Finding myself in my second season as a flower farmer with a flood of mixed emotions. Comparison to last year with an abundance of rain three inches at a time, drainage ditches were incorporated to alleviate the year’s excess water. This year we are finding ourselves scrambling to add some form of irrigation for our dry field. Sharing this with my brother, a farmer of twenty years, laughed and he said “Welcome to Farming!”
Photo of our bouquets displayed at The Home Workshop Open House. Photo by Sawmill Photo Co.
This being said, the year is going better than last year as we have had plenty of orders to fill, along with sales at a few local spots we are encouraged to continue.
The nurturer in me loves to care for the flower field and is driven to provide the most fertile soil for the best blooms possible. We have a little ways to go yet with our heavy clay soil, having added six loads of new earth and lots of compost we still can use more.
On the design end of things, God has already designed the beauty of each flower, now it’s up to me to make the right combinations of blooms with foliage. With a few weddings coming up this fall we will be busy creating our flowers into the brides dreams.
It is a privilege to work with flowers, learning from others and seeing all the beauty that can be made from locally grown flowers is inspiring to say the least.
The farming aspect is a challenge, as a colleague of mine stated, if it wasn’t a challenge you wouldn’t do it.
Hosting our first ever Thistle Lane Spring Market this June left us feeing inspired and encouraged. Together, with a very dedicated committee we managed to provide our visitors with a market filled with 17 vendors for a local shopping experience.
The country ambience of a farm house bed and breakfast and horse barn setting was the perfect place to display our merchandise. The day could not have been any nicer, the weather was fantastic, the food at the canteen was second to none, and the customers were greeted by the artisans and farmers themselves who were more than willing to show their gifts, talents and products.
We are excited to announce that plans are already set into motion for our first ever Christmas in the Country Market. We look forward to sharing details on this event soon.
This brings us to the possibility of an even larger Spring Market in 2018!
Thank you so much for sharing in this day with us. If you missed it, you may get another chance to attend a Thistle Lane Market soon!
Join us on June 3 for our ONE DAY ONLY Spring Market. Seventeen local artisan and business vendors will be showcasing their handmade goods and one of a kind merchandise. This is an opportunity to connect personally with the people who love what they do and most importantly gives us an opportunity to shop small and shop local this spring!
Retro Chique- Take a trip down memory lane by visiting us at the Spring Market. You will not be disappointed by our selection of retro and vintage one of a kind collectives.
Daisy Thirteen- We aim to bring simple nature inspired designs to your home. Personalized gifts and accessories, designs to make you smile.
White Rustic Woodworks- Building things rustic including tables, benches, book shelves, doors, coffee tables. Rustic inspiration at its finest!
Handmade With Love- Repurposed furniture and handmade home decor, made from pallets as well as other recycled materials.
Grunthal Berries- We grow our strawberries and then make a beautiful heritage jam. The jam tastes as fresh as the summer and is a little runny, just like grandmas recipe.
Sage & Olivia- Unique, expressive, chic and always current. Uniquely handcrafted jewelry, designed with natural stones such as turquoise, jasper, agate, labradorite, coral and many more. Using vintage elements, chains, pearl, leather, and feathers the jewelry is ever evolving.
Roosties Baby Muks- Re-purposed leather and fabric toddler footwear that is durable with barefoot like comfort.
Then & Now Designs by Wanda- Then & now designs is taking something old and used then transforming it into something new and refreshing. Furniture, frames, blackboards, are some of the items of our home decor line.
Artist Pivot- Arts and crafts, antiques and collectables. A variety of antiques in vintage and retro collectives. Flea markets dream with an assortment of new and gently used items.
Old Church Bakery- Artisans Bread, sourdough cultures and long fermentation give this handmade baked bread its tremendous flavour.
Oma’s Quilt Shop- This little country quilt shop offers fabric along with a variety of ready to sew quilt packages, hand made quilts, and much more. There will be something for everyone, no matter your style or sewing level, you will be inspired by the choice fabrics, and patterns.
Annilynn’s Custom Made- An assortment of home decor items with a modern rustic touch, lanterns, wooden signage, vintage inspired chalkboards and much more are a few items that are being offered.
The Home Workshop- Home, office and commercial design services including project management and furniture sales. Let us help you make your house a place you are proud to call home and a business a pure reflection of your brand and business goals. Connect with us at the Market to dream up how we can make your design dreams come to life.
MA’s Creations- Inspirational signage for home and office, variety of styles and sizes. These beautiful signs are sure to leave a statement, expressing your inner thoughts.
Thistle Lane Flowers- Field to Vase, locally grown flowers, bouquets will be sold weekly throughout the growing season, at various locations. The venue at the spring market allows me a chance to show what we offer, our bouquets, hand tied as well as quart jars will be available for purchase.
Boreal Tree Company- All things made from trees including birdhouses and wooden tapas boards.
