"A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty."
It's true, dogs really are the best of us. This year was a heartbreaking one for our family. Losing two of our dogs was gutwrenching. I still think I see my girl chasing bunnies in the field or hear old Barn Dog whining to go inside. It's been a hard adjustment, but we are so grateful for the time we had with them and our other two floofs keep us laughing every day.
We've also been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to foster and to assist so many dogs in finding their people. Truly, they are the great unifiers. When seeing someone meet their dog for the first time, there's never a shortage of tears and goosebumps. I can't tell you how many big men have teared up and thanked us for fostering as they load their newly adopted pup into the car. And guess what? In meeting people through fostering, and through dogs in general, judgement, politics, differing worldviews, all of it is absent. There's nothing but love, joy, and gratitude. The spirit of the dog. May we always strive to be more like them. Love.
#nationaldogday #foster #adopt #spayandneuter #dog #love #gratitude #barndog #barndogflowerfarm
Whoah! I'm running so late today! How are you guys? We're gearing up for the Hockinson Farmers Market tomorrow (9-1pm) and trying to rush our harvest this morning. We're harvesting daily from 6am until about 10:30 and then again each evening from 7:30 to 9:30. Gotta split the shifts in this heat!
Speaking of split shifts, my hubby and I have a system down for markets and well, life in general. For markets, he packs the truck, sets up the tent and is a general moral support leading up to it. I truly depend on him for so much. And he's cute and he keeps the mood light. Anyway, he unexpectedly jumped on a plane Wednesday to rush off to help a sick aunt in NYC. During a heatwave, on a farmers market week, with custom orders, with company here, with a giant tree removal job, and with irrigation failures. Oh, and with a dishwasher blowing out. That sounds like a lot right? I should be panicking, right? I suppose I could be a little crabby and disappointed that he'd take off on such a hectic week, but guess what? We have a choice. We can choose to see these little challenges however we'd like. I'm choosing gratitude. I am soooooo freaking grateful to have a life partner who would jump on a plane to rush off to be with a family member in need. I'm also grateful that he believes I can handle all the things I just mentioned. Because guess what? I can.
So, that's my Friday morning pep talk reminding you that you can handle all that life throws at you. Yep, you can! It's also my way of letting you know that there won't be any flowers in the stand until at least noon and as I mentioned in an earlier post, I won't be able to take any new custom orders this weekend.
Have a great weekend! Hope to see you at the farmers market!
Oh, did I tell you I was summoned to jury duty and it starts on the first day of our dahlia subscription? No worries, we will cross that bridge when we get to it!
Twelve years ago I was raising two little boys. I'd left teaching five years earlier to stay home with them, to goof around on the farm, and to create a life for them that I had only dreamed of as a child. I wanted to live in the country, have oodles of animals, and play in gardens. While my family filled most of my cup, there was something missing. I missed work and having my own thing. So, I spent every single free second gardening. We donated produce to the food bank, and with the hundreds of mixed bag dahlias we grew, took them to our local hospice house. Occasionally, I'd have weekend barn sales where we sold produce and flowers and my crafty maker friends would bring candles, cards, jewelry, and other goodies. I loved the hum of those weekends and being surrounded by my creative girlfriends. It was my little outlet. Did it pay bills? No. Did I ever want to return to teaching? I didn't think so. My heart wasn't cut out for teaching. I subbed enough when my children were young to know that I was far too soft for it. I'd come home, sit on the couch, and cry on some of those hard days. Hungry kids, behavior issues from a life of neglect or abuse. It was hard. I would always spend the next day in the garden after subbing.
Anyway, a dozen years ago or so, our family was on a ski trip to White Pass and when we stopped in to a coffee shop in Packwood, my breath was taken away by a wall of clocks. Gorgeous, whimsical clocks, full of color and emotion. One clock jumped out at me for it was in my favorite color greens and had these soulful, emotive eyes. An owl clock. Although, I didnt buy one, they lit a spark in me and I couldnt stop obsessing about them all the way home.
That Christmas, I opened a present from my husband, and in it, the owl clock. He snuck away and went all the way back to Packwood to get it. That guy! He'd move mountains.
When I turned the clock over, I read the name Allen Design Studios. Hmm.
Flashforward to 2021 when Michelle Allen reached out asking if I would be interested in doing little flower arrangements for a fundraiser she was doing at her home gallery. Uhhhm, fall over.
