Tag Archives: Flowers

sweetridgesisters

April 16, 2015

By Mary

With my green eyes I see beauty and with my green thumb I like to nurture and create it. One of my very favorite things to do is to spend hours lost silence while gardening. Growing flowers never bores me. I have an appreciation for the flexibility of flower gardening because first and foremost, it offers me a creative outlet that is beautiful, as well as in constant motion. I really do despise sitting still, so it’s wonderful to be engaged in projects that keep me busy and moving, Plus growing flowers is such a flexible way to have a fun niche market.

Yesterday I picked up flats of baby lupines that I had started at an Amish greenhouse back in February. While at the greenhouse I spent a few minutes looking around at what’s available, which made me ponder new ideas for this season. Later last night I was able to look back at some of the pictures from last summer which made me remember times, colors and designs that were a joy to experience during last years growing season. Here are a few memories, designs and projects from 2014.

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Last February the world seemed to as if it would always remain in a cold state of below zero frozen doom. Lisa King from the GAC show Farm Kings sympathized with my state of winter misery and was able to brighten my spirits by showing me the first shoots of new life inside her greenhouse. As a side note: Lisa is an amazing flower gardener and does some amazing and gorgeous things with flowers. For some great inspiration from Lisa, checkout some of the clips that are available from their show or Freedom Farms Magazine.

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After coming back from Pittsburgh, I was able to put together some lists of records and start planting.

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Writing for the Freedom Farms magazine challenged me to spend some time coming up with articles that gave potting a new twist (just like the twisted grass in the globe pots I made that resemble my unbrushed hair!). To make these, just up-cycle an old globe, slit it in half, drill holes for drainage, and plant inside before attaching rope for hanging,

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Last summer I was able to burn out a stump and turn it into a flower bed.

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Burning out a tree takes a lot of time, and in my case one very heated argument…. but I liked the end result!

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Last year I recycled old bottles that had labels I liked and used them as vases. The price is right to reuse them. This gave me a great inspiration to buy bottles of wine that had horses on the labels, I mean, I bought them for my flowers, right?

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When it comes time to fill buckets with bouquets to take to the co-op for market, I am in my zone!

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This year I will have new colors and plants to work with. I am really looking forward to seeing what I come up with. My hope for this post was that it provided some inspiration to think creatively, and most importantly, encourage you to get out and get your hands in the dirt. Happy gardening and don’t forget to get lots of dirt on your hands!

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Hope Springs

 

By Mary

Spring is here after a long and very cold winter. When I first felt that balmy spring winds stir up and circle around me, I let them blow through my hair. It was freeing to feel the gusts of wind as they blew over the brown landscape and danced with me near brush and upturned soil on a warm March afternoon.

spring wind

Ever since the first spring winds came upon me many more have come. Spring brings such a wonderful feeling of new life along with colors and noise that have been absent for so long. There is a certain harvest that comes with spring, and it’s much different than a summer or fall harvest. Spring’s bountiful harvest is one of hope.

Hope springs from beauty and spring is full of beauty. Getting outside and into the spring sunshine is an amazing gift full of welcome sights and tasks. Below are some of my favorite things to do and see in the spring.

Who doesn’t love daffodils in the spring? There is nothing quite like the first blooms of the season.

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Before most blossoms come though, there is much work to be done. Unbeknownst to me, Clare took this picture while I was working on getting a bed ready for snapdragons and statice. I encouraged her to come help me…but her interest in digging up mounds of dirt seemed to be surprisingly lacking.

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Spring coincides with lambing. I love lambs and am known for my habit of collecting orphan ones. This little guy is named Paschal. That seemed like the right name for the ram lamb that I picked up on Holy Saturday.

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Easter is a glorious time of year. Here is Paschal on Easter Sunday with a cousin and my nephew and niece. I swear to God he isn’t dead in my nephews exuberant arms. The level of commotion may not have thrilled him though. Doesn’t Thaddeus look like a perfect shepherd boy?

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The cows at the ranch have started calving this spring. My brothers and I were out moving them with the horses the other week. It’s amazing to be out riding my horse again. He’s on the comeback from a major injury that he suffered last August. But he seems to be as able and athletic as ever. Patrick enjoyed his morning coffee before cows got checked for pregnancy. I bet he felt very office-like and corporate during this coffee break.

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I could make mention of so many other things that I Iove about spring. But really, why do so when I can go outside and let the balmy winds of springs toss my hair into the air? Happy Spring to all of you reader. Enjoy it to the fullest!

Wedding Work

by Kate

Tomorrow is my wedding anniversary. It was a beautiful wedding, but today I’m not thinking about that. What I am remembering, with longing, is the week spent with women who had flown in from all over the world to stay in a tiny 100 year old Norwegian cabin in the valley below our farm.

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A cabin full of wine and laughter was the least I could provide for those girls, who had been swept into a full scale Wisconsin ridgetop wedding. In case you’ve never been involved with one of these, let me tell you a couple things. They’re large- we had at least 250 people at our mass and the reception in the pole shed turned ballroom- and they involve lots (and lots, and lots) of work.

