January 2014

by Bob on February 17, 2014

Two years (is it possible?) have passed since I last gave a “State of The Farm” update, so there is much to report.  Since it is 10 degrees with snow and a stiff West wind outside, this is a good time to reflect – and stay inside.

For those reading for a specific bit of information, after much thoughtful navel gazing, we have decided to proceed full steam ahead next year.  Look for us in Market Square and Ligonier farmers’ markets, and around the wedding circuit.  Most of the seeds have been ordered and we planted lisianthus just before Thanksgiving.

The big event is and has been since the end of October, the repair of the main barn’s foundations and structure.  The farm has been in the family 200 years this year and the barn is believed to be about 150 years old.  Foundations had shifted, sills rotted or termite eaten, mortar crumbled into sand, there was movement because of modern heavy loads and a lack of bracing, etc.  The contractor lifted the barn onto wooden cribbing, pulled the center back into alignment, removed and replaced structure, built a major new foundation down the middle of the barn, and on and on.  For a structural engineer (me) it has been most interesting and entertaining.  Some pictures are included.  This year marks 200 years the farm has been in the family and we are applying for bicentennial recognition.

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We have enjoyed an ever increasing number of weddings over the past few years.  In 2013 we provided the flowers for about 40, including events in Philadelphia (our second in that city), Altoona, and Pittsburgh as well as in the Ligonier-Latrobe-Greensburg area.

Our largest wedding to date was for 250 guests on September 1 at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh.  It was entirely tropical flowers – orchids, anthurium, Birds of Paradise, calla lilies, ginger, protea, and exotic foliage.  With the generous use of orange we intentionally transformed the rooms from Art Deco to something out of the Caribbean.  It was a Jewish ceremony and we built a chuppah (wedding tent) using 2 and 3 inch diameter bamboo from California, lashing it together with sisal rope using Boy Scout techniques learned many years ago.  Bob now claims to be the only chuppah builder in Westmoreland County.

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The Philadelphia wedding, for two architects, was interesting because of the location (a barely repurposed cold storage building) and the couple’s ideas.  There were five long tables seating about 160 guests.  The family made runners for the tables using long lengths of wide cloth which they cut into strips and hemmed.  On each table we had four larger square vases with predominantly green flowers and 10 smaller vases with predominantly yellow flowers.  Table numbers – miniature blackboards on stakes- were held upright by inserting the stakes in bowls of lemons and limes (more green and yellow).  In spite of the heat it was a fun day for everyone.

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Locally we had several weddings at Oak Lodge outside Stahlstown, close to home, at Green Gables in Jennerstown, on the other side of Laurel Mountain, as well as several other venues.   We got involved with winding LED lights around columns, hiding columns with branches (with leaves for one wedding, without leaves for another.  Go figure.), building a 7 tier stand for 200 cupcakes, binding mason jars together with burlap and ribbon, making wooden votive candle holders, hiding miniature flower pots in wood cubes, and building wooden devices of all sorts for use on dining tables.  We also work in glass, making vases of varying heights, diameters, and colors from wine bottles.  We use the top sections of large wine bottles to make candle shields for outdoor locations.

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We annually try to reinvent ourselves using the Purple Cow model of Seth Godwin (for those interested in marketing look for his book – Purple Cow– Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable).  So, where are we going this year?

  • New flowers – with luck anemones and ranunculas, marigolds  (big time), more amaranths and celosias, new and different snapdragons and zinnias, new dahlias, more and different sunflowers, more and different colored lisianthus.
  •  New sizes, presentation, and containers
  •  Possibly a new appearance to the booth (but the same curmudgeon behind the table)

Collectively these probably make up a “Purple Calf” but not a cow, so look for even more changes before June.  In the meantime, enjoy the pictures and stay warm.  Please excuse me, I have to call the propane supplier.

Bob

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Antony September 23, 2014 at 10:17 PM

Thank you so much! We couldn’t have had such a wroednful, beautiuful, calm, happy wedding if it wasn’t for our TEAM! Our entire family fell in love with Albert, what a wroednful photographer and Liz was great. Kolodny Photography has been a fantastic vendor to work with. Jacqueline and Aviva are the power team!!! I can’t explain how thrilled I was with the final result. Jacueline showcased absolutely gorgeous flowers, pulled together a last minute miraculous chuppah after the rain storm, and has a wroednful eye for what we deemed to be the style of the wedding. Aviva kept everything consistent, covered (all logistics, vendors, etc.), and my sanity. Thank you so much for making Adam and my wedding day so special and easy!

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