Search This Blog

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Gloomy Side of Genius

I have developed an abhorrence to the word 'idea'. It has been three weeks now since we started selling at the Farmer's Market and by all accounts this year has been the worst for business. For example, two years ago, on the Saturday before Mother's Day, we sold almost $1400 dollars worth. This year, on the Saturday before Mother's Day, we only sold about $800. This past Saturday, we only sold $400.

Here we are, every Saturday, forever.

People are always complimenting us on how beautiful our stuff is and how creative we are, then they take pictures, write things down, walk away, bring back their friends and say 'wow, that really is a great idea. Let's head to the nursery, they are much cheaper.' They are wrong. And they will come crawling back to us when they realize that our stuff is too cheap. Too cheap for it to be worthwhile for us to continue doing this.

People come to the Farmer's Market to but a $5.00 loaf of bread or a $1.00 bag of lettuce. They do not come to buy a $25-70 potted flower arrangement. This has always been the case, but those that know we are there, appreciate what we do and recognize just how good of a value our stuff is, usually make up for it. We have seen our regulars again this year, just as we expected, but our reliance on the rest of the Farmer's Market visitors to fill in has, so far, failed. In addition to just being a 'great idea,' we are hoping that people are also a little scared to spend the money on our stuff when it has been so cold. This is understandable.

While this has been frustrating and has led to two very boring markets, we have decided to take it as a sign that this will really be our last year. It is time to take a break. Hopefully next Saturday, or the next one, or the next one, or the next one, the weather will be on our side so and we will sell out quickly so that we do not have to do this well into the summer, or worse, take these flower pots home with us. But, given the way that it has gone so far, this will probably not be the case.

On a more positive note, our own stuff that we had to move to the greenhouse in Idaho Falls is filling out quite nicely. My yard is starting to look less depressing and I think it is begging for me to plant some more stuff. I have killed all of the weeds and put down some weed preventer. We will see how well that works. I will most likely plant all of my perennials tomorrow. I think that blog will be more upbeat. Sorry for the tone in this one.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Not All That It Could Be

The Idaho Falls Farmer's Market started last Saturday and the weather was so bad that the first day is not even worth dedicating an entire post to. To prepare for this horrifically cold and miserable day we spent nine sleepless nights in a row planting in the greenhouse, peeing outside and eating dirt. All to save time. Okay, so that is not true, but we did work really hard to get everything planted so that we could A) go guilt-free to Vegas and B) have all of our flowers looking mature and standing at full attention well before the first day. We accomplished both A and B.

I am now going to relay the story of the horrible day but, to help us all out and put us in the right frame of mind I will be intermingling the dreadful story with pictures of pretty things that are growing.

The day that we had so rigorously prepared for was not, to the disappointment of the Army. "All that it could be". In fact, it wasn't really anything that it could be. The weather was negative one million degrees with a record breaking one thousand mile an hour wind.

This is where breaking through one million year old tree branches came in handy because I was strong enough to withstand the conditions. Well, only for about two hours. I tried to get out of it an hour and a half into my post by calling my mom and telling her that the flowers just weren't making it.

Instead of telling me how proud she was of me for enduring said horrible conditions for what really did seem like an eternity and offering to bring me some hot chocolate, she told me to take the ones that did not look good down and put them in the corner.
I was like "nobody puts Baby in a corner, nobody". No wait, I wasn't like that at all.

I did as I was told and continued to stand in the almost unbearable conditions. I finally convinced her a half hour later , after we had made no sales and probably pissed people off with our " buy blooming flowers in the freezing cold" mentality.

The weather for this coming Saturday looks promising. Cross your fingers and come buy a strawberry ball. If you are lucky Suni will save you some ripe strawberries.

Possible Murder Suspect

Be prepared for a series of emotions.

First, I want you to feel proud because I managed to plant my first tree.

Second, I want you to feel sad because I may not be able to keep it alive. And because I am trying to keep this pine tree alive in a wheelbarrow of water until my brother-in-law comes home. It seems a bit unlikely.

Third, I want you to, once again, feel proud. I managed to move the rose bush that was in one of the only 'water guarantee' safe zones in my front yard to make room for the tree.

(old home)

(new home)

Fourth, I want you to feel scared because I had to dig through one million year old tree branches to get deep enough to plant the tree. Why should you feel scared? Have you ever dug through one million year old tree branches? Are your arm muscles huge? I highly doubt it. Those of you who know me, know that I am always threatening to punch things in the face. Imagine being punched in the face by someone who has dug through one million year old tree branches without using a single power tool. Now you are scared.

