You know the debate…. “Glass half full…. Glass half empty…??”

There’s a lot of talk these days about … well, EVERYTHING really!!

Right off the top, let’s get one thing straight:  We’re NOT candy-coating anything or standing around with our heads in the proverbial sand.  We KNOW that a lot of people are in a really tough spot right now, for a multitude of different reasons…and this ‘new normal’ is difficult in SOME way for every single one of us.

At the same time….

There’s a lot of good in the world.

As a family, we have been consciously working on taking our thoughts captive and choosing to see the good in things, as the sign suggests.   Not gonna lie….some days it’s a lot easier than others!!

 

It’s one thing to ‘think’ good thoughts, but what do we do with them then?

I have a confession.

Often, that’s where it stops for me.  I have all of these good thoughts about things, situations, the people in my life…. and I just let them ramble around in my head and never go anywhere!

Imagine if I were to SPEAK those thoughts to those people, as a word of encouragement – or a compliment?

What a difference it would make…

…in someone’s day

…to their outlook on life

…for their business!!

 

So, I’ve set myself a challenge – to start doing just that.

In fact, I’ve already begun!  Earlier today, I took a couple of minutes and posted a Google 5-Star review of a local business.  (See it HERE if you’re curious…) It’s so easy.  Why don’t I do that more often?

Why don’t any of us do it more often?

Ok, just a minute.  Hold the phone!! 

This is NOT the Miller’s asking you to scoot over and post a glowing review of Miller’s Bay Farm…

NOT

AT

ALL!

(Please know that we FULLY appreciate those reviews that you’ve already put up, but that’s not what this is about.)

Here’s the thing.

  • Most of us could list several businesses whose products or services we love and appreciate.

 

  • Many of those businesses are having a tough go of it right now – either because they’ve had to close…or DRASTICALLY alter the way that they operate, for the time being.

 

  • Many of us find ourselves with some extra time on our hands right now….and truly – is scrolling through Facebook and Instagram for ANOTHER 30 minutes REALLY to anyone’s benefit?? (NOT judging here….I have spent more time at this lately than I’d even like to consider!!)

 

  • And did you know…that up to 90% of customers read online reviews before making a purchasing decision?  Reviews matter!

 

So…WHAT IF…. each one of us, each day, for just a few days – maybe a week – took the time to post a review of one of our personal favourites?  When you added them up, that would be a whole plethora of positivity!!!

Oh man,   I’m getting pumped just thinking about it!!!

Could we do that?

Would you join us?

Just tell the world what you think!  Share how that business, or their product, or a member of their team has solved a particular problem for you.  Or let us know why you are a ‘customer for life’ at a particular spot.  Think about what you would want to know if you were looking for that product or service…and then answer those questions for the reader!

(Google reviews are great, because they are most visible when someone searches for a business or service.  Of course there are also Facebook recommendations, TripAdvisor reviews – depending on the type of business, and many others too. )

If you need a little help navigating the HOW of getting your review online, just ask!  We’re no experts, but we’d be glad to give you some pointers or walk you through your first one.

And if that just seems like it’s going to take too much and you’re already mentally exhausted…never underestimate the power of a quick email, phone call, or handwritten note to tell somebody that you appreciate them.

However you want to – Just Say It!

We’re pretty sure that nobody has ever regretted passing along a kind word!

 

 

Rewind…14 years…

Does your mind work like mine?

It’s kind of like Facebook…but I had it going on LONG before Facebook thought of it!!

The “On This Day” memory is one that my mind seems to be able to spring on me quite regularly.  Maybe it’s because of the seasonal weather patterns…I don’t know.  I’m certainly no psychology major!

I just know that I love it when it DOES happen.

Today, we’re going back to 2006.  

Miller’s Bay Farm – and the Miller family – looked quite different then…

Lauren in barn with cattle

“Little Lauren” with one of our favourites, ‘Cutie’.

We had a barn full of milking cattle, two other barns housing our replacement heifers (milk cows to be…) and a beef herd – who would have been in the midst of calving season.  Besides that, it was maple syrup time…just a typical spring.

In terms of family, we were in “that phase” of parenting.

You know the one.

The one that when people who are 10+  years ‘ahead’ of you survey your young brood – with a certain amount of pity (and maybe a hint of smugness??), they smile knowingly and say something like, “Well, well, you’re BUSY, aren’t you?”

