Saturday, August 25, 2012

That time in the season...

I can hardly believe it, but, here we are, again.  It's that time in the season when we start dreaming of next year.  The drought has made growing flowers a bit tricky, but I am so, so thankful that Travis insisted on spending a 100 degree day getting irrigation setup in our field.  I felt horrible knowing that he was working so hard out in the heat.  He kept saying that he had to get it done and that it just couldn't wait.  He was right...from that point on, any minimal rain that we had been getting stopped.  Our flowers would have been very, very sad had it not been for Travis coming to their rescue!  It was amazing to watch the dahlias!  They went from being pale with dried up flower buds to bright green beauties full of nice, plump buds!

 I'm diving into planning for next season -- what to grow, how & where to grow it and how to sell it.  We've been very fortunate this season (not only to be blessed with our amazing baby girl!) to have had many business opportunities come our way.  Wedding dates for 2013 are filling up very fast and we continue to receive many wedding inquiries.  I love this part of what we do!  Also, we've had many florists and floral designers interested in purchasing our flowers.  We'll be working hard to meet their needs next season.  One more exciting opportunity, Bark & Bloom has contacted us about selling flowers in their shop at The NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  They will be opening in late October of this year.  Our supply to them may be a bit limited starting out, but early next spring should be wonderful!

Our high tunnel was delivered this past week!  I'm so crazy excited to get it built so that we can begin growing in it!  I desperately want to grow ranunculus & anemone, but am unsure about how they'll do without heat.  I'm exploring this with some members of  The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers...hopefully they'll have good news!  We may need to just do a small trial batch this year to see how it goes.  Wish us luck!  

What else?  What else?  There's so much going on & so much work to always.  Weeding, planting (lots of perennials to still go in the ground), transplanting, tilling, watering, ordering for 2013, building the small & large high tunnels...the list goes on & on!  If you're ever bored.....  ;)

One more thing!  We have a new stall at The Freight House Farmers' Market!  We are located in the large lot in the row closest to the railroad tracks -- right next to Iechen's Tomatoes & Beacon Woods Farm.  So far, this spot has been great for us!  We receive a lot more foot traffic and have made many new friends!  Today, some of our sweet customers brought us each a John Deere hat & their little girl, Laura, made the cutest card for our little Celia!  So sweet!

I have to show you the cutest video of Celia that I can't stop watching...I love her and her adorable little laugh!  It's a little long...I love the whole thing, but maybe that's just because she's ours.  You can find the video here: Celia's Video.  Enjoy!!  :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pretty, New Things

It's been far too long since I've visited the seems like I said that a lot over the 9 months of my pregnancy!  ;) 

The pregnancy part is over!  As of June 1st at 9:00 a.m., we have a new, pretty lady in our lives!  Miss Celia Opal has arrived & we're in love!  We're working on figuring out our flower work routine with a little baby who likes to eat pretty often & needs to stay out of this brutal, humid heat that we've been having recently.  Travis has been doing a TON of work!  He's tilled rows, run water out to the field, planted hundreds of dahlias, bulbs, seedlings & is constantly moving our soaker hose around to make sure that everything gets watered.  The watering part of things is going to get a bit easier soon...Travis just placed a large order for irrigation hose, tubing & timers!

The flowers are all growing like crazy {so is Celia...!!} and we'll be continuing to plant more over the next few weeks so that we have plenty of flowers to get through fall.  With Celia being so little, we've decided to wait until the end of July for The Iowa City Farmers' Market.  By this fall, you should be able to find us there & at The Freight House Farmers' Market.  In the meantime, we'll be at The Freight House every Saturday from 8 a.m. til 1 p.m...this weekend we'll have some newly blooming Chantilly snapdragons, fragrant lilies & loads of other pretty things!  

Thank you so much to everyone for your kind words and sweet gifts for Celia!

Monday, April 30, 2012

A month ahead = A month behind??

With everything blooming about 3-4 weeks ahead of schedule, we've been very grateful for the opportunity to begin selling early at The Freight House Farmers' Market.

Our March weather will go down in the history books as one of the warmest on record!  Now, April & May seem to be back on track and slowing things back down to normal.  To say that I'm confused about what to expect for the coming weeks/months would be an understatement!  We're still ahead of schedule as far as typical bloom times, but maybe we're getting a little closer to being on track?  We'll see...this wacky weather makes me feel completely behind.  We are still a good two weeks away from our usual frost-free date, though, so I'm trying to stay calm. 

