At the beginning of each new year I spend a good deal of time putting together my goal lists for the upcoming season. These goals span a wide range of areas and are what I hope to accomplish in the coming year. There is a list for personal wellness and growth, family and relationships, the business, big dreams, and then my own personal creative projects inside of the business, including this here blog.
Last year I wanted to fill this space with useful information about growing flowers, so I created the Flower Focus series and posted about many of my all time favorite varieties and the tips and tricks for each. I also wanted to continue to showcase what’s possible using local blooms after The Seasonal Bouquet Project commenced, so last spring the Seasonal Flower Alliance was born. I also wanted to highlight many of the flower farmers and florists I’ve had the pleasure of meeting along this journey and also have a chance ask them many of my most burning questions, and so The Farmer and The Florist interview series was made.
Well, this season my goal list is a bit tighter and more refined than last. After taking on so many projects, I’m really trying to hone in on key areas that have the largest long term impact and the most personal joy.
Here on the blog I want to get back to posting consistently, even during our busiest times. And I want to get back to documenting and sharing the day-to-day, behind the scenes happenings here on the farm too.
One of my favorite things about participating on Instagram is that it provides a snapshot in time and then you end up with a running image library, illustrating an entire season that eventually becomes a beautiful reference. It also provides a regular window for others into this magical flower filled world we are so fortunate to live and work in. So, in an effort to both document this journey in photos and share the day to day, behind the scenes, I dreamed up a new weekly series called This Week on The Farm.
Even though this is technically the first post, I’ve tried to match the weeks with the actual calendar weeks so that it can be an accurate reference for the future.
Washington is quite mild compared to most parts of the country. Winters here are typically drizzly, cool and grey. Snow is a rare and exciting occurrence. Our little farm is just an hour south of the Canadian border, so winter days are very short and dark for us. I like to hide in the house during this span of time dreaming, planning and plotting out the season to come.
Chris is the opposite. He hates sitting still and instead loves being outdoors, bopping around, especially in the rain. While I’ve been hard at work behind the keyboard, he’s been busy finishing up the last farm tasks on the list before winter really sets in.
Over the years we’ve steadily been adding covered space to grow our flowers in, with the aim of extending our season as far as possible into the early spring and late fall. The six 100ft. hoop houses out back are stocked with ranunculus and icelandic poppies that we’re planted back in September and will hopefully come into flower by late March. Despite the cold weather we had in December the plants are looking really great. Stocky, green and lush.
A new fleet of min tunnels were added this fall and are loaded with thousands of baby anemones. These guys were planted later than we intended, but I’m hoping they’ll have a chance to catch up on growth as the days begin to lengthen next month.
We have another dozen or so mini tunnels ready to go up in hopes of even more extra early blooms.
While most of the dahlias were lifted in the fall, a few rows got left in the field. A warm, dry spell provided the perfect opportunity to snag the last of the tuber clumps and get them tucked away for winter.
We’re all so excited to be able to share this bounty with other farmers and gardeners around the country. To our amazement, only a handful of tuber collections still remain in the shop!
We’ve grown tulips for many years now but this is the first season we’ve tried bringing them into flower during the winter months. This little side project was spearheaded by the guys. Both Chris and Jasper have so lovingly tended this special crop. We delivered the first wave of blooms to happy city customers this weekend.
I hadn’t realized how starved I was for flowers until Chris brought me in a big ole bundle of blooms for the dining room table. It made it fell like spring on a rainy January morning.
The chickens are finally laying up a storm!
After reading that our kids raise and show chickens, the kind folks at Greenfire Farms sent them a batch of purebred chicks last spring. After many months of loving care, the ladies finally started laying eggs. In late November we stuck a light bulb in the coop, to fool their body clocks into thinking it was spring and have been enjoying fresh eggs for a good month now.
It’s a running comedy show watching the flock of chickens from our dining room window.
If you’ve got a minute, I’d love to hear what’s going on in your neck of the woods this week. Anything particularly memorable, exciting or interesting?
Michelle Shackelford on
My husband and I ran off to Mexico for a week! It was beautiful and wonderful! It was our first time there and a welcome escape from the icy cold of northern Michigan. We don’t have much snow right now which is kind of nice. Maybe a foot, much less than the norm.
It’s time for me to start some seeds in the house and finish my beds in the greenhouse so that I can start planting my anemones and ranunculus. It will be my first time with both of these crops.
Here’s to spring!