I suppose we were…but it was all good!

There was Lauren, in the photo above.  She would have been about 3 and a half.  Kendall was likely sitting quietly somewhere off to the side in his stroller, taking everything in.  He was 19 months at this point.

And Tyler was getting set to make  his appearance in less than 2 weeks!

The excitement of the day though, and the reason for the vivid memory, etched in my mind is this photo…..

 

Lauren ready to host our guests

Lauren, the ‘hostess’ …all ready for company!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now as you might guess, a table full of coffee and snacks is NOT a regular occurrence in a dairy barn.

On this particular day in March of 2006 we were all ready to host the local ‘Holstein Club Car Tour’.

Yes, that IS a thing!

(As you can see, somebody was quite excited about the whole idea!!)

A car tour (in the farming world) is a chance for your farming colleagues and neighbours to hop in their cars (more often trucks though…not sure why it’s labelled a ‘car’ tour…) and visit a handful of pre-arranged stops within a certain county.

It’s a multi-purpose event, really.

It’s a chance to see how others have things set up; how a certain piece of machinery, a style of construction, a different milking or feeding system, works ‘in the real world’ rather than at a trade show or farm show when ‘sales’ are the main objective.

It’s also a chance to check out the herd themselves…which genetics are (or aren’t!) working for whom.  Farmers are generally pretty open to share among themselves, actually, about their successes AND failures.  (Refreshing, I know!)

There is lots of ‘comparing notes’, ‘question and answer’ and usually plenty of encouragement too.  In a business where your ‘day-to-day’ can become fairly ‘routine’, and often quite ‘solitary’, the encouragement piece is pretty significant!

And of course, we can’t forget the food!  It’s basically a progressive dinner consisting mainly of cookies, donuts, squares, coffee and the occasional fruit, veggie or sandwich tray.

Because … well…. we all know that food brings people together… EVEN while standing around in a barn!!

So, that was our life ‘on this day’ way back in 2006!  

What were you doing?

Funny how life goes…little did we know then, that in less than 6 months time, we would finish our final milking in that old barn!

Wonder what things will look like 14 years from today…

 

 

It Starts Here.

Hey Folks,

It’s Shannon.  You may find this post to be a little more reflective than some of our posts, AND it really has nothing at all to do with Miller’s Bay Farm, or farming in general.  It has more to do with being human…and our own individual responses to this place in which we have suddenly found ourselves. 🙂

If you don’t feel like reading it, that’s ok.  It IS a long one…but then… it’s not like any of us have anywhere to be right now…

I just know that I’ve found myself aimlessly scrolling through my Facebook feed WAY more than I’d like to admit over these past few days…and honestly, for the most part – I’m no better off than when I started.

Yesterday (Friday, March 13th) I was in a funk.

I knew it.

My family knew it.

Probably even our dogs knew it.

Why? 

Well, I think I know that too.

 

This is ‘my corner’.

 

It’s nothing fancy…some candles, a lamp, a super-comfy old chair, my Bible, journal, pens… you get the idea.

I usually spend a little time there each morning – alone –  reading, journaling, reflecting, often praying.

Yesterday I did not.  And it showed.  All day.

 

You see, here’s the thing about me:

I crave certainty.

I find comfort in routines.

I love the predictable.

Lists…plans….schedules…I’m all over them – to a fault.
In the absence of those things, I am prone to feeling a bit lost, lacking purpose.

Sometimes, when my mind is not locked on a task, it can begin to wander…and wander it will!  Those wanderings can often lead to the weedy territory known as worry.

That’s not a nice place.  That’s not a helpful place.

Just like a dog that’s followed a scent in the wrong direction and needs to be beckoned back to its master, it’s at those times I need to be intentional about the path that my mind is on … being sure to ‘take every thought captive’ .

Because…

Right now, not much is certain.

‘Normal’ routines are irrelevant.  (Oh we’re making some new ones…just ask the kiddos!!   I’m not sure everyone is as pleased with them as I am, but in the interest of sanity….there they are!)  

And the only thing that’s predictable, is that things in our world are changing hour by hour!

So today, I started the day in ‘my corner’.  As always, it was time well spent.

I was reminded of a few things… I’ll share them with you, just in case you’ve been a bit distracted too, and haven’t made it to ‘your corner’ (whatever that looks like for you) in a little while.

