Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Learning New Social Media Skills For Farming-Flowers-Video Downloading

OK, I got it about Social Media.  I use it, I think I have a basic understanding about it.  I took some classes, I read, read, read everything I can AND understand about how to use social media for business.
Does it all apply to farming?  Honestly, at first, I didn't think it did apply to our small farm.  But since using each new avenue of information-Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Blogging, Youtube, Website, initially they weren't.  As I got better about it, as I posted more, as I used more options to enhance visibility, I think it does help.
I don't use Twitter, just because I really think I am too old to want to let my "friends" know what I am thinking and doing every minute of the day.  Nor do I have the time to bother about it.
I do make time for Facebook and have fallen in love, with Instagram.  And of course, I have blogged about our Windmill Farm and our life here for almost 7 years now!!!  I wish I had thousands of fans reading it, but I just plug away and don't take sponsors or take the advise of other well know bloggers as to what to do to get your blog known.
An added feature I have used on Facebook is the "boost" feature.  I think I have mentioned this before.  If I have a special class coming up with an instructor I am bringing in to do the class; or a special class of my own that I would like a good attendance, I use this Facebook ability to widen your audience.  There is a cost associated with it but it is based on how many days you want it to run; and what number of people you wish to target.  Each time I have used it, the visibility of my page has increased and I do pick up a few new people to attend my classes.
I do all my updating and posting of photos on the social media in the morning before we go out and actually do our farming business.  During the day, I try and keep my phone with me to snap some pictures of what we are doing.  And lately, I have been using my video feature by taking these mini clips of our property.  I have had some good, positive response to them to keep them up!!!  It is hard to let loose of your private, personal life.  But since Frank and I seem to work our gardens, our projects all the time and that has become our main focus, why not!!!!  So my dogs and I cruse around in the Gator and take mini movies and are posting them to Instagram and both Windmill Farm and Paula Carli pages on Facebook. (I tried posting videos here, to blogger, but haven't been able to figure it out yet!  Maybe next time)
I love Pinterest and still check out new pins about every other day. I use it a lot when getting ready for my classes, by checking out other tutorials of my specific ones, see what other people are doing.  I make new boards up for my various projects, such as upholstery; crochet projects; gardening; macrame; etc.  Pinterest has beautiful photos, but within the last year, I have found something disappointing about it.  It has a feature where you can go directly to the site that had the original photos.  Since now all social media is world wide open, the link can take you to ADVERTISING!!!  Or Flicker account which is just a bunch of pictures.  As an example, there is a photo of a particular potted plant I like.  I want to know more about it so I click on that feature to go to source and it ends up on just a photo board, no information, nothing. Or goes to an advertising board.  Bummer.  Like all hackers and horrible people, they use these social media to promote their ugly business, so even occationally you are looking at some food picture and want to see the recipe, you end up on someone's pinterest board with pictures of women!!!
Now Instagram has sorta, kinda, become my passion and I sorta, kinda and finding myself a little addicted to watching some farming, gardening videos on Instagram and looking at such beautiful pictures of flowers, gardens, decorating, food and-knitting and crocheting projects.  Since I have so many interests, it is hard to confine myself to just a few topics.  Then there is a section of unusual pets-videos about people who have pet pigs, pet fox; horses that do funny things, ferrets, the pictures are posted from around the world so it opens up a whole interesting viewing arena.  It is funny about addictions, you have to control them.  My worst is food.  Sorry, I am not a 95 lbs person, I should be for all the work I do.  But I am not, so I am constantly struggling with that addiction.  I don't smoke or drink.  We only have the TV going after dark, normally during and after dinner. BUT, Instagram, since on my phone, can be watched in quick, short bits of any new pictures or mini videos posted.  It is assessable all day long and it is fun and I really feel myself being inspired to plant different things, to try harder in my gardens; but mostly, I am entertained.  So I thought if I am interested in this, I need to start thinking about using it for our farming business!
So I have been posting these mini farm videos out in Instagram, in hopes to find others who may be interested in seeing what we, Windmill Farm are doing here in Gridley; to be inspired and possibly, to take a glimpse now and then during their day, to check out what we are doing.  To keep up with our projects; to see what Annie and Bella are doing; the chickens, whatever!!!

