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September news

The last three months have sprinted by and I am just now starting to feel like I am coming out of the fog of hysteria trying to get the new flower farm infrastructure and plan to where I want it. Now that the deer fence is finally done the plants are having a good go at blooms. Lisianthus, Eucalyptus, Amaranth, Sunflowers, Cosmos, Celosia of every kind, Gypsophila, Zinnias, many Basil varieties are blooming strong! I’ve been able to spend a lot of time working on the perennial beds. It has me excited to see the beautiful perennials popping next season! I’ve put in tall Phlox, Lupine, Campanella, Echinacea, Daisies, Rudbeckia, Eryngium ,Yarrow, Hellebores , Peonies & Columbine. I’m still planting seedlings of other perennials but I don’t mention them until I know for sure they will make it here in this heat. I’ve got so many cool flower annuals started too! Snap dragons, Bells of Ireland, Bupleurum, Fever few, Sweet peas just to name a few!

The most exciting news is that my building that will house my shop & workshop area is being built in October… I can’t wait to move in there and out of the weather! Once it’s decorated and picture ready I’ll share! Workshop schedule to follow.

I wanted to say once again thank you for all of you who are supporting me! I’m excited to have florists and designers interested in my flowers & the special neighbors who have reached out for bouquets have made the last 3 months worth the struggles. Even just kind words from some of you have gotten me farther ahead by boosting my energy. My hard work is making the dream come true (again) but it can’t happen without people understanding the value of local flowers & wanting chemical free , specialty cut flowers that have been fussed over 🥰 I hope you know you’ve touched me.

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Drought to deluge

From June to August was some of the hottest temperatures on record as everyone knows and the Flower farm was in drought management. With only a poor producing house well we could only water every 3 days – not ideal but we were managing. Thinks have shifted and the weather is going into anther cycle I think? Over the past week a few storms have come on like gangbusters! Today we have had 3 such storms with explosive cracks of thunder immediately after the flash of lighting. All I can do now is hope the tiny seedlings that were put into the ground this week fight to stay in the ground. The water is rushing down the aisles, but the plants are covered to protect them from sun , wind and rain so all I can do is hope it’s working & try to get things done inside that have been weighting on my mind. One of those tasks is to pour over my list for next year and make sure that I have everything started that I need. I have started for this fall so many exciting things, they just need to over winter 😬. I have to make sure I have the seeds for the spring. Soon will be a big change as I’m putting in another perennial field of peonies in November so they’ll be a lot of ground prep as we going to fall.

Our peony field won’t be this spectacular, but a girl can dream

In October we will put in the building so I have a covered space to work in. A necessity with this sun! There are lots more plans for this coming year and I’m so grateful for all the support I get from my family, friends & customers ❤️

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Change is good !

Deer fencing is almost up ! There are hundreds of perennials in the ground and the annuals are blooming! The plants are producing quality blooms and we are slowly meeting our new friends & customers.

Next change, we plan to build a barn that will house an area for me to process the flowers. The farm is such a work in progress, but so exciting! Hopefully we will have the barn completed by end of year!

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What’s growing

As anyone who is following me knows I’ve had better years as a grower! Our badly timed move to Tennessee,along with a scorching June, deer pressure the likes I’ve never seen & a failing well so we can no longer water the farm- haven’t helped!! But I’m a grower who’s been doing this for years so I don’t quit! I started many seeds again & I’ve been planning the plantings that will happen this fall for overwintering cool flowers to bloom early next year . I’ve been working on the perennials & woodies area too. But I also decided it was time for some self growth.

The first blooms on the new farm despite the deer munching & dry well
First blooms in the field – I think the double digging that we did to add organics to this clay have helped!

I’m planning out small goals each day instead of looking at a long list of gotta get done! I still have that big list but use it to make the small goals feel less stressful. I work smart and lean on this farm – less extra work. And I’m letting Mother Nature guide me even more than I already did.

A toad who dug himself into my cool just watered seedlings 🙄

But most of all , I’m growing my sense of humor & laughing at every thing she’s throwing at me & stopping to truly enjoy the beauty she lays before me every day. Life is short and I need to smell the flowers.

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16 days and counting

Here in Middle Tennessee we have had a straight 16 days of 90+ sunny days! It’s been tough! Tiny seedlings & young plants are stressed! so I was watering to keep up & our well can’t handle the use! So now I’m in a new struggle of gathering every bit of rainwater and using it wisely!

Hopefully we will make it through this rough patch – we just have to keep trying. I did find a little patch of Tennessee’s state flower today.

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The good the bad and the ugly

Today I thought I would share with you the animals that we have seen here so far.

