Dad’s Daffodils

I am up in the San Juan Islands for my first annual Marigold and Mint corporate retreat. Number in attendance: 1. Seriously, I feel enormously lucky to have a few days to step back from the farm and shop and think about the big picture of the business. I also came to check on the daffodils my Dad planted from my surplus in the fall. Turns out he had some work planned for me, too: before I left Seattle he loaded down my car with native perennials. Now that the wind has stopped howling I will plant them today in his fenced garden-in-the-woods.

Between all the serious corporate business I am hard at work tackling (in the form of: thinking, staring at the ocean, thinking, having a cup of coffee, taking some notes, staring at the ocean again), I am taking breaks to collect moss and nettles for the shop, as well as the odd bits of animal bones scattered in the woods. They must be good for something.

When I told Sarah, my farmer friend who helped me start my fields four years ago, that I was up here, she said: “Best of Luck, you are the CEO and migrant labor force all rolled into one! Makes it tough, but easy, at the same time.” Not to discount the help I do have at the farm when I bring a few part-time people on in the summer, but she has hit on some of the best and worst parts of the job I’ve created for myself. To save money I do much of the farming myself (and because I want to be in the fields), but then I end up being stretched pretty thin: not enough time at the shop, not enough at the farm, working weekends when I’d rather be with my family. All things to sort out up here.

Speaking of work, I was at the farm on Sunday, taking care of the anemones:

Monitoring the progress of the tulips:

And weeding some of my herbs. I harvested the first flush of spring sorrel (behind the chives). It wasn’t enough to bring into the shop, so I made some mint and sorrel salad instead!

March 8

Stealing a dry day between weeks of rain, I snuck in time to clean up my bed of cardoons. This is the first year I’ve had so many overwinter, so I am crossing my fingers to hope to haves buckets of spiny blooms to bring into the shop this summer. The first time I saw them for sale was at a flower shop in Lucca, Italy, about 5 years ago, where the florist took time to talk with me about them, and the generations of florists in his family.

I also got blood meal down on the bulbs, and alfalfa on my roses. My roses look HORRIBLE. I need to give them a lot more attention this year, and/or move them to drier ground. I recently ordered another 75 bushes so I’ve got to get my arms around taking care of these. For starters, I know they need more consistent water in the summer and more than the neglect-breeds-strength approach that works surprisingly well with a lot of my flowers.

Last of all I repaired some drip tape, pruned some herbs and perennials, and got compost tea down on my anemones and ranunculus. And here’s the first harvest of a bunch on anemones. I am so happy to see their pretty faces!