sold in general stores, they were hand made using tongue and groove wood or large/wide boards probably milled right there on the property.
Grain bins are one of my favorite furniture pieces I have in my house.  Each one has it's own personality and "story" to tell where it came from, how it was made, how it works and what it was used for originally.
This grain bin is large, heavy, made of very wide boards and was probably originally painted red.
painted red on the inside
When I purchased this, many years ago, the trend was to strip the paint off and have a nice pine piece of furniture.  Sad to think I did do that to this wonderful old 3 compartment piece.  The farmer probably had different types of feed for different animals in each bin.
 The lids lift up and have a "breadboard" top.  As you can see, I use these old bins for lots of storage of fabric, rugs, etc.
This 2nd grain bin I use in my house is very unique and the person who made it must have been a very good cabinet maker.
It has a rounded bin lid, was probably originally dark green as the wood still has a green tint to it even though it has been stripped.  
Someone, like a child carved into the lid at some time.  It came from an old barn in Nevada County.
 One side of the bin is about 1/3 the size of the bin so it too, had different types of grains for feed stored in it.
 It even has a repair patch on it, where someone mended a hole to keep out, probably rodents from eating the grain.

A 3rd cabinet I use is also unique, it has the original barn red paint on it with very large/wide boards.  This one has a heavy duty hasp lock and the shape is tapered.  

The lid is made in 3 parts and lifts up.  
There is a shelf in the top,
I have no idea what it may have been used for but definitely for grain.  My husband does drafting/drawings and I keep all his large drafting board and tools inside it.  There is some stenciling and writing on the inside of the lid.  My idea is that the cabinet maker probably used wood from a wooden crat, maybe even re-used the large forged hinges and lock.
The next items are what I always refer to as "Pie Safes".  I have always been attracted to T&G, tongue and groove made furniture items and a lot of pie safes were made from that material.
The first one is my very favorite.  It came from a barn in Siskiyou County, Northern California.  We went to a farm sale and the farm items were being sold as the owner had died.  
They had two items pulled right out of the barn in the back of a truck as we were driving up.  A lady went up to it just before I did and asked the price of the cabinet.  He said $40 for the red one and $30 for the green cabinet.  She said that was too much and walked away.  I walked up and said I would take both of them and load them right into the back of my truck. The finish is original, painted red, original white knob, and had been too close to a hot stove or was in a fire at some time of its' life.  Due to the construction, I would say it is made during the 1870s or 1880s.  Look at the details this cabinet maker did.  It may have been inside a farmhouse at one time because of the fine craftsmanship but ended up its' life in a barn.  Well, not really, because it ended up in my living room.  I love to touch it whenever I open it up.
The other item I purchased at the same time is actually a meat or pie safe.  Very primitive, the finish is original green with screen all around it.  The boards inside are wide and thick, very early piece and in the center of the top part, inside is a large hook.  Probably to hang a piece of meat. Right now, it is in my dining room and I keep my sewing items inside it.  I move things around, so sometimes it has my big and large bowls and platters in it.
And if you are saying I am a crazy person for cabinets, you are right.  Here is a cabinet I have in my laundry room, with original yellow paint on it. Probably was originally on a back porch holding food in it.
Then I have this small cabinet in a bathroom that had a funky wood door that was dirty, so I covered it with fabric. I keep all bathroom supplies and towels in it.  They are so versitile.

This cabinet was painted black so i didn't mind painting it the color that went in my dining room

The inside I left natural and look how well the doors are made.  Another T&G made cabinet, love, love them.
One last storage item I want to share with you that I use in my house is this yellow box.  I put casters on it and store all my business files inside.  The top lifts up and one side is stenciled Sacramento Produce.  Perfect for our Windmill Farm. I use it as a table in the kitchen.

I hope you have enjoyed viewing my cabinet obsession but can't you see why I love them?  Each one has so much personality and they can be used any place in a house where once they were either in a barn or on a back porch of an old farm house.  Do you have any grain bins or pie safes?  Would love to hear and see any you wish to share.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Floral Frogs Are Back!! Several Ways to Keep Flowers Presented Well Without Using Floral Foam.

When I first started making floral displays, center pieces, bouquets, arrangements, I loved floral foam.  It was cheap, easy to use; and the flowers always stayed where I wanted them to stay.  I actually thought my flower arrangements looked "better", more professional rather than just a flower farmer, produce grower arrangement as I think of myself.
The only commenst I got back from my customers were that the arrangments would seem to dry out faster in the foam than if just open flowers in a vase, arrangement.  But as I started to educate myself;  reading more and more in blogs, flower farming books and flower magazines about the impact to the environment that is caused by these floral foams, it occurred to me I should re-think using the foam..  
So what do florist use as an alternative? A few years ago, I saw an old interview with a florist who prepares all the huge arrangements for the Queen of England.  He said he learned a trick to get very high and huge sizes using chicken wire.  I wanted to try it so I went to the garden shed and cut myself out a few squares of wire.  I formed a ball with it and pushed it into a few containers to see how it worked.  It was amazing how strong it held the flowers.  It was amazing how it fanned out flowers, similar to the pattern created by using the floral foam.  I was hooked and now I always have the wire hanging on the wall in my flower/studio.  I have even seen recently in Joann's and at my florist supply store packages of pre cut wire, most of it coated and some came in colors.
Another product used by people in the florist industry is the floral tape.  This product comes in different widths and comes in green and clear, at least those are the ones I use.  How this is used is you take your container and create a grid, cross crossed around the opening.  You can make the tape close to gether or far apart, depending on what shape you want your final product to look like.  
And also is determined by the size stems of your flowers being used.  Truthfully, it is pretty simple and quick, you just have to make sure you run a final ring around all the criss crossing tape to keep it firmly attached to the edge of the container.
Florist have available to them, many, many mechanics, or pre-made floral holders to use for bouquets, swags of flowers; sprays, at the top of candles, the list is endless.  Unfortunately, if your client doesn't like the floral foam, you have to improvise because most of them have floral foam inside the plastic or wire apparatise. Sometimes, they just have to be used, if your client wants flowers to remain fresh, upside down, hanging from the rafters of a barn or decorating a birch limbed marriage trellis or arbor.

My favorite is the floral frogs-yes they are back in style!!!  My late mother always had a collection of these guys all different shapes and sizes and made from different materials.  

Old ones were made from milk glass, glass, cast iron,  and wire.  They can be attached to the bottom of a vase or vessel using floral, waterproof glue, or a clay product or even I have used a sticky adhesive strips that will hold one down.
They sit in the bottom of the vessel and hold flowers similar to the grid tape and chicken wire.  Those frogs have squares built into their structure.  
Others are loads of metal pins sticking up from the center of the frog and you stick your stem of flowers into it.
they are available new and vary between $5-$10.
 I see them in almost every thrift or antique shop ranging from $1-$15.  
They can be also seen on counters used as a new purpose, to hold business cards, note papers, pens, mail.

I love using them, my only big concern is getting them back from the receiver of my flower arrangement!!!
Happy froging and chicken wiring.