Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saturday morning


Listening to all my pop hits and having coffee getting geared up for today's wedding. Dreading all the boutonnieres I have to make here in a second. And wrist corsages, don't get me started.

These gorgeous flowers are all from a private tutelage I did with a lovely lady from overseas last week. She's starting her flower business and we spent two days together talking everything from bouquet making to budgeting (as if I am qualified to teach someone about that! I always overspend at the market).

With our in-depth classes and private lessons, my biggest goal is to impart all the lessons that took me so many years to learn. SO MANY LESSONS. Here's a few simple ones:

*Get paid before the wedding.
*Label boutonnieres with first names so Uncle over there doesn't grab one thinking it's his and then you have to remake the Groom's 10 minutes before the ceremony. You definitely don't want to take a boutonniere off someone. Come on.
*If you take a "portfolio wedding" you know you will loose money and run out of time to actually shoot it for your portfolio, so for gods sake ask someone else to take the pictures.
*If you're waffling about whether to bring in help/extra people you should. And pay those people.
*Never ever ever use hand dyed silk ribbon as streamers on a bridal bouquet before testing it to see if it bleeds when wet.
*Always stop and send someone for lunch.


It's funny to think of teaching, since I often feel like a total fraud in this business. Go into a meeting without remembering to clean my fingernails; and ask clients to just trust me. I need to buck up, stop waxing self indulgent and remember it's to my advantage that I'm self taught, and if I'm still sometimes googling youtube videos on how to make wrist corsages, so be it!!!

That said, if you're still interested; there's a spot or two left in our NYC August classes. Nicolette is a real deal professional; I'll be there for comic relief. And very excited to announce that it looks like   we will be doing a teaching stint in AUSTRALIA! in either November or March...more info on that coming soon.




Tuesday, June 26, 2012





That's a little from our wedding out in Montauk. I'm at the farm for a few days. Decompressing a bit and doing a lot of gardening. Trying to catch up on computer-ing. Our contractor Ivan was here today fixing some plumbing. Have I talked about Ivan before? I don't remember. Ivan has a work ethic that inspires. He says things to me like "Sarah, you can do it." but with an upstate accent and very slowly. I would marry Ivan except he is a great-grandfather, and I'm in a committed relationship. So instead I just look forward to his visits and try to glean as much farming and practical upstate knowledge from him while he's around. He and his son were here and because I can't be idling around in their presence, I pretended to be typing on the computer while making a few unnecessary phone calls to make myself look busy and important.

All I want to do is loaf around and eat keebler's.

Yesterday I got a bee in my hair and it stung my scalp, Eric sustained three stings on his face, but at least we know he's not allergic. Now we've gotten two hives installed. He calls them his "girls." I said, now you have four queens to deal with!

I'm alone here now. It's cloudy and windy outside. Dramatic.

The professor is coming up. I should put a bottle in the fridge. I haven't seen Nicolette in a minute. Kitchen garden is coming on strong, I'll harvest some radishes for supper, garlic scapes to go on a pizza, try to impress her. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012






Home in brooklyn for a couple nights. It's of course going to be 95 the days I am in town. Nothing worse that hot cities. Ya'll can have your opinions but talk to me after you walk past your neighborhood chicken processing plant on an 85 degree evening. Or worse, get on the B61 bus during the shift change at the plant. The polite thing to do is just bear it, but the smell that clings to the workers clothing is so incredible, so unbearable that the worst of us make noises and faces. The poor gangle of workers can't help it. Its a job, and an honest one. Whoa, when did I get all righteous? 

While Eric toils at beekeeping and an irrigation system at the farm this week, I've been honing my tolerance for JFK and hustling.

Hanging on. Fixing peanut butter sandwiches every night for the next days uncertain meal options.
Last night in Vermont I cleaned up and went down to my hotel's lounge to have a glass of wine and make some calls. When I was told at 9pm that the kitchen had just closed (where the fuck am I?) it was half of a such a sandwich - perfectly preserved in foil on the floor of my rental car - that sustained me through an extra hour of celebrity gossip research on the internet. Kanye and Kim.

I made this arrangement to honor the extra yves piaget roses left at the studio.

Someday we're going to have to give up this apartment and I will miss it. I miss Nea tonight, apparently she sustained her first bee sting today. Such a brat. Eric tells me she's moping around up there because she misses me, and I believe him.

That's all I've got. I've stared at this post for the last half hour trying to make it funnier, but I'm spent. One day I'll get my voice back.

Trust - I've missed it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

visit to magic farm



Some months ago I woke up and decided to make a pilgrimage to Floret Farm. I asked Erin if I could come and spend some time with her. We'd emailed a handful of times, and lately I am trying harder to close the gap that the internet forces on us. Also - I'm not gonna lie, I wanted to get in on some of her flower farm mojo.

