Thursday, October 19, 2017

Another Wedding; Pumpkin/Flower Arranging Class-All In October!!!

Doesn't anyone get married in summer any longer???  At least in my tiny flower farming world it doesn't seem so this year. In the last blog, I showed you the flowers of my 1st wedding in October, but the following week, I had another one. 
Then, if that wasn't enough, I knew I had my annual pick your pumpkin, carve it; pick your own flowers from our flower gardens; and then make your beautiful arrangement the following weekend. Lots to do, lots of planning.
So let me start with wedding #2 in October.
Beautiful bride, lovely, lovely family. This wedding requested dark red colors in bride's;pink and other color flowers for table and bridesmaid-no ribbons hanging; burlap and lace. 

I think the wedding party looked beautiful.
The Pumpkin/Flower class quickly followed.  I readied my sorting shed, Frank set up tables and chairs.  I put out all the details needed like flower clippers, buckets, hand towels; brought out the food and drinks and put them in the cooler.  I also pre-picked lots of greens, fillers and some flowers so they could get started before going out into the field to pick their own.
At 4:30 am, I was awakened to loud noises.  It was the wind blowing at least 20 mph.  I almost feel back to sleep when I thought:  all my class stuff is outside and probably blowing away!!!  And would 14 ladies want to be outside in that kind of wind to try and enjoy themselves?  No.
So I waited until daylight, got dressed and examined the class area.  It was a total disaster, stuff was all over the yard, some tables had blown over.  I thought to myself: 1.  I am too old for this.  2.  Maybe I should cancel. 3.  Where would I hold it that was outside of the wind?  ANSWER: I didn't cancel and inside the house was the best place, and get my butt moving and maybe the class can still happen.
That meant, clean up the house quickly. I woke up Frank - I needed his help to move all those chairs and tables and greens and buckets and food to the front door and I would set up inside the house. He was a good sport and could have just put the covers over his head and pretend he didn't hear me.
I don't know how it happened, but we made it just in time.  I took a video, I will try and load it right here before the class.Before class video

In the house was a great idea in the end.  People were more comfortable, chatted away.

But we did have to brave the wind to go out and have them select their pumpkins; and they cut their own flowers. 
Some people even went out again after they got started to select more flowers or different colors.

Fun time, love it when Moms and daughters come; or when people bring a friend.  They get to share the experience here at Windmill Farm.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Fall Pumpkins, Wedding Flowers

It finally got cooler and our pumpkin harvesting time has begun.  
We picked all the white pumpkins first which will mostly be used in our October 14th Pumpkin and Flower Decorating Class.  
We also picked many small and medium sized pumpkins to sell out at our roadside stand.  The ugly part about this is that the stems on pumpkins have these sharp prickly points all over them so gloves are a must.  
The fields have been so dry and dusty, the pumpkins are dirty too, so each one had to be picked, loaded into the Gator; then unloaded in our sorting shed to be washed.  Then re-loaded up and placed out front at our roadside decorated stand.  I cut up a few smaller ones, put some floral foam and filled with fresh cut flowers to sell at a very reasonable price.
Another event happening at our farm is on October 19th, the Walton Pre-School kids are coming out to spend a few hours with us.  They will be picking their own pumpkins; taking Gator rides; and then doing a little craft project out at our sorting shed.  The kids are ages 3-5 years old so this should be such a fun thing to do.  If anyone locally or nearby is needing any pumpkins, we have them either one or many!!!

Everything is coming up flowers!!!  It is interesting how everyone starts doing the same thing at the same time.  Let me explain.  I may not get a telephone call for my farm fresh chicken eggs for a week or more.  Then in one day, I will get 5 calls just in the morning for as many eggs that I have available.  This last week, I have gotten at least 10 calls from all over California with people looking to buy fresh green olives to cure.  My olives are very small this year so not selling any but do refer them to the few places I know to look for fresh olives.
The same thing happened about a month ago, people started calling to see if our farm could do the flowers for their small weddings, all in OCTOBER and November!!!  

Not the best time to get flowers in a season, but we still have beautiful dahlias, hydrangeas and other flowers so we said YES.  Above are some photos of a flower cuff I made; a bridesmaid bouquet and the boutionerres.

Then we received a telephone call from a local photographer who wanted to know if they could take some high school graduation photos out in our flower gardens.  Of Course!!  

But I did tell her that this is not the best time of year to show the gardens off and especially since we had such a huge wind storm recently.  Honestly, I was afraid to even go back there to look at it, I figured everything would be blown on the ground.  Luckily,, only one row of dahlia plants were slumped over, which I can re-prop back up for at least another couple of weeks until the flower season is completely over.
Maybe it is me, but I have been feeling like baking lately.  I am trying out some recipes to make home made pretzels and hopefully I will be teaching a class sometime in late November or possibly after the 1st of the year.

The best news is, I am wearing a sweat shirt today.  Why is that good news you ask?  Because since June, our area has had the hottest weather anyone can remember.  No day was cooler than in the middle 80 degrees and mostly all summer long it was in the 90s.  I am just happy that it is cool enough to even think about wearing something warmer and not be sweating just walking across the room.  Fall has arrived!!!