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For instance, we grew the food for the wedding. The morning of the wedding, I was in the field picking lettuce early in the morning and headed off to top strawberries before donning my bridal gown…

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But before all that, we raised the chickens. Then, just after my bridesmaids arrived, we butchered them. So romantic!

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After photographing the King brothers at work butchering chickens last week, I have been thinking a lot about our bridal butchering party. Granted, it was quite a bit more chaotic than the serene process at Freedom Farms. Our knives were dull, our crew was inexperienced, and I may have been a bit out of practice myself. Still, this is still my favorite photo of my engagement ring.

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The chickens were plucked and cleaned and cooled and eventually cooked and served, but in the meantime there were flowers to pick. This meant a month of picking and wrapping peonies, storing them in newspaper to save them for late June. It also meant a trip deep into Amish country…

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where an abandoned kitchen garden ran riot, with hundreds of roses and a profusion of other blooms that needed to be gathered.

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I have rarely felt as free and deeply happy as I did that morning, gathering flowers with great friends.

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Back at the pole shed, there were lights and banners to hang, and ladders to climb.

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It took some power washing, the remover of a rotochopper, and about 10 people working 12 hours a day…

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but by the night before the wedding, the pole shed looked fantastic. I think that if I could time travel, that is where I would return, with a cold beer in hand, to spend another evening with Julia, Maqui, Susannah, Lisa, Adrienne, Emily, my siblings, and the rest of the hardworking crew who made our homegrown ridgetop wedding so beautiful. It wouldn’t have happened without all of them, and I am more grateful than words can say.

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For pictures of the wedding, see this post:

Taking the Leap

This Spring

By: Clare

Sorry. It’s been quite a while hasn’t it. But, NO, actually, I haven’t fallen off the edge of the earth. Because that’s impossible. Some old genius with a big long beard proved it. At least that’s what they’ve taught me in school. School. That’s what I’ve been doing. And homework too. And lots of other things….like checking up on this very blog while I’m sitting in the computer lab supposedly working away on my research paper. School.

I’ve also been been outside.

I’ve been observing…..

Last spring, the plum trees bloomed in May.

This spring, the scent of plum blossoms has already begun to permeate our garden….and its only April!

Last spring’s tulips…

and last spring’s daffodils…

Can’t seem to compete with this year’s….

Last year our family celebrated spring with a familiar friend…

This spring, we celebrate with a new friend.

And this spring, I’m learning to appreciate beauty and change, and the joys of life.

Have a blessed Easter, everyone.

-Clare-

My Garden: My Canvas

By Mary

There are few interests that I take more seriously than my love of flowers. After the cold nights of October and the gray days of November, my garden takes several months of a break from its vibrant life of beauty, and calming graceful vitality.

How I do miss the sun, blossoms, weeds and dirt in the winter months. Come spring, just like the re-birth of the garden; a whole new part of me comes alive.

In February the plotting starts when I pour over seed catalogs. This year spring came early, so planting has too. All the bulbs that I carefully store away each fall get unwrapped from their improvised quilts of newspaper. Digging and designing a more perfected area are all part of the joy of gardening.

Often I second guess myself. Fortunately, I have my Mom as my mentor. She is a true master artist of cottage style gardens.

My Mother is extremely patient and supportive of my novice endeavors. Though our tastes in garden design differ, our passion for creating beauty has been a complimentary effort.

Tomorrow the two of us are driving an hour and a half round trip to pick up a box of calla lilies that I have been thinking about all winter. Some may wonder why one would spend so much time and energy growing plants, but for me, I wonder how anyone can not get inspired by the sheer goodness of growing something real and beautiful. Gardens are a canvas to me. They are the perfect opportunity to create living art, and from now to October, the artist part of myself will be digging in the dirt.

Flowers

By: Mary

It is probable that my love for floral design came with the extra incentive of money. This can be traced back to days in early childhood when Dad worked at the Diocesan Center in Lacrosse. There,  the office ladies were willing to pay me a few bucks to buy a bouquet of clumsily arranged flowers for their desks. It has been many years since those days of childhood, but since then my love (or obsession) for flowers and floral design had literally blossomed. From May through October, I do arrangements for Saint Peter’s Parish. Here are a few of my recent bouquets for the church, table, and those I love.

Sweet Ridge Spring

by Clare

Spring is finally here!

Or at least it was until it dipped by to the lower 50s. But before that could happen, our garden burst into bloom, and is now full of plum blossoms and tulips.

Photography being one of the pastimes that I enjoy, I brought out the camera and tried to convey the beauty that has thankfully come, through the lens of a camera.

I went a little off track on some of these photos and took pictures of whatever I thought was interesting, and since I thought those were pretty good too, I decided to include them.

More pictures of Wisconsin spring are still to come! Enjoy!