  • Worrying won’t make anything better. 
    Plus…most of what my mind conjures up never ends up happening anyway!!
    (Do you know … I mentioned the Bible earlier in this post… throughout those pages, we are instructed not to worry 365 times?!?  Talk about making sure we get the message!!)

 

 

  • I can choose joy.
    …to have it for myself…AND to share it with others.

    Choose Joy Quote

 

 

  • I am not the boss of this (or of much)!!
    …and because I’m not (y’all can be very thankful for THAT one!!) …it’s all going to work out EXACTLY according to plan. 
Everything is going to be OK

 

So where do we go from here…in the meantime…while we wait?

Well, I will be the LAST person to start spouting off advice.  (Seems like there’s PLENTY of that already going around.)  We’re not going to discuss hand-washing, grocery store pandemonium, self-quarantine, or any of the rest of it.

What we ARE going to do is intentionally seek out the good, the encouraging, the normal (even mundane) stuff, to remind ourselves that we are all in community (albeit from a distance…) and that ‘this too, shall pass’.

Then, we’re going to share it with you…mostly on our Facebook page, subsequent blog posts, and maybe the occasional email to our Farm Fresh Family.

…Recipes…Quotes…Inspiring stuff…Silly stuff…Little-known facts…

…and we hope that whatever ‘starts here’ will be a wave of encouragement that spreads far and wide…

Who KNOWS what we’ll find!!
It should be fun.  Join us whenever you feel like you need a break from ‘the rest of it’. !

Be well, and please know that we are thinking of you…now and always.

Shannon

 

Just a little side note…

…before you go…we wanted to mention that we’re going to take a break from ‘selling’ you anything for a couple of weeks.  We’ll leave our on-line registration for the Bountiful Baskets open, but you’ve got other concerns these days.
It just doesn’t seem like a priority right now.
There’s plenty of time for that later, when everything settles down. 

 

 

 

 

She Did It!!

We are really excited for her!

We are so proud of her!

We think she’s just amazing!

….. and she’s not even ours!!

WELL – she is…kind of…

You know them, and you love them too!  Each summer, we are blessed with a pretty incredible team of Freshness Fanatics who are the face of Miller’s Bay Farm to the world.

This is a ‘first job’ for many.  We consider it an honour to start these enthusiastic young people off on their journey into the world of work.  And to be completely honest…we usually learn as much from them as they do from us along the way!

Do you ever wonder where they soar off to once they leave us?
It is pretty neat to keep track of ‘our kids’ and their adventures…and after 20 years of summers…as you might imagine, there are quite a few ‘adventures’ to hear about!!

This post is about one such adventure…

The year was 2013.

A lovely young woman by the name of Erin MacDonald dropped by ‘just to see if we were needing any help at the stand.’

 

(We didn’t do a very good job of getting photos way back then…so I stole this one from her Linkedin profile…hope you don’t mind, Erin!)

 

 

 

The rest – they say – is history.  Erin worked with us for a couple of years, and then she was off to the University of Guelph (an excellent choice of school, if I DO say so myself!) for a Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management degree.

Of course…she ‘nailed it.’
(And I don’t mean in the way that the Netflix series means it.  I mean she really DID Nail It!!)

After graduation….some pretty cool work experiences…and then Baking and Pastry Arts, to really round out her skill set…

We arrive at 2020….and the source of our excitement, pride and awe…as we touched on in the opening lines of this blog.

As of just last week, Erin has realized her dream.

 

The newest cafe in town.  Harvest Social !! 

 

It’s located in the Davidson Courtyard Shops, on Russell Street West, and it’s WONDERFUL!!

Don’t take our word for it though…. go check it out for yourself, say ‘hi’ to Erin and share a memory from her “Miller’s Bay Farm” days when you’re there!! 

Bon Appetit!

 

Here’s an idea…

Are you already thinking about green grass???

….and FRESH, tasty strawberries and vegetables…you know – like the ones you don’t find in many stores right now?

Yeah…us too!

More specifically though, we are brainstorming about how to make it super-EASY – in the midst of your fun-filled, crazy-busy summer for you  to get the ‘fruits of our labours’ into your home and onto your family’s table… WHILE keeping things rolling along here at the farm…and in our family life too…

On that note…we wanted to let you know that we are considering some alterations to our popular Bountiful Basket Program.  (What’s that you ask?  Read about how it generally works here.)

