Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pumpkin Painting/Carving/Decorating Class-Great Farm fun

I always get a little nervous just before a class.  Remember, our farm is where we live, and I want people who come to our place to feel that #1-the farm is sustainability managed and done well; #2-that people are provided a service that is worth their hard earned money; #3 that the environment
where we are having the class is safe, comfortable, friendly; #4 that I have anticipated all their wants and needs to perform the class; #5 and that I have set myself up with what I need to teach the class.
Each time I think it will get easier and easier but it doesn't.  

Getting together all the items needed for the participants takes days of shopping and planning.  Getting the location where the class will be taught takes days to get clean, organized and supplies there.  (I use the locations of the classes daily in our normal farming business, so I usually have to wait to the last minute to do the super cleaning and pick up).  Snacks are either purchased or made the day before.  Printed materials are organized, or created a few days ahead and printed.  

Door prizes are purchased all through the year as I see items that I feel will be fun to give away-or we use produce or items I have grown or made myself.
So the Pumpkin, Painting, Carving, Decorating class was set for this past Saturday, October 22nd from 10-12Noon.  I was so excited because we had several new people to our farm classes and my daughter Celli and grand daughter Carli were coming the day before and staying to help me with the class too.  Celli is so much better at certain crafts, such as painting, so she brought all her acrylic paints to demo and help out with that part of the class.
Once the class got going, it just was so much fun seeing the people get involved in picking, cleaning, carving out their pumpkins.  
Several decided to spray paint their pumpkins with glitter, gold, bronze paint.  One person painted polka dots on their pumpkin.  Some just left it white or orange.
The next phase of the class was taking them out into our flower gardens to let them select and cut their own flowers.  The day before, I decided to cut handfuls of hydrangeas and mums and they were placed at each table to use in addition to the cut flowers they selected themselves.
The creative part was so inspiring to see as each lady work on making their pumpkin exactly what they wanted.

Their happy faces reflect another successful class from our little Windmill Farm here in Gridley.  I guess I just need to stop worrying so much ahead of time.

Future classes here at the farm are November 9th-Learn to Make Fresh Gnocchi, a home made pasta out of potatoes. 6-8pm. $25.00 and that will be held in our house kitchen.  I am not sure whether we have enough pomegranates to have the Pom Press Class, still deciding.  And the 2 Holiday Fresh Wreath Making Classes December 7th and 8th are full but I have started a waiting list in case anyone decides to not attend.  That will be it for 2016!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Crocheting Pumpkin and Ghost Banners and Leaf Banners-Pumpkin Class Coming This Saturday

Gift to Local Fire Dept
My days have been busy, but with the reduced sunlight, I keep feeling I just don't get enough done in the gardens before it starts to get dark and cold.
I am getting ready for my Saturday, Pick Pumpkins and Fill With Flowers class.  There are lots of different colored pumpkins for people to choose.  Celli and
Carli are coming the day before and planning on attending.  Celli is going to help me teach the
painting of pumpkins.  We will be demonstrating painting them with black chalkboard paint and also other colors.  

To give people ideas for changing up the Halloween decorations to become "fall" decorations.

I saw a photo of a lady that crocheted a pumpkin and ghost swag/banner and thought that would make for a great door prize for my class.

 It took me a few tries to make the ghost, that one was more difficult to crochet than the pumpkin.  I think they turned out cute.

With that thought, and a couple more days of rain and being stuck inside, I thought a swag of fall leaves would look cute too.  So I went searching on Youtube and watched a pattern to make leaves.  I believe I will use the leaf swag as a door prize for the November Gnocchi making class.  The photos don't show true colors, there isn't a pink, it is orange, some yellow, red and some green leaves complete the swag.
I have been a little down lately because of an unexpected expense.  An oak tree fell on top of our friend, Tina's 5th wheel that is stored in the back of our property.  

As I am typing today, I am waiting for the tree man to come and cut it down at the cost of $1000 or more.  It looks like it has done a lot of damage to the cover over it and the slides.  We sure have to sell a lot of flowers and produce to make $1000!!!  The tree is so big and heavy, we couldn't even attempt to try and remove it ourselves.
Will show pictures of the tree cut down on next blog. And will show how cute the pumpkins turned out that people cut and decorated and maybe even painted!!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Cooking Stromboli Class Was A Success, Building A Pergola

The cooking class on Thursday was really a lot of fun.  Some people who attended have come to so many of our classes, they are good friends.  We had some new people attend too and I fell they had a great time too.  
The prep work took a full day.  I needed all the counter space I could find so everyone had space to roll out the dough for the Stromboli.  

