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….

A Monday Morning Musing

Disclaimer:  This post is just me…putting down my rambling thoughts ‘on paper’ because…well, sometimes it just seems like a good idea to share.  I’m not fussing with the fonts, or the layout.  Just being real, on a Monday morning.

 

Sometimes Monday mornings are hard.

5:20 AM:  Today when the alarm rang, I think that both Robert and I tried to sqeeze our eyes shut hard enough to chase this particular Monday away…far, far away.  It didn’t work.  And our hearts were so anxious, we couldn’t have fallen back asleep if we’d tried.

We’ve been waiting for this – a sunny day, a sunny forecast, for more than 36 hours in a stretch.

But, now that it’s here, things feel completely overwhelming.  All of those things that ‘should’ have been done long ago ‘in a normal year’ still scream at us from the lengthy ‘to – do’ list.

We knew what we had to do…we just weren’t all that crazy about doing it…today.
Surely you feel this way too sometimes?

So, we rolled on out of bed and began the morning routine…one slightly heavy foot ahead of the other.
(I’ve read recently that what you do in the first hour after waking up sets the tone for the whole day, and over the past month, we both have found it to ring true.)

Robert made his way to his favourite chair, journal and Bible in hand, for his morning chat with God.
I laced up the runners headed out for my own morning quiet time.  Often that’s where I too find myself in conversation with The One who guides my steps and urges me along when I’m starting to drag.  (Like most dads, He is happy to meet with us anywhere, anytime!  Thank goodness!!)

6:30 AM:  Back home…still a little apprehensive…but knowing (…although not yet fully FEELING…) that ‘we CAN do this.’

The kids are starting to stir…they’ve got their own ‘stuff’ going on too.  High school exams, after school commitments, end of year excitement.   While they are in-tune enough to sense our anxious thoughts, we are careful not to burden them with our ‘grown up’ concerns and worries.

Hugs and ‘I love you’s’ as they head out the door… a welcome deposit to the ’emotional bank accounts’, hopefully going both ways.

Shower ….. breakfast …. COFFEE …. 🙂

9:00 AM:  Things are moving now…the team arrives to clock in and get started…
After a flurry of ‘Good Mornings’ (and today – introductions as well, as we have 2 new guys starting their first shift.  No doubt they’re feeling a little apprehenive too!!) those first jobs get knocked off the list, or delegated with the confidence that they WILL be by day’s end.

Breathe.

We’re doing this.

We really are.

And we STILL love it.  How can that be?

Honestly, as I type this with tears in my eyes, (okay,  they may have overflowed just a little….actually…since we’re being totally honest….), I’m not sure of the reason.

I think maybe it’s this….

 

As I walked back into the house to tackle my own ‘to-do’ list (which incidentally did NOT include a blog post today!!) it hit me like a 2 x 4 to the side of the head…

This is our passion…  farming is what we have BOTH wanted to spend our lives doing since we were kids.

As often as we ask ourselves, “Why on earth do we keep on going???”, we are reminded that it is what we love…even when it’s hard….especially when it’s hard… and it’s a privelege to have a calling and an occupation that we are fully invested in.

It’s now shortly after 10 AM, and I’m finding myself feeling excited about this week (…and I don’t think it’s JUST the coffee kicking in)!

Next task…a walk through the strawberry patch.  Must try to figure out some sort of an answer to the ‘question of the week’   ….. “When will those strawberries be ready???”

Stay tuned.

It’s going to be a great day!

No,  It already IS a great day!!

 

 

Do you have people in your life who make working together so much fun that it doesn’t feel like work at all?

Don’t you just LOVE that???

Roger and Lianne Sands (Arranel Studios) are some of ‘those people’ for us!

From our VERY first family portrait…

…to our latest project…our updated farm website…

..these two…

 

 

 

…are ‘Our People’!

(Ok, well to be honest, our relationship started  a LITTLE bit before that family photo up there…but I’m certainly not going to be the one to share some of the very vintage portraits that they may or may not have taken of ‘yours truly’ in her much younger days…. at least … not today…)

  Whether they are helping us to

  • Celebrate our Life with portrait photography
  • Celebrate our Business through commercial photography or advancing our family business via…
  • Video creation
  • Graphic Design
  • or – as we’ve already mentioned – Web design

…their 40+ years of experience and know-how shines through it all.

The very best part though, is that their fun-loving, quirky personalities, matched with an unrivaled sense of humour, means that our meetings generally include more laughs than a visit to a comedy club!!

Get to know them better by having a look at their latest “Boost-Letter” right here.

…or have a browse through the extensive (but super-easy to navigate!) portrait gallery on the Arranel Studios website(There’s a pretty good chance you’ll find some folks you know there…)

Once you’ve seen some more of their work, you will DEFINITELY want to enter our spring ‘Find The Flowers’ contest for a chance at the awesome prize that Roger and Lianne have been so generous to contribute!

Click the Flower to go to the contest…

 

Happy Spring!!