I'm continuing to seed flats so that we'll have a nice succession of flowers this season.  As soon as the soil dries out a bit, I'll be out planting loads of little seedlings, lilies, callas, glads & dahlias!  I'm most excited about the dahlias this year!  I may have gone a little crazy with them this season...but I just don't know how you choose when there are so many gorgeous ones out there!!

Oh, oh!...I almost forgot!  Beginning on June 9th, we'll be at the Iowa City Farmers' Market as well as The Freight House Farmers' Market!  We were lucky enough to get a season-long spot right outside the parking ramp!  We're going to be busy, busy in May with The Freight House Farmers' Market, weddings & the arrival of our baby!  We'll be hoppin' with flowers in June!  You'll find me at the Iowa City Market on Saturdays from 7:30 til noon.  Travis will be at The Freight House Farmers' Market from 8 a.m. til 1 p.m...take it easy on him...he's still learning all of his flowers!  ;)

And...I apologize for the lack of posting & pretty photos.  I'm getting myself back in gear & will, again, start taking my camera with me every time I step outside! 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Perfect Timing??

I've spent the afternoon picking tulips like crazy!  I should have been out there this morning before the heat of the day, but I was feeling the effects of being almost 32 weeks pregnant with a little baby who likes to throw dance parties in my belly all night long!  Many of the gorgeous double & parrot tulips are beginning to burst open from all of our crazy, warm weather.  I'm bummed because quite a few of them are pretty short...also an effect of the weather.  I think they'll be fine, long as I can come up with some creative and clever arrangements for market this weekend!

As I was feeling bummed about everything bursting open so early {when I was *really* wanting these for early-mid May weddings}, I couldn't help but think about how maybe timing has been perfect in a strange sort of way.

For instance...

...when Travis brought home our small hoophouse from the auction last fall, the plan was to get it up as soon as possible so that I could get things planted in it.  Well, because I was in my first trimester of pregnancy & not feeling so hot, many things were pushed to the back burner...including the hoophouse.  Just imagine how sad I would be if I had planted all of these bulbs in the hoophouse where I'm sure they would have all blown open weeks ago & probably within a single day!  Since we were forced to plant them outside, we'll at least get some use out of them...and there is still some space within bloom times so I'm not completely losing my mind!

...we hadn't intended on having a baby due at the end of May, but had things gone as planned with being due in late fall, I'm sure I would have been a complete failure this season.  As I was just out harvesting {slowly...and wishing that my arms were longer}, I realized how much worse this season would be if I would have been pregnant all the way through.  Thank goodness this little baby snuck up on us like she did!  May initially seemed like such a horrible time, but I'm thinking that Baby C. knew what she was doing.  Thank you, Baby!

...I had contemplated staying at John Deere full-time a few weeks longer.  Had I done that, there is no way I would have ever been able to get all of these tulips picked & all of my seeding done.

...things may be blooming WAY ahead of schedule, but in the grand scheme of things, maybe that's best for me right now?  Baby will be here at the very end of May so my June sales opportunities at market will most likely be very limited.  Should I say that this weather is a blessing because June will maybe {maybe} give me a little down time with blooms?  It's probably too early to say for sure, but I'm going to be optimistic and say that for now.  If I end up being wrong on this one, at least I know that Travis is a fantastic help & will always chip in on his own if I'm not able to make it in to market for a few weeks!

So, for now, I'm going to say that things have been timed perfectly...whether on purpose or not.  Now, enough of a break for this pregnant lady...back to work! 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I'm sorry...but we just can't be friends...

Last fall, we bought a quarter of beef from our neighbor.  It was fine & dandy since I rarely saw the friendship.  Well...Travis is planning on buying another quarter of beef this fall.  Here's the trouble that I have with this...

Look at those faces!!...these cows are cute!  AND...every time that I walk back to the flower field, they run along the edge of the fence to say 'hi'!  They watch me and beg me to come over and talk to them.  Stay tuned...I may become a vegetarian this fall...with two new friends living in our shed!  For now, I'm stuck saying, "I'm sorry guys...but we just can't be friends...I'm sorry, I'm sorry!"

