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Abutilon 2

Information and tips about Sweetlife Farm products
Things of interest in the garden
Musings about savoring the sweet life....

A pandemic, political turmoil and social unrest  have forced us to stop, look, and change. This is tough. And long. 

I will never forget a simple thing my friend Hollis once said to me: "when one door closes there is always another one to walk through."  It's up to us to find and walk through those open doors, to fully experience each moment. 

The holidays are approaching. The only year I ever had all my shopping done and presents wrapped before Thanksgiving was the year our daughter was born, on December 5. She is about to have her 40th birthday, she lives across the country, and this will be the first time she will not be home for Christmas. This sucks. 

Recently, the Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Association of Bainbridge launched a "Save our Stores" campaign, to highlight the fragility of our downtown core of businesses without tourists, and to encourage people to shop locally. Sweetlife Farm and other small island businesses sprinkled around Bainbridge are no less vulnerable than our more visible colleagues downtown, without the advantage of location, walkability and organizational marketing campaigns.

Everything we do at Sweetlife-growing ingredients; creating and producing our own products and packaging; developing and maintaining a website; and marketing-is done in house and depends on us. Our challenge is to explore ways to make our business and products relevant, visible and accessible to you.

For more than 20 years Sweetlife has opened its doors to holiday shoppers the first weekend and Saturdays in December. So many people show up that we need people outside to manage parking and lots of extra volunteer helpers inside; many shoppers arrive with lists in hand, and need help carrying their stuff to the car. This year's Covid reality says it won't be safe to be inside, in a crowded room. Here's what we are working on:

GIFTS: AFFORDABLE, LOCAL, PERSONAL, SUSTAINABLE, UNIQUE

    Nothing hits all these buttons better than Sweetlife Farm products!
    Old favorites, new flavors, creative scents, colors and packaging; watch for new products and old products brought back by popular demand 
    All Sweetlife provisions for food, skin and home are as useful as they are interesting, healthful and healthy.
    We have a gift for everyone on the list-and none will break the piggybank!

SHOP EARLY TO BEAT THE CROWDS

    WE SHIP! Order NOW! We are happy ship immediately or schedule a later shipping date of your choice.
    SHOP IN PRIVATE! We are accepting appointments NOW for up to two people at a time to shop safely in our shop. We will ask you to wear masks and wash your hands upon entering. The earlier you shop the easier it will be to choose your day and time, since so many people will still wait until the last minute! Call or send an email to set up an appointment.
    CONTACT FREE PICK UP! Order online and we will set your order outside the shop under cover with your name on it, to pick up at your convenience.
    We have lots of product ready NOW for shoppers who think ahead. Shopping early offers time to make carefully personalized gift decisions and removes last minute stress.
    We love creating personalized gift boxes, and have made it simple to ADD GIFT PACKAGING to your order. We take the time to create a gift that is a joy to receive and a delight to discover, with little touches such as a charming handmade gift card, recipes to go with the products, description of the ingredients used in our skincare products, and even extra little decorative treats and treasures.
    EARLY shopping ensures the best selection and even allows us to replenish some popular items.

You can read the latest newsletter on the Sweetlife Facebook page about our efforts to make your holiday shopping a breeze.  If you didn't get a personal email of our newsletter, you can sign up at the bottom of any page on this site. 

      We are in this together with you!

Summer finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest. Temperatures have gotten up to 75, and yesterday we broke 80 degrees. It is not well known by those who live elsewhere that in fact it seldom rains here from mid-July through September.  Say what you will about the rainy PNW--I'll take mild temperatures and rainy seasons over heat and humidity! 

garlic harvest 2020

 

 Garlic Bonanza! 

This year's garlic is special. Not sure why, but it's our biggest and prettiest garlic ever.
I highly recommend  the variety called Music, a hardneck porcelain variety with excellent flavor and keeping qualities. For once, I harvested at the proper time, instead of waiting too long and allowinging the heads over ripen and split open.

 

 

Mama song sparrow 78

Berries Galore! 



We are enjoying a bumper crop of berries. Bob picks and makes jam daily, since our three freezers are already filled to capacity. We don't eat many desserts, but I have already made three berry crisps this year!  Try this super-quick delicious recipe.

babies 7520The berry patch is usually home to at least one nest of song sparrows, and we delight in watching the progress from build-out to fledge time for nestlings. This year was no exception, but sadly, the three baby sparrows became dinner for a fly-over predator this year. 

 

 

 

 

 

rosemary rhubarb jam

Rosemary Rhubarb Jam

rosemary rhubarb english muffin

You might be interested in our newest jam offering: Rosemary Rhubarb. The flavor profile is at once tart, sweet, fragrant, fruity and herbal. The test batch was shared to rave reviews; a friend added some to a vinaigrette dressing served with a spinach and fresh strawberry salad. Yum. It's amazing slathered on a friend's homemade English muffins (Covid-19 definitely brings some welcome rewards-thanks Karen!!). Breakfast outside. Yea for summer!

 

 

 

slug animation

 

Slug and Deer Invasion


Deer have mowed down entire swaths of plants they have never touched in previous years, even though we generously offer them entire grassy fields around the gardens to munch to their hearts' content. They usally keep their distance during the day, but take over the place at night. 

At times the slugs feel like something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie, crawling in squadrons and platoons across grassy areas and gravel paths and even over copper mesh to consume an entire tomato or sunflower plant overnight. We put out Sluggo, a food-and-pet-safe slug bait, but they like tender greens more than the bait, which is also an expensive proposition in a garden area the size of ours.

Spankytrilliumwalk2013Spanky and I make early morning and evening rounds; Spanky serves as lookout, pointing out overlooked slugs and chasing the deer out of the garden wlile I slay slugs with scissors in one hand and a spray bottle of 1:4 amonia and water in the other. The amonia water kills the slugs but is a mild fertizer to the plants.

The scissors cut them in half, and the spray bottle of amonia water allows me to squirt others from a short distance without stepping over plants. I discovered slugs like "beer traps" filled with a little yeast and sugar stirred into  water in place of beer, and placed in strategic locations. It's better than wasting the beer....the other evening there were 6 slugs lined up to drink and drown in the concoction not 10 minutes after I put it a trap in place. 


Life at Sweetlife Farm is not always easy but it's still pretty sweet.....