Up until a couple years ago, I didnt realize that the artist who created the beloved owl clock lived right here in the Vancouver area. What?! And now she's inquiring about my flowers? No way. Of course, I texted a friend who knew the owl clock story and was around 12 years ago when I was gushing over my Christmas gift. I wasn't freaking out at all. Ok, maybe a little. Would the flowers be ok? I mean, she's an artist. Would my color choices be to her liking? My friend texted back something like, "she's just a woman doing what she loves...just like you." It then kinda hit me. I am doing what I love. I have an actual business. People can see what I love. Eep, the introvert in me kinda panicked. Maybe I'm overexposing myself. But that little voice, that little message from the Universe said, "This is your flow. Keep it up. Be happy. Joy is ok."
I have been so blown away, humbled, inspired, and energized by the women I've met over these past couple of years who are following their bliss either in business or in hobby and are courageously letting their joy and their art be known. Michelle Allen, thank you for the beauty you put into this world and the joy you bring to others. And to all the women forging their own paths and following their hearts, keep it up!
As one of Allen Design's paintings reads, "Fly so others can see the color in your wings."
Photo courtesy of Allen Designs
Flowers by Barn Dog Flower Farm
Pottery by Shelby Proudfit of Sip and Spin Pottery Co
Synchronicity. Coincidence. Call it what you will, but I find it to be of one life's most beautiful surprises. I delight in these moments. For me, when I'm in a flow, fully in the present, synchronicities will happen in clusters. Maybe a dozen a week at certain times. Here's an example.
Years ago, we watched a logging project on a property we drove by on our way to school. A house completely shaded by dark trees brought into sunlight and completely relandscaped. At first we were sad about the cutting of the trees, but as we watched the landscape transform, we were in awe of the beauty and design. Here we are years later, forced to have our own logging project. A couple months ago, as we worked to clean up, I thought of the property we passed often and decided to write them a letter asking who they may have hired for help. I did a little search, got their address, and wrote them a letter. The letter was returned. Wrong address.
As we drove by one day, my husband read the numbers on the mailbox and, remembering I had the letter in my purse, wrote down the correct address. The letter went back into my purse and was never mailed.
Flash forward to the Hockinson Farmers Market this past Saturday. We cruise in, wave to my friend Shelby of Sip and Spin who is setting up across the way from us and begin putting up our booth. Once we were all set, a woman came over to introduce herself as Shelby's grandmother. She wanted to let me know that she knew where we lived and that she had a connection with our home. Since she had lived in the community for 50 years, she knew people who lived here before us. She explained that her husband, now in his 80s, had grown up playing in our barn. Goosebumps. I love hearing these stories.
Our conversation then shifted to the flowers. I would have visited with her all day. She then mentioned they had some logging done a few years ago. I paused, asked her to hold on for just a second, walked to my purse, pulled out the letter and asked, "is this you?" She saw her address and she looked stunned. I said, "I wrote you a letter months ago."
So, I explained the story, we laughed and hugged (yay, hugs!!) and I winked at the Universe.
"A friend is one who overlooks your broken fence and admires the flowers in your garden."
With the heat, I was feeling overwhelmed by all.the.things. We've had sooo many projects and changes around the farm that sometimes I look up and everything feels broken and unfinished. I was racing to water trays and keep seedlings alive, harvest before it got too hot, and pot up the rest of an unexpected shipment of bareroot woodies this morning all while tripping over project ends in the barn. I sat down, a weee bit paralyzed and defeated and messaged a sweet friend to vent. She knows the ins and outs and ups and downs of the farm well. Her first response was, "how can I help?" I explained that I just needed to vent and that the frustration would pass. She responded, "I'll be there in 15 minutes." I tried explaining again that it was fine and I was having a moment, but before I knew it, she was driving through the gate.
She's one of those rare friends who jumps right in, doesn't mention your mess or how disheveled you appear. She tidies and chats and before you know it, order feels restored.
Although I've claimed to be a one woman show over here, I truly couldn't do it without the support. My sweet friend has been behind the scenes cheering me on, running errands, gathering supplies, bringing me vases, helping me run the farmers market booths, giving me reminders, and listening to my big dreams for the better part of two years. So, while I look around and see a logging disaster, barn reorganization messes, a half finished farmstand, heat stressed plants, and other small disasters, I know that they're fleeting frustrations in the scheme of things and I am one lucky lady to have such a dear friend who's brave enough to show up and dig in. Thank you, Julie! You're truly one of a kind!