Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Flowers, Flowers, Flowers

The flowers are about done for this year. This was one of the last big pickings that I expect to get out of the flowers beds. This time of year the colors are so rich. Above are zinnias, sunflowers, sweet william, dahlias, ornamental amaranths and one big delphinium. We originally brought bunches of flowers to market just to add color to our booth, but they very quickly proved to be good sellers themselves. Since then we have planted beds of flowers among the vegetables and take many bunches of them to sell at the market.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Farm Tour

This last August our local Agricultural Guild had a wonderful fund raising dinner in Friday Harbor to raise funds for, among other things, our goal of having a permanent covered Farmers Market site. Part of the fund raisers was an auction. One of the auction items was a tour of the three Waldron Island farms who sell produce at the Friday Harbor Farmers Market. And today the winners came out for their tour. They were driven around to all three farms and ended up at our farm for lunch. We served a meal of salads and bread and dessert from our local farm produce. It was a lot of fun and a great opportunity to share a bit of what we do with a few of our customers and friends

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunny Market, Potato Gift

Ah, yesterday was sunny for market. Well, it started out drizzly as we were setting up and we groaned a bit. But the sun finally came out and it was a lovely day for vendors and customers. I set up my crafts booth next to the vegetable one and hung up my rag rugs. I really like the way the booth looks with the rugs hanging all around.
And then this afternoon a farmer we met down at the docks in Friday Harbor who grows organic potatoes on Whidbey Island just south of the San Juans, came by with samples of the varieties he is growing. He brought us 7 bags of really neat potatoes, fingerlings, bakers, blue fleshed and red fleshed and yellow fleshed varieties. We are going to have so much fun trying these out.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fall Trip to Saltspring Island

We took a couple of days off this week to go on a busman's holiday to Ganges on Saltspring, Island, B.C. to visit their Tuesday market called Market in the Meadow because it is held in a small meadow owned by the United Church. We love visiting other markets and other farmers to talk about growing things, to see what other people are growing, to talk to market customers. The Tuesday market is small compared to Ganges Saturday market which has around 150 vendors of all sorts, food, produce, crafts. this small mid week market had 15 vendors, mostly farmers.
We were very impressed by Foxglove Farms' wheelbarrow of watermelons as ours have not been happy this summer and we probably won't have any to sell. They have a south facing site on the side of a hill which gives them a lot more warmth, particularly at night, than we get.
And, as always when we go up to Canada, we came back with hard cider and Seville orange marmalade, two things that are hard to find in this country.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Rainy Day at the market

It poured all throughout the Farmers Market this morning. By the end of the market we were cold and soaked to the skin. Ah, the joys of selling your produce outdoors. I meant to take a picture but the batteries in the camera went dead and I was too cold and wet to deal with it. But when we finally got home, got warm and dry and did the books for the day, sales were just about what we would have expected for the middle of September. We didn't sell all our corn and that was disappointing, but what I learned once again is the tremendous loyalty of our customers. They come out in all sorts of weather (remember the snow in April!!) to support our efforts in growing good food for them. Those of you who are our customers who read this blog know who I am talking about and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Next Rug

This is the second rug on the pastel warp. It's another pastel print sheet with three shades of light to medium green. I didn't have enough of any of the greens to do the whole rug so devised stripes to make use of all three. Most of my stripe patterns are based on whatever colors I have available and how much of each color I have. More mathematical than artistic I sometimes think.

Fall Production Mode

I am working to build up my stock of things for Christmas sales and finished these 4 felted hats yesterday. I got a call from a friend who has a shop in La Conner called Cattails and Dragonflies. She is opening a second shop down the street and wants hats for that shop. So in the mail they went and I'm back to knitting more for sales here.
I've been having so much fun making knitted flowers to decorate the hats. This one in shades of brown for a brown hat pleased me a lot.
And having finished the 5 wool rugs I put on a pink, blue, and yellow pastel warp for new rag rugs. I have a collection of pastel flannel sheets to use on this warp. This is the beginning of the first one. Most of the rag rugs I've made this year are in very bright colors so it will be nice to have a few pastel ones to offer.

