I love the first week of the new year. When the girls were babies, I remember a huge snow storm hit Toronto and everything closed for days. The nursery school closed for the week, streets didn’t get plowed, we were snowed in the city and we all loved it. We did what we wanted, no time constraints, played with paints and clay, organized rooms. It felt like complete freedom for all of us and I’ll never forget it.
A Fresh Start
One year ago, I started the new year by cleaning out the pantry, organizing files, rearranging the office cabinets and…. deciding to rebrand my products – the jams, mustard, bbq sauce all of them! A project I had long procrastinated on – writing a book about life on the farm with recipes, was finally started. I spoke with as many experts as would take time to speak with me and I learned about the next steps in carrying out both projects.
On boxing day 2017, I met Leslie from Walton Wood Farm and her energy and advice on our products were invaluable. She and I still meet for coffee at least every six weeks to talk and share ideas about our business.
Since I was also running an event-based business full time, starting a book series – as opposed to a traditional book, seemed less daunting. On July 1st weekend I put out our newly branded products into the barn and the first book “Mother”, arrived at the farm just before Mother’s Day. So exciting. During this time, I made a new friend, Tracy Bordian. Tracy guided me through many things during my book writing journey, including guest writing for Harrowsmith Magazine, a collaboration with the amazing, Jodi Pudge, the introduction to various designers and generally, incredible wisdom.
2018 in Review
In summary, 2018 was a satisfying year. I am very excited to see what 2019 has in store. We will be open five days a week, except when we have private functions, like weddings. We are host to the Terroir Rural Retreat in May. It’s an honour to be chosen for this event and its ongoing commitment to Ontario producers and chefs. At the farm, we will offer more workshops – culinary, gardening, floral arranging, and cooking classes with me! (I had better do a refresher for the family). We have new outdoor experiences such as Fort Building, Capture the Flag and baking bread over fire – perfect for groups. South Pond is turning into a year-round destination for fresh and local food, connection to the land, education. The fall, winter and early spring are so beautiful and we have a lot to offer.
Designing Your Escape
Another realization is that I love to talk to others about starting a business. So I started Design your Escape at the end of 2018, a master class workshop about starting an event based business and I loved it. Connecting with people and humbly speaking was something I love and I think I have something to offer. This coming year I am making a commitment to do more speaking engagements, offer the masterclass regularly, start my own podcasts, and create an online version teaching program. It’s the beginning of something and it might be big – for me. I can’t wait.
Setting goals requires a list. I’m a list maker. Maybe even a compulsive list maker. Every morning I make one, revising from what I didn’t get done yesterday. I use a red pencil to mark my urgent and more long-term items – it is how I stay on task and am able to commit to my goals. Whatever method – lists or no lists – works for you, setting goals is a good thing. I think it keeps you focused no matter what you do. We all need something to strive for. Happy list making and goal setting to all of you.