March 30, 2009

Postcards from 1913

My mother and I spent a lovely winter afternoon not too long ago going through some of my great-aunt Vera's scrapbooks. One was mostly photographs and clippings, the other a wonderful collection of postcards from circa 1911-1913. The art on many of them is fantastic, detailed and splendid compared to the styles mostly in use today. As I work on scanning them in to pass on to family members, I couldn't resist posting a few here today. Of course I gravitate towards the floral ones, but Vera's family sent her lots of cards, and collected more for her, and her scrapbook covers a full year of seasons and holidays. Quite the trove.

March 29, 2009

So Springy!

(In the greenhouse, at least). The Equinox has come and gone, and the snow is still with us: 7" of new this morning. Made the elk very frisky in the yard this afternoon! As most everything in the big greenhouse is almost as frozen as the gardens, chores today included transplanting, seeding, filling flats for more of both, and working on the spring soaping rush. I hope to get photos posted tomorrow of some of the new things: laundry stain removal soap, a variant on the carrot yogurt formula, and Rosy Sunrise, a milk soap-scape with a lovely rosy fragrance. The Farmers Market starts in just a month, amazing to think it will really be warm by then.

March 19, 2009

Spring Updates

It's still snowing every day, but it is also now melting every day, and yesterday I saw my first crocus! The snow is melting off the raised beds, and while the soil in them is still frozen below the top 1/8", it's a start. Lavenders looking good, some of the Primula not so much. . . just have to wait and see if that's the tops only. The equinox is tomorrow--the snowiest one in memory for me, not including days in ND.

The catalog is all finished and in the mail--and transplanting has begun in earnest, plus propagation. This week also marks the start of spring soaping--starting with stain removal sticks and some milk soap, plus fragrance testing for "think spring" varieties. I'll post pics when I get new batteries in the camera.

March 15, 2009

Soaping News

I'm testing spring scents for the upcoming season, mostly single flower scents and a few 'manly' ones to balance them out (not to say of course men don't love flowers, but to balance the sweetness of the floral scents with some tang and spice).  I'm planning on fresh, bright looks for the bars, as the love for flowers and spring is universal.  Thanks to the reviews & suggestions of many soaping friends, so far none of the scents I've chosen for trial has seized--an utter miracle as far as soaping floral scents goes!!  Usually the best laid plans for soaping them lead to SOS (soap on a stick) and a hasty wrestling of an unruly pot of soap into the mold. 

So, watch this space for news and photos of our soaps for Spring 2009.

Shipping to start soon!

The spring rains have really begun in earnest, after a week of near zero weather.  The snow is disappearing finally.  Soon, after the ground thaws and can drain (right now the lane is 4" or more of squelchy mud on top of a frozen base and trucks can't get in (or out!))--we'll be able to start digging and shipping.
The availability list has a few items on it from the cold greenhouses, which wintered over and are in some cases starting to flower.  Soon we'll be adding plants from the coldest house which has no heat, and then from the gardens, which are starting to appear from under the snow.

We are really behind last season; usually we are able to start digging things like the strawberries by now, but they still can't even be seen.  This will mean a sudden mad rush of work and amazement when we can finally get to the ground and see what has wintered, what has volunteered, and what surprises the Nisse may have left.

March 4, 2009

2009 Catalog online

(Update: catalog mailing pushed back (not only is the weather uncooperative, [9F this morning], neither is our printer, nor the commercial printing machine we took the master to. With good luck going forward, they should mail out by the end of the week. Apologies for the lateness of this.)

Our 2009 catalog is online (finally!) and the pdf version available too. There are lots of new plants this spring, and we have been able so far to keep prices at about last year's level. Look for updates soon too, on the availability page, (no updates yet!) as the snow hasn't melted back off the beds yet; there are more surprises to come!