Welcome to Round 34 of this little series I started of all the things in life I’m loving and learning lately! Here you’ll find everything from the books I’m currently reading to the products I’m loving to the shows I’m watching (which, spoiler alert–won’t be very many or very exciting, since I’m not a huge t.v. or movie watcher). If you want to check out past editions of the series, click here.
Note: There are affiliate links in this post, which means I may get a small percentage of any sale made at no extra cost to you.
- Okay, so basically all of my time lately (besides the minimum time required to keep us all alive and fed and in relatively clean clothes) has been spent on building up the flower farm we’ve started this year. Therefore, my list of things I’ve been loving lately are pretty much almost all about all things flowers and gardens and what-have-you. (If you want to be able to follow along in our flower farm journey, you can like the Facebook page HERE, follow us on Instagram HERE, and make sure you’re following my other blog HERE.) Here are a few of the resources I’ve been into lately:
- Anything from Floret Farm. I own her first two books, Cut Flower Garden and A Year in Flowers, and I’ve requested to get her recently released third book–Discovering Dahlias–for Mother’s Day. (P. S. If your mom or mother-in-law or an important woman in your life loves to garden, any of these would make a gorgeous gift for Mother’s Day, but I would especially recommend the first two for a more general audience). I’ve also been reading back posts from her blog like crazy.
- YouTube has been a fabulous resource for me, both to get general information about flower farming but also to follow along with other people as they take similar journeys. Lately I’ve been enjoying You Can’t Eat the Grass and Flower Hill Farm, and I’ve been catching episodes from MI Gardener and The Gardener’s Workshop, too. Speaking of The Gardener’s Workshop, I’ve become pretty obsessed with her stuff too and have plans to purchase her book Vegetables Love Flowers soon (I already purchased her book Cool Flowers, which I talked about below).
- I have basically lost my mind buying seeds this year (pretty soon on the other blog, I’ll be laying out all my start-up costs for the farm, and I’ll admit that I’m already nervous to calculate everything that I’ve spent on seeds!!). At first, I ordered most of my seeds from Baker Creek because they offered free shipping and some amazing heirloom varieties (which I’m still growing and am still excited about), but for very specific cut flower varieties, I have bit the bullet and started buying the slightly pricier seeds from Johnny’s Seed, and you guys—I CANNOT WAIT.
- Our basement has been converted into a grow room, and I’ve gotta say that I’ve been really impressed so far with the grow lights we ended up going with. While they’re not quite as big as the cheap shop lights you can set up, I like them because they’re still decently wide (two feet), and they also use the full spectrum red/blue light you’re supposed to use. And the price isn’t bad, either! (And a good thing too, because we’ve had to buy twelve…*gulp.* Thank you, stimulus check!)
- I used my favorite clothes-buying credit card hack (from all that I spent on the flower farm) to get us $200 worth of clothes from Old Navy for just $20 (it would have been $10, but I’d used the maximum allowable number of rewards, ha ha!). I got these adorable Easter shirts for the boys (their first matching outfits!), this Easter dress for Raven, this striped dress for me, and then Matt just got the new jeans he’s been needing and a nice polo. (P. S. Old Navy is doing a 50% off Easter sale today (3/22) if you’re interested!) Other Easter goodies for the kids will include stick horses (similar here) for the two older kids and a fun chick and egg set for Hyrum (similar here).
- PSA: Every Easter, I hold off buying all the kids’ Easter gifts until Amazon runs their 3-for-2 games and books sale, and it’s finally started! I actually ended up buying 9 of the things from it, some of which will be used as birthday gifts for my oldest next month 🙂
Reading time has been extremely limited lately—only about 10-20 minutes on any given day is all—and half the time, that reading is basically research for the flower farm. However, on particularly busy/crazy days, I try and treat myself to a little fiction or fun reading at night, just to help me unwind and maybe give me a chance of going to sleep quickly rather than stay awake for hours thinking about flower varieties and marketing strategies :). Here are the four titles I’ve finished lately or that I’m mostly finished with:
Current and Recent Reads
I love me a good farm memoir, and I particularly enjoyed this one because it was laugh-out-loud funny. While I’m not into the kind of farming that Pritchard is doing (with livestock), I did appreciate his insights into the agricultural models and business strategies that his farm adopted in order to survive and eventually make some real profit.
Hands down, this book is a must-read for anyone who plans to have a cut flower garden, either for personal or for commercial use. This book shines the spotlight on a highly misunderstood group of flowers known as hardy annuals, and I am KICKING MYSELF that I didn’t discover this last fall, when I could have fully implemented all the strategies it lists for getting earlier blooms the following year (aka, now). I have literally been referring to this one almost daily over the past month.
This trailer-park-to-Yale memoir was just okay for me. Part of the problem was that I didn’t really know what the author was trying to accomplish by writing about her experiences—was she spinning the story of triumph despite early hardships? Was she trying to showcase her spiritual journey? Was she trying to say that despite the poverty she grew up in, that people are too quick to judge by socioeconomic status? I never really knew. With a tighter editing job (and one that cut out the extreme use of metaphors and similes), this one might have been better for me, but as it was, it just netted two stars. (However, I should note that I’m in the definite minority on this one—most people seem to love it, at least on Goodreads.)
Since I’ve been following the FIRE (financial independence/retire early) community for years, I added this to my TBR a loooooong time ago but just never got around to reading it because I was trying to get my hands on a free copy. However, the kindle version of this went on sale this month, so I just decided to purchase it myself already and see what all the fuss was about. I’m not quite finished yet, but I have definitely liked what I’ve read thus far—it basically summarizes in a very straightforward way the simplest and most effective ways to invest and grow your money, and as he basically wrote this like a (long) letter for his daughter, he makes everything simple enough for anyone to understand. I was already doing a lot of the things he suggested, but I’ll be making some tweaks and taking some strategies a lot further after I finish this.
And that’s a wrap for this month! And by all means—if you have any flower/gardening resources that you love, send them my way! (As well as all your book recs—I may not be reading as much lately, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not still on the lookout!)