Thursday, May 9, 2013
I figured I owed you some pretty flowers for listening to me rant earlier.
I'm back in the city, and having just enjoyed some linguini with clams and a healthy dose of Beth Gibbons, I'm feeling like my old non-whiny self. Ready for anything. Oh shit, PM Dawn is on now!
Also, I don't understand pinterest.
Linguini with clams for one in 15 minutes:
boil water, add salt and a small handful of pasta.
steam 6 clams in just a little water till they open, not the ones with the dark penis, I don't know what those are called but they are sick
chop 3 cloves of garlic
remove clams, saving the few tablespoons of clam water in the pot
toss in the chopped garlic and 2-3 tablespoons of butter. yes.
saute just for a minute, not letting the garlic brown
chop the clams a bit and toss them in the butter/garlic, turn off the heat
put the drained linguini in and mix with lots of ground pepper
This past weekend we had our second spring work day at the farm. Such a difference a few weeks makes, the last work weekend was icy, this one was hot. We need this help more than I can say. I'm so grateful and amazed at all the people who want to come up to work in the dirt, learn about flowers and eat my mother's incredible poppy seed cake.
Last night I has this vivid dream. The girls and I were doing an event at the Barclay Center and we had to feed cereal to everyone in the stadium. There was a choice between froot loops and craklin oat bran (although the choice seems clear to me). Asheley was all suited up like one of those cigarette girls of old times, but instead of cigarettes she was juggling bowls, milk and cereal boxes. We were failing! People were shouting for seconds before we could move to the next section. It was just too much for the three of us. Then suddenly we said "why the fuck are we doing this?" people can go to the concession stand if they are hungry. And we left. And no one cared.
Yesterday I visited Agnes, the woman who used to own the farm. I met another woman there who was like a sentinel. She spoke quietly as I dug some iris up for her (and me). She told me about a daughter of hers who had passed away. She said quietly that it was because she tried to do too much. This left me feeling stung.
When I get overwhelmed sometimes I just need to cry, which, for an old robot like me is hard. Suddenly things feel so inflated, it's not just about delivering the wedding anymore or making things look the best. Now it's the constant fight with nature and also the fight to make two businesses financially stable with only income from one; and what might happen if in a few months...we run out of energy...resources...money. I resent the farm lately for making me a money head. I resent it for constantly needing more more more. All the craklin oat bran in the world wouldn't satisfy this beast.
Well at least we have this incredible tractor (thanks to you!) which Deanna is such a pro at using by the way. It's let us plant bigger this year, which means we're going to have to start selling flowers this summer. Which might be the way to earn some revenue for the farm. If it all works out. If seeds sprout, and we can keep them irrigated, and if we stay on top of weeds. And if we can figure out a good way to sell these flowers to flower lovers in the city and to my florist friends. It feels daunting, but I have to remember how Saipua began; no $$$, no knowledge and this feels about the same. Ha!
See you in the city this weekend, I'm escaping with my chickens. I'm using twine and flower wire to rig their brooder to the back of my pickup (which is full of flowers, clean underwear and asparagus) and driving back to Brooklyn today to teach a Little Flower School class and sell some bouquets for mothers day. As my friend Amy always says ...
LETS DO THIS
Friday, May 3, 2013
We're going to open our studio on weekends in May. It feels like the old days...when we used to play shop at Saipua. The novelty of it is titillating. People bring us baked goods if we're lucky. We try to find the most ironic music to play in our sweet little storefront; usually gangstar rap if Deanna has anything to do with it, dearest Asheley has a penchant for R&B; divas in general.
If I were at the musical helm this weekend in the shop it would no doubt be touture by Jon Secada. That's just where I am these days and I'm not shy about it. (Just Another Day?) But I'm working at the farm; so it's safe to visit Saipua this weekend if you choose; Saturday and Sunday noon-6pm.
Up here in the Mohawk Valley things are starting to really bloom; although we're two weeks behind all of you down there in the city. Going back and forth between the city and the farm is like time traveling.