If you are like us and sometimes poo poo all these new Internet ventures out there, take a little step outside your comfort zone and do look into these new social media avenues to expand your business!  I am having a blast capturing glimpses of our day, here at Windmill Farm and sharing them "out there" in the never, never land of the Internet.  Go figure! Check out our Instagram, Facebook pages for all my new videos.  And Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram for photos of the farm too.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Using Wood Shavings In Garden vs Straw

I love a neat and tidy garden.  It isn't always the case with me, but I try to keep the weeds pulled and mulch around the base of my vegetables and flowers.  I have found that if I put straw under my cucumber plants, the cucumbers grow straight and have less blemishes on them.
After weeding and raking up all the weeds, it is a very satisfying to spread out the straw around the base of the tomatoes or flowers knowing the job is done. (Unfortunately, when I let the chickens in the gardens, they love to scatter it all over the place looking for bugs).  Part of my working tools in the back of my Gator is always a broom.  To sweep back the straw around the bottom of the plants.
I have noticed, that some of my STRAW still has seeds it it which causes the following year to produce more weeds.  A couple of years ago, many articles were written to re-cycle grass when mowing out into your gardens for mulch and weed control.  I did that, but boy was that a mistake!!!  Do NOT use grass.  Put it in your mulch pile, not in your gardens.  I never had so many weeds as when I used the lawn grass in my gardens.  It was as if I seeded my gardens with lawn seed!!!
This year I decided to try something different.  I purchase animal shaving for the chicken house.  The price of the shavings was comparable to the straw and I thought, no seeds!!!  And the smell is wonderful; and good for mixing with the soil at the end of the year; AND a good moisture control around the base of the plants.
I purchased 6 bales of wood shavings and 2 bales of straw and I am experimenting around my gardens.  I still used the straw under my cucumbers and around the base of the beans.  But around the base of my tomatoes, peppers and half of the dahlias, I am using the wood shavings.

So far, the weed control is about the same; but the wood shavings are not producing NEW weeds due to seeds.  The straw is helping with keeping weeds down, BUT it is also creating some new types of weeds from the seeds left in the straw.
At first, I thought the wood shavings might break down too fast and be a waste of money, but so far, they are holding up and continue to provide good bedding.  
I wondered if the shavings did keep moisture into the soil and so far, it appears to me that it does.  
I pulled away the dry shavings from the base of the plant and found that the soil was still moist.

All in all I think I will continue to use the bedding shavings.  I am liking it very much, especially around my flowers.  
Having the flower beds look as nice as the flowers do, is important to me.  I do have classes here at the farm, where we might go out and cut flowers to do an arrangement class.  I do have potential flower customers who are looking for wedding or event flowers, go out into our rows to look at blooming flowers and the better the rows looks, the more clients I may get too!!
Wood Shavings versus Straw???  A little of both is my choice.

