Friday, May 22, 2015

Detroit download

Took the show on the road last weekend. Packed up two 24 foot trucks in NYC and drove to Motor City. I can no longer deny my desire to become a professional truck driver, and so this road trip was especially satisfying for me. Let me tell you Pennsylvania is a long state and you can get lots of thinking done across it. 

It's an exercise in logistics when we travel for weddings, but I have to say we've gotten pretty good at it, and with enough peanut butter sandwiches, I can make anything happen anywhere. Or my team can, I should say...The venue was the Elanor and Edsel Ford House in Grosse Point, on the shore of lake Michigan. The weather was unseasonably hot; reaching the mid 80's. The main tent was a clear top; a structure which acts like a giant greenhouse as soon as the sun comes up. The HVAC team had a hard time getting their system up and running; air conditioning promised at 9am didn't get turned on till 6pm that evening...

Which made for Bikrim-style flower arranging Friday morning, roses and tulips exploding open before my eyes, the team racing to finish centerpieces by 11am in order to load them back into the refrigerated truck. I cannot stress the importance of reliable temperature control on these sorts of big events…

We stayed in downtown Detroit, renting a big old house on a beautiful historic street near cork town. Through the course of the week the lives of our staff merge in this strange, suspended sort of way; showers waited on, chapsticks and sunglasses are shared and lost. Meals can become these haphazard conglomerates, brussell sprouts for breakfast, who knew? Mothers day, did everyone call their mothers? Can you do a handstand? lets see

The first night we arrived our host recommended hiring guards to stay with our trucks on the street overnight. For $21/hour they could be armed. We hired one. Driving around there is so much space - compared to the congestion of New York City it feels refreshing. I love it there so much. I fantasized about moving Saipua to Detroit…on the road home through Ohio, another very long state. 

Jenya - interantional freelance extraordinaire, not sure how we would have pulled this off with out his calm laser focus. Courtney from Swell Botanicals, one of the most sensitive people I know and a fantastic listener. Do you know that feeling when someone is really listening to you? It's special and rare.

There were lots of large installations in this wedding, feats tackled by Deanna and Dan and Justin. They say that you should know how everything works in your business, but hell if I know how some of these things went up. At certain points I'd watch in awe. A scene very far in the distance from the first days of ball jar arrangements in the back of my pickup truck for a backyard wedding in Brooklyn.   

But ball jars don't bring you to Detroit, and traveling weddings has become one of my favorite parts of the job. Discovering flower people and new floriculture around the world keeps wedding work really exciting.

We got to meet some amazing designers who joined our team to pull the event together -- many thanks to Katie, Jody and Lia for being so professional and hustling so hard. Thanks to Sarah from Fresh Cut Detroit for bringing fresh crabapple after all ours started to shed. And thanks to Jennelle (who happens to be one of our next farm apprentices) for bringing branches from her parents house and helping out for the wedding day. And many many thanks to Alison and Brian for VLD Events who brought us out and were a dream to work with.

What do you want for your business? I always think it's important to consider what you actually want your day to look like. I mean, do you like waking up early? Do you like eating? You like long walks in the woods? Do you like driving? Because those are the things I like doing, and those are the things I do a lot of in my work. But the best part of my job is getting to work with lots of different people and watching the Saipua community grow. I like a lot of people around; I like watching them work together and make friends with each other. I like feeding them. I like to be driven around by them and hunting flowers with them. And then I like to be alone.

We got back into New York late on Monday night. I lugged my shit upstairs. My apartment was a wreck. I took my dirty jeans off and they walked away without me. I fried an egg and some brussell sprouts that came back from Michigan. Then I folded myself into my chair by the window, warm dark air blowing in from the street. I thought about what I needed to do before hitting the road again the next day for the farm. My old houseplants hung dusty and thirsty around me. I sat there into the very early morning, feeling very happy. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Lately more than ever it's back and forth between farm and city. Back and forth. Forever. 
Leaving baby lambs is difficult. I called Eric tonight. I hear in his voice right away when something is wrong, even if he saves the information until after we gone through the typical formalities of hello, how are you...our first born lamb, named Butters, has lost a horn today. A bloody mess. She's a big girl, likely 30 pounds now. She's a single so she's getting all of her mamas milk without having to share. Sounds nice. Makes for a fat lamb.

He fixed her up, ripped it the rest of the way off and treated with iodine and fly strike. Says she's eating and running around tonight. Every shepherd tells me: sheep are masters at finding ways to sucicide; she likely got her horns stuck in a cattle panel fence and ripped her way free. So we know it could have been worse.

But I've been in the city for a few days -- I have to think hard to remember how many -- 4? working on back to back big events. I have not been good about documenting any of them, but they happen all around me, a swirl of interns and staff and flowers and trucks packed and unloaded, wine, half fast emails and boxes of arugula eaten at the counter at night before crawling to bed with a glass of water and a head full of intensions for the early morning when I regain focus. 

I don't take my phone to bed anymore. I don't like looking at.
Or I'm afraid I'll sleep-text old bosses or boyfriends.

At the farm after evening chores I lay around in the grass with the sheep. The lambs jump on my back... one in particular - #925's brown ewe lamb - eats my hair with such unbridled joy and excitement, it feels almost unfair to pull her off and deny her this simple pleasure. 

Tomorrow we load out at 5:30 am headed to Detroit for a big wedding.