Back in time at Worlds End our narcissus are just starting to peak. I'm waiting patiently for our double peach ones to open...the fritillaria melagris look stronger this year... hellebores starting to feel like real plants I can snip from a bit.
For mothers day I'm going to bring these first flowers of the season down from Worlds End to make a limited series of mothers day arrangements inspired by all our blooming Narcissus. You can order one of these arrangements to be delivered in Manhattan or Brooklyn for $250 by calling our studio t:718.624.2929 (limited to 10) or you can stop in over the weekend to put together something special of your choosing.
Lastly, I want to remind everyone that this Saturday not only is our second spring workday up a the farm, it is also World Naked Gardening Day. So, there you have it.
Happy Spring, Chickens!!!
P.S. Nicolette and I are going on our annual Little Flower School California Tour in a couple of weeks and we just posted a second class in OAKLAND, CA on May 21st.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Things are starting to percolate. The temperatures are warming, and atoms are vibrating faster! Our frogs at the farm are mating, loudly. Ducks are in rows.
I've been meeting with lots of inspiring people, doing lots of farm visits and trying to expand our reach to better our work; both at Saipua and at the farm at Worlds End. First there was Ben's farm in South Jersey (which is going to get it's own very special post on the Little Flower School site soon...) Ben is a grower/wholesaler and he may be the last of them in the NYC market. He has been a special mentor of sorts to me, and visiting his farm was something I've wanted to do for ages. I finally made the time to go with Nicolette and we were deeply rewarded.
Then yesterday I met Shannon Algiere, the grower at Stone Barns. She helped me to not feel weird about planting by the zodiac and shared so much of her growing practices and knowledge. Sometimes when I meet certain people I think, how am I so lucky?
There was the same feeling later in the day and further up the river in Garrison when I sat down for lunch with the owners of Fresh Company. These women might be my new favorite foodies, their inspired menus are thoroughly customized; no foam, no frills. I want to recommend them to absolutely everyone.
Shelly sent me off with a handful of asparagus from her garden, and Shannon a few finger sized carrots. Munching these, speeding up the thruway last night to the farm I thought to myself WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN??? How are these things connected? You know I've been mildly allergic to the wedding industry, but then I thought HERE IT IS! - a different side of it - right in front of me! It just looks a bit different from the wedding blogs, and it's not always frolicking in a floral haircrown. It's my own kind of wedding industry, inspired, down to earth people lending knowledge, growing things, making things in their own ways. Unique and terrific. Nuanced, hard to pin down and extraordinary.
With wedding season nearly here, I am looking forward to sharing all these good things with my brides (and you). I'm heading out to plan a bed for all my nasturtium seedlings, which hopefully will find a place in the salad Shelly will make for Julia's wedding in September.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Time marches on, it does. The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful.
In the house of Saipua we've been working with extraordinary flowers, photoshooting in mansions, holding baby chicks, presenting to clients, taking turns getting sick and preparing for spring at the farm. I am up here at Worlds End for most of my days from now on. I should sublet our apartment in the city, but that would require cleaning it. Next...!
Nicolette and I made some really gorgeous pictures at an incredible house in Sharon Springs over the weekend that we can't wait to show you. I realize I need to exercise that part of my creativity more - making whatever photos I want with NO restraints. This simply means the next shoot will be even creepier. I joke. Moving right along...
I have a speaking engagement this Friday evening at The Wadsworth Atheneum in Connecticut. Which will probably be the first Friday night out on the town I've had in years. Since I've been upstate I realized I have no suitable clothes at the farm to wear to Connecticut. I threw a pity party for myself. It was a party with a theme: not having the time to take care of myself, time to look good, cut my hair, etc. Surprisingly, no one showed up except Eric who promptly dragged me out on his Albany/Schenectady thrift circuit. I now have a rayon floral pantsuit and a practically new pair of Naturalizers to fit the bill. Too legit to quit!!!