If you've followed Erin's blog, you know how special Floret is, so I'm not going to great lengths to describe it. You know the flowers are beyond. Fairy tale material. Eric and I got a personal extensive tour of Jasper and Elora's insect collection. The whole experience feels like a long dream. It's been hard for me to put into words in the week since I've been back.

Magic is a strange thing to talk about. Is there real magic at floret? No. There's a lot of hard labor, and a lot of conciencious growing practices. Serious respect for the soil. Ridiculously healthy crops. Most impressive to me though is this indescribable, fantastic energy...the "let's do this!" or the  "ok! all hands on deck, we're going to make this work right now" that I have aspired to in my own business.

In the last few hours of my visit Erin and I talked a lot about specific practices; and her use of compost tea. She kept joking about the magic "juju" that results when she gives her plants the tea. At our studio we use the word ju (or jeuge) to describe the last touch... the je ne sais quoi you give an arrangement right at the end. But how different to experience the arrangement before it's conception; in the field!

Taller than me, thousands of foxglove blowing in the breeze. Indifferent to the world around them, simply doing their thing, following their code. I don't like to romanticize too much, but it is an awe inspiring to witness such mystery. 

Pay attention flower lovers; Erin and Chris are revolutionizing the cut flower industry.
We watch with anticipation.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

saturday, 9:30 pm







Sitting at the kitchen table, watching Eric make a steak for our dinner. We always have a steak after weddings. Have I ever mentioned that? Lots of steaks eaten over the years. These photos are from the farm this past week. Our cover crop is coming on strong, and this may not seem like a big deal, but it feels like one of the largest accomplishments for us. Working on some dutch masters stuff lately for a project I got in the works. Wild roses all over upstate blooming. The wilder, the thornier. The hornier. Just kidding. Reading a lot about Voyager and the heliosphere lately. The edge of the solar system. The more I read about the cosmos the more I think about the nature of reality, and the more I realize that it must be a figment of my imagination. This is a freeing idea for me. I feel like I've been living out of my duffle bag. Heading to Seattle tomorrow. Some business, some pleasure. Is there any other way in Saipua land???

Monday, June 4, 2012






sanford horton, our tractor man recently was describing his beloved heffers and their four stomachs to me when he suddenly said: "I didn't design them, but whoever did made them to eat grass" and I thought wow that is some eloquent shit....

well whoever invented peonies was designing them for weddings.

it is that time of year again, and our lives just got a lot more chaotic and a lot more beautiful.

Sunday, June 3, 2012







These are some corn poppies from the field at the farm. They seem to do really well on the wet clay parts of central ny where we are, and so I've sewn a ton of them in some of our new beds. This is a dream flower, one which you have to grow yourself. They are far to fragile to ship, and probably have a vase life of 1 day. I cut them, shot them and then packed up for the city so I don't know how long they lasted. Painted the bathroom deep green/blue. Got some hardware on the soaking tub. Things are happening fast now in the house, it's exciting.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

re-cap of workday and mission statement, sort of


On Sunday everyone left. I spent the day resting and sort of wandering around. Walked out to the barn in my underwear because I could. Watered some little plant plugs in the greenhouse. Spent some time alone thinking but perhaps even more time....not thinking.








at Saipua we've always gone the way the wind blew us, and failed to do things most good businesses do. failed to brand, failed to have business cards (still). failed to notice that lots of people don't seem to 'get' it. this occurs to me now as I attempt to organize the sort of chaos that has been swirling around us as we fraction yet again with this massive farm undertaking.

Maybe we need a better plan?

Here's what I do know; I like having lots of people on the saipua staff. I like having lots of people at the farm. I like having people with us, doing stuff together. I like collaboration. I like community.

I like watching something come together with lots of hands, like a well oiled machine.

I don't know exactly what this farm is going to be. And I'm not going to completely map it out, who could?  It's big and wild and it fights back at every juncture. Instead I'm going to sneak things up on it; make some clay out of our clay heavy soil, build an edible flower garden. Make elderberry wine with my Uncle if he'll show me. Make some sheeps milk ricotta. And grow some sick flowers.

Which of those things happens and in what order I don't so much care about. What I do care about is having a constant flow of people around, to learn from, to teach things to, to relax, and sometimes to work. As for this group; Deanne, Simone, Amanda, Donna, Tim, Gordon, Vera, Cerise, Sonya, Emma, Laura, Erin, Daniel, Carmel, Ingrid, Ashlea and Caroline - next time they will come to eat*.

Flower photos tomorrow, I promise.

(*FYI The arugula, radish, turnips and cosmos (!) are already sprouting)