 

If you’ve been following us on instagram this past winter, you’ve seen some of our posts about ‘what farmers do in the winter’. Glamourous things, like…

  • repairing broken appliances
  • tackling the mountain of clothes to be ironed
  • filling up the woodshed for next winter …and so on…

We would be misleading you though, if we let you believe that nothing we did over the winter was fun!! We had a fabulous time with the whole family over March break, escaping the snow.  Man, did that warm southern sunshine feel amazing!!!

At the risk of boring you with ALL of the details… (those can be the topic for a roadside chat later on this summer…), we DID want to share just ONE of the trips’ most memorable moments with you.

As we meandered around downtown Belize City with our brand new friend, Dan.  (How that came about is also a story for later…) imagine our surprise and delight when we saw this! CORN!!! “Guess you can take the farmer out of the cornfield….but….”

Well… we HAD to try some. The gentleman in the red ballcap had just made his way down the street with a fresh pot of ‘Street Corn’. To dress it, we could choose between ‘Regular’ which was sea salt and fresh lime or ‘Creative’.  (The name still kills me!!)  Creative Corn is the ‘interesting’ flavour combination of ketchup, mayo, and Cheez Whiz.

Not feeling quite THAT adventurous, we went with the ‘Regular’! It tasted, as you might expect…. a little –  ahem, ‘more mature’ could we say – than what we’re used to here in Ontario, but we didn’t care.  It was an experience none of us will ever forget!

Always Learning…

There’s a lot more to this farming business than just planting, waiting and harvesting! We are always seeking out ways to improve on what we do.  From the seeds we plant; our production methods; and then (my personal favourite…) the ways in which we connect with YOU, our valued friends and customers!

It’s meeting and seminar/webinar season.

Both Robert and I have been like little sponges lately…absorbing all sorts of useful information to keep things going – and growing – around here!

In February it was the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Niagara Falls.

 

 

 

Of course…we made sure to take a couple of extra days to play ‘tourist’ while we were there!!

 

 

Other topics we’re brushing up on include:

  • Our Environmental Farm Plan
  • Food Safety Regulations 
  • The Employment Standards Act
  • New software at our fingertips (literally) to track and manage crops
  • Mental Health & Stress Management on the Farm
  • Food Trends ….and more…

Keeping on top of the current trends, regulations and Best Management Practices takes time, for sure.  

We will be the first to agree that EVERY item listed above is an essential piece of the puzzle.

Producers  understand the responsibility we have in producing safe, quality food for your (and our) tables.  Canada enjoys one of the safest food supplies in the world, and we are more than happy to do our part to keep it that way! 

The best way we know of to do that well, is to keep the ‘big picture’ in mind and take good care of the health of our team, our resources, and ourselves. 

The balancing act continues!!!

 

AND IN OTHER NEWS…. …..the seed order has arrived!  Spring is one giant step closer now!!    

I had the most enjoyable experience just the other day!

Mrs. Cunningham’s Kindergarten class, at St. John’s CES in Perth invited me to come and share with them about what we do here on the farm and how it relates to our community.

Shannon Miller

These young folks were genuinely interested, eager to (politely!) share their own experiences and just simply enchanting.  I could have stayed and chatted with them all day!

Their personal anecdotes, and well thought out questions served to me as an important reminder that it’s never too early to gain a good understanding of where our food comes from.

As food producers, we feel a huge sense of responsibility to be open and ready to share what we do, how we do it, and why we love it with anyone who will listen…of ANY age!

To Mrs. Cunningham and her lovely students, may I just say,
“Thank you!” once again for the warm welcome.
It was my pleasure to meet you all!

 

 

How do you know when Strawberry season is truly finished?

Well, once we make a run through with this machine, there’s really no mistaking it!

IMG_20150725_165730

 

Yes, that is a mower, much like a larger version of your lawn mower.  And yes, we are chopping off ALL of the tops of the strawberry plants!  (Don’t be confused.  Robert is moving backward down the rows, so it’s the plants in front of the tractor that have already been mowed down.) 

Seems rather harsh, doesn’t it?
It’s called “Renovation”.

Now, if you’ve ever lived through any other type of ‘renovation’, you will know that it almost always means that things are going to look worse before they look better.  It’s the same with the strawberry patch.

This video does a decent job of explaining the ‘how?’ and ‘why?’ of renovating a strawberry patch.

When the mower has passed by, this is what we’re left with…(the row on the right)…

IMG_20150725_165831

It doesn’t end there!

We will still have to do the tilling and narrowing of the rows.  Then in the late fall – after a frost or two, we will apply the straw mulch over the whole patch and ‘tuck them in’ for the winter.

Until then….we’ll be in the vegetable patch!

Never a dull moment!!

 

 

Payment Accepted at the Farm - Cash or Debit
Payment at the Perth Wagon - Cash Only

Copyright 2019 Miller's Bay Farm
Site design by Arranel Studios Ltd. Smiths Falls ON