Sunday, July 30, 2017


Before I was a farmer, I was a business woman.  I wore suits, high heel shoes; loads of different and coordinating jewelry; had my nails and hair done on a regular basis. Oh and I wore nylons every day.
This required shopping for my business attire fairly regularly at the malls.  Gosh do people still spend the day shopping at a mall? Why does that seem so much a waste of time to me now?
Have you ever purchased the same or similar shoes before?  Well I have, I would go into a store and think I really like that shoe.  And forget I already have a pair, maybe in a different color.
Well I have done the same thing with antiques.  This I find very, very strange.  I am a lifetime buyer of antiques and selling antiques.  My Mother did, my sister is in the same boat.  Fads go in and out of antiques, just like in clothes.  Sometimes we would fix up an old Victorian house and I would furnish it with appropriate antiques.  Out goes the Victorian when we built a new house in the country, so I tried to make it antique comfortable country since we had kids and dogs and lots of dirt.
Buying something twice first showed up in antiques, after my Mother died.  We had a huge sale because, well, she was a pretty crazy antique collector too!!!She bought, but she didn't sell.  We paid two ladies to do the estate sale because there was just so much stuff, outbuildings, barn, basement, house, garage.  We were able or allowed to keep whatever we wanted, but by then, what we each kept really didn't make one itty bitty dent in the amount of stuff to be sold.
For a while, I would see my Mother's stuff float in and out of local antique shops since most of the buyers were local people.  But then I started to see some of her items in nearby towns, sometimes in my friend's house!!!  Now that was weird.
A couple years later, I was shopping at a friend's antique shop and found a cute antique straw hat.  I collect straw hats and use them on the wall for "art".  
As I was paying for it, Jean asked me if I knew where this hat came from?  I didn't know.  She said, "your Mother's estate sale"!  Jean had liked it and had it at her house for a while, enjoying it someplace. A day before, she had brought new items into her shop to sell and one of them was the straw hat. The hat belonged to my mother.  Then sometime later I went to our local, Gridley sale and brought home an old tin container I was going to use for buttons.  We are talking maybe 10-12 years later.  I put the buttons in it and on to the shelf it went with the rest of the "stuff".  My daughter came to visit me and we were doing some sewing projects.  She brought back the tin of buttons and said: "I didn't know you kept Grandma's button box".  I told her I didn't, had just purchased it.  But as it turned out, it did belong to my mother and I, ended up buying it back. I knew it looked familiar, I knew it was calling me to take it home.
The last item is a strange item.  I collect porcelain, wood, ceramic, any old hands.  I believe the porcelain may be French, but I originally thought years ago that they might have been to hold gloves.
 But I always have used them to hold my rings and jewelry, in groupings.  
Remember, I was a working gal forever, and every outfit required matching jewelry items-earrings, watches (because keeping tract of your time was important); bracelets, pins.  Matching, matching.  
And as I took them off, they went on these figurenes.  
So I got interested in antique hands.  I had purchased like 30 years ago, a wooden hand, never saw one before.  One time, someone told me the object was used for weaving, another said it was used for grabbing hot wash being washed in a bucket.  It was very bleached out and no stain on it, like it could have been washed.  Well, it fell out of favor with me and ended up in a yard sale, like 25 years ago.
Fast forward to last year in Gridley.  I went to the monthly, tent antique sale here in town.  I saw a few items I liked, without thinking, put them at the counter and they were in the bag to go home with me.  When I opened every thing up again to inspect closer and to hang or put away, I thought what an unusual object.  I found the perfect place for it, in my laundry room, don't ask me why.  
Each visit to the laundry room, to do wash, it just kept catching my eye.  Until I thought, I am going to look at some old photos I happen to have of my bathroom a long time ago.  Guess what was there?  Yep, that hand, that washer hand; whatever it was-it is back into my house.  Spooky.  
I guess some things are meant to make a full circle.  
I wonder where those items were before they came back to me?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Some Favorite Items I Use All The Time

 This is a share post, of what I like in farming/gardening things.  I am not affiliated with any of the vendors.  Actually, if I may rant a bit, I am getting tired of my favorite bloggers getting sponsors and now all these pop up, flashing advertisers are showing up on their blogs.  I keep clicking them to close as I am reading their post, but they keep coming back.  It is very annoying.

I have a few products I just love.  I have a Gator that Frank bought me a few years ago, it is used, but boy, what a treat it is to use every day.  If you have property and need something to haul; to pick and transport to another location; to bring gardening items to a particular place, like fertilizers; rakes; straw, even people, these are fabulous.  
This is what is in the bed of my Gator-a farmer woman's tools.
We got our first Gator for mainly Frank in Grass Valley because we lived in a property manager's house where he worked and he needed to go back and forth to the owner's rentals and house (was on 2000 acres).  I used it occasionally, but it was mainly for Frank.
Then when we moved here to Gridley, it was used all the time to help plant trees; to use when irrigating with ditches; to pick up branches and leaves, the list goes on.  Frank's has a push button lift, like a dump truck which makes it wonderful to unload what you are hauling.  The only issue (at least for me because it happens to me more than Frank) is I leave my rake, or clippers, or gardening tools under the pile to be dumped.  I push the button and go on my merry way.  So a day or so later, I am always looking for those items and have to go back to the compost area and move branches or leaves looking for my stuff!!
We have a friend that sells new John Deere products and he called to tell Frank that someone was turning in a 6 year old Gator for a new one, but it was kept inside and well cared for, not abused and maybe he was interested in this one to replace his old one.  We went and looked at it and the price was right, so Frank bought it for me.  He said because he was tired of me using his all the time - a very special gift for me!!!
This is what is in the back of Frank's Gators-fixing irrigation problems.

I love mine, Frank's is a 4x4 so is a bit taller to get in and out.  Mine is a smaller engine, 2 wheel  just PERFECT for me.  Oh, only one thing, the dump part of the Gator is done by hand.  You pull on a lever in the back, the back dumps and then you have to push on it to get it back into place.  Only sometimes a minor inconvenience, but enough that if I ever got a new one, I would make sure the automatic dumper is part of the options.

