Our new farm sign is up on the barn across the field from the dairy.
The farm signs are carved by folk artist Three Finger Bil, who is one of the first people I met in California. At the time he was the caretaker of Pigeon Point lighthouse, when it was not owned by the state, and spent his days carving furniture and his evenings making music with traveling musicians and the young women traveling along the California coast. Happy days.
This is the first farm sign, with our jumpy goat. TFB keeps the signs simple and arrestingly visual. He made the prototype of our farm goat milk paint and painted the signs. They return to him every few years for a fresh coat.
TFB carves our signs (and furniture) on a Pescadero ranch
This year's signs are painted in the farm paint now on sale in our shop. This one is glossy with a rub of black soap
TFB's studio is crammed with farm projects and prototypes, plus his plants and his ranch cats
I love this sign. You can see that the goats have nibbled the pointing finger as they come out of the milking parlor
TFB's own sign (right) on all the hayloft chairs, with R for Roberto, who helped with the carving
Pet goats Big Boy (one of our most enormous babies) and Armpit are kept men, trained to pull a cart. They are castrated, so that they don't bother the milking goats, but they do have their horns, because goats sweat through their horns. There is no need for the milking goats to keep their horns because they lead a pampered lifestyle on the pasture, but the boys are put to work occasionally. This week they are in the orchard eating the undergrowth.
Big Boy. Sweet-tempered
Armpit and Big Boy are more than a handful - they can easily drag a six-foot man to the ground - and will need shepherding if we are to move them about on the farm as weed-eaters. They will be joined by our six hermaphrodite goats (it's quite common) to make an efficient weeding team in the orchard, once we have a mobile solar-powered fence in there. Goats are greedy, and can eat almost all weeds, so they are perfect for keeping bramble, poison oak and worse under control.
It is my passion to use our farm raw materials in as many creative ways as possible. My long-time friend, folk artist Three Finger Bil, has for a decade painted our carved signs in his own goat milk paint.
Edible flowers, edible paint
This summer we finished perfecting that recipe with Alex Warren of Sinopia in San Francisco. Alex is a pigment hunter, a man whose nose tingles when he sees an unusual shade on a painting, or a wall, anywhere in the world.
Alex Warren sells unusual pigments from his San Francisco shop Sinopia
Alex added natural pigments, new and ancient, and took our farm paint recipe to the point where we can now offer you glorious natural colors in the classic matte of milk paint. It's creamy, velvety rich, and ready to use straight out of the jar, inside or outside your house. And it's so gentle you could eat it.
Alex Warren, who made our Farm Paint
Have a look at the walls and furniture in our new barn shop of dry goods to see our colors. You can shop for farm paint now in our barn, and very soon online.
Designer Karolynne Meyer paints our barn shop in Farm Paint
Our purchase of the fields next to the farm came with a secret garden. We started our farm garden - the garden you see around the hayloft - from scratch. The apple trees and the roses are still young, still not full height. It will grow to have shadows and the deep scent of old plants, but it isn't there yet. On the other hand, we now have a secret garden, a short walk from the farm. There it is very quiet. There are roses reaching high up in the trees, fuchsias sprawling ten feet across, hydrangeas lush among the canopy. The garden was planted twenty years ago by a Pescadero neighbor long gone from town. She edged her borders with rocks that are now covered in moss. Her day lilies, ginger lilies and cannas are vast patches of color. Her box hedges are mature, with that distinctive strong smell of boxwood leaves in the sun. We have cut back some of the canopy and weeded the borders, and this autumn we will add cuttings and new plants. It will be the most exquisite secret garden.