Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Spring Opening! Or OMG will we be ready in time?

The Welcome Window
For the last couple of years we have run a little farm gate type coffee shop out here at the lake. It is always a bit of a panic and last minute affair. This year was especially tough since  winter lasted 6 months and the snow just disappeared; and until last week we were still lighting a fire to stay warm - which was a problem since  the wood porch is my summer shop. Friday morning at 6AM Len was up painting the floor after the final "little reno's" of the week so that we would be able to set up and open on Saturday morning at 9AM.

Historically I have had EI or worked part time which all helped me with my start up costs. Since I haven't worked since October,  I no longer have any other income and the farm market has been very slow, it was a bit stressful pulling things together. Not only was I counting pennies to get started, I didn't have an ice cream freezer! I finally decided Friday night to take the meat out of my freezer and store it at a neighbours so I would have some place to keep the ice cream for my customers.

Up until about two weeks ago we still thought we were going to expand, but my handsome husband is just not physically up to it and his health and comfort is much more important than expansion. So, here I was, Friday night, ice cream in my freezer, coffee machine ready to go, a newly painted shop and nothing, whatsoever in the room! Stress? Yup a little! On top of that, both Len and my backs were in pain and we were a bit of a mess. (I did find staying slightly inebriated very helpful though!) On the upside, although it was damp and dreary, the black flies and June bugs haven't arrived yet!

Giant Fresh SINbuns
Saturday morning, 4AM I was up, mixing 4 batches of cinnamon buns and a couple of batches of bread so that I would have SOMETHING besides ice cream to serve. Poor Len was up at 6AM again to help put it all together, what a trooper! Of course, the hot long weekend did not come to fruition so besides my coffee machine and cinnamon buns, it was pretty quiet. I did finally sell 1 ice cream cone to little Riley Fish at 9:30AM on Sunday morning... 

Although I did not make my fortune this weekend, it gave Len and I lots of time to putter, set up and decide he is no longer allowed to build, he is only allowed to be brilliant and create (and shovel chicken shit, yes that is still his job!) I have also decided to try my hand at a little fun painting and in addition to my writing I have added artist/author to my resume! I did sell 4 books this weekend, so that felt good!

Golden Unicorn Publishing/Art Gallery
Taking a break to pose
Hopefully this weekend is a bit busier and that sun pops out so I can serve the ice cream. We plan to start serving Saturday pizza's this year, but as mentioned until I earn some coin, there are no pizza supplies, so it is not looking good for pizza this week. How about by the beginning of June? Yes, that sounds like a definite plan! It was really great to start seeing people come back though. I have some very loyal die hard customers, local and lake people and I want to thank them for their ongoing support. You guys make it all fun and worthwhile!

It is now fiddlehead season and although I don't go out and pick them, I bought some from the market and plan to pickle them tomorrow. Always a culinary delight! I love them sauteed with garlic or in a creamy fiddlehead soup. Many of New Brunswick natives like to boil the fiddleheads and then rinse in vinegar, sounds good too! I even hope to get a garden in if the rain every stops! 

On top of dusting off the winter webs, we gave up our farm market booth and I have now taken over the market cafe - so on Friday's you can come see me, get my baking and maybe have some brunch or lunch! Yes, for a woman who used to avoid cooking except for big family meals, I have gone completely local, sustainable, mostly organic and definitely home made! Hope to see you soon - either in Woodstock on Friday or out here in the shop! Weekends only until July 1st then open all summer! Check out our website or Facebook page to keep up to date!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

May - a month to remember, be grateful and reflect - plus HAPPY Mother's Day!

North Lake Rec Council
Wellness Day 2014
Today is Saturday, May 10th which marks several things: a) It is one week since we held a Wellness Day conference in our community. It was really fun to coordinate and organize and I had a blast working on an event again! b) It is my BIG brothers birthday! Today he is 50 years old! Yes, little "go go" my pet name for him as a toddler, is now 50 years old! What a trip! I guess that means that I am almost old too? hmmm, time flies! and c) It was my LAST Saturday to sleep in for the next 4+ months! I am looking forward to my little shop opening up in a week, but I am REALLY going to miss the quiet relaxing mornings! Oh well, at least can still go back to bed for a nap in the mornings for another month if I want! d) It is the day before Mother's Day - which is not such a big thing, except it is the first Mother's Day missing one of my children....
Me and my Bro's
Summer 1982