In flower news, Travis is building our cooler!!  He's made amazing progress in just two days!  It's 10:00 p.m. & he just came inside from insulating the floor!  This is going to be sooo helpful for keeping our flowers fresh!

The flowers are popping open!  This season is so wacky...redbuds, forsythia & daffodils are blooming at the same time as lilacs, double tulips (some of my latest bloomers) and perennial scabiosa!  Because of this wackiness, I'm looking into starting at The Freight House Farmers' Market next Saturday...a month earlier than the normal outdoor market season starts.  The flowers are ready!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Excited. *Very* Excited!

Early last fall, I applied for a high tunnel grant.  It really didn't sound likely that we would get one for 2012...especially since there was only one awarded in Muscatine county for 2011!  Well, I kept hoping...and bugging the guy in charge about once a month.  About three weeks ago, I received a phone call saying that we ranked high enough for grants for a windbreak & high tunnel!...we would definitely get funding for the windbreak ($1,010), but would have to wait to find out about the high tunnel.  The good news came a couple days later...we are getting high tunnel funding, too (somewhere close to the tune of $8,000!!)!!  I have been over the moon excited since getting the news!  With me quitting my full-time job at John Deere (7 days left!) in order to grow Seeded Earth & stay home with our little baby that is on the way, the budget will be tight.  It probably would have taken us at least 2 years...maybe 3, until we could afford to put up a high tunnel of this size ourselves.  This will be so great for Seeded Earth!  We'll be able to add a couple of months to our flower production & be able to grow some things that just don't do well for us outdoors.  It's going to be so, so wonderful! 

What else?!  Spring is here!...or maybe it's summer already.  Whatever it is, it's beautiful!  It does have me a teeny bit worried, though.  If it's this warm already, what will we get for summer & fall??  I'm hoping that we cool down a bit, don't get a hard freeze that damages everything that is already leafing out & blooming, get a bit of spring rain and then ease into a nice, mild summer with an even amount of moisture.  I'll keep my fingers crossed that the weather doesn't get too wacky!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Got the Fever...

So, don't look out the window today...we have another late winter/early spring snowstorm blowing in.  But, next Tuesday when it is 61 degrees, I expect everyone to be out cleaning, digging, composting...for goodness sakes, do anything you can to get outside & get your hands dirty!  I'm so ready for spring, it's silly!

We have our little hoophouse frame still sitting in a pile outside.  All we need to do is make a home for it by preparing the ground with a little tilling & composting, get everything marked out & then call in a few friends to help get it all put together (and maybe do a teeny bit more research so that we can limit the number of hiccups that we run into along the way!).

I may be nearly 28 weeks pregnant, but I'm eager to head outside, hop on the tractor and get things rolling!  I have definitely come down with a nasty bout of Spring Fever!! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Local Bouquets from West to East!

I adore flowers.  I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't captivated by a new bloom.  Dandelion bouquets for my mom, clover chain necklaces for friends at recess, ditch bouquets for my grandma...from those childhood flower interactions, I've developed a deep love for flowers and floral design.  

It's always so much fun to find people who share that same love and to see how they put that love to use in their floral careers.  Through searching the internet & through the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, I have found some amazingly talented flower fanatics.  Here are a couple of them that I love and that are great inspiration!  

One of my absolute favorite flower farmers is Erin Benzakein of Floret Flower Farm near Seattle, Washington.  I am always sending Travis and my friend, Kelly, links to Erin's blog and telling them that *this* is what I aspire to be someday...with my own little spin on it, of course, but just wait until you see it!  You'll understand.  Warning: Be prepared to be sucked in for hours!...she does such amazing things on her less than 3 acre farm!  Here are a few of her awesome photos & creations:

Amazing, right?! more favorite...Jennie Love of Love 'n Fresh Flowers from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.   Like most of us wacky flower farmers, she seems to just go & go & go!  She does oodles of weddings each season, has a flower CSA and offers some pretty fun workshops.  I love her creativity and her use of anything and everything in her designs.  Travis often gives me interesting looks when I venture out into the woods and come back with branches, berries & anything else that I think has a great look or texture.  I'm pretty certain Jennie would understand my madness.  Check out some of her awesomeness:

See even more of Jennie's photos on her Facebook page!

Such talent, such beauty...and all with locally grown flowers!  
Don't you think these are far more beautiful and unique than the typical cookie-cutter type wedding floral pieces?!  I do...and it's why I *love* this business!