uction Mode

New Sheep

We bought 4 new sheep from a friend on San Juan Island and brought them home a couple of days ago. We loaded them onto a boat in Friday Harbor,
then onto a trailer on the Waldron dock,

and brought them home. They are our new ram, Favio, Favio's Friend, a wether who hangs out with him, and two new ewes. They have all settled in nicely.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Growing our own flour

I always get a good feeling from putting a meal on the table that comes mostly from the farm. All this recent talk about eating local is something we've been doing for years. But if we are going to eat mainly off the farm or at least locally the one thing we would definitely miss would be bread. We can grow lots of potatoes, squash, vegetables of all sorts, raise chickens for meat and eggs, raise sheep, etc.. But this year Joel and our neighbors from Nootka Rose Farm are experimenting with growing wheat and other grains. This isn't an area particularly suited for growing wheat, though oats and barley usually do okay. So they are growing a number of grain cultivars to see what might do well here. Trying to find equipment to process grain from less than 1000 acres has also been a challenge. One of the farm's partners is from Japan and found a small foot operated thresher and a hand winnowing fan in Japan and had them shipped here. They arrived last weekend and we got together to try them out. Above is a bundle of wheat being threshed.
There is definitely a learning curve involved, but we did manged to thresh and winnow several pounds of wheat grains

which was then ground into flour. We made pizza last night from that flour. I used pesto from our basil, onions, peppers, and tomatoes from the garden, hamburger from home grown beef and only added non local cheese. What a yummy treat.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Silly Cat

I couldn't resist taking a picture of James getting a drink out of a bucket of water. Not that there wasn't a perfectly full and clean water dish in the house. He didn't fall in.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Last weekend we attended a rendezvous of Albin boats at Roche Harbor organized by the Albineers of British Columbia. This is the third time we've attended one of these get togethers and it is always a lot of fun. This year there were 16 little Albin 25s like ours. It's fun to see a whole group of these boats together and to talk with other people who own them and to look at what other people have done with theirs.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

More Birds

There seems to be one last hummingbird hanging around instead of heading off for South America. I have heard stories of hummingbirds beginning to overwinter in this area but haven't actually seen any in the winter. Don't know if this one is planning on staying or just got left behind and is stoking up on honeysuckle nectar for the long trip.
Most of our irrigation water comes from this small pond which gets mighty low toward the end of summer. It is always, full or low, a favorite feeding place for Great Blue Herons. They are such stately birds on the ground and look so awkward as they take off with those long legs dangling.

Monday, September 8, 2008


There is an orchard of fruit trees surrounding the house that were planted about the time the house was built, about 100 years ago. The cherry trees have mostly died. The apples are in good shape, and the plums are hanging in there. These are yellow egg plums from one of the old trees. They are very prone to brown rot so aren't really marketable, but, oh, are they delicious both fresh and canned. This spring wasn't a good one for plum pollination as it was both wet and cold when they were in flower. So we are amazed and pleased to see how good a crop was set in spite of the weather.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

At Last

The whole growing season being basically cool and wet this year in spite of a couple of short heat spells, the two crops we have despaired of seeing mature were the corn and the melons. We have been going out to the garden and checking both about twice a day. And last night we had our first meal of corn. Okay, it was a little underripe and the kernels a bit small, but it was CORN.
And this morning we found a ripe melon. This one is a green fleshed canteloupe called Diplomat. We've grown a similar one called Passport for years but this one was supposed to be earlier. So we grew both to test that. And Diplomat won. Passport has nice big melons on the vines but they aren't ripe yet. Oh, life is good.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Back to the Loom

The season at Roche Harbor mostly being over I get to stay home and make more stuff. This warp has been on the loom all summer. It has enough warp to make 5 rugs but I've only managed one and a half in my spare time. The pattern is called Swiss Twill and is from Marguerite Davison's A Handweaver's Pattern Book, a book that I consult over and over again. I could spend my whole life just working through the patterns and variations of each in that book.

I'm also about to put in a yarn order for hat yarn and that's always fun. I'm eager to get to weaving and knitting.