Due to a number of factors, there is a very good chance that we will be returning to our original model of Farm pick up only for the program this year.

THAT brings us to the ‘Question of the Day’ for today:

What if….we offered HOME DELIVERY of our Bountiful Baskets? 

What do YOU think? 

(….before you reply….please read ALL the way to the end….)

Hold on now….we are ONLY in the brainstorming stage of this… but we’ve got to start somewhere.

Of course it would have to be only within a defined geographical area and there would be an additional cost over-and-above farm pickup….and who knows what other parameters would be included…

We’ll be rolling out the re-vamped program in the coming few weeks.  (Don’t worry, it’s going to be GREAT!!) 

We promise to KEEP the features that you love most…the surprises, the Bountiful Basket Bulletin, the sharing table…

AND…we have some exciting ideas to ADD that will make it even more worthwhile to be a part of it in 2020…like maybe preferred pricing for signing up and paying early…. payment plans… Bountiful Basket Member only specials….even the possibility of an added pick up day at the farm…

Remember….2020 IS our 20th Anniversary year… we’ll be celebrating all the way through!!

(…that means specials, deals, and perks for YOU!!)

We wouldn’t have asked the questions if we weren’t ready and willing to hear back from you!

We value your thoughts on this (and everything we do here). 

Please shoot us off a message, email, comment, or give us a call!

Email us – millersfarmfresh@gmail.com

Call – 613-283-0205

 

As I sat yesterday, pondering the beginning of a new decade, it occurred to me that twenty years ago TODAY was a pretty significant day in the story of Miller’s Bay Farm.

See, January 1, 2000 was  the day (on paper) that Robert and I purchased the family farm from Mom & Dad Miller.

 

We didn’t just purchase a business & property though…along with it came decades of REALLY hard work; lessons learned through life experiences of generations of Millers before us… worry…. blood – sweat – tears…. FAITH…. and LOVE …. so much love

for the land

for the lifestyle

for the animals

for the community

…for the Creator of it all, who faithfully provides a harvest (be it abundant…or not …) every season.

A lot has stayed the same over these past two decades…

…but MUCH has changed!

We’ve done a whole lot of growing (literally, and figuratively!)

We’re excited to spend some time this year looking back, reflecting – and celebrating

“20 years in 2020”!  

Won’t you join us?  

Two Words…

Thank You.

    It’s all finished!

Wow! Our 2019 season was one to remember.

As we pack up the Roadside Stand and pull the wagon back under cover for the winter, we can’t quite get our thoughts and feelings into words…at least…not in a coherent manner that you would want to read!!

Yes, this season WAS our ‘best ever’….in many ways.  We’re not even talking about ‘dollars and cents’. (The numbers have to work…don’t get us wrong.  We are running a business here)

We entered 2019 with a fresh, new outlook, and from the very start, everything was just …. so different.

Perhaps it can best be summed up by this quote:  

 

That’s not to say that in every moment and every circumstance we had the proper attitude…

We ARE human… very human!!

It’s just amazing though, when you’re ‘pulling together’ toward a common goal, how things seem so to flow much easier (and are enjoyable!)

For today, as we ‘close the book’ on 2019, suffice it to say that our hearts are FULL. If we were to choose a few words …. Blessed   …   Humbled …. Content  ….. Thankful …. would be the ones.

Speaking of thankful…

Thank YOU…

…if you supported us by purchasing our products from us, or from other businesses who carry them.

…if you are part of our team… providing us with your top-notch goods or services as we run this business.

…if you are among the many who keep the ‘buzz’ going on Facebook and Instagram … liking, sharing, commenting, posting on your own page, taking a minute to give a postive review… You’re amazing!

…if you provided constructive feedback, allowing us to improve the way we do things around here!

….if you told a friend, neighbour or co-worker about us…or even shared your goodies with them.

… if you prayed for us…or with us. 🙂

…if you encouraged us …with words, acts of kindness, treats, hugs, notes, high-fives…. in ANY way…you kept us going!!

Thank. You.  

Like photos?

Here’s a little recap of the year….