One of the good
Good :Eastern box turtle
The bad

These are both good and will help the ecosystem. The bad below, this deer can just go eat somewhere else ! They eat my flowers right before blooming and can cost a flower farmer a lot of $! And obviously from the photo even with fencing your not safe – Sprout was right there with me and she jumped into our field anyway!

Now I want to be VERY clear- I’m not saying this ugly is bad! In fact they are awesome at eating rodents when they are adults and insects when they are small, I’m just saying they could be considered ugly

Steven saw the 6 foot snake right near the house and was alarmed!! His loud voice scared the snake so it dodged for cover under our stairs! We did the only logical thing – set up chairs and camp out until he slithers out and we get a better look! Tennessee is home of some venomous snakes & with our curious Border collie, Sprout , we needed to know …

North American racer – ugly but beneficial

After about 1 1/2 hours, he finally let us see him & his periscope habit which told us he was friendly not foe! We will try to live happily cohabitating in the same ecosystem. If it had been venomous our plan was to reach out to the Tennessee herpetologists so it could be removed safely & allowed to live somewhere without a nutty dog !

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Bang bang ….no way!

The field to the house sprint route

So we’re out in the field one evening trying to do some catch-up work, We’ve got the music on and we’re laughing and we’re working. Suddenly we’re hear … bang bang bang bang! The noise doesn’t stop it continues but Steven takes off like a shot and he runs as fast as I’ve ever seen him run, screaming “somethings wrong with the AC unit ! somethings wrong with the AC unit”! I of course immediately start imagining how much it will cost to replace an AC unit and fear takes over !! I dash to where he is. As I run I hear the noise has stopped ! I’m relived , until I come onto a gruesome site! Steven pulled the emergency disconnect and the fan was no longer spinning. He’s covered in something ! “What the heck is it?”I ask. Now I’m going the clean up the language but because if you know my husband, he wasn’t calm! He barks”It’s blood guts and s*it! “ and then I look into the unit to see an Eastern Fence Lizard, or should I say what was left of her! Steve’s covered in eggs, blood & guts! she probably jumped in to lay eggs but didn’t realize the fan comes on ! She had been a full grown 7 inch lizard a few moments ago and was now dripping off my grossed out guy! Well let me tell you , the clean up detail was full of rants – something about “stupid lizard”and “it’s like toxic waste” “I’m gonna puke” “holy s*it how much of this is eggs?”. Once he got it cleaned up and took a well deserved shower, we tried the unit and thankfully it was fine! I have had some private chuckles about his dash to the unit and the look on his face when I got to the scene! But it’s too new for him to laugh so I’ll have my chuckles here with you lol!

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One more trip and we are officially moved

After the nightmare trip we were positive the last trip down (with the pets) would be fine. We had packed the last of everything, cleaned the old house & barns and said our goodbyes. We put Elvis the house cat in his own crate with a cat box, food and water. Repeat for the barn cats but together so they have a buddy. After we stuffed in the straggler items and clothes we see there is hardly room for poor Sprout our border collie! After some squishing we are off on the journey.

The first few hours of barn cat crying was annoying but kinda expected so kind words & some music make it bearable- time to switch drivers & stretch legs. Sprout is enjoying a run around and not to keen on getting back in but she does so reluctantly. We set off for our next 3 hours- surprisingly it’s kinda quieter, maybe the cats settled….ewwww what IS that smell . One of the barn cats is carsick about and hour in – nothing we can do except clean it up and press on. Half hour before we stop to switch again, we humans are getting antsy and know that we can’t stop until the next rest stop as this is a crazy part of the drive. So all 3 cats decided to 💩- yup all 3! Like they were trying to kill us with the stench!!! Sprout wasn’t the only one with here head out the window!

Are you kidding me?

So here I am in a rest stop trying to clean out 💩 without letting the barn cats out who want to escape like Houdini! We went into the truck stop and bought the biggest air neutralizing freshener and back in the car we went. The rest of the trip was smelly but uneventful & getting settled into our new home seems ok!

Too tired to explore
Tired Elvis
Barn babies
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The big move…

The second to the last trip down to Tennessee was tough- I can laugh at it now but I wasn’t then! We strapped the pop up shop onto a car carrier, hitched it to the 16 foot uhaul and off we went… 5am start an 18.5 hour trip turned into oh so much more. The first 6 hours were actually uneventful and the calm before the storm. It was the second switch of drivers when he noticed a little rubbing on the straps🧐 – tighten and move on – so for 6 more hours we were more attentive but pressed on!

