Tuesday, April 17, 2012
The flowers are too good to be true right now. Crabapple blossoms, azalea, cherry - cha-cha, tango, foxtrot! It's a true dance of the senses. This wedding was last weekend at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.
Big gardens like the NYBG and BBG are funny places aren't they? The BBG asked me to do some centerpieces for the opening of their new visitors center and they stressed how important it was that the arrangements be seasonal and local and use native plants. I'm really a geek about keeping our flowers as seasonal and local as possible, so this challenge was right up my alley. After a wild goose chase of calling around long island to see who could guarantee blooming digitalis the first week of May I had a brain wave. I sat down and wrote an email suggesting I donate my time and cut (responsibly!) from the gardens to make truly seasonal, local centerpieces. I loved this idea so much, and have had great experiences cutting responsibly from the NYBG for our classes there. So I was surprised and disappointed to not get a response. I guess they didn't like the idea as much as I did.
I don't want to make sour grapes with the BBG, and they ended up hiring one of the best seasonally-oriented designers that I know; so everybody wins. But it did make me stop to think a bit about organizations, how they are run, how they are influenced by their donors, etc.
I am irritated by how often the words "seasonal" and "local" are used as marketing tools.
Friday, April 13, 2012
If you want to know, I'm working late alone upstairs in the office that sits over our studio. A studio that I once thought was large. It's not anymore. Tonight it's full of flowers for tomorrow's wedding, 500 pounds of rye seed for our first cover crop at Worlds End, 700 seedlings, and Alan Parsons Project. Loud.
I have a habit of sitting at my desk (a swamp of papers - seed catalogs - notebooks with disoranized scrabble relating to events, flowers to order, flowers to grow, drainage plans, phone numbers of Town Assesors, tax details, book notes, health insurance rigamaroll - sheep parapheralia and granola) for too long into the evening. I had a very contained meltdown earlier today. We happen to have a new person in the studio, and I wonder if she noticed. Sometimes you just need to walk away.
I have to remember that more often. Take a break, and come back with a clearer mind.
Just now I ran down to the bathroom and there was a tiny mouse running around in there. Mice like seeds. I like to imagine this little mouse finding the tower of boxes - summer rye seed so generously donated by Anson Mills - and backstroking through it to the tune of Eye in the Sky (now on it's third repeat).
GOOD NIGHT DEAR READERS!
Thursday, April 12, 2012
My favorite spring bride, Sara, got married to her love Matthew at the Metropolitan building last month. Their wedding was such a joy to work on, they were easy going, full of life and hilarious to boot.
The photos don't do it justice, but this was probably the best chuppa we've ever made, thanks to Catherine who worked diligently on it all day. I miss you Catherine; hope you are having safe and inspiring travels.
Wedding season marches right on into April and we've got great events coming up.
You didn't think this was going to turn into a farm blog did you?
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
We had a nice Easter this year. I've always secretly wanted to be Jewish though. Sarah is a common Jewish name, after all. So this holiest of christian holiday is dampened by my lust for Sedars and reading from the Torah. Guilt ensues when I arrive at my parents and not only has my mother planned a beautiful lamb supper but she's also made a little easter basket with candy, and dyed eggs (I'm 31). Though those dyed eggs made great lunch for our family chain saw session at Worlds End the next day. Eric had grand plans of having a chain-saw free farm but 7 hours with his felling axe last week resulted in little more than sore muscles; the downed tree still hanging precariously in front of our tractor path. We called my dad, the master of all things relating to wood and demolition. The whole task was completed in a little over an hour on Monday, leaving time for Eric to help me dig homes for my Pieris Japonica bushes (!) and a few Cameo Quince (!!). I ran into Emily at an event last night and her eyes lit up as she made the snipping motion with her fingers. To all my cutter friends: the farm is as much yours as it is mine, I'll need visitors plenty and often. I'm so afraid of being lonely and isolated when we move there in May. But for now, one day at a time.
Friday, April 6, 2012
Picked two winners this week, one randomly [Caroline lucky number 21, email me], the other perhaps not so randomly. It's my circus and I can do whatever I want I suppose.
Also forgot I had these to show you from upstate. I cut some willow and blooming pussy willow from around the farm. The season is behind us there; while all the daffodils and cherry have come and nearly gone here in nyc; the farm has yet to see many blooms besides a few crocuses. So going there is like moving backwards in time a few weeks. I like that.
I hope you have very lovely holidays.
I hope you have very lovely holidays.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
The photo above has little to do and everything to do with all the farms I've been visiting lately. Farm after farm after farm. Flower farms, sheep farms, clean farms, messy farms. The only way for me to learn is through seeing and doing. I've ordered some books, but in general they collect dust next to my bed. By the time I collapse into our messy dog hairy bed at night, reading is not a viable option.
Yesterday I was at Kinderhook Farms helping to move 132 pregnant ewes through an organized vaccination, weight check, hoof clipping and shearing procedure. There is sharp contrast between my days. One day we're running through rows and rows of ranunclus at Hautau Farms greenhouses, the next I'm using a pair of clippers to pick shit out of sheep feet and snip hooves back. Hoof trimming is a skill I have yet to master, three sorry girls had bloody feet thanks to my inability to know where the hoof ends and the quick starts.
My brain is exploding with things. Each day is so different. I will try to do a better job of chronicling it all here. What does that arrangement have to do with all my farm visits? Building relationships with growers means better flowers. Just wait, you haven't seen nothing yet...
READ THE FINE PRINT! Got a lot of extra fancy Hautau material this week. It feels like a good day for a give away; if you live in Manhattan or Brooklyn and would like to enter to win, leave a comment below and we'll select a winner tomorrow morning for an afternoon delivery.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
At the farm these past few days; the world there feels like it is expanding so fast - more on that soon.
Thank you for your amazing feedback on the workday. Some of you wondered if it was an invitation to strangers also. The answer is YES.
Are we strangers?
For those of you who said you couldn't make it on 5.26 but were still interested in lending a hand; fear not - there will be a second summer work day. i just ordered 400 plugs of campanulas, heucheras, and tiarellas from Terranova, and thinking forward to what that means exactly, I realize we'll need a lot of help.