Changing Seasons and more product development
Well I completely missed a September blog entry, and although I know I have dozens of excuses lined up, all I can really say is that I must have been saving everything up for a killer fall entry today!!
The kids are all back in school with a few new beginnings hitting our house this year – first year of kindergarten for one and first year of highschool for another. There has to be a better way to word that as I really hope this isn’t the first year of multiple years of kindergarten…although isn’t there a book in which the title implies that’s the only grade that matters…?
I’ve been having some fun with having a kid in highschool...perhaps to mask the absolute fear I have of having a kid in highschool…and as a result of this fun she has only let me drive her to school twice so far, and she really works hard at preventing the long drawn out and public goodbyes that I attempt in the school drop off zone, but I think I will win her over when she sees the t-shirt I’ve had made with her picture on it, showing my absolute pride in parenthood!
Just as it has been for the past 15 years, we closed off the summer with our annual Labour day BBQ and thanks to the generosity of all in attendance we were able to fill the back of the truck with foodbank donations. We had decided to make this year the last for this spectacular and crazy event; and although I have slight moments of reconsideration from time to time, I think we have closed that chapter of our story, and will look to refocus some of that energy on some sort of new beginning…of course plans might change throughout the year, so one can never be sure of the finality of everything in life.
This past month we have also been able to create some additional awareness of what we will be offering next spring, and Allyson created 2 separate baskets of product that went to auction at a couple of fundraisers.
The reception both baskets received really showed that we need to ramp up product development, and get things moving. It seems the world (or at least our little world) is ready for Sunshine Coast Lavender.
With product development in mind, and really feeling the need to bring a splash of masculinity to Sunshine Coast Lavender, I pushed forward with creating my own little product line, and have started to produce shaving brushes that will accompany our shave soap currently under development in the men’s product line.
If you have never turned wood on a lathe I suggest you give it a shot…even once…as the process is nothing short of therapeutic. The hardest part that I have discovered right off the bat, is the practising of restraint, as it is easy to get carried away and have a simple design end up with much more detail than intended…it’s also easy to have a piece quickly be turned down in size so it is no longer useful.
As you can see in the photo I’ve been experimenting with different styles, different woods, and different finishes. I even have 2 pieces that I was able to try the Japanese art of Kintsugi (or at least try something inspired by the art), when I had two pieces that developed significant checking (that apparently is when the wood splits).
I’m looking forward to spending the winter experimenting further, and honing my skills, and the thought of briefly closing the world out while I transform a piece of wood into another object is very comforting in its own right.
Earlier above I mentioned auctions (remember the baskets of product Allyson created), well we also experienced an auction of another sort just recently.
We were fairly certain Lucky, the lone buck goat, did his job and sewed his oats throughout the herd – of course our intention and hope was for him to limit his oat sewing to only certain ladies in our herd, but apparently wishing and hoping isn’t the best form of contraception when it comes to a randy buck and equally frisky does, and as such it quite possible we are now blessed with 5 pregnant females out in the barn…this spring will most definitely have some fun blog entries I’m sure…Anyway I mentioned an auction…
After being confident that Lucky had in fact been lucky, and growing tired of his bucky stink and jerky attitude, we decided it was time to put him up for sale. We had ads listed on both facebook and craigslist that generated a little interest but it seems selling a goat brings out the tire (or hoof) kickers, and not as many people are as serious as you would think…and with that Lucky went to auction.
I didn’t get to attend myself, as I had other farm chores to attend to, like mowing lawns and sampling beer at the Downtown Business Associations 3rd annual Oktoberfest in Sechelt, but I understand that a livestock auction was a very interesting event for the kids and Allyson to experience, and turned out to be more profitable than a private sale as Lucky ended up going for $40 more than our advertised price locally – the only drawback being that middle child was extremely upset that she didn’t get to see who purchased him…something she made everyone aware of for the ride home I gather.
With the arrival of spring we also experienced the processing of our first meat bird…oh yeah we have 5 chickens being raised strictly for meat in case I failed to mention it in an earlier blog.
The kids didn’t partake in this event, as it was our first, although they each came out to have a look and no one seems too negatively phased…well no one other than the rooster that now resides in our freezer. I guess at this stage of life it’s more accurate to call him a roaster…oh and you thought I couldn’t slide a good old dad pun into this entry.
Now we have one under our belt, next weekend we will likely process the remaining meat birds…maybe I’ll share some pictures in the next entry, although the photos I sent my sister during our inaugural processing session didn’t seem overly well received.
Tonight we had a fantastic dinner of roast pork, with the roast being part of our pork order that we picked up this weekend from our friends and local pork producers Carey and Stacey over at Rumba Farms.
There really is nothing finer, or more satisfying, than sitting down to a feast of locally produced product, especially when the product is as succulent and delicious as this was…the added bonus is the satisfying feeling of knowing you are supporting a local farmer, and that brings me to my final thoughts for the evening…thoughts of both the positive and negative persuasions when it comes to community.
Early this week a good friend, and fellow local agriculturally minded individual captured some photos and video of something that would have previously been unfathomable in our local area…a Grizzly bear feasting on some apples on a nearby property.
For those that are perhaps unaware, Grizzly bears have never (at least in my lifetime or the lifetime of stories I have heard) been native to our community, and so this event was both awe inspiring, and a little concerning as it was out of the comfort zone for ourselves and many in the area…maybe especially for those of us that had just processed a chicken in our driveway that same day.
So where do my positive and negative thoughts come into play with these events?
The positive is because I personally love the circumstances we are fortunate enough to enjoy. The ability to purchase and consume meat raised by people we know and respect; the relationship we have other likeminded folks that create a sense of community; and the ability to share experiences, and moments of caution, such as the great West Sechelt Grizzly incident of 2016…unfortunately it is some of those same experiences that gave birth to the feelings of negativity as well.
After her sharing of the grizzly video, our friend was the target of numerous social media and private message criticisms…some of which were in fact so rude and abusive that I wanted to go on a social justice crusade of my own…and maybe I did a little with some of my online responses. Of course in doing so I realize I was acting in a manner that was contrary to what I was rallying against…social media has created an environment that seems to have told us that just because we have an opinion we must share it…even if that opinion is unfounded, uninformed, or contributes nothing to society other than compounding negativity, for no productive reason other than to have our own voice heard.
The part that has me so bent that I felt the need to comment on it again tonight, is that this individual did nothing more than post a video out of concern and warning for her fellow humans and community members, yet in return she received the cancerous and vile spewings of the less or uninformed, in some cases from people that probably couldn’t even point to our community on a map.
Not a great commentary on today’s society, and the shrinking world side of social media…even though this shrinking of worlds can be a great thing in so many respects…after all could you imagine how cumbersome it would be for me to send each and everyone one of you a hand written letter with all the wisdom you have gained this evening?
Anyway…that is enough of that…and its tie for me to sign off before a turn this into a rant of the ages…thank god for the calming and soothing effects of lavender!! ;-)