If you look in that glovebox above, you will see some clippers, I use them every day.  
My favorites are:  ARS 7" light pruners, good for everything I need to cut, snip or prune in the garden. Come in colors, my favorite is teal but I just purchased these 2 new ones that are beige.  I like the colored ones better because I sometimes am cutting in the orchard or gardens and set them down.  It helps to located them among the pulled weeds or cut limbs if they have a bright color on them!! I think what I like most about them is how they fit in a woman's hands and very easy to open and close.
The 2nd clipper I love is the Joyce Chen Kitchen clippers. These are wonderful, lightweight, will cut wire, plastic, flower stems. I do have a pair in kitchen, but also have a couple in my flower/produce studio, they can cut something as fine as ribbon to a flower stem. (I am not a sponsor of either one of these products)
This is another product I use and love.  They are called magnetic parts holder, I call them magnetic dishes, but I use them wherever I need to keep metal objects from being lost or dropped.
I originally ordered them on-line to use for my sewing needles.  Believe me, the magnetic is very strong.  I have dropped this dish and nothing came out of it.  They come in 2 sizes, this one is the large one and I purchased another large one for Frank.  He keeps it on his workbench when he takes apart small machinery.  All the little screws and washers and nuts/bolts stay together instead of lost on the floor or with other stuff on his bench.  

We recently went to Harbor Freight and I found these there for $3.00.  They are smaller but still great and could be useful in offices, any crafty or handy person may need one of these!!!
We have had the worst heat this summer, unbelievable.  I love watching the short clips on Instagram and occasionally people show their locations and it might be raining or they have sweaters on from all over the world.  Well here, it has been in the 90-104 degree weather for almost 4 weeks now and we are just sick of it.  I had to even cancel a few classes because no matter the time of day, evening or morning, it was way to hot to teach canning lessons or whatever!! Hopefully, we can at least get 80 degree weather soon.  Come back soon to find out what is happening in my beautiful flower garden.  Things are finally blooming!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Best Part Of Summer

Frank Made This new Large Birdhouse

What Is Your Best Part Of Summer?  Is it planning for a special vacation?  Not having to get the kids up early for school or having to run, run, run all the time with activities?
Working in a garden?

As a farmer, spring and summer are our busiest time of the year, we don't get a break whether it is a Saturday or a 104 degree day.  Animals don't know what time of year it is, they are just thirsty or hungry each and every day and need tending.  Fruit trees need watering, sometimes spraying, and when their fruit is ready, you better be ready or you will miss them!!! Vegetables and fruits need watering, weeding, picking, checking for insects no matter the time of day, day of the week, whether it is a holiday.
For Frank and I, we love each and every day we live here on our farm-in spite of what I just mentioned. But our very, very favorite time is when our family comes to visit us, especially our grandkids when they stay on their own.
We get to have close, quality time with them and get to know what they are doing, what new things they are interested in; see how they are growing and changing.  And they get to re-kindle that love and closeness with their grandparents-us, too.
So this week, we played with the grandkids, even though it was so darn hot.  
Gator rides; picking and eating peaches while sitting underneath the trees sitting in the Gator. Pulling weeds in garden while talking; shooting up rubber band LED lighted rockets in the middle of the field at 10 at night.  

We shot some up in the air on our back lawn and laughed when half of them got stuck in the Maple tree-that now has LED lights glowing in it.  

I bought the kids some glow in the dark hand mittens,

so we went outside in the dark and played invisible people with glowing hands. 
I had also given them each a Fitbit Zip that keeps track of how many steps they take; calories used and some other things that syncs with a phone.

 They have been know to help get kids up and moving and away from all their electronic devices and staying inside too much.  So far, it has been fantastic, they are competing with each other; checking it all the time.

I even had a dentist appointment while they were hear and we all packed in the car and drove to Paradise to join me.  Had nice conversations in the car and a little singing too!!

They counted chickens on the lawn; they helped me round up the chicks at night to put them in the chicken coop safe and sound.  They ate some watermelon but saved some of it to feed to the chickens.
We stayed up late watching the newer version of Cinderella; Collin loves to scare his Grandma to hear me scream!!!
Simple fun, wonderful memories.  I hope you are having some family fun this summer-so far.


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