Sunday, January 27, 2013

Quotable Sunday 01/27/2013

Let's Get To Work!

Cobwebs filled our heads as each day came with a heavy dense depressing fog.  It was cold, damp and dreary for several weeks and we just couldn't get real excited with the new season.  In the mid 30's during the day and the low to mid 20's at night, nothing seemed to be growing or hidden under frost blankets.  Then a day ago, the winds from  the ocean shifted and blew the fog away, the sun occasionally  peeked through the clouds and we could see our neighbors again.  We grabbed our sweatshirts, boots and caps and wandered the farm looking for signs of spring.  

Anemones of last year that were ignored and cover-cropped over have sprout again with no care or cover.  They are tough little buggers.  Our main anemones in the hoop house are about two weeks away from blooms.  They stretched and yawned and grew in the warm of a sun heated hoopty do. 

The brodiaea is already sprouting. Such a lovely little blue flower for bouquets.  The Japanese anemones and the feverfew have survived the winter weather and are begging to be cleaned up.

There is work to be done everywhere, the fruit trees, eucalyptus and roses need to be pruned.  The garden  needs to be reclaimed for another season. Plug trays and pots cleaned and the weekly schedule of seeding and planting is on course.

These are a third round of snapdragons germinating in mini blocks.  The greenhouse is filling up and so is the propagation house and stock and snaps  seedlings will be planted in the hoopty do this week. 

Some of the scented geraniums cuttings are taking off and the mother plants are continuing to grow for more cuttings. 

And as always there is a ton of weeds to take out now or be a HUGE hassle later.  They even grow in the cracks of the mower.

So the plans are in place, we have shaken off the cabin fever of winter and are getting excited about a new season of flowers.  Are you excited about spring?  Follow along with us on another journey of flower farming madness.

Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.
Peter Drucker

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Flowers For This Week

I have had flowers in our home every week since last February 15th, all were our flowers up until this last 2 weeks.  I bought a small bouquet of spring time tulips and iris from a fellow flower farmer at our local indoor winter market on Saturday.  It was cold at the market, it is cold outside and it is even pretty cool in our home so the flowers were not open when I did the Sunday blog. Today the flowers opened up so very nicely and I am sharing them with you.   For all who are shivering in the cold wintery days, spring is just around the corner.  Get yourself some flowers (locally is best!!) and dream of the coming of spring.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Quotable Sunday 01/20/2012


I was reading somewhere that to declare a word of the year was important in achieving those things that are important to you.  What word do we want to focus on this whole year? We decide it should be HEALTHY.   But it is not limited to physical health all though that is part of it but healthy in every aspect of our lives.  Here's how we see it this year.

Healthy Bodies:  Farmer Tony has been gluten free for about a year and is feeling soooo much better.  He has put on weight and muscle and thinks he is stronger that before.  He feels he may have been sick for years and just didn't know it, till it got bad.  I am gluten free as of November but we both are on a very low carb diet so no gluten or grains at all.  It is working and the weight is coming off and the mind is clearing of all the cobwebs that high carbs were causing.  All this requires a serious change in food, lots of greens(salads,salads....) and a ton of healthy veggies.  So two things have to become a priority with us.  Buying even more from our local farmers' markets, trading flowers for veggies.  We have a really great indoor winter market with tons of healthy veggies, lots of meats, mushrooms, eggs and the yummiest breads and treats. The winter market runs right up to our summer market where we also sell our flowers and so we have access to good local food pretty close to year round. We highly recommend everyone support their local farmers who are growing wonderful  produce.

And second growing a garden in a much larger way.  We have always had a garden of fruits and veggies but the importance of growing year round is here and we must incorporate that part into our flower growing as it is just as important as the flowers.  It all has to get done. What goes into our bodies is only going to help us succeed in everything else we want to do. 

Healthy Minds:  Working on listening to more music, and watching less television.  More reading books that interest us, less hanging around the computer reading trash.  Pursuing other hobbies like quilting, stitching and creative cooking; less wishing we did those things. 

Healthy Farm: Continue to work on sustainability here on the farm.  Our biggest challenge continues to be the process of rebuilding the health and diversity of our soil.  We want to do this in sustainable way that incorporates natural processes. Much of our growing area was previously farmed using conventional practices for raising annual rye grass seed.  These previous management practices have left  our growing areas severely depleted in key minerals and organic material.  This has and can have adverse effects on our plants. The goal is to build soil fertility to its optimum and thus growing plants that are outstandingly healthy.  The healthier our soils a more diverse communities of soil organisms will flourish and the healthier our flowers will be.   

We began the process last year of converting our farm to using no-till practices where possible. This includes the use of winter cover crops and use of these in a summer mulching system.

We also have been committed to using our own compost teas made from our owm vermicompost. The tea maker above can make 50 gallons in a batch. 

Healthy Flowers:  Continue to provide the freshest, healthiest and most vibrant flowers we can without chemicals.  Although we are not certified organic, we practice organic methods and are not willing to subject our selves or customers to flowers that are not completely healthy and safe to put on the table next to food.

