Trying to absorb the lessons ............

About this time every year, I start evaluating the season.  I'm to the point in the year that I look at the plants, their locations, the weather conditions, what the customers liked and didn't like and what I should do better next year.

I have to look at the garden with a very critical eye.  And boy, do I see the flaws!!! Every single one of them!! But then .... I have to stand back ........ and think ......... and look again.

So let's look at what worked........... why and what changes I would make in the future. 

1) Having an intern.  OK -- I can not say enough wonderful things about Emily. She has been an absolute blessing and a joy to have around.  She is a self-starter, hard-working and doesn't complain about the heat, humidity or lack of a/c in the house.  I want to clone her!!!!!!  Please, Please come back next year!!

What I have learned .... I need more hours from an intern.  I set up Emily's schedule and scheduled her for 18-20 hours a week.  I need either more interns or more hours from an intern.  I think more interns would be the wise move .... it is hard work.  It is hot and we wear out. (ok -- I wear out!) I feel 6 hours a day is a good amount of labor for one day when you are standing over a hot stove or standing in the full sun. (The garden doesn't grow well in the shade!!)  So next year's goal is to have two interns.

2) The Summer Kitchen. Even though it is not done, the Summer Kitchen is going to be a major asset for the farm.  It is cute, stylish and trust me .... no one else will ever have anything like it!!!!  I think it will give our customers a hint of the whimsy and charm that we try to show here at Miss Eff's.

What I have learned .... Honey and I don't kick butt like we did ten years ago. 90 degree heat and 95% humidity takes a toll on a guy with 5 stents, a plastic lens in an eye and a third of a lung missing!!!!  So again ... patience is a virtue.  We will never set completion dates again.  When something is done, its done.

And Honey says this is the last big project on the farm.  So he says..... now.  He will come up with another  brilliant idea one day and we will act on it.  Or we will win the lottery and hire it done........... Nah.. I don't think so either!!!!

3) The Contention Creek Plant Support System.  Again another stroke of genius from my darling husband!  These are working better than I could ever have imagined.  I can not believe what an asset they are.  And even though the initial cost is rather expensive, they are definitely worth it.

What I have learned...... the supports are going everywhere!! Even on plants that I never felt I had to support.  It will keep things in check and keep the aisles open.  So watch out Farm and Fleet, I will be buying cattle panels all year round!!!

4) Keeping my vision intact. This is really difficult.  I get a lot of suggestions from a lot of people.  Some are very good suggestions...... for them. But I am at the maximum work-load I can possibly handle.  We are open 5 days a week ... 38 hours a week .... for approximately 4 months out of the year.  Throw in a couple of evening special events or tours or classes on Monday or Tuesday when I am closed..... I'm pooped!

What I have learned....... Miss Effie's is a cross between two magazines .... Victoria and Hobby Farms.  And the look of the farm has to reflect those ideas. Yea ... I'm not sure what it means either.  I do know .. its not going to be putting lace ruffled pantaloons on my chickens!

Education is an important aspect of the farm and I want to continue that goal of sharing knowledge with others.  So there will be more classes but there won't be any display-only beds in the garden!  Nor will there be any new gardens in the future. Let me get these under control! (Yikes! That is easier said than done!)

5) Staying focused.  This is harder than keeping the vision intact! I feel ... the downfall of a business is when you think you can be all things to all people. Hey!  I'm a cut flower farm.  I'm not going to raise strawberries, pumpkins or bedding plants.  I sell jam and eggs but don't expect freshly-baked bread on a daily basis!  I may teach you how to make cheese but I am not going to sell Miss Eff's Homemade Mozzarella ... even if it was legal!

What I have learned ......... I am one person.  One.  And I can only do so much well.  And I have pretty high standards when it comes to sewing or knitting or baking.  Heck ... I was judged in 4-H so many times, I know a good loaf of bread when I see it.  And some days ... when I am stretched too thin ... a good loaf of bread is not possible.  So if you see something for sale at Miss Eff's ... you know its the best I can possibly do.  You may not see it for sale again.... if I am out ... well, that's it.

6) And finally, I really love my customers.  I used know everyone's name.  I don't remember every one.  I used recognize the face.  But I can't do that any more.

But I do remember the sweet notes that you sent me ... the emails ... the reviews on Face Book and Local Harvest.  I remember a child holding an hour-old duckling.... I remember women going through the teacup tree looking for cups that remind them of Grandma. I remember birthday parties under the willow tree and tea parties in the corn-zebo.  The  laughter that only comes from friends being together, made me smile.

The flower season is far from over .... there are lots more blooms to come.  But I thank each and everyone of you for your laughter and your hugs and your kindness.

You are the best.


Barb said…
No, Thank You for "lovely-ing" up the world.

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