Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricanes are no time for outdoor scouting.

However, Sandy did arrive at a fairly opportune point in farmlife: All the harvests are done, plants are pulled out of the ground, and most of our growing spaces are covered in a thick, wind-blown layer of rye or oat cover crop. The garlic is in the ground, and the chickens are in the barn, which is battened and closed as tight as its ancient frame will allow.

So last night, as the wind shook the spaceship (our affectionate name for the apprentice living room) and the pellet stove pumped a warm glow, I got to work on the last steps of a season-long process.

Earlier this summer, I cut and hung certain blossoms to dry, and tacked them on the spaceship's wooden walls. I chose standards like statice and gomphrena, sage leaves, salvia blossoms, amaranth and celosia, and added some stranger shapes like dried Queen Anne's lace, bergamot, various grasses, and antler-like lily stalks. 

They all quickly blended into the background, figuratively and literally, as various projects and obsessions occupied my limited free time. But in the past week, as I've packed and readied to leave, I yanked the crispy bunches from the wall and started to think about what they were capable of.

The above is my favorite picture in Flower Scout's short history; it seems to show the semi-blurry  fervor of a messy new project. What you can't see are the pieces of leaf and petals all over the floor, or the pile of yarn next to the table, or the apple cores, or half-cup of whiskey, or the many blankets. 

These little half-wreaths will come along with me, back to Troy, where I'm planning to keep making them (and many more things, besides). If you're interested in having a wreath made for you or someone you love who loves hand-made things, drop me a note at flowerscoutfarm.gmail.com.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Antidote / Update

My good friend Kayta made this for me today, while I was feeling rather pouty and glum.

You see, there aren't any flowers right now. Or, to be more accurate, there are some wild white yarrow stems by the roadside, some red clover hanging onto the field edges, and the chickweed bear some tiny white stars, but really. We pulled the gomphrena out today, and gomphrena are the toughest of the tough.

What we do have, in droves and windrows and scratchy little piles, are fallen leaves. From a variety of trees, in a variety of colors. And Kayta, genius creative inventor, courageous prairie stateswoman (that is a George McGovern reference, may he rest in peace), took some leaves from our birch and big-toothed aspen trees and put together this perfect mood-saver today. 

So though you won't see many lush bouquets from Flower Scout in the next few months, you will see some found and given objects, some creative projects, updates on the development of the Flower Scout CSA project, and other sundry things yet-to-be. Thank you for checking in! Thank you for your implicit enthusiasm! (I'm assuming you're enthusiastic.) Hello! Hello!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dead Flowers

Both a beloved song and a reality of life right now, dead flowers are more and more ubiquitous every day. Last Friday night, the temperature dipped to 23 degrees, causing me to wear a hat and jacket to bed, and causing this in the greater out-of-doors:

Which brought about this:

And then the sun came back out, and the wind picked up, and all the flowers in vases indoors suddenly seemed very bright and strange. 

Though they may not look as lovely in an arrangement (believe me, I'm trying) these stalky remnants of summer are really breathtaking, in a special creepy way. 

So you can send me dead flowers every morning, send me dead flowers by the mail . . . 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Multiflora Rosehips

The Multiflora Rose is an invasive vine in these parts, one we battle against with large loppers, thick gloves, and hungry goats. I'm pretty sure it was the inspiration for the thorned vine in Sleeping Beauty, which you may recall is littered about with the bones of those who've tried crossing it. 

(not the hottest, Prince Philip)

In June, the vines that had pricked and grabbed at me all spring suddenly burst into cascades of flower. 

And then later (as these things go) they matured into some hips. 

I caught them on a walk through the woods the other day, and marveled again at how much has changed in the seven months that I've been farming at Caretaker. We're in the season's final stretch now, which will surely wrap right around to next season's beginning.

Aren't these some beautiful hips? 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Desk Bouquet

The pellet stove in the background of this photo is ON. 

It is COLD. And yet, Rudbeckia hirta, the Black-eyed Susan, still has enough young blossoms for me to cut this long-lasting bouquet to decorate my messy desk with. 

There's something especially charming about gathering a lot of flowers of the same variety and throwing them together without much choosiness. It allows their innate architecture (look at the horn-like openings in the petals above!), various hues (so much green in that yellow) and textures (you may not be able to tell, but they are very fuzzy) to become more obvious. Stay tuned for more same-same bunches to come.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Scarlet Runner Beans

They were completely unassuming green pods all season, and then this.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Box of herbs

I put together last Thursday for the Berkshire Food Project:

The BFP provides free lunches 5 days a week in North Adams, MA, all of which utilize produce from Caretaker Farm. This beautiful box (which must already have been part of some tasty lunches) contains cilantro, parsley (curly and flat), dill, oregano, garlic chives, thyme, sage, lavender, marjoram, lemon balm, orange mint, and chocolate mint.

Flower Scout will definitely be tucking some herbs into bouquets come spring.