Monday, July 28, 2008

Rolling Dibbler

This is one of the most useful tools we have on the farm. It's called a rolling dibbler and we found the plans at
High Mowing Seeds
in their newsletter archives. It creates little dimples precisely spaced in a planting bed. We then put a plant or bulb in each dibble, every other one, every other row, etc., depending on how we want to space that particular planting. It saves time and also places plants evenly spaced which gives each plant the same amount of growing space.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Flowers for Sale

We're not called Thousand Flower Farm for nothing. When we first started growing flowers back in the late 80's we grew mostly statice and other everlasting for drying. We sold them mainly as dried flower wreaths made up of thousands of flowers. I was reminded of the medieval tapestry technique of weaving a background of small flowers called Mille Fleur and called the farm after that. Today we sell only fresh cut flowers but still grow a lot of statice for sale to customers to dry themselves. I sell it at market and also at a flower stand at the end of our driveway.

I love trying new flowers and the bucket of flowers above is a new to me variety of godetia in a gorgeous salmon color.
At market on last Saturday I had bunches of ornamental amaranth, sunflowers, the lovely godetia, my first dahlias and more.


I love sunflowers and I grow LOTS of them in all colors and shapes and sizes. This is just a sampling of their variety and bounty.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Chard is one vegetable that we grow year round. It will withstand a pretty good freeze so unless we get severely low temperatures we have it to sell and eat for twelve months.
Joel and I both think the white stemmed chard tastes the best but the gorgeous colors of the Bright Lights variety is lovely enough to use for a bouquet. I have a painter friend who bought a bunch to paint. The above orange colored plant is one of the prettiest in the garden. That variety comes in reds, pinks, purples, yellows and oranges.

Monday, July 21, 2008


I had a great time today giving a talk to an Elderhostel group in Friday Harbor. I made up two Power Point presentations, one on the farm and one on weaving called "How Long Did it Take You to Make That?" the most common question I am asked when I show my work in public. I learned how to do a Power Point when shamed into the realization that the third graders knew how to do it and I didn't. Unfortunately they didn't have the proper connector for my Mac so I couldn't project it but just used it as a prompt for my talk and invited people to come up close and watch it when it was over. This is the third time I've done this and the groups are always great. People seem truly interested in what I have to say and always ask intelligent questions. Actually I can't quite believe that I get paid for running off at the mouth about my favorite subjects.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Black Currants

I've been out picking this year's crop of black currants. They aren't really edible fresh but made into jam or added to raspberry jam or made up into juice as we mostly do, they are wonderful. We learned to love black currant juice in England where Ribena is popular. During WWII oranges weren't available there so tests were done on local fruits and berries for vitamin C content and it was found that black currants had more vitamin C than oranges. We can the juice in pint jars and when we want it we pour it into a half gallon jar, add 1/4 sugar and water and drink

Siri's home

Our youngest daughter Siri is home for a few weeks from New York where she is a student at Brooklyn College. She's working on San Juan Island but made it back to Waldron last week for a few days for a visit and to help get ready for market.
All through high school and for several years after, Siri was in charge of the cut flower part of the farm. She is a superb bouquet maker and we miss her expertise.
She met up with friends at the market on Saturday. It is so very, very nice to have her around for a bit. We do miss her.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

New Scarves

I've been working on a new design for scarves using the knitted flower patterns I've been putting on my felted hats. And here are the first ones. They are knit of the 65% silk, 35% wool Chelsea Silk yarn that I make my non felted hats out of. I've gotten a lot of favorable comments on them, enough to make me plan to make a bunch more for Christmas sales in more seasonal colors like reds and greens.

It was chilly and windy out at the Roche Harbor booth today. It is often quite cold under the big trees with the breeze coming up from the water. Tourists are wandering around in shorts and bathing suits and we art vendors all have wool sweaters on.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Frog on Sunflower

Every year I grow lots of sunflowers for cut flower sales. I especially love all the new interesting colored ones. They come as singles, semi-doubles and fully doubled. This little frog was accommodating enough to let me go all the way back to the house for my camera and still be sitting on this striped sunflower when I got back out to the garden.

Summer Crafts Fair

If you live in one of the special parts of the world one of the realities is that you will be sharing it with lots of other people in the summer. That's the way it works. The only recourse is moving to someplace really ugly. That's an opening to my excuse for not having written in this blog for a week. We've had lots of company and really enjoyed all of it. Both older daughters came with families and friends, summer people finally showed up for the season, and friends of friends stopped by to buy vegetables. We had 25 people helping us harvest on July 4. We always go over to Friday Harbor on Friday night and stay on the boat. This being the Fourth we invited a friend aboard and went out into San Juan Channel to where we could watch the fireworks from both Friday Harbor and Lopez Island. It was great and we didn't end up with whiplash from moving our heads back and forth trying to see both displays at once. Our friend brought strawberry shortcake to eat while we watched. We had a really lovely evening.

The Sunday after the Fourth, that is July 6, was the annual summer crafts fair on Waldron. We don't have a huge population but they all come out for this event which is a fund raiser for community projects. We brought one of our canopies back over with us for shade and set up my weaving and knitting items. It was very successful both for me and for the community.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Swallowtail Buttterfly

As I was cutting lilies for the Farmers Market on Friday I saw this beautiful swallowtail butterfly on an orange Asiatic lily. I dashed into the house for the camera and when I came back it was still there. Thus I can share it with you.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

More Roses

Years ago I fell in love with David Austin's English Roses. Crosses between modern tea roses and old roses for the most part, they have big beautiful flowers, healthy foliage, and usually form large shrubs. I have over a dozen of these roses. My favorite of all is Abraham Darby, above. it's color is a mixture of pink and yellow and apricot, it smells heavenly and has the hugest, most beautifully formed flowers.
Another favorite is Brother Caedfael, a true pink color. I'll admit I bought it because I love the Brother Caedfael books by Ellis Peters, about a monk in 12th century Shrewsbury. But it doesn't disappoint as a flower.
Buttercup is an English rose that I saw years ago on the cover of the magazine of the Royal National Rose Society in England. But only recently could I find it available in this country. It is a semi double flower which has the advantage of not getting moldy during a period of lots of rain. As much as I love Abraham Darby its huge very double flowers have trouble opening if they get rained on a lot.
And another of my favorites is Graham Thomas, a lovely yellow rose, not quite as large and full as Abraham Darby but truly lovely.