Dadirri Naturals- All natural alternatives for health and beauty at your fingertips. Quality ingredients and hand-crafted products that are great for your body and your world.
We looking forward to seeing you. Follow us and our vendors on social media for sneak peaks, directions and so much more!
Shop small and shop local with us this spring.
Flower farming is definitely moving forward at this time of year, with end of February being the start of the seeding schedule. In all actuality, the year starts much sooner than this, with time spent dreaming, planning, ordering, and reflecting on the past growing year, there is much to think about.
December and January, we have the arrival of all the new seed catalogues, staying focused on what we want to grow and how much we can grow are often the difference between the dream and reality. Plus the long cold winter days are also the time to catch up on any reading related to flower farming.
Starting all my seeds under lights in my basement is great for awhile. About mid March I start running out of lights and moving seedlings around the house. Thankfully some of my girls have moved out and I have extra bedrooms, to put the overflow. This is also the time I plant the dahlia tubers (the ones I saved from the fall before stored in a cold room for the winter) and of course we buy more to add to the stash. This cost is justified because I start them and take cuttings off the original tuber and if things go well you can double or triple your collection all from cuttings. Love it! Seedlings growing happily under lights, a few still have their seeds stuck on top.
All flowers get bumped up to regular flower packs as soon as their true leaves set in, that’s when things start to get really full. We have a little rustic greenhouse that my husband built for me about twenty years ago, that’s where I move all the flowers into, as soon as I see the weather looks stable which is typically the beginning of April.
“The girls” as we call them are free range during the three seasons, but they are confined to the insulated chicken coop during the winter. It’s during the winter months that the pecking order is most evident. We have a few different breeds, Barred Rock, Brown Leghorn, and my favourite Easter Eggers, combining these eggs in a basket is country beauty at its best.
There certainly is a sense of satisfaction when taking good care of all our assorted hobby farm residents. With the start of extended daylight and the end of winter in sight, the relief is visibly felt by all to know the season does come to an end.
This month we’ve decided to give you an inside look at our little hobby farm, the animals and how we manage the farm during our Manitoba winter months. Every farmer spends most of the summer preparing for the dreaded long winter, making sure you have enough hay, that the fencing is safe and secure and to ensure the run in the sheds are prepared for the wintery blast.
The last few winters, the weather has been particularly pleasant for the most part, with the exception of a few very cold days, during which time special care is provided for the animals with extra grain rations and bedding.
The morning feed for the sheep starts whenever the sun rises, sometimes I think their routine reflects our routine. They literally only exit their sleeping quarters at approximately 8:00 a.m. How perfect for us! They understand the value of morning coffee!
They wait for us to open their fence, we do lock them up as we are surrounded by neighbourhood dogs, plus coyotes. Once we release them, they are off for their breakfast of mixed grains, lentils and chickpeas. Sheep by nature are followers and they love routine.
Maverick our future guard dog is much to young to protect his herd, but he definitely thinks he is part of the group!
The hay bale gets placed in a pen, we hand fork it to the edge, the sheep then eat the hay through the page wire, this system works great for keeping their feed clean and leaves very little waste. It is a win/win!
Sheep are creatures of habit, they love routine and in winter they always travel in single file. They are easily trained and are highly motivated by grain.
Now for the animals that are near and dear to my heart, in the country during the winter we call them hay burners. Cody and Shadow are our quarter horses and their short sidekick Turbo the pony and Maria the miniature donkey.
The start of the New Year always fills our hearts and minds with anticipation, and a feeling of new beginnings. Striving to create a balance between family, personal goals, business goals, and much needed down time looks different for everyone. I’ve made a list for myself that will incorporate goals for the upcoming year. To keep me accountable for the things I would like to accomplish, I’ve created a vision board. This will be a visual reminder during the year to refocus on specific goals because I know what happens when life gets busy we let things go and lose sight of good intentions!
Faith- Devotion to God, nurturing our soul.
Family – As a wife, mother, grandmother; knowing these relationships must take priority.
Friends- Be there for your friends; you need to be a friend to have a friend.
Fitness – Need to establish a regular routine to ensure a healthy lifestyle.
Bed and Breakfast- Entering into our fourth year as bnb owners we continue to strive to offer country hospitality to our guests. We are grateful for all the wonderful people who cross our paths, and whom we have the privilege to share our farm with.
Field to Vase Goals:
Going into our second year of flower farming, we are very encouraged by the response of the local community. We will be amending a few soil issues as well as refining our draining around the garden. With that being said, I’ve ordered more flowers and have admitted to seed addiction! lol. We are looking forward to sharing the bounty and creating many bouquets for your enjoyment.
