Every year at the end of harvest, my husband will undoubtedly say to me "It won't be long and we'll be harvesting these little red buggers again". At which point, I give him my annoyed look as I'm exhausted, want life to get back to normal, and don't even want to think about next years harvest. Pulease!
But he's right. It's odd how life seems to speed up the older you get.
I remember being a child during a long hot summer. Unlike today's children, my day wasn't strategically mapped out by my parents. I wasn't being rushed off to t-ball, gymnastics, swimming lessons and play dates all in one day. Instead I had to figure out a way to entertain myself. That meant playing with dolls for hours at a time, dressing my little sister up in funny clothes, running through sprinklers, begging my dad to take us for ice cream, and at night playing Kick the Can with the neighborhood kids. I remember that a single day seemed to take forever. Summer seemed endless. If there was a big event coming up next week - that week felt like torture.
Remember when an hour ride seemed as though you took a trip to the moon. Are we there yet?! How 'bout now?
But as we age, our perception of how long an hour, day, month or year changes. We begin to realize the importance of time. We can see it in our growing children and our aging parents. If only there was an app for slowing time down. Wait! I want to enjoy this moment a little longer.
Recently my husband and I were checking on things at our organic marsh. Which really means I ride along and watch as he jumps in and out of the truck to inspect vines, turn on pumps or fix sprinklers. Just being honest. I do however give my opinion now and then, even if it isn't requested.
I was perched in the air conditioned cab of the truck admiring the beautiful pink bloom canvasing the cranberry beds. And I thought "nature is amazing". It's a spectacular cycle that plants go through. And we really should slow down and take the time to appreciate it. How awesome is it that this tiny pink flower turns into a tiny green berry and then eventually a tart red berry?
Did you know that the name cranberry comes from the original name of Craneberry? The small, pink blossoms resemble the head and bill of a Sandhill Crane.
Here is a picture of some of our hardest working employees. The honey bees. For very little pay the females work the beds every day. They not only pollinate our crop while collecting pollen but they also are responsible for feeding, cleaning, nursing and defending the hive. Meanwhile the male bees sit around and try to mate with the queen. I imagine the male bees in those tiny boxes drinking beer and watching baseball. Humph.
But as with most farming there are a lot of factors that can affect your crop. Hail, drought, disease, frost, and insects can wreck havoc on those berries. My husband and son put in long days to make sure that our cranberries are protected and well taken care of. And if all goes well, in the blink of an eye, we WILL be harvesting those little red buggers again.
So take some time to slow down. Enjoy the moment you're in. Hug your littles. Call your mama. Have lunch with a friend. Because until there's app for slowing down time it just keeps marching on faster and faster.
I have been reflecting a lot lately on my life. It could be menopause, or I'm hungry or the fact that I turn half a century this fall. I keep feeling like I want to hurry up and live life. There is so much that I want to do yet and time is running out. It feels as though just a moment ago I was in agonizing labor for 23 hours. And yet yesterday we celebrated the 23 hour, ending in an emergency C-Section kid's 25th birthday. How does that happen? Where do the years go?
I have worn many hats in my life. My first real job was waitressing at Country Kitchen. I was fortunate enough to be able to work the bar shift when all the drunks would come into Kitchy Counchen for the breakfast buffet. I'm saying that with sarcasm. I was pinched, grabbed, and propositioned by many slobbery drunks who often would forget to tip before they passed out in the booth.
I was a pre-school teacher while I was in college. I enjoyed being around the littles but I remember being so exhausted at the end of the day that if no one was around I may have shed a tear or two.
Then I was a stay at home mom until my youngest started Kindergarten. I will never regret the time that I was able to stay home and just be a mom. The days were long and lacking adult conversation but some of my favorite memories are from those years. My husband worked long hours and often it was just me and my two kids hanging out, playing games, making messes or snuggling.
Once my youngest entered school, I decided it was time to put my elementary teaching degree to work. It was challenging re-entering the workforce. Especially since I hadn't been able to prove myself as an elementary teacher yet. I vividly remember a male teacher asking in front of a group of 30+ teachers "What the heck have you been doing the last 7 years?!" I felt so small and inferior. This was at one of my first district meetings after being hired to teach 3rd grade. What an ars that guy was.
