Category Archives: A Team

Satisfaction: Life’s Lessons

Organics Admin
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Organics Admin

COO at Aladay LLC
Organic Farmer, Property Preservation Specialist and Custom Glass & Wood Worker. Blogger extraordinaire...
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I remember as a kid when my father would have my brother and I help out in the yard. I don’t know if it was that sibling rivalry thing or just the fact my brother and I wanted to be doing something, anything but pulling weeds in the garden, fixing the fence, planting trees or any of the other seemingly mundane tasks our father had us doing during the summer vacations. However, as I’ve grown older and my brother and I no longer wish to beat each other to a pulp to show off who the better idiot is, we have come to realize that our father is his own way was grooming us for life. You see our father was the…teach a man to fish you feed him for life…kind of guy. Two of the lessons in life my brother and I are very grateful our father taught us was farming and fishing or F&F as I call it.

 

My father grew up on a ranch in Cupertino California. I remember seeing photos of my dad with what I thought were grapefruits, he held one in his hand and there was a wheelbarrow full next to him. I remember asking him once while looking at this photo,

“Daddy is that why you like grapefruits so much?”

He said, “Son those are lemons”

The dang thing was as big as my head. I had never and still have not ever seen a lemon that large. Our father grew up working every day of his life so it was no stretch for him to pass these life skills on to us, we just didn’t realize what he was doing until he was gone! Like him, we would have to be up before the sun to take care of the critters and such prior to heading off to school. There were always chores to do before the homework got started and dinner was ready. Funny how we don’t want to listen to our parents or acknowledge their efforts until it is too late sometimes. What is that cliché? You don’t really know what you have till it’s gone…so true.

I can never forget the feeling I got when I would hear our father brag about some accomplishment my brother or myself and completed. Seemingly little inconsequential things, like how people marveled at the size of the pumpkins we grew, or the unbelievable variety of gourds we had for sale in the fall. I remember how his smile would light up the room when he bragged about something we had done, the sound of his voice when he was asked “Who helped you with that Gary?”, and he replied in his firm authoritative voice “My sons”…

I remember when I entered high school and got to pick elective classes…that was kinda cool, for me always liking the way wood smelled when you worked with it, wood shop was a given. I can still remember rushing home from that first day of class running into the house and asking my father for some extra chores, (you see we could never ask for money, we had to earn it) so I could buy a “shop card” for the class…”Slow down Son” he said. He proceeded to calm me down enough so I could explain how the class had Oak, Walnut, Teak, Ebony and so many other woods I had only read about and how fantastic this class smelled, as it did not smell like any other classroom I had ever been in. He asked me why I wanted this shop card. Well you see the class had this tool I had never seen before called a lathe and I would be able to make all these cool things on it and I figured if I make stuff on this new found tool I had not know existed until that day, I could maybe sell my stuff and have money to take this really pretty girl that sat next to me in art class out, or buy her some yellow roses or just something cool like that.

I had always wondered how table legs got to be round. I always thought that craftsmen carved them. Growing up on the west coast we were not privy to the style of building and craftsmanship one sees in the Midwest and east coast. I had only been able to read about this type of stuff in books and encyclopedia’s. Don’t get me wrong we have some old stuff here. 150 years or so, but I knew that the Midwest and east coast had stuff 250 to 400 years old, that really interested me. So you can imagine my new found enthusiasm over this tool that let me make round things.

“OK, but what’s the deal with the shop card?” he asked..

“Oh”, I said, “Well the shop class has the school buy the woods and we have to buy the wood from the school and the instructor will punch the dollar amount off the card.”

“And just how much is this card?” he questioned me.

“They are ten dollars each” I replied.

Not much by today’s standards but back in 1972 ten bucks was the equivalent of mowing 4 or 5 lawns that week.

“Here is what I’m gonna do” my father said, “I will loan you ten dollars and when you sell your wares you pay me back, OK? No extra work, just pay back the ten dollars.”

Little did I know this was my first business loan…and interest free at that!!!!!! Well, it took me about three weeks of making lamps, salad bowl sets; I even made this pretty groovy looking candelabra for candles of all things, paid back the ten bucks and bought two more shop cards. I made my dad a lamp out of Zebra and Ebony wood. I still can hear his voice when people would say…

“Wow!! Gary that is really far out where’d you get that lamp?”

I still see his shoulders square and his head pop up. As he said in his booming voice so all the world could hear. “My son made that for me, pretty cool huh?”

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Planter in April

Community Roots display 005I remember how cool I felt later in life when he would never let anyone touch his wooden furniture but me. How he would tell people they had no clue as to what a real woodworker was or how they applied their craft and that he knew the best woodworker in the universe. I can “fix you up if you’d like”  he would tell them, never letting on he was talking about me as we all sat around the kitchen table having coffee.

Yesterday I was reminded of these life’s lessons and memories when I saw a planter box we installed back in April. The planter box was one of our higher priced models, the graduated three tiered style. I suddenly got a little flustered, the customer had no clue where my mind was at the time but he was very grateful for the quality workmanship our company provided as he is able take pride in the fact that because of this creative design concept for container farming we came up with he is able to provide fresh vegetables for his family. I felt that same pride with our customer’s feeling of accomplishment and felt that goofy warm and fuzzy feeling I used to get when I would hear my father say…My son did that….

Planter Photographed July 25, 2013
Planter Photographed July 25, 2013

Tomorrow our father would have been 74. He left us far too early. But he did do what good fathers do. He fed me and my brother for life.

Happy birthday dad, we miss you…dad 003

 

Thanks for teaching your children….

 

Until next time…

Happy Gardening

 

 

Photographs: Aaron Aveiro

Summer is Here…Strawberry Time!!!!!

