The May Day procession leaves the farm and crosses the fields to the secret gardenThe May Pole is carried by the creatures of the old yearTheir leader is a horse, the "obby orse"
The dancers are here to welcome summer and bid farewell to winter's creaturesThe pole arrives in our meadow, heralded by our jumpy goat girlThe pole is upstanding and the creatures of the old year must go. It is time to welcome in the May - the new year's SummerThe band abandons their mournful marching melody and strikes up a joyful accompaniment to the May DanceWe would like to thank the Lighthouse String Band for their superb accompaniment. We couldn't have gathered in the May in style without themOur dancing May Day luncheon guests were in need of some lavender lemonade at this point!Lunch in the garden followed the Gathering of the May. We hope our guests enjoyed the occasion as much as we did - thank you for coming!
April means almost all of this year's babies are on the farm. There is fresh spring milk and warm damp ricotta. The first roses and iris are in full bloom, yet the huge carmine tea tree in our secret garden is still dropping pink petals. It's a lovely backdrop for spring weddings.
Bay Area stylist Karolynne Meyer designed this romantic archway for last Saturday's wedding on the farm. Karolynne uses the farm gardens, and her local sources, including her own huge and gorgeous garden, to make a poignantly beautiful altar.
There's plenty of space in the secret garden for a rustic ceremony
Guests were served our chèvre with their champagne immediately after the ceremony
We make lavish arrangements of farm flowers in your color scheme
The farm edible flower gardens are in full fresh bloom by April
We make your wedding bouquet
Farm shop manager Meryl pinning ribbon to stems
The maid of honor with matching bouquet
Dinner served at our magnificent fir table in the hayloft - there is an accompanying table for medium-size parties
Add wedding favors made on the farm - this weekend's couple chose honey from the farm bees and premium aged goat milk soaps
Putting down fresh straw for the party
First course of appetizers in the farm garden after the ceremony. Our food service staff are experienced and neatly dressed
The farm closes to the public at five. There will be hardly any gatecrashers
I like goats. I like dogs. I'll admire a horse. I'm pretty fond of our donkey and our hens. I like children, when they've grown up a bit and can be useful around the place. Cats are this far down the list. I don't dislike them. We need them on the farm to keep the rodents under control, so there are two in the red barn, and Caramel and Oscar here at the dairy. Oscar arrived four years ago from Berkeley, and took to farm life with gusto. He's the black cat that's always waiting by the screen door of the cheese shop, waiting to nip in quickly to patrol the premises for mice. He's a superb hunter. He has a big personality. We've grown to appreciate him very much. My husband dislikes cats, but not Oscar.
You can see the hayloft balcony through the sunflower stalks here. There is a lovely view across the farm, and Oscar likes to sit there too. He's been napping on the railing.
Oscar on my bed after his accident
Last week we found Oscar in the garden trailing a leg. He was obviously in serious pain but trying his best to stalk rats nonetheless. I took him to the Pescadero veterinarian, Linda Amezcua. Oscar had shattered his leg into fragments. We think he fell off the balcony railing while sleeping. Apparently cats quite frequently break their bones when they fall accidentally. Well, now I had a decision to make. A major operation would involve titanium pins, not just bonesetting. I don't have cat insurance. The cost of Oscar's operation would pay quite a few bills elsewhere.
If it had been any other cat, it wouldn't have been arriving for its operation yesterday. We are so lucky to have Dr. Amezcua here in town. She arranged for a specialist to operate on Oscar's leg in her surgery. It took an hour and a half.
Oscar will have to be confined to a crate for 8 weeks of recovery while his leg sets, so that he doesn't attempt any hunting. After that, he is a super-cat. And a fortunate one. One life down.
A huge thank you to Krisha and Stacey and friends for volunteering their Saturday on the farm. Krisha and Stacey run our office, and happen to have lots of friends who wanted a day of action on the farm. They destroyed a field of weeds, a barn of rotten timber, and a hot lunch.
arriving in the back of the farm truck
The sheds you can see beyond the mustard are the outbuildings of Phipps Country, where the Phipps family stored their heirloom beans, grown here in Pescadero. Tom and Teresa retired from their farm last year after the water shortage severely reduced their olalliberry crop. They will continue to sell beans from their barn in downtown Pescadero (117 Stage Road, Friday through Sunday 11am-5pm).
Update, April 21 2014 - Tom and Teresa plan a move to Arizona. We wish them many, many years of warm retirement.
With the mustard and hemlock gone, Alison our rabbit czar will install outdoor pens for the rabbits to browse during the day. The pens will be enclosed with mosquito netting, since biting insects can transfer the usually fatal myxoma virus to rabbits, . Alison will also plant herbs said to deter mosquitoes, like feverfew, catnip and marigolds. She is planning to scythe and harvest the grass later on in the spring to dry as food for the rabbits.
We're clearing the outbuildings to ultimately house our baby goats. Our farm manager will live on the premises to keep an eye on the babies as they grow. We will keep the famous olallieberries, but due to water rationing will probably not have sufficient for public berrypicking.
Thank you! And a special thank you for sharing your photos, too!
The least we could do is serve them a hot farm lunch, with pear pies made from the pears in the orchard just next to the rabbit pasture
You might ask why we scheduled two hundred babies in less than a month? Good question - we'll ask the bucks. In the autumn, as the mature does come on heat, we introduce our bucks to separate groups of the does. Coltrane, Bruno and Billy Idol were all new on the farm, and the last two were barely the size of the yearling does. We weren't sure how appealing they would be to the women. We didn't see a whole lot of action. Seemingly, though, the nights were sizzling. The bucks were efficient, perhaps a little too efficient: wham, bam, why hello, ma'am.
In these same three weeks Carl, our dairy plumbing expert, has repaired the stainless steel pipe that crosses from the milking parlor to the dairy and replaced the milk pump in the parlor. We began our new routine of once, not twice, daily milking. Although most of the milk is being slurped up by the babies, Salud will try to make the first batch of ricotta today, ready for the weekend. And if not, then very soon!
Meanwhile, we're fixing the farm kitchen drainage and installing a flush lavatory in the small garden shed just beneath the hayloft. This involves exciting trenches across the garden. We hope our farm dinner customers will enjoy the elegant comforts of their new bathroom.
Hardworking shack: chicken coop, then garden shed, then bathroom
Inside, we have added a splendid refrigerator in the farm shop, the first step in fitting a kitchen suitable to prepare hot soups and drinks to add to your picnic lunches here on the farm. Check out the alluring full-size cheesecakes, party-sized Monet cheeses, big pots of plain chèvre and the farm kitchen's new harissa and kiwi nectar.
Kiwi nectar on scones for tea time
Donkey presides over the oldest kids, who are now in the run alongside the farm chicken coop. She clearly enjoys the attention from visitors on tours. Each morning begins with a huge bray, deafening the rooster's effort. Then she gets to nibble my own garden, before the gardeners get snippy, and scratch herself under one of the fruit trees, before spending the day in the run.