2017: Our Year in Review!
One of my favorite pastimes is looking through my own personal documented past. I am not sure why I am find such pleasure in this; is it a me thing or is a human thing? Growing up, I was gifted my first camera at some point in middle school. A handheld digital camera, cherry red, that I used to document every waking moment of my friends and my own personal agendas. This was just a smidge before the iPhone. I believe the first time I ever saw an iPhone was my freshman year of high school, 2010-ish? Does that sound right? A friend of mine whose family could afford such lavish things (LOL) received one for her birthday or something, the iPhone 3 maybe? Anyway, it wasn't long until our family upgraded and had iPhones ourselves. But I still love those older photos. I love looking back through all of the photos I've taken over the years, whether they earth up negative memories or positive ones. It's part of my personality I suppose, and it makes sense why I enjoy writing my personal thoughts here in this space and sharing captured moments. In a way, it's wonderful to have a chronological journal here, and in another I enjoy sharing things about life that I discover and can possibly teach or simply share to others.
We had a great year in 2017. A really great year. There were so many discoveries, accomplishments, and literal cry-worthy moments for myself and the rest of the family that have made us extremely excited for the future. If you are just stopping by this blog for the first time ever (welcome, welcome, weeeeeelcooooome!) then here's a little one sentence recap about what we did this year: We started our first ever kitchen garden, learned how wonderful it is to eat real food, raised six backyard chickens, were featured in several amazing magazines, won an award from Gardenista, started an Embroidery Club, sold our products at three Country Living Fairs across the USA, I became a Master Gardener, and bought a small 5-ish acre aronia berry farm with a hundred-year-old farmhouse! Phew!
One of the things that I get asked the most when it comes to growing a business is: how do you possibly do it all? This applies to my mother, Jill, as well. She is the creative director of our entire business. I cannot decorate or stage or draw or sew or package orders (thanks, mom!). While I am up here writing and photographing, she is making all the things. I think I heard the answer to that question summed up perfectly a few months ago: I just do it. I honestly don't know how we ever get anything done, but it just happens! I keep doing and doing and doing until it gets there, whether that's perfectly executed over time or at the very last minute. Not everything I put out is my best work, but at least there is something out there. I think that's one of the major lessens I learned this year! To not apologize for not showing up and to just be there when I can. Giving yourself your own schedule and goals is really hard, but it can be extremely powerful, too.
Our Year In Review!
We've put together some of our favorite blog posts, month by month, from this past year for you to enjoy and look back upon. It's hard for me to believe how much we did along with how much I wish we could have done. This year my goal is to be a little more ahead of the game, even more so, when it comes to the blog. We shall see how that goes! At the end of this post, I am going to list some goals we have when it comes to the business for 2018. It's going to be another year of growth for us!
What a year! I am still so amazed at all that we did, at all that I hoped I could have done. All of that to say, I love where our business is headed! When we first started two years ago, I thought that we would always be a clothing business. Never in a million years did I think that we would actually turn to farming, though it had seemed a dreamy thought at the time. I think the more surreal thing is that so many of you have been here from the start! While I believe we will always continue to evolve and try new things, this farm is going to be our forever love, and I hope that those of you who have been around have enjoyed growing alongside of us. I have so many dreams for the future like teaching on-site homesteading classes, offering them online, and even writing a book... but those are the BIG dreams! For now, here are some upcoming goals that we have for the year ahead:
- Build a General Store! We are asked so often if there is a place in-person where you can shop. We are ready to get that idea moving! The garage on our property will be redesigned and built into an adorable little general store, where we'll offer our handmade goods, useful care + living items, bulk foods, fresh produce, baked items, cut flowers, honey, and more. There actually used to be a general store on this acreage over 100 years ago, in the late 1800s. How amazing is that?! Our goal is to open in April! You can join our mailing list to learn more about our plans and get our Grand Opening date the sooner we approach it.
- Open a U-Pick Farm! Our farm has almost an acre of aronia berry bushes. We are looking into ways that we can sell these that I hope to share soon, but our biggest wish is to have the farm open as a u-pick. Aronia is ready for picking in late summer, so what else? We're hoping to have some strawberries, maybe our garden open for picking (though it will mostly be for our CSA Program), apple picking, and even pumpkins!
- Raise Chickens and DUCKS! Yep. We're looking into ducks. I am SO excited to get a flock started again. This will be a fun year of raising chicks for me because I now know what I am doing and can share some tips with you here (:
- Share More Informational Posts on the Blog! We experienced our first year of homesteading, and there is still so much to learn. While we're not experts, there is much I think that we can share about living a more sustainable lifestyle with our readers. I am hoping to share more ideas for simplifying your home and life, homesteading on small acreage or even no acreage, and cooking whole food meals. It's going to be a fun time!
Thanks a million for being here and reading along. I honestly believe that we have some of the sweetest readers. You always send me the kindest messages with words of encouragement and inspiration. I love hearing that we have inspired you to try homesteading yourself, whether that's starting a small garden or raising some chickens in the backyard. There is something absolutely magical about seeing that "me too" statement from someone across the globe. Let's have another great of making a difference in living more sustainably!