A Happy May Whirlwind

May is never anything but a sprint. Gardens need to be prepared for planting and all the Flowers and vegetables that don’t mind cold nights need to get tucked into their new homes as baby plants or as seeds. There are new bees arriving and TLC to be provided for these much loved members of the Green Hope team.

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This year we had the special May treat when William becoming the proud papa of a flour baby. As part of his eighth grade Health curriculum, he has to keep his 5# bundle of joy with him 24/7 and this has led to some memorable moments. Really nothing a fourteen year old boy likes better than going out in public with a homemade doll.

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And because baby Fergie is a Sheehan, she loved Flowers right from the get go. Can you tell?

But the REALLY big deal this May has been the rebirth of our website at 8:12 pm on May 12, 2009. Not a bad rebirthday! And we are happy to report that the rebirth went off without a glitch.

So at this time, I would like to take a moment to thank Ben for all his work to completely rebuild the website and to thank Jess Aker for redesigning just about everything on the website- no exaggeration! The two of them live in adjoining apartments and by this time Jess’ husband Ryan probably thinks Jess has moved next door. Ahhhh how rumors get started!

Anyways, Ben and Jess have been models of patience in the face of my comments including, “I want to take just one more picture before we post.” and, “I don’t think that sounds quite right, can we tweek this?.”

Finally this brain trust convinced me that the site is not tablets carved in stone- We can AND WILL make ongoing changes and there was no need to wait to get a photo of our new Flower Essence Celandine in bloom before a launch.

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or get the perfect shot of White Bleeding Heart either.

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Okay, so we DID wait for those two, but finally, I let go and let Ben upload the new site with some Flower faces missing- I will work on filling in the gaps this summer as will Jess. And in the meantime- Ain’t the new site a beauty? So much more content and finally some organization! I hearby toast Ben and Jess, the duo that reinvented our website!

Spring Chores

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Spring lasts a few brief moments here before we move into full blown summer. Naturally we make the most of brief season by one day complaining of late snow flurries and the next, complaining it is too hot.

Specifically, I wish for a bit of cooler weather simply because the spring Flowers arrive and depart so much faster in this heat. The Magnolia which opened into a cloud of blossoms a week ago, acknowledged the heat by moving its blossoms right along and getting on with the business of leaves.
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Weeds, especially my friend crab grass, also come along faster in this heat. This weekend saw me overhauling the rose garden and pulling crab grass in the main vegetable garden where the mulch wasn’t deep enough. It is wonderful to have two hands again.

And EMILY! Princess of Mulch.
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As long as we are vaguely on the topic of wheelbarrow flips, I can report that Jim took it into his head to get me what he considered a “safe” wheelbarrow. This one came with the ridiculous trade name of “Chariot Big Wheel” It is so large and clunky that if I trip over it, I will fall right in its enormous bucket, head first.
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But it’s spring, so this bucket is going to be continuously full and this means any fall would be cushioned. Nonetheless, I am not planning to give this stunt a try.

May Flowers

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The incomparable Hellebore.

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Wild Ginger declares its singular intensity.

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A bevy of Primrose swing towards the sun.

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The listening Daffodils.

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This one’s called Ice Follies, but no folly here.

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Marsh Marigolds in the little pool in the Arbor Garden glowing gold.

Oh spring!

Third Time’s the Charm

Have you noticed? Our label difficulties have lingered on for months and months. As you may recall, in January we received 120,000 labels that neither stuck to our bottles or allowed us to write the name of the Essence on their high gloss finish. Thus began my campaign to get the company to do the right thing and reprint the labels the way we ordered them.

After a number of increasingly emotional phone calls with my account executive, I was moved up the food chain at the label company to a more senior executive who could give me a more professional run around. More wild eyed conversations later, I got a promise out of this executive to re-run the labels.

We agreed upon the material used earlier on our label orders that actually stuck to our bottles and also a matte finish on the labels.

About two weeks ago, 120,000 more labels arrived BUT THEY WERE HIGH GLOSS! We were back to square one.

We now had boxes all over our building with various sorts of reject labels piled high- AND we were continuing to varnish the labels in an only partly successful attempt to keep the writing on them. PLUS we were also gluing each label onto the bottle, dramatically boosting sales on gluesticks at our local office supply store.

We had so many different things going on with so many labels- some needed glue still, some needed glue and rewriting, some needed new labels entirely, some were from the test batch the label company sent before they were willing to fix the problem…… There were so many different issues in play and things were so confusing, we had to put post its in every box indicating what particular problem each box of Essences was suffering from. Here, in fact, is what one section of the shipping room looks like right now- and these aren’t Easter decorations!

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Last Friday, more boxes of 120,000 new labels arrived. I was pretty numb by then and could hardly muster enthusiasm to open the boxes. But third time’s the charm and at long last, we have what we asked for!

Matte finish that holds the sharpie ink on label paper that sticks to glass.

Yesterday, each time we used a label that needed neither glue nor varnish we let out a small yelp of delight- and today when Lynn walked in for a day of label writing there was euphoria that we wouldn’t have to throw away a lot of her labels as we did yesterday.

So thank you for your patience with all these peculiar labels we have been using the last few months- We will delight in beginning the switch, at long last, to labels that work!

And just to demonstrate that we too make label mistakes that need to be fixed, here’s a list of some of the funny labels Lynn or one of the rest of us has written when sitting around half listening to conversations while also trying to write the same Flower Essence name a hundred times in a row!

Baby Blue Dogs for Baby Blue Eyes
Toothwart for Toothwort
Maypie for Maple
Patridgement for Patridgeberry
Red Biscus for Red Hibiscus
Rain of Snow for Rain of Gold
Wintermelon for Watermelon
(The wintry weather theme being a true reflection of this climate where we seem to have ten months of winter)
Pink Yarrow from the Cliffs of Dover for Pink Yarrow from the Cliffs of Moher
Bachelor Bottoms for Bachelor Buttons
(Our personal favorite goof second only to the next)
True Wood Squirrel for True Wood Sorrel
Golden Arbor and also Golden Anchor for Golden Armor
Yellow Rose of Taxes for Yellow Rose of Texas
(Its that time of year again)
Cherokee Trail of Years for Cherokee Trail of Tears
Ladies Broomstick for Ladies Bedstraw
(Fitting really)
Watch Your Family for Watch Your Back
(No doubt we were talking about naughty children when that one got written)
Wintergreed for Wintergreen
(Bank bail outs? Executive bonues? The possibilities are endless for what we were talking about when this one got written)

And today, I found a funny typo on the order blanks we just got printed…. Wild Psychic Nut instead of Wild Physic Nut.
(Certainly the shoe fits, just ask the folks at the label company who are hoping they never hear from me again!- but then again, I am hoping I never have to call them again either!)

As a community of Flowers, Angels, Nature Spirits, Dogs, Cats and even some People, Green Hope Farm can be a funny place……and I love telling you all about it!