Hey everyone! The kids and I managed a small harvest this year and we sold out almost as soon as I posted it. While I was unsure I had it in me and was committed to NOT doing it- I am glad I did a berry harvest this year anyway. Having a motorized destemmer was a game changer that made it possible this year. In the past, the kids and I were manually destemming using bins and dehydrator racks to pull berries off the cymes. While this is doable for an acre, it was not possible once we added the second acre. The addition of the destemmer was a real blessing as we expand and we can thank every one of you who made a purchase from our farm in the last 12 months for making that possible.
Post-harvest we have been taking a much-needed break. As I wrap up the last few orders to go out, I wanted to let you know that I have deleted social media from my phone. Honestly, as soon as I did this it felt like a huge weight off of my shoulders. This allows me to be more present, focused, and invested in the things that matter the most around me. This also means I am not checking my socials more than weekly at best. I have a plan to create a community for us outside of social media because know I am not the only one wanting to do this. What holds many of us back as businesses is the question of how we stay in touch, learn, and grow apart from social media platforms. I am working on that solution. But this was the first step. The world is going through some incredible changes. Every day it feels like the de-evolution of the human race. Like we are on an uncontrolled flight downhill in an old wagon and the wheels are slipping off, there's no steering, and the rusty bottom is starting to give way as we haphazardly careen down the hill. It's not that I want to bury my head in the sand, but I want to stay focused on what I can do around me for my family.
Reflecting on the past year.
As many of you know, this past year has been very difficult for me; with the loss of both my parents, their overwhelming state of personal affairs and property, both our cats passed away, my old guy Mr. Cooper passed away, keeping up with homeschooling, managing my own farm and business, working part-time, and trying to feel like I am keeping it together when I am just struggling to keep my head above water in a lot of ways. It's not a poor me post, but just an "I am overwhelmed" post. This is a season in all of our lives and nothing I mentioned is unique to me, but it is my reality right now. Like any season, I know that this too shall pass. I just have to catch my breath. I see the sun setting on 2023, and for the first time in my life, I am looking forward to the sunrise in 2024- praying it will be a better year.
I have so many large projects here on the farm that need to be done; irrigation, commercial processing space upgrade, and so many more things that all require money. I wish I had the ability to build the things and figure out the things- and maybe I do to some degree, but I lack the time and frankly, the energy to figure them out right now. I need help. I have to outsource for help, and that requires funds.
In order to get closer to those goals whilst keeping some small measure of my sanity, I have taken on a new job, one that allows me to use my training and skills. One that allows me to work part-time for considerably more money than I am right now. So as I step back a bit and prioritize a bit, just know I am still here. I am still working behind the scenes. I will do my best to post more as my schedule allows. Not having personal social media allows me more time to do the things that matter.
What does the coming year look like?
Well for starters let's discuss the things already on the books: I will be teaching at The Survival University in Colorado again this summer. I think it's going to be my 5th year! Wow. I love it there and it's the highlight of my entire year. The kids and I enjoy the drive from Oregon to Colorado and back so much. I hope to see you there for an herbalism class, a plant walk, or a weekend packbasket-making class. My time at camp is where I put my feet up and enjoy the beauty of the remote location, see people that I adore, and breathe the most amazing fresh mountain air- falling asleep to the sounds of coyotes at night. I get to meet a diverse group of individuals all brought together because they want to know more about herbalism or craft a useful pack. They want to enjoy a sense of community while learning a skill. I can't say enough about not only my classes but of all the classes they offer through The Survival University. They're already starting to load up my classes for registration if you would like to take a look, maybe I will see you there this year! www.thesurvivaluniversity.com.
It's my goal to get the irrigation installed in both fields. This requires a lot of posts, rebar, orchard wire, a filter and pump, mainlines, permits, and all the things that go with that for an orchard. I lost a lot of plants the year before when my neighbor's horses got out, then more that summer when we had a drought, and then again more this summer with the high temps. I need to get the rows filled in with more cuttings.
Exciting news I know many of you have been waiting for. 2024 will see the relaunch of ApotheBox to some degree. If you don't know what that is, in 2016 I started an herbal learning box for building your home apothecary. It grew fast and furious at a time when I was still getting my footing with the twins. I took a step back and put it on the back burner. But since we launched, we've been copied numerous times- but nobody does it like we do! We grow an ever-increasing amount of herbs on the farm. This means the quality and sustainability of our boxes cannot be beaten. You can expect to see some exciting upgrades with these herbal learning kits as well once we roll them back out. We will still have our trademark recipe cards, teas, inspiration, herbal monographs, seeds / cuttings, herbs, and supplies- but we also have a few new things in the works. This break from the boxes for the last few years allowed me to establish my elderberries, and create spaces for more more herbs to be farmed. It's time to bring them back out and let them shine again.
So to wrap things up; less social media, more connecting to our communities, and don't be afraid to circle those wagons. It's okay to put your priorities on yourself and your family more. So let's stay in touch and be committed together to making 2024 a better year.
I would love to hear your thoughts on moving forward as we look ahead to 2024...