My great-grandma, Flossie, was somewhat of an enigma when I was young child. She passed away when I was barely a teen, but my memories of her come and go. At times she appeared all sunshine and smiles and other times prickly and distant. She was elegant and tough as nails. I remember the sound of her wailing when my grandfather, her son died, and I remember hugging her knees as she sat rocking back and forth in a chair in the living room. The loss of a beloved grandfather at age 9 felt severe, but I knew at that moment, her pain, a mother's pain, was worse. Unimagineable. She really never seemed the same after that day to me. She was softer, though, and perhaps a bit more distant.
Flossie lived through the depression and, like many of her generation, was uber frugal and resourceful. She had an entire cabinet full of used margarine tubs (just in case) and her house was tidy and humble. At one time she raised chickens and vegetables on her small farm in the desert of E.Washington. She was an organic, no-till gardener and didn't even know it was a thing. It was just the only thing. Manure and bedding from the coop, kitchen scraps, paper, etc were all recycled and used in the garden. Just like we have always done here on our little farm.
I inherited Flossie's car when I was 16, a 1965 Rambler Ambassador with 35,000 original miles. Robin's egg blue. I loved it. In fact, I named our flower truck Flossie in her honor with the intention of painting it the same color as her Rambler, and although that hasn't happened, I still dream of it. I think of her often, sometimes when I'm feeding the chickens or collecting eggs, when I'm throwing scraps in the compost, or when I think about deep grief and how everyone manages differently. I thought about the dichotomies that can exist within all of us when I potted up these prickly little cacti in delicate bone china. These were Flossie's teacups and I think it would give her great joy to know they've been repurposed and loved on again. To those of you who took some home today, thank you! I just thought I'd share a little back story.
Thanks so much for another awesome day in the farmstand! So grateful!
Did you know that over 80% of the flowers used for retails sales in the United States are imported? That means 3 out of 4 blooms are harvested and shipped into the country. There are so many reasons to choose local flowers and I really can't thank you enough for supporting our small farm. Your impact is greater than you may realize.
Here is a fabulous essay by our association President, Jennie Love, detailing how valuable it is to choose local blooms.
#locallygrown #flowers #supportsmallfarms #americangrown #flowerfarm #sustainableflowers #washingtongrown #ClarkCounty #pnw
Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them. -David Hume
Aren't these simply beautiful? A pallet full of bulbs is arriving today and with them comes hope for a colorful spring. Farming is rooted in hope and, for that, I am grateful.
Well, it happened! We got our first frost.The zinnias and dahlias are done for the season. While this has been a bizarre year in general, it has been an amazing year for our little farm and I'm looking forward to some exciting changes next season. In the meantime, I'm sending you some love by way of these frosty blooms because without you, this year wouldn't have been so amazing!
Marriage and parenting aren't always easy. Life isn't always flowers and romance. In fact, this guy has only brought me flowers twice in 20 years and I'm pretty sure each time it was prompted by my mother. However, what he does bring is invaluable.
Right now he's in the middle of a basement remodel project with the oldest. Guiding him through framing with metal studs, redoing lighting, installing rockwall insulation, and drywall. Three days ago, I heard what sounded like a firehose coming from the basement. They replaced the main waterline from the well and the connector failed. Water was spraying into the rafters, and onto the insulation. Other than gushing water all I heard was a quiet "oh no" and a kid came upstairs for towels. No raised voices, no panic, just "Let's clean it up and switch gears. We need to let that dry." Calm, patient, and unflappable.
Two days ago, while digging ground post holes, his sunglasses fell off the top of his head without him realizing. While a kid was moving dirt with the tractor, they ran over them. Crunch. Maui Jims. I could see the panic in my son's eyes. He got off the tractor, grabbed the glasses and held them up for his dad to see. "Whoops," Ryan says laughing. The kiddo's face quickly relaxed into a smile.
Yesterday, while leveling and squaring posts over and over again, he somehow slammed his hand between a post and a rock. Or maybe a sledgehammer? Haven't been able to get the full story. Either way, no yelling, no swearing, no turning on me for creating this gigantic project. Just walking it off, smiling, and getting back to it.
Our kids are soaking this all up. Every reaction, every lack of reaction, every nuance. They're seeing someone juggle a million huge, exhausting projects with grace, positivity, and patience. They are being asked to participate, being told they are capable, and being asked to brainstorm solutions. They know their contribution is valuable.
Sure, he doesn't bring me flowers, but he makes it possible for me to grow them. More importantly, he helps me grow calm young men and that, to me, is everything.