Saturday, September 16, 2017


I think I figured out a way to include videos to my blogs.  In a round-about way, using Youtube, but it seems to work.  I have also been obsessed with taking short videos of our gardens; the outbuildings; anything to do with our farming business and then posting them on our farm Facebook account.  
I have especially loved taking videos of my flowers, growing and finished bouquets.  It seems that just a quick snapshot of an finished arrangement just doesn't do the whole look of it justice.

The project started out with the finding of one galvanized metal farm container at a local antique pop up sale.  My initial idea was to hang it in my office to put pens/pencils, clips, office supplies in it. But it sat in my garage for a couple of weeks because I kept forgetting to ask Frank to drill some holes in it so I could hang it on my wall.
Then one Saturday, Frank and I decided to take a break from all our work at the farm and go for a drive.  We ended up in Marysville and I remembered a friend of mine told me she had an antique shop downtown.  We found the shop and she had a basket full of very similar galvanized bucket/scoop things.  And a bit cheaper, so I purchased 2 more, but really didn't have a clue what to do with them, I just liked the shape.
One day I was trimming back my succulents and thought they might be perfect type of plants to put into these old farm implements.  So I rounded up all the necessary planting items: soil; succulents; moss; rocks; Oasis twine and took the videos.
That was Part 1 of the DIY video.

Part 2
Finished Project
I hope you enjoy the DIY videos.  Leave me a comment please.  I know it is hard to figure out how to leave a comment, there is a spot at the bottom of this blog that says "NO COMMENT", which means number of comments.  Click on it and a comment form will pop up.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Flowers Kept Blooming All Hot Hot Summer Long & Our Prayers to Texas and Southern State Flood Victims

All I can say is it is a miracle we got through this summer.  And a miracle our veggies and flowers got through it too.  It all started in February when we had the evacuations due to possible Oroville Dam breaking, the spillway broke up and flooding everyplace in all the streams and water tributaries. Then Butte County had some fires in the foothills.  And if our poor community didn't have enough happening, we have had 90-107 degree heat since July.
Frank and I just took each day as it came, we watered, we got up earlier to do what we had to do in our fields and orchards.  And in the evening, Frank would open up his shop and continue to work on building his cabinets and fixed small mechanical things needing done. Most nights we would stop working around 10:00pm.
Some of the fruit just fell to the ground for a couple of reasons.  
Because they ripened so fast due to the heat; and also because it was just so hot, we weren't able to get out there and pick the fruit before it got too soft.  I hate the waste, but we just couldn't do anything else.
We belong to a Neighborhood Watch group and people started posting on our on-line site, how much their PG&E bills were to see if others were having the same high bills.  YESSSS!!!  A few people said their bills were $800-$1200 when the year before it was $200-$300.  Solar was spoken lots of times. Putting on those air conditioners even for a few hours during the hottest part of the day has added up to many hundreds of dollars for everyone. Tough for all of us!!

In spite of it all, in early spring to early summer, my roses, iris, ranunculus and hydrangeas just bloomed and bloomed; lilacs were so so, but still nice to see them even if only for a few days.

Then the Queens Anne Lace, some statice bloomed in the flower gardens.  
I kept chipping away planting vegetables and flowers-a row of seeds at a time, between 7-9 at night because that was the only time it got in low 80 degree weather.

Some dahlias started blooming in early July, several rows of zinnias bloomed, the dusty miller looked good; glads and the Celosia started up.  And it has been getting better and better including the Teddy Bear sunflowers and many other varieties of sunflowers just started to bloom like crazy.  
Then the 2nd round of glads bloomed which actually I had forgotten I had planted so that was a nice surprise.  Now all the dahlias are blooming and each day I see a new size and color dahlia popping out.

In between the flowers, I got rows and rows of cucumbers; beans, corn and just in the last 3 weeks, an explosion of tomatoes.  

The failures that I had in flowers-straw flowers and most of the statice; in veggies-watermelons and peppers.  Gosh, my peppers were always huge and very productive.  We planted in March, they were ruined in May with winds and downpour of rains.  Replanted but they have been slow getting going and now the watermelons are just about ripe, but the aphids have taken over.
The flower rows look fantastic, so many colors, textures, heights; it helps to make up for the disappointment in the vegetables and fruits.
Frank and I have really felt the heat and we are heat loving people.  It has been like a heavy weight on our shoulders so when you walk from the house to the chicken pen, do a few chores, you go back to the house and have to sit down to rest.  

Speaking of chickens, it has been hard on them too.  I had several die through the summer.  They were old hens, but still, you feel bad for them.  I have kept sprinklers on their roof and a fan inside their coops but with feathered friends all nestled together at night, it just creates more heat for them.
In spite of all of heat issues, nothing compares to the sadness and loss as happened to the poor people of Houston, Dallas and other parts of Texas and southern states where they have had the flooding.  My heart feels for them. we are sending money, prayers, support and love to our fellow Americans.  Also we want to thank all the people who have helped rescue stranded people and animals; thank the people in churches and evacuation centers for providing support to those who lost so much.  The true American spirit-people pulling together in hard times.  Frank and I send our heartfelt prayers to all those people affected; and to our heroes like the police agencies; fire fighters; rescuers; FEMA people; Red Cross; all the churches that opened up their doors; all those that have come out to help others even when they have their own personal losses too. God Bless.