Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Day In May Celebration

The Farm's first official introduction to the masses (mini-masses?) commences on the 20th of May at our long-awaited 'A Day In May Celebration' craft show. We're nearly done setting the adorable shop which is housed in a 1952 travel trailer. Oh, the stuff we've managed to cram in there . . . and there's more. The plants on the farm are thriving, though I noted to my partner in crime, Shannon, just yesterday that I'm frustrated the plants aren't on the same page and growing faster to keep up with demand. It's going to be a scorcher that day in May -- predicted to be around 92 degrees F. All week it's been a lovely, liveable 75 to 78, but the day of the event the powers that be decided to turn up the heat.

What a wild and often harrowing last few months it's been getting this farm and shop in order. What we imagined in the beginning as a month or so at most putting things to rights has turned into five months of toil and tears and a niggling feeling that we're still not quite there. But alas, we must forge on with what we've got or else we won't be making any money to get those loose ends tied up.



There is road construction on the main road from Fresno to the farm so alternate routes will have to be mapped so that you arrive on Belmont (the main road) from the east, and bypass all the "Road Closed" signs to reach Nelson Avenue. Parking is provided in front of the redwood trees on the road in front of the farm. Hopefully, we will be able to get the signs done indicating where to park and where not to park.


Saturday, May 06, 2017

Bad News and Other Normal Stuff

This past week has been flush with bad news. First, I discovered that I had single-handedly RUINED an entire early season's harvest of Cecile Brunner tea roses by incorrectly packaging them. Into the incense box they go and not into tea or potpourri as intended. Cecile Brunner's are nice tea roses because they bloom intermittently throughout the summer, so all is not lost. All but that first flush of lovely sweet pink blooms.

Then we were called to pick the granite for the new house -- the actual slabs -- and while talking with the builder we foolishly inquired about the timeline for completion, thinking it would be sooner and not later. Well, it's later. Much later than we had ever anticipated. In fact, the news put me in a funk that I'm having a very difficult time pulling out of. I know this kind of thing takes time and that the timeline changes, but I never thought this would happen. In November we were assured move-in was going to be in April, at the latest May, then the rain came and that was pushed to late May, early June. Now they're saying late July to early August. Up until they told us that, I was driving past the house every evening on my way home from the farm. Since they told us that, I haven't been back. I just don't care to see how close the house is to completion only to be told it will be another eight to ten weeks. And most of these feelings are borne out of where I'm staying now. I can't get in any studio time. I can't locate all of the perfumery. I have nowhere to store things that I might buy to begin perfuming again. I'm in a rut.

And, of course, there's more. I foolishly read yet another poor review of Working the Bench (the first one, the one that ain't that great), and the reviewer was fair and brutal and stated something that was confusing. They said there was no index in the book and there is an index. I don't know where this person bought their copy, but they must have received an older, unrevised edition. Anyway, I don't know if I'm cut out for this anymore.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Harvesting the Blossoms

So far on the farm what we've managed to do most is harvest flowers. Lots of calendula, and lots and lots of delicately pink, sweet Cecile Brunner tea roses. Yesterday I managed to get a few of the seedlings we started back in March into larger pots -- some nasturtium, tomatoes, a couple of Thai basil babies. Today I imagine it will be more of the same. All of the witching herbs I started from seed were eaten by birds as soon as they popped their wee heads out of the soil. Those that didn't get gnawed on were beaten to death by the drying wind we've had in the past few weeks. It's been brutal. We're to be subject to another storm this coming weekend but are trying to see it as an opportunity to not have to water rather than as a setback.  I replanted the witching herbs yesterday and will be much more diligent to their needs than before. There have been many successes too. We've got tomatoes, squashes, and beans coming out of our ears. The boysenberry and blueberry bushes are throwing fruit (duck!) and most of the orchard pit fruit have nice, fat, unripened fruit hanging from the branches. We did get one distillation done, but there are much more that we can do. There's just so much to do that it's reached a point of becoming overwhelming, and that's not where we want to go with it.

Yesterday I purchased a truckload of raw materials for soap making mostly because I'm too disgusted to dig through the boxes in the garage to find what I know is in there (more raw materials). Every time I locate shop items, they become lost again when the folks around here decide to do a bit of housekeeping -- in the garage. I'm still looking for the stuff I had out during the holidays that I used to make soap. That was all sorted back into the wall of confusion. Anyway, enough of that. The point is -- soap's on! I got mango butter and cocoa butter to add to the usual shea/coconut/olive blend I use.  On a different note, I'll be forced to pack all of this up after the next soap making foray as our house is nearly complete. We're due to move in sometime in June. Not sure the exact date yet. Initially, we were told April or May, but thanks to the much-needed deluge of rain we've had this year, those plans were delayed. Yesterday the house was given color and all the doors are on and locked, which is a good sign the interior is getting close to being finished. Just a few houses down from ours, people have begun moving in. The first four houses on either side of the street are now occupied, and most of the homes are near completion. There are a few here and there that are still just frames, but the neighborhood is filling up quick. I think the last time I looked at the little street map in the builder's office, there were only three or four in the entire development that hadn't been sold yet, including the big monstrous one right next to our house. The only part of this that I am not enjoying is the moving -- again. That makes five times in five years. I am so over it.


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