Coldly and capriciously the slanting sunbeams fall.-Alice Cary
It was 37 degrees this morning. The season wind up is coming fast now. I've been digging dahlias out of a hightunnel this morning, reflecting on the season, and feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for all of you who have come out to buy our blooms and support local flowers, who have cheered on our little farm with encouraging comments, who have shared our posts on social media, who have shown up to support our community fundraisers, and who have lifted up those around you by sharing some floral cheer.
This has been a hard, exhausting, divisive year for our bigger community and I have felt so fortunate to have this opportunity to dive into my passion and work long hard days surrounded by nature. It has healed me and connected me to you. Flowers, much like dogs, are amazing connectors, neither of which I could live without. So, just know that I'm spending the day thinking of you with a heart that is overflowing right now. I can't wait to do this all again for you next season!
You've probably heard me mention how busy October is around here as we hurrily plant over ten thousand bulbs, clean up and store our summer flowers, and manage our seedlings for spring blooms.
However, I don't know that I've shared the details of one of our biggest projects this month, the building of a 30x72' hightunnel. This is something I've been working on for almost a year as I applied for a conservation grant through the USDA and the NRCS (National Resource Conservation Service). After lots of paperwork, correspondence, and visits from a conservationist and achaeologist, we were awarded the grant. I am so grateful for this program and found my first big experience working with the USDA to be fantastic. The two women I primarily worked with were enthusiastic and supportive of my farming venture and were always patient and quick to respond to any questions. I couldn't be more thrilled by and grateful for this award.
So, ground posts have started to go in, concrete is being poured this weekend, and we're crossing our fingers that we'll actually get this done before the weather turns.
This is a contract with the NRCS and we have agreed to grow and maintain the tunnel for a set number of years. Here's a bit more about the program from their website in case you're interested.
"The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, increased soil health and reduced soil erosion and sedimentation, improved or created wildlife habitat, and mitigation against increasing weather volatility.
This voluntary conservation programs helps producers make conservation work for them. Together, NRCS and producers invest in solutions that conserve natural resources for the future while also improving agricultural operations.
Through EQIP, NRCS provides agricultural producers with financial resources and one-on-one help to plan and implement improvements, or what NRCS calls conservation practices. Using these practices can lead to cleaner water and air, healthier soil and better wildlife habitat, all while improving agricultural operations."
Cross your fingers for us. This is going to be quite the project.
#nrcs #eqip #usda #gratitude #conservation #smallfarms #pnwflowers #flowerfarmer #womenwhofarm #october
See that guy back there? The one posing with the dahlias only because he knows his face will be hidden? That guy is my rock. When I decided a little over a year ago that I wanted to turn my passion into a full fledged business, he supported me 100%. Not wanting to add to his already full plate, I made it clear that I wanted the business to be entirely my responsibility, in my name alone, and didn't want it relying on him or any of his financial assistance. A woman owned, woman farmed business on our mutually owned patch of land was the goal. Of course, he thought that sounded like a great idea. He may have had some concerns about how much work I was taking on, but he liked the fact that I wasn't putting the burden on him
So, as I dove into research, grant proposals, separate banking, attending tax and small business workshops, applying for USDA farm status and conservation plans, he supported me. He did those extra loads of laundry. He brought me meals in the field. He helped the kids with projects. When I worried about financing or sat at the bottom of a learning curve feeling defeated, he reminded me that I could do it. He reminded me to rest, to eat, and to get back up and at it again. For over 20 years this guy has emotionally supported me through huge hurdles and life changes and has cheered me on all the way. My gratitude for him is overwhelming.
Over the past year, he has been meeting me in the field and asking to take on infrastructure projects. Coming up with some ideas, but always respecting my decisions. He donates his labor often like building a walk-in cooler, putting up high tunnels, helping lay irrigation, and building me a place to work in the barn. Either he really enjoys watching the farm blossom, or he loves seeing me doing my thing and finding my joy. I like to think it's both.
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” -Rumi
Remember when I said I was taking a day off from harvesting and arranging today? Well, the teens worked for a few hours last night on removing more 85ft rows to make way for the hightunnel and I told myself I'd just go take a peek at their progress in the field this morning before I jumped on the tractor for the day. Just one little peek and before I knew it I was swept up in the river. I can't quite describe the feeling I get when I'm standing in the middle of the flowers. There really are no words.
#underthefloralspell #selfactualization #magic #gratitude #Awe #flowers #naturetherapy #healing #flowerpower #heartsong #flow #cantstopwontstop #localflowers #slowflowers #fallflowers #womenwhofarm #truelove
Here's another throwback. A throwback to yesterday. The first day of Fall. It was a huge day on our little farm. A record sales day in all areas. Custom orders, online orders, and bus shelter sales. All on a Tuesday! What a fun, whirlwind of a day. I'm having a quieter day today knowing the rest of the anemones and ranunculus are arriving this Friday setting the stage for an exciting, whirlwind week ahead.
