Floods of gravel, lavender and blueberries…

… courtesy of the heavy rains we’ve had all season, including the amazing 6+ inches that fell this weekend.Gravel 0703171548.jpg

Yes, we did want to fill in the front of the shop with a little gravel.  However, the plan was to do a neat job and not rob either the entry or our neighbors of their gravel.

It has not been a blessing to folks in the town to wonder: Where are our driveways and belongings and how can we get them back?  So while the weather goes singing and smiling with a bright beautiful sun, soft puffy clouds and a cheerful little breeze, people are trying to put it all back together.  It’s work.

This farm, on the other hand, is resting on at least ten feet of gravel, and the fields slurp up the rain like a sponge.  There’s not a puddle anywhere in the blueberries, lavender or pumpkin fields.

Lav July2 0703171438d.jpg

And the lavender has never looked better.  This is a view of three different cultivars of lavender in front of the hay fields.

The buds are rejoicing in this weather, and we are picking amazing bundles of lavender right now.  Thank you to the people who are already coming for you-pick lavender, because it’s easy and abundant picking.

We expect to borrow a harvesting tool for the lavender buds this year that will allow us to lower our price on buds for those who like to make their own lavender sachets and pillows.  The machine was acquired by Cornell Cooperative Extension and Lily Calderwood from NESARE for a study of New York grown lavender (and mint) quality.  Local farms will find out if our plants are up to wholesale market standards.  The oils could be used for fragrance, aroma therapy, flavorings, and more.

Besides robust lavender, check out the blueberries.  These are Spartans.  They are huge and not even fully ripe, with partially pink skin (which you can’t see in the blue ones).  I confess to trying one (or two).  They are sweet!  They really are not quite ripe and incredibly sweet.Spartans July2 0703171535 I have to credit the rains this year, as much as they’ve caused problems:  Can’t get the hay in.  Hard to grow vegetables.  Stealing our roads and driveways.

Come July 12, when we expect to open for you-pick blueberries, we will have massive amounts of blueberries.  We are already tying the stems to keep them off the ground.  This is classic feast and famine.  Hay famine this year.  Blueberry and lavender feast.

Hope to see you picking lavender and blueberries at the farm.


Spring suprises

Today a gaggle of small yellow flowers surprised me as I walked down the driveway.  My Sunnies0416171000family calls them “Sunnies,” but you might know them as Coltsfoot.  As much as I know they are around, I’m always happily startled by their sudden appearance.  Like the Jack-in-the-box toy, only sweeter.  They pop up where the ground is amazingly inhospitable for plants: on gravel road edges or along railroad tracks.  Brave souls.  I begin to feel hopeful about the year, anticipating happy surprises.

Imagine the surprise, more akin to panic, of the arrival, unannounced, of a box of 114 blueberry plants at 5 pm, after everyone else is gone.  The plants need to breathe and be checked for possible damage.  That was Wednesday.  By Friday, after scrounging for peat moss and inventing a way to get water from the small seasonal stream nearest the field, 34 Spartans and 34 Hurons were planted, watered, and partly mulched.   The others are tucked away in the garage out of the stresses of too much heat, too much cold, or too much light.  Thank you, weather, for cooperating.

Perhaps all will be well-planted, watered, and mulched before Tuesday.                  Zebdig0413171428aKarenplant0413171431

Everyone tells me not to print photos of swollen blueberry buds, so I didn’t (even though they are fascinating).  But I did take a picture of Spartan buds, while Karen and Zeb were busy planting replacement bushes.  Ask if you want to see it.  Surprise me!

Spring peepers woke me up

They woke me, because the window is open, because it’s warm.  Two days in a row of sun and warm!  I love hearing peepers.  A new season announced on the farm.  We’re here, we’re here.  Peep.  What’s up?  Peep.  Peep.

A new blog starts now.  How else can I peep?  I’ve not really done this before.  Hello, are you there?

So, what’s up is that lavender is the big deal for us this year.  We managed to successfully take cuttings of almost all of our L. angustifolia cultivars, and they are looking very sweet in the greenhouse right now.  I’m especially excited about the Royal Velvet and Betty’s Blue cultivars, which made some exceptional essential oil in our little glass distiller trial.

Lavender basket

We will offer lavender plants in the farm shop and at the Williamstown Farmers Market. Peep! Another new venture for us.

There’s more lavender events for us through Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE).  We are part of a grant to study various lavender cultivars for essential oil production.  So we will have data on the quality of our Royal Velvet, Betty’s Blue and eleven other named cultivars.  (How many peeps is that?)

What else is new for lavender… a machine that harvests buds very fast and very clean, which means our price can go down.  That’s worth a peep or two, and a “thank you” to Lily Calderwood at CCE.

The lavender photo is from last summer, so I’d like to show a recent photo of a recent addition to the farm.  It’s not a great photo, but she’s so wiggly that this is the only photo not a fuzzy blur.  This is Digal, who recently adopted us by moving into the barn:


She’s barely 5 pounds, but she has a powerful Meow.  (Perhaps she’ll learn to peep.)