Thanks to YOU for making it so!   Funny thing… exactly 3 months (and one day) ago – on the 4th of June, we posted our “Something’s Different Here”  post.  It was outlining our plan make good use of the demo bunkie that had arrived in our front yard from North Country Sheds.   The main purpose behind the whole idea was simply to make some introductions between the local folks who grow and make some pretty great products …. and our pretty great friends who regularly stop by the Roadside Stand to support us and our farming endeavours!   It would seem safe to say that the whole event (all 9 weeks of it…) was a resounding success.  We couldn’t be more pleased!

  Here’s a recap…complete with contact info and links for each Friend who attended. (Hey…there’s no need to stop enjoying their products, just because you only saw them here at the farm once or twice!)    

Week #1 

Oak Leaf Road Maple Syrup

Week #2

Kricklewood Farm Sunflower Oil

Week #3 

Sylvia’s 4th Line Florals

Week #4 …AND #5

Briarlea Farms Blueberries & Baked Treats 

Week #6 …and #8 

rND Bakery

Week #7

Milkhouse Farm & Dairy Sheeps’ Milk Cheese, Lamb & Wool Products 

Week #9

Jiny’s Kimchi

“Wow” just doesn’t seem like a BIG enough word to cover it.

These two ….

 

… are celebrating 65 years of marriage today.

So, when you add it up – 65 years for each – they’ve got 130 years of experience as partners in marriage…in the farming business… and in life.

As Robert and I reflect back over our mere 20 years of marriage, and the journey it has been so far… to think of 65 seems …. well… just absolutely remarkable, to be honest.

As most couples who have been married any length of time at all would tell you, Mom & Dad will admit that it hasn’t all been easy…or fun.  They have weathered their fair share (at least) of storms.

But they’ve done it together, while holding tight to each other, and to their unshakable faith.

In the process, they have provided an inspiring example to their family and all who know them.  An example of what it looks like to live out those marriage vows taken so many years ago, with love and grace.

So, as much as it will make them feel uncomfortable (…neither of them being lovers of the spotlight…), today seems like a very appropriate day to say,

“Thank you Mom & Dad.

… for your perseverance.

… for your love – for each other, and for those around you.

… for your example, your prayers, and your encouragement.”

If it hadn’t been for all of that, the story of the Miller Family  – and of Miller’s Bay Farm – would have unfolded very differently over these past decades.

Although they have since passed the pen to us, we are beyond grateful for the chapters that Donald and Wilma Miller helped to write!

Happy Anniversary ❤

 

 

 

 

 

WOW…and now…

WOW!! Wasn’t that a party?!?

 

2019 has been a strawberry season for the books!  Thank you for making it so great!

Whether at the Roadside Stand at the Farm, in the Pick-Your-Own Patch, the Perth Farmers’ Market, or our Perth Wagon at Penny’s Place… records were broken in every spot, and that’s all because of you and your support.  You are the BEST!

But…guess what?

The excitement is FAR from over, because NOW we move right into vegetable time!

We’re not sure what your thoughts on vegetables are, but around here, we can’t find ANYTHING boring about them…especially when they are freshly picked for you, straight from our fields…still loaded with nutrients and flavour and just begging to be taken home for your family’s enjoyment!

Did you know that you can check on ‘What’s available’ anytime, from anywhere?

 

Check out the handy, newly posted  “On the Stand” page on our website.  You may not have seen that particular page yet, since we have JUST made it active.  We’ll keep it updated at least once each week.  That way, you’ll always have a good idea of what’s coming out of the fields and ready for your dinner plate!

Now…there is one thing we did need to chat about, and we’d love to have your feedback.

If you are one of our Perth area friends, this applies to you even more.

For the past few years, once strawberries have tapered off, we have closed our Perth Wagon at Penny’s Place.

This year, we would like to keep it open, but it doesn’t seem quite feasible to stay there 6 days per week right now.

Can we meet in the middle?

What if we were to commit to being at the Perth Wagon with a full lineup of our vegetables each Tuesday and Thursday for the rest of the summer?

(Remember you can also catch us at the Perth Farmers’ Market every Saturday… so that means we would have the Perth area ‘covered’ for 3 days each week. )

If you are (or could be) a patron of our Perth location, we really would love to hear your thoughts on this one.  Please drop us an email at millersfarmfresh@gmail.com , comment below, or pick up the phone and give us a call at 613-283-0205.

 

 

 

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