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All farmers feel the pressure of winter coming on, prices that refuse to gain one ounce of sanity, the pressure to “get it all done” before the first frost, the first freeze, the first snow, or the first of the year. After the frosts and freezes, there are endless tasks to be done. Cleaning up the fields and getting ready for next year is no small feat. And tubers need to be dug, labeled and stored before turning to mush. We work until Mother Nature says we can’t work anymore and then still need to get more done.
And added to the endless “to do” list is the fact I have to get my mind wrapped around the frustration of having open heart surgery for a second time this year because somehow “a stitch came loose”. Symptoms are exhaustion, dizziness, visual “disturbances”, shortness of breath (aggravated like crazy by bending over), retaining water until my work boots don’t fit. It’s frustrating to just plain not being able to do some of the things I need to do. The surgery, as of now, is December 10th. Hopefully between fall clean up and seed starting, which begins late December for us.
With the shorter days, I feel myself making time to have a coherent thought not related to the business. I feel myself taking a step back, taking inventory of things that are important to me, practicing gratitude and practicing saying no in a polite manner, but loud enough that I am heard. We get so wrapped up in the go-go-go of the season, we forget there are other things in life – like sanity and health.
Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. ~Lao Tzu
As this season winds down I realize, again, I don’t have enough hours in every day to get the work done that running a flower farm involves. And a large part of the problem is due to appointments “just to see the farm”, pick your own appointments, people who want to do “photo shoots” here – and chronic lateness. By nature I am a giving person so I tend to let people come, but I now realize if I want to stay in the flower farming business, I can no longer continue on this path of waiting, waiting, waiting.
Today I had 4 appointments. One showed up on time, one called to let me know they were running (an hour) late, one called to let me know they were running late, then just plain never bothered to show up. And, as I type this, my three o’clock appointment is already 30 minutes late and hasn’t had the courtesy to call yet. This is Saturday, after a loooooong week. Everything is screaming for my attention, but I have stopped what I was doing, washed some dirt off, and waited at the flower shed to welcome people to the farm at their scheduled time. This equals nearly an entire day of waiting for people. And this is pretty typical with appointments lately. I certainly don’t understand how common courtesy got so far out of fashion.
So, that being said, we just can’t offer public photo shoots, pick your owns, or appointments to “just see the farm” any longer. We need to take care of our brides, our regular customers, and our flowers first and foremost. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to sit and wait.
True blue flowers are a rarity in nature. It has been estimated only 10% of all flowers are “true blue”. Out of that number, only a few are worthy as cut flowers. The problem? No plant has a true blue pigment.
To confuse matters further, many plant and seed companies tend to call a variety “blue” when it is truly, and often obviously, a purple.
Blue flowers that we grow here, along with flowers that create an illusion of blue, are ageratum, bachelor’s buttons, baptisia, blue mist, clematis, delphinium, forget me knots, globe thistle, grape hyacinth, lace flower, lisianthus (misty blue) nigella, phacelia, pin cushion, salvia, sea holly, Spanish bluebells, statice, veronica and, new to us this year, tweedia.
If true blue flowers are blooming on your date, it is a true gift!
Katherine, the owner of The Peony and the Peacock , came out to do a photo shoot with us yesterday. Not only did I have a blast, but I was in awe of the magic she wove with our flowers.
I was shooting away, watching her work with her design still facing away from me. When she turned it around, I swear I about fell over. It brought tears to my eyes and goosebumps to my skin. Nothing could have prepared me for the beauty I couldn’t see. Life is like that sometimes. And she was far from finished.
Thank you Katherine! I will certainly enjoy.
We had a group out a few weeks ago to pick their own flowers. I heard a loud shriek, then hysterical laughter from all. As one of the women was reaching to cut her flower, a tree frog had jumped off and landed on her shoulder. It made me realize just how blessed I am to live with these gifts everyday. Some people are terrified of frogs, spiders and snakes, but they are more a part of this world than we are.
Besides their many attributes, not limited to producing princes, frogs are an indicator of our environment. (see http://www.amphibianark.org/the-crisis/amphibians-as-indicators/for more information) No frogs in your yard? hmmmmm. That would really concern me.
We love to hear the spring peepers when spring finally arrives and the tree frogs serenading us after each rain through the summer. I loving watching the frogs hop out of the pond, nab a tent worm, and hop off with a fine choice of dinner. High five! We have an old wood hot tub that has been converted to a tadpole nursery. Grace and Jerid saved many little polliwogs this year from sure death before the water in our ditch dried up. God bless those two!
Very unfortunately toads do not turn into princes; however they are loved here just the same. Grace has been on a mission for quite awhile to catch and kiss a frog. She finally succeeded! Now the question is -where is that darn prince?
Spiders are also welcome here. (Think Charlotte’s Web) We only have two species of poisonous spiders in Michigan and these are very rare. Besides their amazing web building skills, spiders help to control insect populations. We keep a live and let live attitude towards them. If they come into the house they are usually gently evicted. I love to see the babies (called spiderlings) balloon off on their own soon after hatching.
Snakes are just amazing animals to me (how can something so skinny swallow something so big and stay so skinny?) and possibly another indicator to the health of our land. They help to keep the rodent population down and, unfortunately, sometimes consume our beloved frogs! We’ve recently seen an increase in brown snakes on our land. The babies (snakelets) are hysterical in their bravado. The adults seem to be much more timid. I have read slugs and snails are tasty treats for them, and a source of great irritation for me, so what’s not to love?
The next time you see one of these creature and get the willies, try to think of just how amazingly they are designed and how useful they are in this world.
I’ve never had any luck at all with ant guards, so this has to be one of the number one tips of the year. If you hang your hummingbird feeders with fishing line, it is too thin for ants to navigate. I used 10#, which is what we had around here, and so far I’ve not had one ant in the feeders. (One note: If the line is too short they can figure out how to get to the feeder. 12″ seems to be plenty long enough) It is quite entertaining to watch them try to figure it out at first and then it’s certainly nice to not have to clean ants, dead or otherwise, out of the feeders all the time.