Wherein I Outsmart Myself

Where there are young adults, there is Facebook . And where there is Facebook, there is Facebook Deflation Syndrome wherein teeth are gnashed and hair is pulled when it appears that everyone else on Facebook is having a much better life with better hair, better shoes and better destination vacations.

Today, I thought I would take the edge off Facebook Deflation Syndrome’s kissing cousin, Blog Deflation Syndrome by showing you my choice of tomato varieties for this growing season.

Last year, 83 of my 84 Tomato plants packed up from the combined effects of three months of daily rain, the Irish potato virus and a sum total of five minutes of sunshine. Being somewhat irritated at my partners in the garden who suggested I grow 84 tomato plants, I didn’t pay ANY attention to their suggestions of tomato varieties for this season and didn’t listen to their suggestions about numbers of tomato plants to grow either. I wasn’t about to believe we could have a hot summer of lots of sun. No sirrreee! I was planning on RAIN.

Think adult gardener sticking her fingers in her ears, singing at the top of her lungs and simultaneously saying, ‘I’m not listening to you.” A mature moment.

Making decisions on my very own, I decided to grow only small tomatoes like cherry tomatoes because they were the only ones to survive last year’s wet conditions.

Only I couldn’t be satisfied with CHERRY sized tomatoes or even GRAPE sized tomatoes, I had to go with a variety of CURRANT sized tomatoes. And I didn’t hedge my bets with much of anything else. Yes, there is the occasional rogue normal sized tomato out there in the garden, but mostly there are 25 plants of CURRANT SIZED TOMATOES.

Do you know how small a currant is? Or a currant tomato?

Let me show you.


No, they look too normal in this artsy shot. Let me try again.


And those shots on other people’s blogs of enormous tomatoes? Those really ARE redder, riper, juicier, bigger, better tasting tomatoes, because frankly, how could they be smaller? I have cornered the market on that!

PS If this is not enough to finish off your case of blog deflation syndrome, let me give you a stove update. Still broken. some burners functioning now but 50% of the time the oven shuts off during preheating with an F5 error message and Sears has stopped returning our calls……..

More Friends in the Gardens

The Day Lilies continue to make a wonderful midsummer splash.


So too this Rose Bon Bon Cosmos, blossoming in this year’s Venus Garden.
Just when I thought I had bid adieu to the Rose season, this new one, Westerland Rose bloomed for the first time here at the farm. Of course I ‘m making it into an Essence. Its out there today in the beautiful clear air and bright sunshine. Can’t wait to find out what its gifts are. It was very particular about how it wanted to be made into an Essence, In my experience, when a Flower is so clear about how it wants things done, it indicates the Flower Essence will be a strong one.


And speaking of strong Flowers with strong purposes, it is always lovely to welcome back the Echinacea family which bloom in late summer; Echinacea is such a key Flower Essence in our Immune Support mix!

Here it mingles with Sweet Pepper Bush Clethra alnifolia, a very old fashioned flowering shrub that also asked to become a Flower Essence today. I look forward to catching up with all these lovelies when the dust settles out in the gardens. Maybe October????? Right now things are full tilt with many hands out in the gardens harvesting, weeding, pruning, and yes, enjoying all the glories of July.

The Raw Facts

Way back in snowy January, one of our ideas for this summer was to begin work on a Green Hope Farm cookbook, taking photos of every meal we cooked with produce from the gardens. This would be a bizarre and supremely dull cookbook if based on this summer because…… yes…….the stove is still broken. I now know where Mark, the lovely Sears man, grew up, who his high school friends were and what he did on the fourth of July, but none of this has helped with the F5 error on the stove.


So as we enter day 37 of our stove free life, we eat a lot of fruit and vegetable salads and grill everything else. Then at least once a week when the Sears man has come and we have convinced ourselves the stove is finally fixed, I celebrate by trying to bake something- This week it was a big blueberry cake from our blueberry patch. Ten minutes into its cooking time when the F5 error began again, I had to take the cake out of the beeping, rapidly cooling, still broken oven and drive it to town to someone else’s oven.

It’s been a hot summer so who am I kidding that if the oven had been working I would have been slaving over a hot stove to prepare fancy dishes for photo shoots? There would not have been enough time for this project anyways as we have to spend so much time carting our fans from room to room.

