Back in May, I had the good fortune to catch Patti in action as she installed several rows of flower crops. This quick video captures the process nearly start to finish and even includes a 6-week time warp!
Though Patti makes it look easy and quick, the work is a lot harder than it looks (my knees were very grateful when the job was done).
As you can see in the video, all of our wedding flowers are planted “lovingly” by hand. The flowers are also grown herbicide and pesticide free using organic practices. It is truly amazing to see nature at work and how, in just a few week’s time, the tiniest of seedlings becomes a stunning flower in a bridal bouquet.
We took a little extra time last week to capture our honey bee work on Little Big Farm (It’s amazing what you can do with an iPhone these days!). We’re hoping “third time’s the charm” as this will be our third attempt to raise bees on the farm and get them through the winter. Bees have been struggling in the United States with many colonies collapsing for one reason or another. This new set of bees has a leg up in that they will be able to take advantage of honey and comb set up by the previous residents. We’ll be extra vigilant this year to help them stay healthy and prosper!
After a trip to a very upscale New Jersey mall last Saturday, the family conversation turned to job prospects. Lucas in particular was wondering what his options were as an 11-year old for earning the $1,300 he would need for the laptop he had been coveting back in the Microsoft Store. We went round and round on the topic: babysitting (too young), egg sales (too sluggish), dog walking (too far). We even Googled for solutions before realizing we were literally sitting on the answer – Farmhands.
After arriving at an hourly rate, Patti and I began to watch the wheels turn and the multiplication begin, followed by charts, tables, and graphs. Lucas and Henry had worked it all out down to the exact hour when they would achieve their savings goals.
So began their journey as farmhands, which started with a spring clean up on a very un-spring-like day. Job No. 1: cut down the grasses and cart off the clippings to the chicken run.
$1,260.00 to go.
Beautiful ribbon is the finishing touch for any bouquet – the cherry on top if you will. I have to admit; I can get pretty excited about a beautiful ribbon! I never really knew this about myself until I started to do wedding work. Grosgrain, satin, silk, plaid, woven, solid or pattern; the choices are too numerous to count. I never knew there were so many. At first I stayed with the basics, but now I am breaking out for sure.
I was lucky enough recently to go with my friend Barbara Connolly of Bonnie Hill Farm to a local ribbon factory in nearby Stroudsburg, PA where they not only sell a beautiful assortment of ribbon, but they also still make many of their own as well. The American Ribbon Manufacturers still looks much as it did over 100 years ago when they opened their doors. Barbara and I were like kids in a candy shop and both bought home quite a haul.
My biggest thrill though was the fact that I now have a local source of ribbon to use with my local flower arrangements! It’s nice to know that I can support an American manufacturer and the employees that work there with this simple purchase.
Patti has taken quite a bit of inspiration from Debra Prinzing this winter. She recently made a donation to Prinzing’s “SLOW Flowers” initiative to support the effort behind creating a database of American designers, florists, and flower farmers.
Remarkably, 80 percent of the flowers purchased in the United States come from overseas. Debra and her supporters are trying to turn the tables on that sad statistic.
Locally grown flowers last longer, are more fragrant and support local farmers. (Organically grown local flowers are even better!)
Ms. Prinzing has also done a great job in posting about a dozen podcasts that are very educational and are helping to connect many like-minded flower professionals. You can check them out on iTunes.