Sunday, February 17, 2013

Opal again...

When I discovered last year that Codman Community Farm in Lincoln had an albino donkey, I made a trip out to meet her.  Opal is a perfect name for her: she's white and has blue eyes.

This was my first meeting.  She still has her winter coat here in the early Spring:

I was just learning about donkeys, and I was mostly ignorant about their care, their need for equine companionship, and their history of being maligned.  So, I gave her a pat and took lots of photos.

On my next visit, a few weeks later, I'd been reading up in The Donkey Companion about the importance of hoof care, and I noticed that Opal's hooves were overgrown... it was clear that she hadn't seen a farrier in at least four or five months.

I made the mistake of mentioning it to one of the workers at the farm.  Oops.  Did I have two heads?

For the next eight months, I visited frequently, hoping to see her hooves trimmed.  I left a copy of The Donkey Companion in the office, hoping someone would look it over.  Meanwhile, Opal had lost her winter coat (I'd been brushing her during my visits), and seemed to be living contentedly with the sheep.

The truth is, most farmers don't know much about donkeys.  This farmer inherited Opal when he took over the management of the farm.  I was told, initially, that she was sequestered in a stall, away from other animals and moving her in with the sheep gave her some company.  The other part of the truth was that she was going to be a guard Donkey.  This means she'll always live with sheep; she won't have a donkey friend, no one will teach her to lead, and there will be no children riding her.

Yesterday, I left the shop early, between snow storms, to visit Opal.  I was trying to see her hooves, which were hidden by all the hay, but with a handful of Timothy Hay pellets, I was able to lift her front leg and LO! and BEHOLD!  her hooves were beautifully trimmed.  

I've had to accept Opal's situation.  She IS going to be happier with other creatures, rather than in a stall by herself.  She WILL get her hooves taken care of, even if it isn't on a schedule I like.  If I can still brush her through the fence and give her little crumbs of hay pellets, feel her soft muzzle on my palm, I'll be grateful.  Here she is in a joyful roll last summer.  My favorite photo of her!

Friday, February 15, 2013


It's over.  It wasn't so bad.  I mean crazy, not 'bad'.  There were moments however when I couldn't believe what I was hearing over the phone. Customers who start at one budget and slowly whittle it down and ask for flowers we don't carry, color combinations that run like 1000 volts through my ear and come out as expletives when I'm off the phone, and, after ten minutes of micro managing their pick up order, decide they'll 'think about'.  Truthfully, this only happened twice. Yet....

And then there were all the happy, grateful boyfriends and husbands who waited patiently .. . and only one customer complained that his red roses weren't long-stemmed.  We will not be designing a dozen long stemmed roses ever again.  Sorry to disappoint, but nothing looks so ordinary ... so cliché .  I understand if it's desired.  There are, I say again, many florists to accomodate this design.  Just not us.

The weather was beautiful.  The flowers were beautiful. The deliveries were made. And I got a hug from my secret crush. And my husband made dinner. What more could I ask for?

There they are, lined up and ready to be delivered.

And our French Queen of Valentine's Day presided over all, sporting an Yves Piaget rose in her bonnet.

Thanks to Marisa, Lizzie, Lee and Joe for all the good help and support.

Friday, February 8, 2013

If you're hunkered down from the storm that's hitting in New England, perusing blogs for Valentine's Day flowers, we have a little offering for a ready-made you can pick up on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  Darcy garden roses, local freesia, blackberries, sweet peas, Majolika roses and maybe, maybe a peony... but we won't know until Sunday or Monday.  We've painted cans with Chalkpaint and added  a bright grosgrain ribbon.  Prices range from 35.00 to 65.00.  We're also offering a little can of 'peas'... sweet peas.

Again, grateful the storm is THIS week.  Valentine's Day will be a mild 40 degrees.  Thank you St. Valentine.  I'll light a candle for you!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


While I'm glad that the Blizzard headed our way is BEFORE Valentine's Day, there is still the issue of International flights getting in with the product we need to pick up on Sunday.

In the meantime, we're hanging the flower umbrellas and plugging in the giant heart in the front of the shop that never photographs well, but looks pretty great at night.

Trying to transition to a studio space has its challenges.  We don't lock the door during the day, but we're considering it.  Folks walk right in, paying no attention to the information on the door, or the blacked out front windows.  We're conflicted.  We want to help everyone, but we don't really carry plants anymore, and we can't accomodate customers who are looking for Stargazer lilies and Baby's Breath. My love affair with beautiful flowers rubs against my working class roots that despise exclusivity.  Not to mention how much I hate saying 'no'.

We're wide open on Saturdays from 10:00 to 5:00 and we'll be open next week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:00 to 6:00.   The flowers will be breathtaking.

Hand made lavender sachet hearts.  We've also designed a little cash and carry takeaway arrangement that I'll be posting tomorrow.

Take care during the storm that's coming.  Make sure you have plenty of coffee and wine!

Monday, February 4, 2013

My cheating heart

Before I owned my Shop, I brought flowers home every weekend.  I eagerly took home the 'leavings' and enjoyed  tidying up the house, filling up little vases and admiring them on quiet Sunday mornings.

Now, I can't even remember to bring them home for Jane's Flowers in the House party.  So I cheat.

Many years ago, my dearest friend went on a tour with the poet Clayton Eshleman to the Dordogne in France to visit Lascaux (before they closed the caves) and eat their way through several four star restaurants.  What did I want her to bring me?   Flowers, I said.  Press me some fleurs from France.

Well, she came back and there were no flowers: " they all crumbled in my pocket...sorry".

And I forgot about it until on my Birthday, she presented me with this:

(sorry for the reflection on the left)

Her friend Mary Ellen Long is a paper artist and she took the 'crumbles' and made paper with the flowers and designed this piece.

It's not signed by Mary Ellen.  This is probably too lightweight a project for her and she probably did it as a favor to my friend.

But it hangs in my living room with my friend's little poem to me as its more important provenance.