Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Most Delightful Weekend

Friday was a great day.  I got the opportunity to spend the day with my daughter, a relative rarity these days.  Jenn owns and operates her own floral design business, serving, primarily, the Charlottesville, VA area.  She has built the business from an idea, and has worked hard to make it a successful one. This weekend she was doing a wedding for a hometown friend, so I lucked out.  I offered to lend a hand the day before the wedding, which is the major "creation" day for all of the floral pieces.

Jenn's basic philosophy, with regards to floral design is, let nature help compose the creation.  She uses locally grown, in season flowers.  But she doesn't limit her designs to flowers.  A week before the wedding, which was to be held less than two miles from the old farmhouse, she called me and asked whether I had wild grapevine in my woods.  Do I have it?  I have in in ABUNDANCE!
First Van Load of Grapevine
Thursday, shortly before midnight, she arrived to drop off her dog, Talice, for us to babysit for the weekend, and after a very brief visit, left for the wedding location, where she would unload her van full of flowers, vases, and assorted floral design magic makers.  She'd spend the night there, at this beautiful manor on the East River, which the bride's family had rented for the week.  I was to look for her to return around 7 AM Friday, when we'd start pulling MORE grapevine. I had already delivered a van full of the vines to the site on Wednesday, but another van load was needed.

Talice -- Taking a Nap
Right on time Friday morning, she arrived, ready to pull vine.  She can spot the stuff a lot faster than I can, and she can pull it a lot more easily than I can.  I suppose there IS something to be said for youth!  We pulled more vine, filled a box with four layers of moss from the ground under some of my trees, and filled a couple of buckets with ferns, harvested from along the community trench.  Within an hour or so, we had her van loaded and were off to the wedding site to prepare for the big event.
Jenn Pulling Grapevine From the Trees
Dragging the Grapevine to the Van
Van Load #2
Picking Fiddleheads for the Boquets
While I've known the bride's family for years, I had the opportunity to meet several of their relatives and friends, in town, from places as far away as New Zealand, for the wedding.  Several of the men helped us weave the grapevines together and hang them in the HUGE rented tent where the reception would be held.  It was quite a challenge with only a ten foot ladder available, but where there is a will, there is a way, and the result was delightful.  From the grapevine hung many different sized oriental lanterns.  It looked great by day, and I can only imagine the it was stunning by night, with the lanterns lit.

Hanging the Grapevine
With the Lanterns
Would have loved to see it at night!
Ready for a break, we joined the family and friends for a breakfast of french toast, bacon, fruit and juice.  Perfect, with nice, easy conversation with people I'd never before met.  With our appetites sated, we headed to the garage to execute the floral arrangements.  As Jenn whipped out stunning bouquets for the bride and her EIGHT bridesmaids, I worked with another novice, creating the arrangements that would hang on the aisle sides of the chairs, and the little table arrangements.... twenty two tables worth -- three to a table.

Getting Started
Locally Grown - In Season Flowers
Dogwood Blossoms
Centerpieces and Bouquets
Centerpieces -- about 80 table centerpieces
The day was grey and chilly, and we were working with a lot of water, so our hands were really cold.  But, the work was fun, Jenn was a great "boss," tactfully fixing arrangements that looked, well, a little "odd" and only laughing out loud at one of my attempts.  It took us only about four hours to complete everything she wanted to accomplish Friday, and by the time her husband, Benoit, arrived, ready to build the marriage archway, we were finished, and could join him out by the river and watch him work.  It seems marriage arches are quite popular and Jenn and Ben create their arches out of sycamore branches.  The arches are never the same, as they construct them on the spot.

East River
Grandview Manor
Building the Arch
Arch Building, 101
Just One More Stick....
I didn't get to see the final product, which includes (somehow) the moss scraped from my forest floor, but I imagine, when the wedding photos are available, I will get to see all the pieces put together. As I left to head to church for Good Friday services, I gave Jenn and Ben hugs, and thanked them for a truly enjoyable day.

From what I hear, the wedding went well, with, of course, the typical stresses of trying to be both a guest at the event and a provider for the event.  By Sunday, Jenn was tired and ready to pick up Talice, and make the three hour drive back to their place near Charlottesville, VA.  Meanwhile, I spent Easter Sunday, playing and singing in the Easter morning service, and then helping Joe with the trenching.....

Yes, indeedy, Joe had decided THIS was the weekend to tackle the MANY trenches he wanted to dig on the property.  He had ideas for trenches for water lines, trenches for electrical lines, trenches for drainage, and trenches just for good measure!  So off he went to rent the trencher.  He did NOT get the one he wanted...the one with the tracks.  No, he ended up with the one with tires.  With the very first trial trench, the trencher got stuck in the soft ground.... it did not bode well for the weekend.

First Trench
Getting Stuck
Getting Un-stuck

Nevertheless, Joe was determined to get his money's worth out of the trencher, and he pushed forward, using the tractor to pull it out when it got stuck.  He did not complete ALL of the trenches he would have liked to, but he got enough that we literally look like we have trenches running everywhere.  I suspect the low-flying helicopters that buzz our tree lines daily have a pretty funny view of the property, significantly trenched.  When we returned the trencher today, it was with 16 hours more than when we rented it.  That's a WHOLE lot of trenching when you consider the work involved getting that thing around this land.  The one with the tracks would DEFINITELY have been the better choice.
Trenches Everywhere You Look
As dusk was engulfing us in darkness, Sunday night, Joe was making the final trench.  He hit something hard, presumably a root, that stopped the trencher.  Naturally, he had to pull the trencher out for the fifty millionth time, and decided that was enough of the trenching.  He cleaned up the trencher and loaded it back onto its trailer.  He came to help me finish up my transplanting of the seedlings started in the greenhouse.  When we started watering our freshly planted seedlings, we suddenly lost water pressure......

Yep, at 9 PM on Sunday, we began the emergency repair of the 1 inch PVC pipe from the well to the pump house.  It seems that hard root was the water line... the water line that was NOT where the plat shows it. It took a little doing, working by lights hanging off the tractor, finding parts out of buckets of odds and ends, but, just at midnight, Joe restored water, and we were able to finish watering the seedlings.... and finally head indoors to make some supper... doesn't EVERYONE eat supper at midnight?
Damaged Water Line
Temporary Fix
Midnight Watering Seedlings
No, it was not my typical Easter weekend, but it was a really enjoyable one, nonetheless. (Oh, and I have started eating the spinach from the garden and we have eaten our first strawberries from our berry patch....the garden is starting to come to life!)


Renee said...

I'm exhausted just reading this!!!! Where do you get your energy???

I can't do a veggie garden in the yard as all the critters would have a feast . . . so I do a "pot" garden on our deck. I've had all different stuff, that critters have left alone and have done really well. This year I thought I'd try strawberries. Did you know that raccoons really like strawberry roots??? Needless to say, I won't have strawberries this year.

Enjoy your strawberries and have one for me!!!

Judy's Corner said...

Hi Renee!

I love the action. I'm happiest when accomplishing something, so busy I stay! Plus there is just so much to be done around here to get this place into something.... we'll be at is awhile, I'm certain.

I did NOT know the raccoons liked strawberry roots... so far, so good... we have raccoons, squirrels, groundhogs, deer, turkey and so far, so good with the strawberries....

So far, no bears either! You have a LOT of bears up there at your place!

niels said...

Hi Judy, you certainly have an exciting life, wonder how people in cities can claim that life in the countryside is boring !:) enjoy, overall greetings from California, Niels