Saturday, March 13, 2010

Psychopsis ....The butterfly orchid

When I was doing wedding flowers, I would be at the Boston Flower Market and occasionally a man from New Hampshire would arrive with a box of orchids for sale. They were not the typical orchids that most florists used for corsages, but an assortment of flowers that looked just like bugs! I could not believe them!
They were amazing and still are one of my favorite ones to grow.
This orchid sends out a long stem, about 2 1/2 feet long, and on the end of that is this amazing butterfly.
I mean really, tell me that doesn't look just like a butterfly!
This one is called Psychopsis mendenhall'Hildos'

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Portland Flower Show

Just a reminder that Blackrock will be doing a lecture at the Portland Flower Show on Vegetables. It's at 4:30.
Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Red Winged Blackbirds

Sunday, March 7th, the red winged blackbirds returned.

This has significance.

There is a big tree that hangs over our stream and suddenly, as if they have never left, there they are. Usually around fifty of them, up there singing their little heads off. At first, I don't even notice and then all of a sudden it hits me. I look up, dazed, and a little disappointed. The slower pace of winter is over. I look down at my hands. Clean.

Not for long.

They're back! The red winged blackbirds.

It means..........IT'S STARTING!

Spring. The busiest time of the year on a farm. The craziness that I call my life is about to begin.

There are plenty of signs that it is about to happen.

The horses are shedding like mad, the eggs are rolling out the hen house, the days are long, the plants are really growing, and pretty soon we will be out straight.

But it's those darn Red Winged Blackbirds that give the wake up call........

We're off!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Portland Flower Show

This Thursday, March 11th, 4:30 to 5:30 I will be speaking at the Portland, Maine flower show.
The lecture will be on Vegetable Gardening and should be a lot of fun. I always like to do these talks and especially on vegetables.

It's a subject near and dear to me especially in these times when we are all trying to save a little money.
But not only that.
I am constantly amazed that people don't grow at least some lettuce and tomatoes and a few cucumbers! Not only for themselves but so that their kids can see how it is to grow things, and maybe have a little appreciation of what food should taste like. Can you imagine basing whether or not you like peas from frozen ones? There is nothing like a pea off the vine! And don't even start me on tomatoes.
So for those of you interested, we will be at the show on Thursday and probably have a few workshops here at the farm as well a little later in the spring. Come and join us.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ray Hunt Memorial in Fort Worth, Texas

This last week I went to Fort Worth, Texas to honor Ray Hunt at the Ray Hunt Memorial. Ray Hunt, for those of you who don't know a thing about horses, was the master of the type of horsemanship that they tried to depict in the movie, The Horse Whisperer, with Robert Redford. There isn't a single worth while 'natural horsemanship' clinician in the world who wouldn't give Ray Hunt and his mentors Tom and Bill Dorrance credit for their teachings about horses. Ray Hunt and Caroline Hunt, his wife, did what Tom and Bill Dorrance didn't feel comfortable doing.

They shook the world of horsemanship.

He died last year.

For those of you who know something about horses, you probably already know who Ray Hunt is. If you don't know who he is and you have horses, you have missed the best. Look him up on the Internet. I'm so sorry that you missed him. This link tells a little about what he did.

The first time that I ever saw Ray Hunt was in Pennsylvania years ago. He would sit on his horse and talk to us. The other horses that were loose in the arena would just want to be with him. It was like they needed to be touched by him. Sometimes he would wave them away but sometimes he would reach his hand out and just invite them to be scratched. There is not enough room on this blog to talk about him so that those of you who don't know about him would understand. He is very missed and the people who were at the memorial, from all over the world, both spectators and clinicians, are trying hard to follow what he made look so easy and what is so hard to master.

Twenty people drew twenty horses out of a hat and had 45 minutes on one day and 45 minutes on the next day to get their horses halter broken and saddled and ridden. These horses were 2 year olds who were brought right in from the range, hadn't been handled at all and were just as wild as an untouched horse can be.
This was not a competition. They were asked to think of Ray while they worked with their colts and have him sort of on their shoulder as they worked through the problems with each colt.
All these horsepeople tried to implement the teachings of Ray Hunt in their approaches. It was a wonderful thing to see.

By the end of the second day, all the horses were being ridden together. These cowboys had ropes flying around and people laughing and the colts looked for all the world like they were content with what was going on. It was a really nice thing to see.

I was lucky enough to travel with five women , including Terry McClare, who carries on Ray's practices here in Maine and has helped me out with my horse, Grace. She is a extraordinary horsewoman who helps people with their horses. She lives in Brownfield, Maine. All these women were so much fun to be with and so serious about their horses that it was a pleasure....and a blast!

To say that it was a wonderful and memorable weekend is an understatement. It was sad and hopeful and emotional. It was a once in a lifetime chance to see some of the best horsepeople in the world. Buck Brannaman and Buster McClaury and Martin Black to name just a few.

Although most of what you will find on this blog will be about plants and landscapes, I can't let you forget that the whole reason for me to be here in the first place has to do with the horse.
My heartfelt thanks to Ray and Caroline Hunt for making my horse's lives better.

Victoria Magazine

Well.....I have to tell you that I love the magazine article. We have had things done before about the farm but I really think that Victoria and Emelie Tolley did such a nice job.
Thank you to them both and go get the magazine. It's so much different than the web site. Really pretty.