I have come to think of the end of the work day as the “Migration of the Fans” as we all leave the office in a herd, each one of us trailing the cord of our favorite fan to our next location.

For the under thirty set this means moving the fan to their location for yoga, “Zumba” (a cardio workout that seems to mix Cambodian hip hop with salsa dancing) or some other insanely hot activity while for me it means dragging my fan to the kitchen for a serious bout of head scratching about a new way to eat raw broccoli.

Then when the raw bar is ready, our fans come together to keep us cool while we chew and chew and chew. Last night was a small moment of victory when William admitted he had grown fond of tomatoes. Funny how a steady diet of raw broccoli stalks can make a formerly loathed vegetable into a new friend.

Outside there is no break from dragging things around since we now need to move sprinklers from garden to garden to keep things from wilting away in this heat. But as you can see from the photos, many Flowers are loving this heat and they cheer us on to just sit back with our fans blowing and enjoy this unusually hot New Hampshire summer. So with a raw fennel stalk in one hand and a raw carrot in the other, I am doing my best to let go and think how impressive my carbon footprint is this summer.

Zucchini Flower Essence Flashback

Yesterday was a beautiful clear summer day so the Angels had me busy making Flower Essences.

So many Flowers bloom for a relatively short window of time. This means I keep my lists of what needs to be made for our various collections right here at my desk to check frequently. There are some Flowers like yesterday’s Zucchini Flowers that bloom for many weeks and that was a good thing because yesterday after leaving the most gorgeous big saucy orange Zucchini blossoms in a bowl of water out in the sun, I returned at dusk to find the bowl of water tipped over, the Essence drunk and the Flowers eaten.

This reminded me of the first time I learned Flower Essences were a special gift for animals.

It was at the beginning of the 90’s and several friends and I were out in the first Venus Garden. Suddenly a strange black dog charged into the yard and began to run circles around the garden where we sat. As the dog got moving faster and faster his mouth began to foam. Perhaps we should have been afraid of rabies or something like that but instead, a friend named Anita got up and prepared a big bowl of water for this dog with the first Essence she could find. It happened to be Zucchini Flower Essence.

As she set the bowl on the ground, the big black dog raced to the bowl, drank the whole thing then flopped down in a relaxed heap in the grass where he spent a happy couple of hours watching us peacefully. After a few hours of perfect calm, he leisurely strolled out of the yard a changed animal. While we never saw this dog again, he REALLY GOT MY ATTENTION about how much a Flower Essence could help an animal. He was one of the many precious animals who sometimes dramatically and sometimes patiently ushered us into our calling to create Flower Essences for animals. For that I will always be grateful.

I don’t know who dropped by to drink the bowl of Zucchini Flower Essence yesterday, but I am grateful for this visit because it reminded me of that first eye opening moment with a dog and this Essence. And now without further ado I am off to the Zucchini plants again in search of more blossoms just waiting to become a Flower Essence.

The Stove aka the Gift that Keeps on Giving

Hmmmmmmmm. Let’s read the blog I started last Friday BEFORE the Sears man arrived for our appointment with destiny,

“We have many people living at the farm this summer- I have referenced our big dinners gathered around the electric fry pan but not really explained that we have a number of young people coming and going, sleeping in the outdoor sleeping porch that we call, “the Pelaton,” working in the gardens and in the office. When the stove broke, I felt completely harassed by the idea of cooking for all these young people with limited facilities, but what happened in the last two weeks was everyone pitched in with a sense of humor and adventure and our nights became times of singing, strangely effective food improvisations and a surprising amount of FUN. The broken stove freed me up to let go and truly let others riff with the food.”

Okay, that was as far as I got before the Sears man arrived to tell me when he could get the repair part for our stove.

July 14th.

And so we riff on……….. and I try to see it as STILL fun and funny that as our numbers bounce towards a dozen, we are all still sharing one well loved electric fry pan.

(And for those of you on the staff reading this blog, I HAVE noticed you all leaving the office on extra long mid morning “bathroom breaks” just so you can whip up a little something in the electric fry pan before lunch when the scene is like rush hour in Manhattan)

All I can say is thank goodness for July Flowers. When I am not scanning the inside of the refrigerator for anything that requires no cooking and can feed ten hungry twenty somethings, I can be found down amongst the Sweet Peas and Pom Pom Poppies with my friends the honeybees who mercifully never need to use the stove.