Me and my Bro's
March 2014
I haven't blogged anything for a few weeks, since I wrote about my trip to see my Dad, that was a tough one and I suppose I haven't felt I had much to say since then. I am writing today, because as mentioned, pretty soon I am going to be busy again for the summer. My time will be busy making coffee, serving ice cream, baking hot fresh cinnamon buns and in general spending time with the public, my customers and many who are becoming friends. The next 7 days will be busy, cleaning up the shop, doing some quick painting, etc. We had hoped to have a new shop or extension but it just doesn't seem to be in the cards... My poor old husband, I can't work him that hard. He is good, he wants to build it all for me, but that just doesn't look like it can happen this year. I will settle for a new ceiling, new floor and wall paint and some kick ass product! Hence, I will do very little writing and few Facebook status updates!

Easter Sunday in Fosterville, NB
May is an interesting month, the snow is almost gone (yes, seriously, there is STILL snow on the ground in the woods!) the ice is almost all gone on the lake (yes, seriously!), the "lake people" are starting to come back, open up their "camps" (yes, that is what cabins and cottages are called here and yes, some of those camps are nicer than my house) and even a few spring bulbs are starting to pop up, (yes, seriously, I know in BC your bulbs came up two months ago, but mine came up this week!)

Mother's Day 2013
with my little family
Missing Rachel this year...
May is a month of events to remember such as a moment of silence for a dear friend who has been gone for about 25 years now, he lost his life in May and I always remember him, numerous birthdays, many of my friends and a couple of my siblings, all have May birthdays. It is a matter of trying to remember to look on my Facebook ticker to make sure I don't forget the important life long friends, phone my siblings and email my twinnies in Vancouver since they have managed to completely avoid social media. I have to make sure I call my mom, no not too tough, we talk about every other day anyway, but better make sure I remember on Mama's day! AND spend time talking to my own girls.  

Amidst this, winding up from the winter, completing websites, prepping the shop to open - which is tough since I have not had much income for the past six months - always a lot of creative banking going on for the first month of opening! Marketing the Arts Festival - bringing on new artisans and skilled talent to join our annual show and on top of that too many trips to town!

Happy Mother's Day Mom!
Love you lots and I will
always be so grateful for all
you have done for me!
What do I need to do? Oh yes, breathe, know that it will all come together; be grateful for the help I have here at home; realize that if not everything is on the table opening weekend that it will happen; order my ice cream and find a freezer to put it in ! IKES! Oh well, it'll happen and I will definitely miss Rachel by my side, late Friday night before opening saying "Mom! Why do you wait until the last minute?" Yes, she was a big help and her little sister is going to be an awesome helper all summer too!

What I am grateful for? My life, my healing, my future, my past, my friends, my family. I have reflected a lot on my friendships this past year. I lost a few friends during my life for long periods of time and was so fortunate to get them back. One of my greatest regrets in life, was hurting or losing anyone that I loved and I do love my friends. I am so happy to be gaining the friendship and trust back from someone I lost almost 20 years ago and I sincerely hope she knows how special our re-connection has been. Almost ten years ago, another couple of friends came back into my life and that was time when I needed them so much, I will be forever thankful for them. This past year has put a few stresses on that friendship and I truly hope and pray that they still understand how special they are and how I couldn't bear to lose them again. They are amazing women and I only ever hope that they understand how deeply they are in my heart. 

Life deals us all huge blows, health, family, grief, loss, friendship - things that sometimes we don't know if we can overcome. I am so fortunate to have come through the other side. There are times when I never thought I would get out of bed again, now, it is hard to believe that was even me. Thank you to anyone and everyone who supported me on my journey. Writing down my thoughts and getting reviews on those thoughts in my book has been an amazing experience. This Mother's Day, I know that I was given my life to live, to hopefully give a little bit back to the world, to find my passion and with all my faults and mistakes, try to raise two little people properly. Thank you all for every kind word, action, hug, moment, that you gave me and assisted me on that path! Thank you to my babies for loving me, forgiving me and being so gol'darn cute!

Happy Mother's Day to you all! 
Whether you are a mother, 
have a mother
 or might ever  be a mother!