Oh but by the time 12 hours had gone by we were tired hungry and we just needed to stop and sleep- after over an hour of totally trying to restrap the little pop up shop;it was moving way to much and we were going to figure it out or so we thought , we gave into hunger and exhaustion. The restaurant was just next door – hurry to get something to eat… sorry kitchen closed. So after a lovely dinner from the cooler and a shower with no pressure, we laid in a hotel bed worried about tomorrows trip too exhausted to sleep but determined to get some rest.

Fresh start 5 am – things seemed good with the new tie down for hours 1-3. That’s when we see the strap that is cut through except a few strings. I immediately jump on Google to see the closest place to get new straps. 50 minutes behind us. We were determined not to go backwards we will just push forward. About 20 minutes later- the straps were flying and flapping like flags down the highway- we stopped on the side of the highway to assess the damage. We try another way to tie down and push on. Now we are driving no faster than 50 , flashers on and stopping for strap checks . After them being loose multiple times, in the end decided it was safer to check the straps every 20 minutes. Pull over, tighten straps, yell & swear at each other and freak out about the nightmare trip… repeat – yup that’s how the rest of the trip was 🙄 And then we still had to unload!

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Growing good Microbes

After Solarization I will need to help the good microbes flourish so the bad doesn’t

I’m making leaf mold biology from the woods on the new farm so that microbes are indigenous to the area. No need to buy products- Mother Nature has provided it already!

Grapes on the property

It’s going to be a long time before I get this soil living again- compacted soil with high clay content – gonna need lots of organic matter to make this healthy! But we found grapes and plum trees and raspberries and blueberries and blackberries

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Solarization & Microbes

Starting from a 5 acre horse pasture will have it’s challenges! Weeds! Compaction! Monoculture!

Solarization will help me with weed pressure ! It’s a long process of 4 weeks so we will get right to it! Plastic over a freshly watered area weighted down, and Mother Nature does the rest! The sun heats the soil to temperatures that kill bacteria, fungi, insects, nematodes, mites, weeds, and weed seeds.

Monoculture has this ecosystem needing regenerative practices to get the diversity back! We need organic matter added to the soil to help it heal itself with biology! We need microorganisms to flourish again- that takes diverse plantings & along with the organic matter & a small amount rock phosphate (microorganisms food) & mulch(habitat) , and then an inoculation of good microbes for a boost of good guys & we will begin the journey!

It’s alive!
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Another trip down

I’m writing ,as it’s my down time from driving. We do 3 hours and switch. It’s beautiful in Pennsylvania today! It’s neat to see how much greener it is, the more south we go! It was 29 degrees F when we got up, it’s 58 in Pennsylvania & it’s gonna be 80 today in Dickson! Oh I can’t wait to see what is blooming. I’m going to have to learn so much fast with this new zone😬. We brought all the flower farm stuff in this load so there’s going to be plenty to do, and we fly back to do more in NH in a day- got to go be the navigator- more news soon

How do I have more? lol
Almost the whole flower farm we can’t put in another thing!!!
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Barn cats new digs arrived

So I was worried about the barn cats since we don’t have any infrastructure at the farm yet, so for now they are getting a large shed to live in and it can house the tools later . The cats will need a transition period of about 30 days so that they stay at the new property, so all their toys and beds & “homey” things will be in the shed . Once they are sure about where the new home is they will go on patrol.

Getting placed
Cool equipment that made it super fast
Home sweet kitty home in the shade 💕
Close enough to the house to keep an eye on the shenanigans!

Hopefully getting the cats moved in by May. Time is speeding.

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Packing & goodbyes

In fairness to the animals, I will find them homes nearby. The 18.5 hour trip will be too hard on them. Saying goodbye is hard but the right thing to do. As the chores go away when the animals leave, my days will be filled with packing after 14 years on this farm. So many decisions- but the new farm is going to be a lean, regenerative & sustainable farm. I’m going to do things easier with less consumption. I’m going to get the right systems set up so I’m able to break away from the old habits & give away things that I no longer need. It feels good to have a plan and to farm smarter not harder. And honestly I can’t wait to get rid of the snow blowers 🤣

Goodbye huge snowblower!
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First trip

Exhausted, sad, and ready for the first truck trip. It’s so hard to remember the plan – don’t fall back on old habits keep this farm lean if you don’t need it don’t bring it. 

Just the house stuff & a few plants

Of course it had to snow during our drive…. to remind myself while we were doing this.

Reminder of what we want to leave

After unpacking , and looking at our new farm, walking the land, playing in the soil again, I had a freak out moment – how long will it take to build the infrastructure? We’re going to need a place for the all important barn cats as soon as possible… our solution is a large shed pre-built that will house them as well as much of our stuff while we wait for the other buildings to be designed and built. This journey is going to be a lot of exercises in patience.

