Archive for May 2013

Monday, May 20, 2013

Extreme Home Makeover - Parade Edition


I just LOVE a parade!  There is nothing like the childhood memory of watching fantastic floats and rhythmic marching bands stream down main street in a joyful ribbon of colour.  They mark the beginning of summer and herald the end of another school year for excited children everywhere.  Small town Parades are best, of course, when you get to sit on the edge of the sidewalk and wait for candy to be thrown to the asphalt at your feet.

Ah, the sugar highs that ensued!  Those were the days.

Last year, our Parade float was a little understated due to lack of man power and funding.


However, once things died down last Summer, my daughter got her main squeeze to start creating something with a little more presence for the next parade.  Something eye catching and hard to miss.  He really came through for us with this fabulous little house on wheels.


This year we decided that we needed give our house a new look.  The marketing crew felt that an Extreme Home Makeover was in order and when they get an idea in their head, they always come up with something amazing.

The big reveal shows what just a change in siding can do to change the appearance of any structure.


Of course, being that we still have lots of Spring flowers available in the the greenhouse, we were able to pump up the volume on the FLORAL side of things too.


Now, seeing as My Little Angel is just 2 weeks away from giving birth to Wee THREE, we thought it was critical to ensure she did not attempt to WALK the entire parade this year so I had my handy Mr. Fix It install 2 chairs especially for her.


The final touches were added at the last second to make our 2013 Milner Village Garden Float into the cutest little house on wheels!


Our first gig was the Cloverdale Rodeo Parade.  We knew that we would need a little more presence than just our adorable little cottage so we roped in a whole bunch of extra helpers to ensure we would make an even bigger statement.


Just a few phone calls later.....


one to a friend who was holding a sleepover with a gaggle of excited girls......


and we suddenly had ourselves an entire DRILL TEAM practicing their routine in the rain!



I even managed to rope in the Big Guy to drive our float since I am not known for stellar road skills. I would be liable to take out a few bystanders based on my previous record in the greenhouse.   I was amazed when he agreed to help out, seeing as this is one of the BUSIEST weekends in the year for us greenhouse people.

I am totally positive that THIS was NOT what he had in mind when he bought this green pulling machine last year.


It's normally used to pull carts around in the greenhouse.


I am totally SHOCKED they let us use it for a few hours.


It was the perfect perch for Wee Two to enjoy the excitement however.....


he did try to escape a few times during the ride.

We decided that we would hand out Double Bubble Gum to go with our pink theme this year.


and let me tell you, this bucket was VERY heavy!  I have a giant bruise on my left carrying arm from toting it for 30 blocks.  I used my free right hand to toss gum at unsuspecting kids who ended up getting hit in the head or digging for their treasure in puddles and grassy medians.


Every once in a while I hit a bulls eye and the gum landed directly in someone's lap!  How much fun is that?!

Discussing the correct gum tossing procedure before the Parade starts.

The entire thing only took a few hours, what with all the waiting....


and the walking.....


and the eating going on.


I have to admit, I was a tiny bit worried that My Little Angel might just go into labor while we were driving down main street Cloverdale but.....


my worries were baseless.  She is still pregnant with a few less hours to go till her due date.

This morning, Monday morning, we did the WHOLE thing OVER again in Fort Langley!


We collected a NEW crew of helpers along with a few repeats and started the drill anew.

Pink Party Peeps - CHECK


Peppy Pappy - CHECK

Parade Paraphenalia - CHECK


But WAIT.......where is Wee TWO?!  In a daring prison break out, he escaped the hive while Gramma had her back turned and the next thing you know he was off schmoozing with the next float up!


"But GRAMMA!  They have BALLOONS!"


Not to be out done, the Davis' family who have farmed in the Milner area for over 100 years, were all decked out in MOO-fab fashion.  We just HAD to check out the live baby calves they had on their float!


In the end, we might not have won any prizes with our entry but we sure had a ton of fun!  Thanks to all the kids that came to help out and the Mom's and Dad's who delivered them to our door.


Thanks Uncle Henry.....


Thanks Belinda.....


Thanks Lydia.....


and Wee One....


and Wee Two.....


