September 12, 2014

My First Osage Orange!

Dear Readers,

As I was making my way around the farm early yesterday morning, I came upon one of my grounds crew, Chhewang Sherpa, who had just picked an Osage orange from a tree.   It was quite exciting as this was the first fruit to be harvested from one of the many Osage orange trees we have planted here.

The Osage orange is also called hedge apple, bowwood, or bodark. I just love its wonderfully wrinkly and bumpy appearance. It kind of looks like a green brain!

Osage oranges are considered inedible because of their texture and taste, but they are fun to grow, nonetheless.

Enjoy the photos!

- Martha

September 11, 2014

A Luncheon to Honor Carolina Herrera

Dear Readers,

Last week I attended a wonderful event in honor of my good friend, and one of my favorite fashion designers, Carolina Herrera.

The Couture Council of The Museum at FIT honored Carolina with its 2014 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion.  A benefit luncheon for 600 guests was held at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City.

My very funny friend, Seth Meyers, host of his own show - Late Night with Seth Meyers - presented Carolina with the award.  Seth’s wife, Alexi Ashe, wore a custom Carolina Herrera gown for their wedding.  This is what Seth said about it: “I will never forget the first time she returned from her fitting, because she was happier than I’ve ever seen her. Which was a little jarring for me because I had recently proposed to her; turns out getting a ring from me is less exciting than having Carolina Herrera creating your dress.”

When Carolina was visiting me in Maine one year, she was eating a popover in my kitchen and said a woman’s waistline should be the same size as the circumference of her head!   We got out a measuring tape and sure enough, Carolina’s waist was the same size as her head.  We thought she was kidding, but apparently she wasn’t!

Anyway, it was a lovely event to honor a beloved fashion icon.

I hope you enjoy the photos.

-Martha

September 10, 2014

Cleaning The Windows Of My Main Greenhouse

Dear Readers,

As you know, the greenhouse at my farm is home to the hundreds of beloved plants I have in my collection.

I love having so many plants, not only because I am a botanist at heart, but because I enjoy bringing different plants inside the house--and changing them around often.  I especially love bringing them in when I have dinner parties—doing so helps create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Like anything else, the greenhouse needs to be cleaned and maintained properly.  Unfortunately, we fell behind and have not cleaned the greenhouse for two and half years!  We couldn’t wait any longer and wanted to get this huge task done before the onset of winter.

With its vast span of clear windows, the greenhouse concentrates heat and sunshine to maximize plant growth.   But this kind of warm, enclosed environment can encourage algae to grow on the glass.  Algae are single or multi-cellular organisms that are often found in water.  ‘Algae’ is the plural of 'alga’ which is Latin for seaweed.

Also, because the plants are watered regularly, and we have hard water at the farm, calcium can also be deposited on the windows when water droplets evaporate.  Hard water is water that has a high mineral content. It's formed when water percolates through deposits of calcium and magnesium-containing minerals such as limestone, chalk and dolomite.  The more the algae and calcium accumulate on the windows, the less light enters the greenhouse, and the less heat and light the plants receive.

This huge cleaning project was also a great time to do some regular maintenance and rearranging.

We moved my begonia collection from the west side of the greenhouse to the east side.  And we moved the cacti from the southeast side to the southwest—where they belong!

We also made time to groom the plants, repot some of them, and gave some away.  The project took several days to complete.

I hope you enjoy the photos and leave your remarks in the comments section.

-Martha