It has been some time since I’ve written
. . . and frankly, gentle reader, I’ve missed you. I don’t even have a really great reason for not writing, except that I’ve been more of a consumer than a producer, of late. I’ve been consuming too many news articles, blog posts, and commentary and not producing much of my own. I’m trying to make sense of what is happening in the world, and I can’t say that I’ve got it all figured out.
But I’m ready to start being a producer again, rather than just a consumer.
*and the crowd goes willlllld!!*
And so–for better or worse–
I’m back. 🙂
And here are a few things that have been keeping me quite busy.
This year’s musical melodrama–our 21st annual–had some firsts:
- We sold out 5 performances in just a few days.
- The girls performed a feather fan dance and song (above) and the boys learned a tap dance.
- For the first time, we had to request the assistance of an understudy, when our son Mack (above) came down with a 24-hour flu bug and was unable to perform one show. Our son Timothy–who lives less than an hour away–agreed to fill in. Thankfully–and amazingly–he had performed the same part of the hero in the same show, exactly fourteen years ago. It was still astounding that he was able to drop what he was doing that day, study lines for a couple hours from a script that his sweet wife Catie found, and then drive to the theater, where he learned a couple of fight scenes, a love song and performed. All in a few hours’ time. Amazing day, amazing kid.
- We had the largest cast ever–of 28–perform this show, since we moved to the small Olde Glory Theatre in Seward.
Because it’s been awhile since we’ve connected, gentle reader, and I know you will ask: I’ll be blessed with numbers 14 and 15 this year. Can you believe it??? I’m still pinching myself. I am blessed beyond measure with all these beautiful little babies that my children keep presenting to me. Such lovely surprises!
3. farm news: remember when I talked about”retirement”?
Not long ago I was (happily) up to my eyeballs in lettuces, edible flowers, and heirloom tomatoes. I prattled along endlessly about growing fancy veg and stuff for restaurants and why not? I loved it and I didn’t stink at it.
I’m still growing some of those fancy veg (because we eat ’em) but (my plant mentor-cum-business partner and know-it-all herb guy) Gene and I retired from our restaurant biz last December. The government’s lockdowns and heavy-handedness concerning that virus issue resulted in closed restaurants (some temporarily, some permanently), including some that we were selling to. Yes. Blah.
When they opened again, their budgets were tighter, and the fancy stuff we liked to grow weren’t high on their “MUST BUY” list. Or on the list at all.
So. We hung up our fancy veg-growing hats. That was that. We could have hung in there for awhile longer, but the timing to pivot was right for other reasons, as well.
4. the pivot
I considered this a lemons-into-lemonade opportunity, actually. I wasn’t mad about it.
I’ve always loved to grow flowers, but with all the specialty veg that I was growing, I had very little time or space to grow many flowers beyond the edible flowers that I dote on.
So I pivoted. Like many of you, maybe? I figured restaurants operating on sparser budgets for a time wouldn’t have room for the fancy, fun specialty crops (dearer than, say potatoes and carrots) that I loved to grow.
So I started growing flowers for cutting last year. I’ve dreamed of doing this for years.
After all, what could be nicer than making this little corner of the world more beautiful, and then sharing that beauty with others? Don’t you smile when somebody hands you a bouquet of beautiful flowers? (Me too.)
Flowers = happiness.
I jumped in with both feet and learned how to grow hardy annuals, perennials, dahlias, and more. Every day I would photograph flowers that I couldn’t believe I had grown! Like these:
5. Thing Three: a new passion
What did I do with all these flowers? I arranged flowers for a sweet niece’s wedding, and sold a few bunches to a local florist. Every week I picked armloads of flowers and took bouquets to my Mom and several of my friends. Every time a friend had a birthday, I’d make them a beautiful fresh bouquet.
One thing I learned last summer: having flowers in tidy rows on my farm–buzzing with honeybees and butterflies–in bunches on the kitchen island, in gift bouquets for friends, made me really, really happy.
Beautiful flowers are truly a balance to the ugliness in the world. They lift my heart and give me hope and comfort. They point my heart back to God, as beautiful things tend to do.
I’ve always had a soft spot for beautiful things. Sometimes I have to look away, because a very beautiful thing will take my breath away.
Best yet, I feel God’s leading throughout this pivot. When I add to the already-miraculous beauty of this world by raising flowers and sharing them, I feel God’s pleasure. It’s for God’s glory that I’m raising flowers. It’s a side benefit that they also make me happier too.
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory because of your love and faithfulness.” –Ps.115:1
At the end of last summer, I had grown in my flower-growing abilities and confidence. I had flowers growing everywhere. And I was confident enough in my abilities to want to share these flowers with others. I had an idea, which developed into a plan, and that plan kept me awake at night with excitement.
6. So what’s next?
I’m imagining all sorts of flower-centered adventures, but I’m starting with fresh flower bouquets, to be sold at my own little farm stand. I. Can’t. Wait. to share my flowers with other flower-lovers in my area.
Maybe that’s you?
If you live near me and want to be a part of my little flower community, here’s your chance! Share your email address in the box below, and I’ll also (bonus!) enter you in my giveaway of a fresh flower bouquet the first week I have enough flowers to make one!
Here’s how it will work: First, I’ll grow the flowers. (Hullo.) When they are ready to be cut and shared, I’ll notify those who are on my farm email list, and they will sashay on out to the farm to pick them up, from the little farm stand that hubby Bryan has promised to build for me.
(Hopefully it’ll be ready before the flowers are . . . )
These will be premium flowers, raised organically here in the amazing soil on our farm, and cut and put together in bouquets by yours truly. They’ll be gorgeous; they’ll be fresh; they’ll be special and not like anything you can purchase at the grocery store or even from your local florist shop.
Local, slow flowers are where it’s at, gentle reader. These will not be flowers that have been loaded into boxes and shipped here from Texas, Mexico, or Timbuktu. They will be grown–from seed, plug, bulb or slip–right here in eastern Nebraska. Every one.
You’re gonna be amazed, I promise you, if you’re not already familiar with fresh local flowers!
7. My first floral product is coming soon!!!
Early Spring Fancy Tulip Bouquets
How intense is your longing, come April, say, for color? My own eyes search the winter-grey landscape every day for bits of color. Though it is only early March!
By the end of the winter, I’m bored with shades of brown and grey. My eyes scan my flower beds for the first tiny crocus spikes of green. I know they’re coming, and I can’t wait to greet them. Spring is coming! It just takes so long to get here.
Do you feel this too?
I’ve got fancy tulips popping up in my hoophouse, even as I speak/write. They’ll be ready to pluck and bunch into bouquets much earlier than any other tulips in the area. Just in time to give you that little lift, that sigh of happiness at spring and spring flowers being here at last!
My spring fancy tulip bouquets will meet this winter-weary, color-desperate longing .
8. One more thing: continued gratitude
Thank you for reading, for following the comings and goings out at our farm, and for supporting my pursuits. So many of you have followed along with me through the years, through farming discoveries, chicken adventures, baking and cooking revelations, and of course all the family news. Thank you, thank you, for your kind comments and for being a part of my online community.
This little corner of the interwebs is a nicer place because of you.
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