Ya know what, though? None of this excitement would be possible without you. So, thank you for supporting and loving on our farm and sharing in the joy and magic of local blooms. We're so grateful!
This week reminded me just how closely tied my mental wellbeing is to physical movement and hard work, space for creativity, beauty, color, and solitude. So glad to be back in the field and studio.
This week has reminded me just how closely tied my mental wellbeing is to physical movement and hard work, space for creativity, beauty, color, and solitude. So glad to be back in the field and studio.
Taking 100 sweet posies to our friends at Bonaventure Senior Living for their Grandparents Day celebration just brightened my day! Grateful for the ability to share floral cheer.
Our hearts are heavy tonight thinking of our human and animal friends being evacuated from their homes right now. We're safe here but the sky above the farm is changing colors again reminding us just how close we are to those losing their homes and scrambling to save their animals. So, friends, I can't thank you enough for driving out to the bus shelter flowerstand today to help us raise funds for NW Relief Fund and American Red Cross as they offer aid to those displaced from the wildfires. Together, we raised $335. As always, I am so grateful for you all!
We are so proud to report that since June 19th, you've helped us raise and donate $1495 to local organizations.
With love and gratitude,
#nwrelieffund #americanredcross #wildfirerelief #wildfireseason2020 #pnwflowerfarms #flowerpower #gratitude #flowerstandfundraiser #ClarkCountyWa #barndogflowerfarm
Just a little peek at my morning. By September, flower farmers are often hitting that fatigue wall. Drought, heat, insect and weed pressure, planting of hardy annuals and perennials for next year, soil testing, amending, daily harvesting, weeding, irrigating, marketing, you get the idea. Besides the constant physical hustle and bustle, there is a constant internal dialogue of "oh, I better move that next year. Take note to cull those varieties. Add this variety to the list. Divide these and grow half in shade and half in partial sun for extended harvest next year. How many thousands of bulbs did I order?!?" The constant planning, the trials and errors, the risks, the rewards, the seasonal and ebb and flow. It can feel like things are wildly out of my control and yet I am completely addicted to it all. I simply can't not do this. Sooooo, thank you, thank you for following our farm, for choosing to support local flowers, and helping me fulfill my purpose.
My deliveries are done for the day, custom arrangements picked up, a couple dozen bouquets have been made for the bus shelter, and, for the first time in ages, I'm going to take a nap. Rumor has it, a few thousand narcissus are due to be arriving for fall planting in the next two weeks as well as a few thousand ranunculus and anemones. It's hard to believe we've come full circle and it's almost time to start again.
Now, for rest. Have a great afternoon, everyone.
#flowerfarm #seasonalflowers #ebbandflow #farmlife #replenish #sustain #americanflowers #gratitude #localflowers #grownnotflown #pnwflowers #barndogflowerfarm
"I'm gonna marry my love..and we'll be happy for all time..yeah, he's the sweetest man you could find..so gentle and so kind..and he's got those big green eyes...I can't believe me luck, he's mine."
All this wedding prep today has me turning up Sinead O'Connor's 4th and Vine and dancing around the barn. After 21 years with this guy, I still can't believe my luck.
All of this, everything I do around here, couldn't be possible without his incredible patience, his fix-it skills, his encouragement, and his generousity of time. The time he gives me working on my projects and the time together he gives up when I'm working in the barn until 10pm.
The other day he came to the barn after being at the office and seeing him walk in gave me butterflies. I had to snap this picture when he wasn't looking just to capture the moment. He's the kind of guy that no matter what his day was like, he always comes to find me as soon as he gets home and he always, without fail, greets me with a smile. I have to say, I don't always do the same, but he always has me striving to be kind.
In an attempt to show my gratitude, I'm trying to save the trees he pulled in order to make room for the expanding peony and perennial field. Not sure they're gonna make it, but for now, they're hydrating in a canoe. Did I also mention my husband's patience? As he says, "life here is never boring."
With your support, the lil bus shelter in the country raised $125 for YWCA Clark County yesterday. Thanks so much to those of you who came out to pick up flowers and show support. That brings our total to $1160 raised for local community organizations since June 19th. I'm inspired by and grateful for your generousity and support.
This sweet not from NAMI Southwest Washington arrived in the mail yesterday just as we kick off our bus shelter farmstand fundraiser for YWCA Clark County today! Nothing makes me happier than giving back to the community, and again, we couldn't do it without your love and support.
Thank you, Friends!