Organics Admin
Follow Me!!

Organics Admin

COO at Aladay LLC
Organic Farmer, Property Preservation Specialist and Custom Glass & Wood Worker. Blogger extraordinaire...
Organics Admin
Follow Me!!

Latest posts by Organics Admin (see all)

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Vrticle Strawberry Planter from AOF

Since summer is upon us I thought I would talk about summers favorite fruit, the strawberry. I know of no one that does not care for Strawberries unless of course there is an allergy involved. What gave me this idea is the fact the most requested type of planter right now is for strawberries. Strawberries are a shallow root type plant so you can get creative with the planters. Since the styles and shapes can be so varied I like to call them “accent” planters, as they can fill a void in your yard, be used to create negative space for displays and other planters, line a walk way, highlight an entry or give life to that vertical space in the corner of you balcony you sit and stare for hours wondering what in the world you can put there to add life in a creative way.

Well Naturally I figured that since I’ll be pitching one of our product line with the article I figured I better scurry of to Wikipedia and gather so information, and I must thank Google and the Food Network site as I grabbed some mouthwatering Strawberry Shortcake photos…when did we get a cartoon character named Strawberry Shortcake???? Anyway as always I got a dose of the Birds and the Bees when I went on my information gathering mission. Seems Strawberry is a misnomer!!!!

 

 

Botanically speaking a strawberry is an aggregate accessory fruit. Yes that is right technically the strawberry in botanical terms is an aggregate accessory fruit, meaning that the fleshy part is derived not from the plant’s ovaries but from the receptacle that holds the ovary. With each apparent “seed” on the outside of the fruit actually being the ovaries….But I ask you do we really care about all those ovaries in our ice cream, milkshakes, on our pancakes, or even in the preserves that Grandma, bless her soul, makes every summer so we have lovin’ on the table all winter??? I damn sure know I don’t. OK…OK enough of the biology of the fruit.

 

While the first mention of a “Strawberry Garden”  was in France, seems that prior to this consumption of strawberries was form wild sources. In fact there are references to strawberries in the 1300’s on ancient Roman literature for medicinal purposes. Seems the French began taking strawberries from the forests and brought them back for King Charles V. It has been recorded that the king had 1200 plants in the royal garden between 1364 and 1380. Records also indicate the entire plant was used to treat depressive illnesses and in the 1400’s European monks used wild strawberries to illuminate manuscripts. The strawberry is also found in Italian, Flemish, German art, and English miniatures.

By the 1500s references of cultivation of the strawberry became more common. People began using it for its supposed medicinal properties and botanists began naming the different species. In England the demand for regular strawberry farming had increased by the mid-1500s. Instructions for growing and harvesting strawberries showed up in writing in 1578. By the end of the 1500s three European species had been cited; F. vescaF. moschata, and F. viridis. The garden strawberry was transplanted from the forests and then the plants would be propagated asexually by cutting off the runners.

Two subspecies of F. vesca were identified; F. sylvestris alba and F. sylvestris semperflorens. The introduction of F. virginiana from Eastern North America to Europe in the 1600s is an important part of history because this species gave rise to the modern strawberry. The new species gradually spread through the continent and did not become completely appreciated until the end of the 18th century. When a French excursion journeyed to Chile in 1712, it introduced the strawberry plant with female flowers that resulted in the common strawberry that we have today.

The Mapuche and Huilliche Indians of Chile cultivated the female strawberry species until 1551 when the Spanish came to conquer the land. In 1765, a European explorer recorded the cultivation of F. chiloensis, the Chilean strawberry. At first introduction to Europe, the plants grew vigorously but produced no fruit. It was discovered in 1766 that the female plants could only be pollinated by plants that produced large fruit; F. moschataF. virginiana, and F. ananassa. This is when the Europeans became aware that plants had the ability to produce male-only or female-only flowers. As more large-fruit producing plants were cultivated the Chilean strawberry slowly decreased in population in Europe, except for around Brest where the Chilean strawberry thrived. The decline of the Chilean strawberry was caused by F. ananassa.

 

 

Ok now that we have our biology and history lessons out of the was a little about care and we’ll move over to the Home Ec class…They still have that in school right??? There are around 200 various pests that will beat up strawberries. The most Common are strawberry thrips, sap beetles, the crown moth, mite aphids, (remember about that creepy looking earwig??? Should you see them hanging around your berries you may want to inspect closer as they do like aphids). Of course there are always the fruitflies, root weevils, moths, and slugs. Remember the type of pest you’ll have are going to be predicated upon the climate and your location. Strawberries can also cquire many desieses also, the majority being various fungi’s. Remember when watering strawberries you want to water the roots not the foliage. This is how many of the molds and fungi’s develop. In addition they can succumb to root rots nematodes, verticillum wilt and red stele.

 

 

 

Should you have extreme cold winters it is always best to cover them with straw in the late fall when the temperatures start getting under 25 degrees on a regular basis. Growing them vertically or overhead in a passive solar design patio roofing system will insure the foliage stays dry. Should you wish to produce strawberries an a larger level, Plastculture growing is a preferred method. Plasticulture is when drip lines are set up and the plants foliage sits atop of visquine. This saves from the use of pesticides as the plastic barrier acts as a weed control device.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Adding a dramatic affect to your entry…

 

 

 

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Creating negative space to make scenes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Plants always add life to an entrance

But for you back yard garden…make sure you plants are watered in well draining soil and feed with some steer manure now and then and you’ll have strawberry margaritas and daiquiris’ all summer long to accompany you and special someone as you watch the sunset….

For information on any of our planters or our other products please email’

Customer_service@aladayllc.com

As always…Happy Gardening