I know it's not always easy being related to a farmer but we really do APPRECIATE all your help!

And most importantly, I just have to give a special shout out to the Big Guy who has really been very patient with his little old WIFE, hanging signs for her.....


driving parade floats for her......


all the while thinking "Is this woman NUTS?!"

I LOVE you Hunny Bunny!  I count my blessings every time you put up with yet another crazy scheme of mine :)

SO......what shall we do NEXT YEAR Lydia?!  You got any good ideas?


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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Perfect Storm

Last week in the greenhouse

Have you ever wondered what it was like in a greenhouse during Spring rush?  Do you imagine happy workers smiling and laughing, taking time to enjoy the beauty of the season?  Perhaps you are vaguely cognizant of the fact that it gets a little busy right around Mother's Day.........

This week in the greenhouse

Well, let me tell you, blogger peeps, life in the greenhouse a week before Mother's Day is NOTHING like you could ever imagine!


Once the rush begins, Semi-trucks are being loaded day and night.  Logistical challenges reign supreme from broken down tail gates to trucks in the ditch.  Routing loads from here to Manitoba is no small feat and definitely not to be undertaken by the faint of heart.  Our man in the hot seat, Jimbo, has to keep his wits about him at all times to ensure that the Timbuktu order does not somehow mysteriously make it's way down to Portland, Oregon.


Junior and Jimbo enjoy a moment of calm before the storm

Every morning orders pour in on our iPhones and the days craziness begins.  This year has been EXCEPTIONALLY busy due to a number of different factors.  Personally I think that the increase in demand is directly related to my stellar television interview from a few weeks ago however, not everyone is convinced.  It probably has something more to do with the fact that for the FIRST TIME EVER the weather has been beautiful in every Western Canadian province for the week of Mother's Day, causing sheer pandemonium in the market place.  We are calling this phenomenon "The Perfect Storm".

I sure hope this trend keeps going till the end of May!

This year, Junior is our main man on the ground.  He is fielding all the calls.  He is directing traffic.  He is managing the issues.  Dealing with missed deadlines, rallying the troops, ordering dinner, and loading trucks is a never ending challenge.  The thing that makes me most proud is how he ENCOURAGES the team.  From late night cheese stuffed pizza runs to all night planting sessions, he is the man for the job.  First one in and last one out.


Sometimes, he doesn't even LEAVE!



Now, I don't want to give you the impression that my baby boy is the only man getting things done around here because that would not at all be true.  Nope.  We have a DREAM TEAM here at Darvonda that just can't be beat.

Please let me introduce you to our management crew.

There is Peter, our newest convert to the cult of Darvonda.....




Rob.....



Lynda......




Randell.....


Ben.....
(He may not be management yet but I see good things in his future!)

and Byron......


SLEEP was something you only caught in short bursts last week.

PIZZA, on the other hand, was something we all probably had waaaaay too much of in the past 7 days!


Now, before you go and get the wrong impression that only the MANAGEMENT TEAM worked long hours, let me assure you that they had an even more DEDICATED group of people working for them.....

Dinner time and then back for 8 or 10 more gruelling hours of production!
Working past midnight and starting again at 7:30 was the norm.

What did we do for that many hours of the day?!

We planted up amazing planters like this.....


and THIS....



We picked 100's of carts of hanging baskets......


and annuals.....


packed them into trucks....


shipped them off to a store near you....


and you came in droves to buy, buy, buy!


By the next day, the shelves were wiped clean....


and then we started the whole process over again!

You can imagine that in a single day of business, we go through a lot of plants and serve a lot of people.  It is so much work that it becomes a little overwhelming on every level.  We struggle just to keep the toilets clean. We have so many people working here that the toilet paper runs out after our first coffee break these days.

And the GARBAGE?!!


I don't even want to talk about it.  Let's just hope we don't have any wind storms in Milner for the next couple of weeks or we will be chasing down empty plastic pots as well.

So, now that we got Mother's Day week out of the way, all we have to do is stick it out for the LONG WEEKEND RUSH.  Then we will be golden!

But first.....


we will catch a few ZZZZZ's where ever we can.



We are ALL really bushed!





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