Farm Blog

Thank you again for braving the blizzard to celebrate, connect with great food, and 'planting an orchard'! Just imagine all those future cherry trees (don't forget to squat:-).
I am so uplifted from all the good vibes, intentions, laughter and seeds shared and planted.

We were able to raise $850.00 in funds! This will go a long way, thank you! Additionally, with all the seeds donated today and from what I've gleaned from others, The women growers in the Sine-Saloum region will be able to plant out a couple hundred row feet/farm. In the past we've planted shared 'demonstration beds' ie since many of the farmers share space/land to grow on we've constructed seeds beds to trial different varieties, plant insectory herbs and flowers and share techniques. From there seeds are harvested and shared forward amongst the individual farmers. So in essence your generosity helped plant teaching/learning/eating/

sharing beds of veggie, herb, and flower goodness!

I will honor my commitment and extend the immense gratitude, generosity that was shared during the workshop with the women farmers in the following ways:

Work with NCBA CLUSA Farmer to Farmer Program to transfer funds and mail seeds.
I'll also email and share highlights, photos forward later this week in celebration of our workshop success.

I am tentatively set to travel there Nov/Dec. or January in 2016.

I also finally remembered the name of third grower group, JUBO (means widespread). If you're interested in learning more about how they got started, here's a link to an interview I did as part of my last Farmer to Farmer adventure in Senegal.

I Will keep you in the loop as the project evolves and thanks again for sharing your generous spirit!

For the chocolate lovers:
Becky Otte, who made the amazing truffles, has more of her chocolate goodness to share and is selling some of her creations just in time for Valentines. if you're interested send her an email:

Also Here is a link to Roots Chocolate website.

For the Fruit Lovers:

I've enclosed a handout of some of the different fruits we grow at our farm as well as a flyer highlighting this season's events at the farm! We'd love to have you venture out and tour the orchard, come visit us (though not nearly as cool as the orchard poses we did during the workshop).

Thank you again for helping me transition from being a butterfly weed seed (ie wind pollinated, not knowing where or how my intentions, projects might stick) to more of an oak or cashew seeds - wherein I can deepen my awareness, provide support in the same place(s) in Senegal for the growers and in my backyard in Wisconsin:-). Here's to planting the seeds of the as yet to be imagined on and off the yoga mat! Wishing you all much abundance.

Happy Mid-winter!

Yours in hardy kiwi,

PS If you are into exploring the planting side as well as enjoying more local fruit creations, we'll be hosting a Local Fruit Tasting May 16, details on our website.


Madame Butterfly a Floral Opera

I have been contemplating flowers and operas. Specifically the story of Madame Butterfly. I know, I spend way too much time thinking about flowers and am ready for the ground to thaw and start planting!

Ever wonder how flower varieties are named? This question nudged me as I paged through the seed catalogs and became mesmerized by the floral photo candy of Antirrhinum majus – Madame Butterfly var. My curiosity soon meandered to Giacomo Puccini's famous Opera, Madame Butterfly wherein the human Butterfly first took to the stage in Milan, Italy in 1904.

The unique double-petal flowers of Madame Butterfly snapdragons are no less dramatic than the opera's themes of cultural and sexual imperialism, and allow me to mingle the operatic and horticultural.

Madame Butterfly the Opera – summarized from the Metropolitan Opera website

Act 1:A young Japanese Geisha, Cio-Cio San, known as Madame Butterfly, clings to the belief that an arrangement with a visiting American naval officer, Pinketon, who is roaming the world in search of pleasure and new experience, is a loving permanent marriage. Madame Butterfly denounces her religion, assumes her betroth's Christian faith, an act chastized by her uncle. Quietly, the newlyweds consummate the marriage in the garden. Are these feelings of love or the whim of an officer's libido? Madame Butterfly puts her trust in love at all costs.

Madame Butterfly The Floral Opera

On the landscape snapdragons and in particular Madame Butterfly varietals possess a strong and striking physical presence that starts at the onset of germination.

young madame butterfly snapdragon seedlings emerging. Photo by Erin Schneider

young madame butterfly snapdragon seedlings emerging. Photo by Erin Schneider

Act 1: I lifted and placed the seedling tray under the grow lights and noted in awe the moss like greenery stubbornly transforming from seed to cotyledon to true leaves. I was transfixed. The seed catalog boasted a double petal profusion in a dramatic mix of ivory, pink, red, yellow, and bronze blooms. I clung to this belief, imagining where to transplant in our gardens—trusting in the permanence in love (in this case for plants), that as a flower farmer, I would help consummate a marriage of seed to soil in a harmonizing relationship.

Acts 2 Part 1 & 2: Madame Butterfly the Opera summarized from the met.

Three years come and go and Madame Butterfly awaits her husband's return, a son on her hip. She is presented with a new marriage proposal, though she still refuses and clings to hope of Pinkerton's return. The sentiment and criticism of her ill-fated belief no less a shock than the thought of her beloved never to return. Suddenly a ship is sited-has her husband returned? Madame Butterfly is overjoyed, sleepless in anticipation, keeping vigil and strewing the house with flowers—awaiting his arrival from the harbor. But wait, a new wife in hand, and a guilty heart at what took place in the garden with the young Geisha, Pinkerton leaves. Butterfly finds Kate, Pinkerton's wife, instead and grasps the situation in disbelief. She takes out a dagger, choosing to die with honor rather than live in shame. She is interrupted momentarily when her son comes running in. After saying an emotional goodbye she blindfolds the child. Then she stabs herself as Pinkerton is heard from outside calling her name as she falls to the Earth.

Act 2 parts 1 & 2: The Floral Opera

Three months go by and I observe, weed, water, and tend to the hope that the leaves will soon evolve in its use of powerful metabolic sunshine, influorescent libido unfurling in a riot of racemes ready to be transported to its new vessel – your vase.

What takes shape in the field as Madame Butterfly holds steadfast to its use of creative force—not to mention turgor pressure before she is snipped in one swift motion as the dew dries? Who or what else might be present to creatively destroy my beloved flowers? How to best intervene as a grower lest I submit to the cultural imperialism of the day that humans are separate from the energetics of Nature? A bee is sited on sepal, laden with pollen it transports the few floral remnants in a final act before they embark on their dissolution to seeds.

photo of Madame Butterfly snapdragons from J ohnny's Select Seed Catalog

photo of Madame Butterfly snapdragons from Johnny's Select Seed Catalog

On the stage or in the vase, we can choose to celebrate or mourne Madame Butterfly's passing and willfulness—and only hope that we might find harmony and re-direct our own powerful metabolic and sexual energy into their rightful channels.

I would love to share the operatic and horticultural on the stage and in a few more vases! We have a handful of seasonal and monthly flower CSA bouquets available!

If you already sign-ed up, thank you!  Please help share the flower love with a friend or colleague who you think might need a dose of flower power this season.

if not, no worries, you can Sign-up On-line or message me and I will happily hook you up and share a few colorful floral feasts and feats this season. Members receive bountiful bouquets, stories, and field notes about both the ecology and language of flowers, and VIP tours/R & R at the farm.

Thank you for your support and celebrating the season's blooms with our farm!
With gratitude, ES