Healthy Attitude:  To have a positive attitude, give it all we can and then be happy that we did our best.  Focus on what is good and positive in our lives and letting go of all the negatives.  Realizing that living is not a competition and doing ones best is all that is required.  We may not be the best grower or designer but we put our heart and soul into every thing we do and will continue to do so but with a happy attitude and smile.

So we declare HEALTHY  is our word of the year.   Bring on the health!!  How about you? What is your word of the year?

The message that underlies healing is simple yet radical: We are already whole.... Underneath our fears and worries, unaffected by the many layers of our conditioning and actions, is a peaceful core. The work of healing is peeling away the barriers of fear that keep us unaware of our true nature of love, peace, and rich interconnection with the web of life. Healing is the rediscovery of who we are and who we have always been. ~Joan Borysenko

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Quotable Sunday 01/13/2013

Icy Day

Oh what icy and frosty days we are having here.  Worrying and wondering how our little babies are doing out in the cold.  They are all wrapped up in their blankies and we are leaving them to slumber the winter away. 

The first few seedlings are hanging out in the heated greenhouse, the only super warm place around!

Everything else is in the deep shade of a low winter sun and is covered with frost.  Looks like everything is bedazzled in shimmers, lace and fancy trim. 


So find your own little blankie, grab a warm cup of tea and lets wait a moment or two for the season to warm.  

The last snaps and greens from the farm, recycled carnations from Christmas and five little locally grown tulips from a fellow farmer friend.

 "Nature has undoubtedly mastered the art of winter gardening and even the most experienced gardener can learn from the unrestrained beauty around them."
-  Vincent A. Simeone  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Quotable Sunday 01/06/2013

A New Journey

Sometimes the start of a new year can also be the beginning of a new journey in life. Perhaps a brief history of events will help.  Back in 1999 I was diagnosed as having Type 2 diabetes.  I was given some brief counseling on what and how to eat according to the American Diabetes Assoc., given some medicine in the form of pills, told to monitor my blood sugars once daily, and pointed in the directions of some daunting books to read.  I have to admit that I was not the best patient and since the pills somewhat worked at keeping my blood sugars in the prediabetic range initially. I began to believe that I was one of those who could control the effects of diabetes with just exercise and diet.  So the doctors agreed and we stopped the medicines and agreed to periodically monitor blood sugars with lab tests.

 Over the years, because of the hectic schedules of the day to day activities of running a cut flower business, my discipline in taking care of myself lapsed. You see I began to lose a lot weight which I thought was  great because Tony and I were working so hard on the business.  And people noticed which also flattered me even more.  What I didn't realize was that my blood sugars were getting so out of control that my body was consuming itself in an out of control frenzy. Until finally in the summer of  2008 I was hospitalized for severe anemia and very high blood sugars.

This was my second wakeup call.  I was put on insulin therapy but was never really told the hows and why's of the insulin world.  Just take this amount before each meal, and this amount before going to bed.  Directions which never made sense to me as there seemed to be no relationship to who I was or what I ate or what activities that I did.  Long story short the amounts of insulin prescribed to me were industrial in dosage and were more designed for a one size fits all world and not for my personal world.  High doses of these insulins over the years, although keeping my blood sugars from being astronomical high, didn't give me good control and in fact also caused weight gain and always frustrated  any of my attempts to lose it.  In fact constantly high blood sugars began to cause many of the long term complications associated with diabetics to begin to occur in me.  By the end of this last year I knew I had to make a change and start making it fast.

Tony and I began to research some of the old books on diabetes I was first given and Tony found reference to a  book by Doctor Richard Bernstein called The Total Diabetes Solution first published in the 1970's.   Dr Bernstein is a Type 1 diabetic who found a way through a very radical diet and tight insulin therapy to get blood sugars to the levels of non diabetics. His book finally explained so many things about every aspect of diabetes.  Although frankly as we read it I thought this theory was crazy but I said I would try it.  I now have been on this regime for 6 weeks.  It has been a very difficult journey so far.  The diet is a permanent modified Atkins/Paleo type diet and it took several weeks to adjust to it. I was literally sick. Overall my insulin usage has begun to drop, but best of all my blood sugars have dropped  40%. I'm now starting to lose weight which will only continue to help me get my blood sugars within normal diabetic levels and continue to reduce my insulin needs.

This week I have been doing a lot of thinking about my future and about taking care of myself so I have a future. I think it is  sinking in that the diet changes I have made aren't just a fad so I can get into a better pair of jeans but are due to a medical necessity and are for life.  I now realize that as a diabetic I don't have an adequately functioning pancreas that a non-diabetic has. And I now understand that I have to personally manage these functions of blood sugar control 24-7 that for others are simply autonomic and for the most part ignored on a daily basis. These changes in my life must be permanent and not something to forget about when things get busy.  It is my new normal.

I realize this blog entry is not about the great flowers we grow or our life on the farm, this week's entry is about uncomfortable wake-up calls and  I just had my third one. I'm not certain that God gives out too many more, so this time I hear it, I know what to do and I'm going to do it. I'm on this journey sometimes by myself, sometimes with others so as you have taken the time to read this I want to thank you for indulging me on my New Years pledge.

 "The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled.  For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers."  -Unknown-
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