Lastly, I found this super cool (my use of the words 'super cool' in casual conversations, teaching, blogging and sometime academic papering has led me to officially decide that I am a caged bird who sometimes needs to say 'like' in a conversation and apparently, you are not to do that when you have a PhD in literature...bummer) perennial with perfect little blue flowers and when I planted it, I noticed that I planted one last year too. So, now instead of having only one 'super cool' plant with perfect blue flowers, I have two. The emotion you are to feel is awe.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Weekend Away

Tomorrow is Friday and I am ashamed to admit that I should have posted this earlier. You can blame my students, my Spanish teacher, my thesis, my children, my husband, and generally 'life stuff.' I have a better handle on my 'life stuff' now and am excited to finally talk about our hard work over this past weekend. Especially since the next weekend of non academic work is looming. The picture above is of some sap buckets that are new this year. I saw them online and fell in love with them, but when I saw them in person I was not quite as impressed. But, I think you can agree that they are beyond stellar planted.

Other things that are stellar when planted are teacups. The one above is an example of about 6 that we planted over the weekend, each with different flowers.

I wrote something clever and funny here, but deleted it and it is 10:47 at night so I am not going to try and recreate it. Think of the best possible sentence that fulfills all of your flowery-like desires and multiply it by one bazillion and you will be a little closer to the clever and funny thing I wrote. While you are trying to imagine such a phrase, perhaps you should go for a bike ride.

Tired from the brain work and riding your bike? Take a seat.

Here is an herb basket. It has thyme, sage, dill, chives and a couple of other herbs that I cannot think of. I suspect that my mom will fill you in with a comment below. Check back.

Another herb basket.

This stuff is called Angelina Sedum and it is stunning. Go find it!

If you look closely, the angelina sedum is poking out from behind the orange flowers. It provides a nice contrast.

It also looks nice in this little 'tool' basket.
And the winner of the weekend is....
Ignore the poor picture quality and think of purples and limes. Enough said. Stay tuned for a blog about my first tree planting experience.

Will Work For Mac N Cheese


Suni was only four months old when I started doing the Farmer's Market. In a sense, we grew into it together. This year she is very involved. In fact, she is so involved that it leads to a less productive day of planting. She is our worst best little helper.

In addition to helping us out with the flowers, she is always helping me at the house. I think my neighbors may think I am an abusive parent because she is always outside working with me.

They may be right. She loves the water and is fascinated with the hose and I think that her favorite thing to do is water the dirt around the plant, but never the plant.

Unless I put it in a wheelbarrow.

Or if granny puts the water in a watering can.


Well, our great excursion to Moss Greenhouse in Twin Falls was not so great. Before I lead into the not so great things about the trip, I will delight you with some of its awesomeness. First, and most importantly, we all got to take a half day away from our regular lives to ooh and awe at pretty flowers.

I think these are African Daisy's (mom?)

Second, the trip included some of my most favorite people. My mom, Jessica, Suni, Ava, and myself fit rather comfortably in the truck and I hope I can speak for all of us when I say that it was a pleasant experience. In addition to a break from work, and good company, I also love going to greenhouses when the weather is bad. It is similar to the feeling I get when I am working out and a song comes on my Ipod that makes me run just a bit faster, like I am the carrier of a precious, fragile little secret. While the wind was blowing, we were surrounded by soothing water features and the fresh blooms and alluring fragrances of the flowers. Before moving on to the not so great part of the trip, showing you a picture of the little secret seems like the right thing to do. After all, I strive to keep my moral constitution in check.

If you look closely you can see Suni following her new friend. She is like her grandpa and seems to have no reserve when it comes to strangers.

Anyway, on to the bummer part of the trip. Although we did not realize the potential disaster, we entered the greenhouse with our spirits high and our eyes on the most pragmatic choices for the farmer's market. Since this was my second year going to Twin Falls for flowers I felt so much smarter than the last year and was eager to show my mom just how far I'd come. That went fine. I felt good about my input and admired the cart as we were waiting to check out.

We were a bit let down by the selection at the greenhouse. This may have been influenced by our high spirits for the 2 hour drive. Perhaps we just got too excited. We decided to go to Fred Meyer and check out their flowers because the climate in Twin Falls is warmer and because they have a covered greenhouse unlike Idaho Falls, which makes for a much more diverse selection. Needless to say, my mom came out with 8 more flats of flowers from Fred Meyer. This was when we realized that we were not as well-prepared for our trip to Moss' and we had initially thought. We were driving home and thinking about all that we did not get. This led us to scramble a bit this weekend when we were planting and now we are on the lookout for some taller flowers to go in the big flower pots that we apparently forgot all about when we were at Moss'.

Here is the greenhouse now that our flowers have been relocated and the Farmer's Market flowers have moved in.

You will notice the future gardener in the corner.

Oh well I guess, you live and learn. But, I suspect that the trip next year will go just about the same. I think this may be because we have been living under cloudy skies for several months and are over-ecstatic to see new growth when in it freezing cold outside.