October 29, 2010 – Growing Season Over

The wind stopped and the first hard frost of the growing season settled down upon us last night. It was 24 this morning when my head came off the pillow.

frosty zinnia

This is a photo that is only possible to take one day a year. After this frost, the flower turns brown!

frosty celosia

We enjoyed the longest growing season ever recorded in Central Iowa – 212 frost-free days!

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #182″

May 16, 2010 – Peonies and Ants

Very few things go together more than ants and peonies.

There’s hardly a peony anywhere not  covered with ants.  The ants neither harm nor help the peonies, but can just be a pain for bringing them into the house.  You can cut peonies at the “soft marshmallow” stage before they open up and shake off the ants and then bring them in the house to open up – free of ants.

one year ago…no post

July 31, 2009 – Midwest Living Photo Shoot

Thursday and Friday a crew from Midwest Living magazine descended on the farm.

At a photo shoot like this, they leave very little to chance, including bringing their own potted sunflowers.

They also bring various hard good props (in case we don’t have enough junky old stuff lying around)!

On Friday, they started at sunrise. Martin was game.  His only complaint was the rare near-record July 31 cold – he’s in a short sleeve shirt and others are wearing jackets

Martin was accompanied by a female model who also came in to participate in the shoot.

On the farm, you never know when you’ll be surprised by some animal, in this case, an early-rising hen to the delight of the kids.

The photographers checking out the shots in the living room later in the day.

Next it was Emma’s turn.  Her job was to water the sunflowers!

The crew setting up for another shot.  The people who came were extremely good to work with.  They worked well with the children and took wandering dogs, chickens, and the like all in stride.  Martin and Emma made money as models and high hopes did get a site fee as well.  Kudos to the Midwest Living folks for making a good shoot.  So look for us in an issue of Midwest Living next summer.

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #126″

July 28, 2009 – Sunflowers!

Once again, dumb luck descends upon High Hopes Gardens.  Midwest Living magazine is planning on coming out to the farm this Thursday and Friday to shoot for a story on sunflowers.  We have been sending small amounts of garden products to sell at the Des Moines Farmer’s Market.  The editors were scouting the market for unusual sunflower varieties.

moulin rouge sunflower

I think the Moulin Rouge caught their eye.

music box sunflower

Perhaps along with the Music Box Sunflower.

teddy bear sunflower

Or the Teddy Bear sunflower.

bee on sunflower

Heck, here’s a honeybee on a more standard variety.

So, they contacted us and we just kind of laughed when they asked how big our fields of sunflowers were.  Truth is, we have two or three 50-foot rows and quite a few volunteers between the rows of this year’s crops that Linda didn’t have the heart to weed out.  It’s some of those volunteers that caught the eyes of the editors.  They sent someone out to look at the farm and decided to go ahead with the photo shoot.  So, look for updates on Thursday and Friday about a magazine photo shoot.

one year ago…”Digging Potatoes and Garlic”

November 16, 2008 – Pulling Glads

Even though it was a cold, blustery day, it was time to get the gladiolas out of the garden.  It’s always a cold blustery day when the glads come up.  This year Emma was drafted to help.

Poor April doesn’t know she was caught unceremoniously squatting in this photo.

Emma shows off a couple of glad bulbs.  Many people just buy new each year, but we dig ours up as we increase our supply as the bulbs often multiply.  After a few days in the house, we’ll pull last year’s shriveled bulb off the bottom of these, wipe the dirt off, make sure they are dry, and put them in the basement for the winter.  If we were really ambitious, we could pull the little round bulbs off and grow those up too, but we’ll just let those go.

one year ago…”Making Money the Old Fashioned Way”.

August 19, 2008 – Costa Rican Agaratum Folklore

When the Costa Ricans visited our farm a few weeks ago, one gentleman excitedly moved me over to one of the gardens to tell me something.

He pointed at the agaratum as said, “In Costa Rica, if you have an agaratum flower in your wallet, your wallet will not run out of money for a year!” I haven’t tried it yet, figuring a garden patch is good enough.

one year ago…”Local Food Resources”

July 6, 2008 – New Blooms

There are a few new blooms on the farm this week.

These are a variety of allium that were on super close-out late last fall. They add spunk to bouquets and attract beneficial insects as well.

These are the more common elderberry blossoms – this is the first year we’ve had a profusion of blooms, so we’ll have to figure what, if anything, to do with the elderberries, other than wild bird food.

one year ago…”Black and White”