The kitchen looked so much bigger with everything gone.  But it worked out well so that each person had  room enough to chop up ingredients, arrange their dough, slide it on a baking pan and into the oven.

 I can't believe how different each person's ingredients looked.  And the smells were so heavenly!!!
Each person went home with a cooked roll ready to eat that night or the next day.  Today on Facebook,

I saw one of our people who attended show a picture of her twin grand kids making one with her, deciding on their own ingredients!!!  Now that makes me feel the class was a success.
We had door prizes of dried apricots, pumpkins, dough to take home and make more, gift certificate to flowers from our farm.
So that class is finished, on to the next class on October 22nd.  I plan on having people pick out their own pumpkins, do their own carving.  Then we will go out into the flower fields which are still blooming, blooming, cut flowers to come back and make their own arrangements.  I plan to also have some succulents and small mums to plant inside the pumpkins if anyone chooses to do that instead of fresh flowers.
It is time to pick our pomegranates.  Frank was reading that next week we are in store for several days of rain.  If we don't pick the poms before the rain, they may split if it rains too much.  We lost a whole orchard full several years ago by not paying attention to the weather.  Since then, I watch it pretty closely.  In November, I am hoping to have a Pomegranate Pressing Party if we have enough pomegranates.

 Frank is still working on the pergola between the garage and house.  His hip still bothers him, so he works a few hours and isn't pushing himself too hard.  It is about 75% finished so I will post some photos when done.

My young rooster is officially crowing all the time.  He has found his big boy voice and starting to notice the hens so moving into manhood.  I hope he remains friendly so we can keep him. He is a Jersey Giant rooster so he is a fair sized chicken and he isn't completely filled out yet.  
We saw our family tonight and it was so fun to see Collin and Carli since we haven't seen them for a couple weeks.  It was our son-in-law's birthday so we met them in Roseville to see them and to drop off their dog Gunnar.  We have had him for a week while they have been on vacation.
Our hearts go out to the people in Haiti and to all those people who have had their lives disrupted by having to evacuate their homes on the East Coast due to the severe storm. We pray there are no lives lost.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Picking Cotton And Pumpkins

How Has Your Week Been?
We have had some time available from not having to worry about watering or weeding.  But the pomegranates are starting to be ready and my fall class schedule is full.
October is filled with lots of fun events.  The fall antique fairs start up and I love those. Gatherings in Willows has one of the best for me, it is set for October 15th. 
On October 6th, I am having my Make Your Own Stromboli class. The class is almost full and can't wait to start rolling out dough, filling it with lushish things, starts at 6-8pm.  Lots of preparation for this class as it will be held inside our house so need to clean off all my counters, have cooking sheets, the fillings, door prizes, drinks, I have a long list.

My friend Sarah and I went pumpkin picking a few days ago.
 I was terrible this year and never got my seeds in the ground.  I am upset with myself because I normally grow enough for local school kids and to sell a few at my stand.  It is my hope, around the middle of the month to have a class on carving out your own pumpkins and filling it with flowers.
 People can take home their completed works.  They get to pick their own flowers from our flower field.

October 13th is our grand daughter Carli's birthday.  She is growing up so fast and is such a smart and beautiful girl.  Frank and I just love her to death.  She got braces recently, getting taller, getting a young girls figure so she has lots of changes happening to her.

 On our way to the field to pick, we went to our favorite nursery, called Garden Gleanings in the little town of Glenn.  Such a hard working gal started it up a few years ago and I have been going there every year.  

She works hard as a single parent and the nursery and her gift items are just getting better and better.  We happened to mention I was looking for raw cotton cut from the fields.  Glenn has several growers and we thought she may know one.  Of course, she did, got texting and set up for us to pick up cotton after we return from picking pumpkins.
We stopped by on our way back and there it was, a pile of cotton just cut.  And a telephone number of the family that grows it.  I am just in the land of cotton!!!  I wanted some for myself, but also to use in our December Wreath Making Class and possibly use some in fall arrangements for customers.  We also cut some corn stalks while we were at the pumpkin field so my truck was filled with wonderful items to decorate for fall.

Our son-in-law Chris has a birthday this month too.  We are so blessed to have him in our lives, our grand children adore him, he is involved in all their activities, helps out Celli in their home, a great provider and a really fun and nice guy. We love him very much.
Then there is the end of the month activities, flower arrangements in pumpkins, Halloween.
Hope you can attend a few of our classes here at Windmill Farm or follow them right here on my blog.  I am working on video taping lately with my new phone so someday, I may even attach a short clip!!!  Old dogs learning new tricks.
Happy October!