Our Katahdin Sheep Goals:
Our desire to use our land to raise purebred Katahdin has been a learning curve for sure. The long term goal is to sell commercial breeding stock, the short term goal is to understand and educate ourselves in a very complex balance of running a high health herd. Nutrition, genetics, parasite control and farm management play a huge part in the overall health of our sheep. This journey is at the beginning. Working together with my husband in this area has been very rewarding. We both have different gifts and when combined we make a great team!
Creating a balanced life is very personal, keeping things and goals in perspective might take awhile to master. How we use our time changes through the seasons, and even possibly week to week. Using the vision board, will help me to stay focused, determining where my time spent will bring the greatest results.
This last month our Pastor spent some time on teaching us to make plans. There is nothing wrong with making plans, in fact it’s biblical, but we need to hold these plans loosely because ultimately its God who directs our steps. Real life comes to all of us, meaning we can make the perfect plan for our year, but often life gets redirected and our course needs to change.Being flexible to incorporate change and still be focused on goals is a challenge for us all.
In conclusion, dream big!
Having a vision for your life and business creates passion and that passion is the driving force behind personal change in order for us to get things done. Most of all enjoy the journey of finding your passion!
Cheers to an amazing and blessed 2017!
Here are a few of our absolute favourite recipes that we love to enjoy here at Thistlelane with our family and friends. They have become a tradition for us and we hope that you enjoy them as much as we do!
- 2-3 cups of diced tomatoes
- 1-2 tbsp of bruschetta seasoning
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
Mix these ingredients together at least a few hours for the flavours to blend. Store in the fridge. Cut a loaf of french bread horizontally and spread on garlic butter. Add the tomato mixture and top with feta cheese. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes and then broil to melt the cheese. Carefully cut and enjoy!
- 6 quarts of popped popcorn
- 2 cups of brown sugar
- 1 cup of butter
- 1/2 cup of corn syrup
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp of baking soda
Place the popped popcorn in a greased baking dish, large enough to gently stir the popcorn. In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir constantly and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and then add in the vanilla and baking soda. Mix well and then pour over the popcorn and stir until everything is well coated. Bake uncovered at 250 for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely and enjoy!
Traditional Mennonite Christmas Cookies (Schooner Kuchen)
- 1 1/2 cups of cream
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 2 cups of sugar
- 3 eggs
- 5 tsp of baking powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 4 1/2 cups of flour
- 2 cups of icing sugar
- 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 6 tbsp of heavy cream
Mix in the order above. Make sure the dough is easy to work with and not too tight. Might take a few times to get it just like Oma does! Roll out and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Ice when the cookies are cool.
Double Chocolate Cheesecake
- 1 cup of chocolate baking crumbs
- 1/3 cup of butter
- 3 packages of cream cheese
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 squares of white chocolate melted
- 3 squares of semi-sweet chocolate melted
- 6 squares semi-sweet chocolate
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
Mix together butter and crumbs. Press on the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Put half the batter into another small bowl. Stir white chocolate into this bowl. To the other batter add semi-sweet chocolate. pour white batter onto crumbs. Spread the dark batter carefully on top. Bake for 50 minutes. Mix the ingredients for the glaze on low heat and then pour over the cheesecake.
From my family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thank you for your business and continued support.
We look forward to what 2017 will bring! God Bless.
Holiday Crafting with Friends
There is nothing better to kick off the upcoming Christmas season than a gathering of friends. All of us have memories of family get-togethers, Christmas programs, work banquets, and many assorted Christmas related events. On the other hand, a simple event to celebrate the women in our lives and the gratitude that we feel towards each other can only be called “Friendsgiving”.
Our Friendsgiving Day, the scene is set, a rustic bed and breakfast venue, candlelit tablescape with the scent of cinnamon and soft Christmas music playing in the background. The perfect atmosphere for a festive start to the day.
The menu for the event consists of vegetarian quiche, farmhouse quiche (spinach & bacon), caramel pecan topped cinnamon buns, miniature pancakes topped with raspberry sauce, whipped cream and maple syrup. Plus, a full dose of coffee for each of us.
After much chatter and laughter, combined with a need to move around and do something, the party moved to the horse barn for the crafting portion of our day.
Creating a Christmas wreath, under the influence of a lot of coffee, our motto being that we can do this!
With a few basic instructions, pruning shears, wire cutters and a barn full of natural foliage that had already been separated into various evergreen piles, our creativity flowed. So much fun was had as we started experimenting with the look we were trying to achieve; helping each other decide when more or less natural greens were needed and helping each other twist wire around stems.
The final decision, what kind of ribbon to personalize our wreaths, should it be burlap, plaid, shimmer gold, white or classic red. Using all natural materials, mostly evergreens, we had a common thread throughout our wreaths, but the finishing touches that we added, clearly reflected our individual personalities and added that personal touch.
How precious each one of us is, we bring different gifts and ideas together including respect, love and we value each other. How special to appreciate each other’s God given uniqueness. To have a friend is to be a friend.
Thank you ladies for joining me for this fun event!