Rodent control is extremely important on a flower farm!
A brother and sister who have been with us for a long time now 💕

They bring me voles and mice that have been near the flowers and they get tasty treats

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Long winters are getting old to us

So as I start writing this there are so many bittersweet thoughts & feelings! As I get older I long for making farming a little less difficult. In New Hampshire the winters are long and they’re cold and the hard days on the farm outnumber the easy fun ones! Springs are short but are always challenging as frost kills the best laid plans. The annual ritual of carrying thousands of seedlings inside and outside and inside and outside and inside and outside so they get enough sun and wind but no cold at night gets very tiring. Frost cloth on frost cloth off , repeat, fills my morning routine.

It’s time for lean farming -time to make change. I’ve been reading and reading all winter getting spectacular ideas for how to make this easier but change is hard. We have decided to move to a new farm which is down south , outside of Nashville. The new Acres Abloom begins is literally land that is a blank slate there are no flowers just an old horse field waiting for blooms. I’ve never had a blank slate before so I’m excited and apprehensive…. So much to think about and get ready for. I’m ready to be challenged. I hope you’ll follow our journey.

Acres Abloom restart 2022
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Winter needs

Mini – the runt of the flock so sometimes I need to sneak her grain inside where no one grabs it
Cold day for the sheep -6 f

On a farm in NH you need to care for your animals to keep them warm so they are able to do there job! The sheep mow the pastures 3 months of the year, but need heated water buckets, plenty of hay, some grain & a keen eye to make sure everyone is getting their share! The barn cats who are so valuable on a flower farm need special items to keep them healthy in the winter. They bring me hundreds of voles moles and field mice who attack my flowers, so the cost of a few heated beds & a cat door and a heated water are so worth it. Although I strive to be as eco minded as I can, I must use this energy to keep them warm. I’ve been looking into grants for solar or other ideas, but it’s already seeding time so my time is short. I will keep thinking of ways to make the farm more eco friendly!

Fatty treats
They choose when they are inside or out during the day & are kept in each night
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What’s in a word?

Some of my customers say “I love your wildflowers” and I smile & say thank you but I’m never sure how to explain that my cultivated flowers that I’ve worked with for anywhere between 6 months to thirteen months are NOT wildflowers that popped up on their own which I foraged! I’ve planned the gardens for months before I even start the seeds so that there is no flower in the same spot if it’s an annual plant- that helps me be able to grow my flowers sustainably and without chemicals which is important to me. Keeping the earth healthy is part of my plan. I grow all of my annuals & perennials from seeds placed in soil. I create seedlings that need care ;they need water and air /wind , they need nutrients and they need me to keep them safe from pests and diseases. 5 AM every single morning I am adjusting to what each variety needs. Once the seedlings are old enough it’s time to transplant & adjust to outside pressures! Heat – cold- wind- bugs- deer & disease are some of earths challenges! Hopefully they make it through to harvest, condition & arrange . With over 40 varieties of specialty cut flowers grown locally in New Hampshire that’s a lot of time and effort to get the beautiful blooms to my customers. If I were selling wildflowers I would go out side with a pair of snips forage for a bit of time & sell. One bouquets of foraged wildflowers might take an hour, where one bouquet of my cultivated flowers took anywhere between 50-70 hours per bunch of any one variety. Obviously those hours are not all at once but each & every day there’s something flower done here at the farm. So what’s in a word – wildflowers are wild & not tended, my flowers have a unique style that nay sometimes look like I’m trying to duplicate Mother Nature’s design, but I assure you I’ve tended them with love.

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Some beauties take time

Did you know that most perennials take 3 years before you should cut from them? Yup it’s true. Some that I’ve started from seed have been 5 years in the making. the other hard thing is most perennials only bloom a short time & then go back to working on their plant. Enjoy those peonies while they last

Peonies clematis iris & daisies
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The Acres Abloom pop up shop will be open soon!

With spring sprung it’s time to let you in on a little secret… This winter my husband and I worked on a pop up shop! It’s portable so that we can go to selected businesses and have a chance to sell blooms & share information about like minded small businesses in the NH local movement. Here’s a quick timeline of the shop in pictures.

The old trailer needs a new life & I’ve got the perfect idea. We will start the build as soon as all permissions have been acquired 😬
Cleaned off the old , added new wiring for lites painted & new tires
Solid foundation
Work after work
Framed – I’m so excited
Outside walls
Inside walls
Doors
White washed
Trim painted & shelves ready
Finally the vision is complete ❣️

Please follow share and like on my Instagram @acres.abloom I will post ahead of time the when & where we will be POPPING UP soon & thanks for all my supportive people- I really appreciate you!!! 💐