Various Sheehans Take Flight

As we welcome new staffer Tom Cardew and the return of Kelly O’Leary, we also bid ALOHA to various Sheehans who held the fort this busy, busy summer.

First I would like to thank Emily who has worked full time here for the last year. Emily has just started a graduate program to get certified to be an elementary school teacher. We will miss her in the office but know this was a heartfelt decision and one that takes her on a path of genuine passion and joy.

It was great to have Emily here this last year for many reasons. Emily knows an awful lot about Flowers and their Essences. Anyone of you who connected with her in the last year got her insight from a surprising number of years of work with Flower Essences. Basically she has been advising me about Flowers and their Essences since she was five!

Emily also brought great creativity to all the organizational tasks she took on here. She did an incredible job keeping up with the bottling during a year when bottling became a more and more consuming job. She also was the one responsible for all the Facebook postings this growing season. She would start her mornings with a cruise around the gardens to take photos then get them up on the Facebook page if and when our internet connection was cooperating. In everything Emily did, her humor and zest shone through. I think this photo she took last week reflects her creative fiery spirit. We will all miss her in the office but also celebrate the lucky first graders who are going to have Miss Sheehan as their student teacher this fall.

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We also saw Ben depart back to the classroom, leaving me most bereft in the kitchen. He does all the website stuff and as mentioned in a previous blog, he made my summer by cooking dinner each night for the ever shifting group around the kitchen table. Ben’s meals were imaginative and delicious almost to the end. However at his last scratch pizza extravaganza, he established that he was still human and not yet a culinary god by serving us a very strange dessert made from agar agar.
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These coffee/ coconut things tasted fine but had the consistency of tires. Ben, I am missing your brilliance as a chef so much, but this last dessert helped everyone else return to my more seat of the pants “what on earth can I drum up for supper tonight?” cooking. Thanks for all the fabulous feasts and this parting disaster.

Jim also has begun to spend his days back in his classroom, getting ready for the arrival of his students next week. This morning, however, he volunteered to stay home to help unload a truck of bottles. Thank you Jim for this and all the jobs you do for GHF!
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Here Jim is in orange, handing off a box to Kelly. We always seem to be unloading something into our overstuffed barn! In a wonderful piece of Angel serendipity, the darling man delivering the bottles today, here in the blue t-shirt, is married to a Green Hope Farm friend who has been sharing our Essences with her clients for twenty years at her business Angel Star in Newport, New Hampshire. Linda, it was such a fun surprise to meet your husband in this Angel orchestrated way!

Will is the last Sheehan to take flight. Not yet able to choose teaching as a career like so much of the family, he returns to the classroom as the teachee. Now a senior in high school, his year has begun with his soccer team going to Maine for team prep camp. As his summer was rather uneventful, this adventure is well deserved. While Will did a little bit of everything inside the office as well as outside this summer, I am particularly grateful for his meticulous work making Flower Essence mixes for us. Each of the many combination mixes including all the Animal Wellness collection remedies have to be mixed from individual Flower Essence inventory and Will has proven himself very careful with this task. Thank you Will for setting us up with so much inventory to keep us going the fall.

Fortunately the cats and dogs can’t take teaching jobs! They are happy to stay here and hold down the office with Elizabeth, Sophie and me as we welcome aboard all the new staff!

Summer Vacation

If you’ve called the farm recently, you’ve heard the answering machine message about our order volume going through the roof this summer.

It was a sudden shift from one week to the next. For no apparent reason, one week our order volume was as it had been the last year or so and then suddenly on Monday alone we had as many orders as we usually had in a week with each day of the week much busier than ever before. And so it has continued all summer.

I have always felt the Angels and Elementals have a lot to do with the order flow here. As you may recall from previous blogs, I never imagined my life much beyond weeding a garden, smelling the Roses and keeping the home fires burning so much of this business, maybe all of it, has been a big surprise to me. The Angels and Elementals would probably describe me as the brakes in the operation and them as the gas, and this would be true. Each time they push us to some new level of activity, I go through a period in which I can’t believe we (or rather I) will be able to make the uptick. After each of these shifts, hindsight is 20-20 and I can see what a good plan the changes were. During the shifts, I take my Flow Free and talk smack to the Angels.

After a number of weeks at this new volume, my smack talk has died down. We have come into equilibrium with this growth spurt, and the new flow feels great. We are connecting with a lot of old friends and a lot of new ones too. During this uptick, it took some extra effort on the part of the two legged Sheehans as opposed to the Sheehans with four who refused to alter their summer vacation plans.

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Even without the support of the feline and canine population (who remained adamant that the Dog Days of summer were for naps), we rode the wave until now when we begin to welcome new staff to help us keep the orders flowing. Each Monday for the next month a new person will be starting here and then two or three more are slotted to begin later in the fall. This week we welcomed long time Staff Goddess Sophie’s brother Tom. His first days were a whirlwind of packing orders but he hung in there wonderfully well. We are happy to have him aboard. Well, the people are happy. The cats remained focused on getting enough ZZZZZs.

Hedgerow Summer

The eastern hedgerow of our property was not strictly ours to clean up until Ben bought the farm on the other side of the divide.

Even after Ben bought the farm, it took awhile to tackle this problem area. First Ben needed to focus on getting his farmhouse ready to rent out. Then this summer, he needed to rid his ten acre hayfield of all the scrubby shrubs that sprang up when mowing the field got to be too much for the former owners. HOWEVER, when this job was done, Ben and Jim decided to tackle the hedgerow between the two properties.

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At the beginning of the summer, this hedgerow was an impenetrable thicket of wild grapes, wild honeysuckle, wild roses, barb wire fencing and myriad scrub trees all creating a barrier between the properties about ten feet wide.

Ben and Jim went to work ridding the hedgerow of this tangle of vegetation and rusty wire thus opening up space for some of the nicer hardwoods in the hedgerow to prosper.

The barb wire was especially problematic. The lovely man we bought our farm from appears to have had an almost unhinged relationship with barb wire as if he thought the Soviets of the cold war era were living next door not some docile sheep.

It has been mind boggling to see how much barb wire Ben and Jim have pulled out of this hedgerow. We can only wonder what kind of livestock break out this mild mannered farmer was expecting when he felt compelled to put up five or six layers of fencing between his land and the neighboring farm.

What a relief to have this paranoid protective energy removed from the hedgerow. We can almost hear the remaining trees sigh with relief!

Today, Hedgerow Summer continues with the task of pulling up poison ivy at the top of the hedgerow where it mets True Road. Poison ivy has a vibration a lot like barb wire, so it comes as no surprise that in a hedgerow rife with barb wire, poison ivy moved into place in a big way.

Ben and Jim donned their version of hazmat suits early this morning and started pulling the vines.

First reports are that this work has made even the removal of all the barb wire fencing feel like a pleasure. Their constant companion, MayMay, abandoned ship when a yellow jacket nest added insult to injury. Now it is noon and about ninety outside so I am sure those suits feel really good.

I just hope Ben and Jim made a game plan for who is cutting them out of the suits and how. I am NOT planning to get involved! Already there has been way too much talk of accidentally having vines brush their faces and problems with safely eating snacks. I don’t want to join them in looking down the barrel of the new school year with a blistering case of poison ivy!

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In fact, all of us are keeping our distance from our crazy menfolk today. As they soldier on, the rest of us are relieved to be VERY BUSY in the office, able only to shout encouraging words from a safe distance before retreating to our poison ivy free realm.

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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!