I ended up staying in the teaching profession for 15 years. Most of my time was spent as a first grade teacher. I absolutely LOVED my job for a long time. Until I got burnt out that is. I could give you a thousand reasons why I left teaching but it was one of the best decisions I ever made. It wasn't an easy decision but one that was best for my well being and for the children that would walk thru my classroom door. If you do not love what you do, you can't be good at it. You can only fake a smile and be pleasant for so long until eventually you start eroding away.
So I left teaching, and joined my husband in our family businesses. He is the master of crazy ideas, taking on too much and unafraid to try anything. This means I have been trying on more hats. Some that really push me outside my comfort zone. In the 4 years that I have been away from teaching, I have been controlling inventory and invoicing for our business Supply House (a farm supply company). I learned how to plant corn and soybean with a tractor. That 25 year old kid I mentioned earlier is the one who taught me that new skill. I became a certified Food Safety Manager and deal with all the paperwork and audits for our organic operations. Eight hour audits still intimidate me. I've had to learn a whole new set of acronyms. BTW, acronyms annoy me.
And then along comes the idea of Queen B oils. I was very hesitant at first. I mean how much more can we take on? Do we really want to invest a large portion of our savings? My hubby's answer: really it's no big deal. Well it is a big deal. It has become all consuming for me as I learn a new role. I've been learning about FDA regulations, working with brand ambassadors, contacting brokers, creating labels and products, purchasing equipment, meeting with potential customers, creating a website, making sales calls and taking on the craziness of the social platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. It is a big deal but I wouldn't change it for anything. I have been meeting so many new people, I've reconnected with old friends and have learned so much in the few months that we have been at this. I believe in our product. I know that we are offering a quality oil that has many therapeutic benefits. It feels really good to know that you can help people with some of their biggest skin concerns. We don't need to make stuff up, use fancy words or create catchy advertisements. People have been willing to try something new and have found that it works for them. I am humbled by the amount of support we have already gotten from friends, family and community members.
It turns out that in almost 50 years of life, a lot of hats can get thrown at you. Some fit just right, some are fun for a little awhile and others make you proud of who you are becoming. Who knows where life will take me next but I know that I'm enjoying the ride right now.
A special thank you to everyone who has read a Bog Blog (new hat by the way), followed us on FB or IG , shared Queen B news, or even just asked us about it, or bought a bottle of oil! Muwah! Much love!
Have you ever wondered what it'd be like to be a cranberry farmer? As with any job there are certain things you need to know in order to do it well. People are often amazed if not at least curious when they hear that we grow cranberries. They can't help but ask questions to see how well they know the industry. My favorite question is "so they grow in water right?" I thought it'd be fun to put together a little quiz (my teacher side of me is emerging) to see if you could be a cranberry farmer.
Answers: 1 (F) cranberry vines would die if kept under water for too long 2 (T) when it gets very cold farmers flood the beds and build ice on top of the vines in order to protect them from the elements 3 (T) bees are a crucial part of the marsh during bloom 4 (F) The Titan Beetle is one of the largest beetles found in the rain forest 5 (T) sand is spread on during the winter by driving on the ice, the sand helps the vines grow 6 (F) farmers are unfortunately being paid at record low prices with some buyers paying less than what it costs to produce 7 (T) chicken poop is often used on organic cranberry farms 8 (F) while it's true that the beds are flooded during harvest it is because the berries need to get knocked off and float to the top in order to be picked up 9 (T) many varieties exist including Stevens, Hi-Reds & Sundance 10 (T) sunshine and cool nights help to turn berries into a beautiful red color
How'd you do?
8 or more correct: You should come work on our marsh!
5-7 correct: Not bad. Come on out to the marsh. You know you'd look good in waders.
Less than 5 correct: Don't quit your day job.
Brag it up! Share your test results below. After all, we are always looking for good help.
Former teacher, author wannabe, forever a mom, and business owner.