If your in the Hartford area I urge you to visit the museum over the weekend. My Edvard Munch inspired arrangement (along with a smattering of other floral/art renditions) will be on view along with a rare exhibition of five Carravaggio works, and Bill Viola's iconic video Ascension.
Also I want to come clean to tell you the other big thing in my life. Which is Downton Abbey. I realize I am the last person in the world to come around to this, but lonely nights in the city made me fall prey.
Shit is infiltrating my LIFE. I've been putting flowers under glass cloches and using lots of asparagus fern. I've started using phrases like "oh my darling" to refer to loved ones and after dinner said out loud "shall we go through?"
"Through to where?" Eric said.
Friends, I took a walking stick with me into the woods.
But I draw the line at my wardrobe. Come on.
Friday, April 5, 2013
Our plant sale last weekend felt so momentous, I want to thank you all who came out, spread the word, and brought home little gems to help with our tractor fund. We sold almost all the plants in the first few hours of Saturday, and Sunday I brought in a big part of my personal collection to put up for the cause. We raised around $4,000 in profits! After a week packed with phone calls to friends, dealers, and farmers we've settled on a new John Dheere 5055e with a bucket, brush hog and 47" roto tiller. Field flowers here we come!
Many thanks to the amazing growers/greenhouses we visited to collect all these beauties...Lloyd, Candy and Stephanie at Peace Tree, Roger at R&C Wholesale Nurseries in Ludlow, MA the nice people at Atlantic Nursery, and Angel Plants. (Note: all these places are wholesale only, so you can only shop if you have a resale certificate. If you don't, see below for a great plant source...) Thanks to Anna for making the rope plant hangers, and to Elizabeth, our new intern who packed plants for 8 hours on Saturday without a break.
The following pictures are from Judy Becker's Lauray greenhouse in Salisbury, CT. You need to visit her little nursery if you ever find yourself trolling through the Hudson Valley on your way to the Berkshires. Call first - she's a one woman show. She has an incredible selection of small cuttings from her stock of rhizomatous begonias, cacti, and succulents along with a smattering of slightly larger plants kicking around.
I'm signing off my computer for the weekend. We're expecting our first spring workday crew here at the farm in a few hours. The temperatures are warming and there are countless things waiting to happen.
Someone asked about my kale salad recipe:
1 bunch of nice laciano (dinosaur) kale washed dried, cut in very thin (1/4-12 inch ribbons)
for the dressing:
1 clove of garlic and smash it with some kosher or maldon salt. using the edge of a big chopping knife.
I put that in a big bowl and drizzle about 1-2tsp of champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar, or the juice of 1/2 a lemon depending on whats around) over, let it sit to macerate for 20 minutes.
Then I wisk in about 1 tsp of mayonaise
Then I wisk in around 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil.
Then I wisk in a tiny bit of water to level it off, make it nice. Someone told me to do this once, and though counter intuitive to me at least, it works wonders to make a dressing finished.
Meanwhile I'm toasting some chopped hazelnuts, burning them, tossing them in the compost and then toasting new ones.
The kale goes in the big bowl with the dressing and gets massaged with my hands to mix well and get the leaves to relax a bit.
Then I grate an inordinate amount of pecarino romano cheese in there.
Then I take the nuts out and throw them right on while they are very hot - this helps wilt -- in only the slightest, best way, some of that kale.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
I have been thinking about love.
It doesn't come easy for me. I watch my friends do it and I can't do it like they do.
Sometimes it's easier for me to connect with the person who checks me out in the supermarket. Or the honest passerby asking for directions. The relationships with strangers on the internet. Which gives me pause and makes me feel all messed up.
Eric is at the farm and I'm in the city. It's not so much about that. When he's gone I eat late, big kale salads that are good. Salad is a hard sell for him. But when I'm done, I'm all 'wow that was a LOT of kale' and I feel sort of sick.
32 and still confused.
In the end, we all do our best.