September 10, 2009

Play on Words, But True ©

by R. S. Gaylord June 5, 2009

It is hard to stay home on the range

When the deer and the antelope’s gone.

Now days you’ll hear all discouraging words

And my eyes are cloudy all day.

I’m leaving the range for cities so evil

Willie Nelson found pitfalls real.

My life on the range faces massive change

It’s no longer there to enjoy.

Urban expansion it’s called, these terrible days

Pushing ranchers away by choice.

Houses replacing animals and sage;

Developers everywhere with voice.

I have sold out at last, life is no “blast”

To the cities I shall go

A life so dull display screens will lull

And the sky is covered all day.

You can go all over without seeing clover

And never leave buildings at all

Life’s not the same, slightly insane

Where did peace and beauty go?

posted as a comment to a June 2009 blog post (June 9, 2009 10:15 AM)

September 9, 2009

Youth Cooperatives to City Sponsored Business Summits

The Business Mind: age 6 to 60.

by Jean Hoiland

Today I attended a business summit sponsored by the city of Enumclaw, Chamber of Commerce and Green River Small Business Center. I didn't really have any expectations, it's that yoga thing of non attachment I guess. I was neither late nor overly early, I got there on time. The first thing I noticed and my words verbatim to my breakout group "what a piss pour turn out by our business owners". I was told 45 people registered but I'm not sure there were even 20 business owners who showed up. I registered but was not even on the list. I didn't want to give up 6 hours of my day figuring out how to draw people to our downtown businesses. I'm sure the other dozen or more people felt the same, but we made the time nonetheless because we care about our community as much as we care about creating sustainable businesses.

The focus of the summit was Economic Development. A pretty important issue to tackle as businesses close, buildings sit vacant and rents increase all around us. Our focus groups came up with some pretty good strategies and action items, but there was nothing earth shattering or really out of the box discussions. As the facilitator said all of these issue were discussed in a similar public hearing ten years ago.

I didn't leave all fired up and confident of the situation improving too much from what we did....quite frankly my thoughts quickly shifted to parent mode and teacher. My afternoon schedule consisted of helping my young entrepreneur and his friend sell their produce and eggs in our neighborhood. I am sorry I did not get another picture to go with this. If you read my last blog you'll know that my son invited his best friend Hunter to bring his eggs to sell on my sons produce route.

Without even knowing it, they formed a 'Cooperative'. We discussed what a 'coop' was as we walked. They even took turns pulling the cart and eventually worked as a team to pull the cart together. First stop a success, each sold something. Then my son refused to stop at the house just across the street. A friend of mine and no doubt he knew I would get talking. When I asked his friend what he thought he said, "This is my first time so I'll do what Brennan wants". So I explained they were passing up a good business opportunity. I didn't think they really understood.

As we walked the discussion turned to creating a website. My son brought this up after hearing me mention it the day before. A few days earlier we left a card in someones door and they called back the next day. The boys liked the idea of distributing flyer's. Next my son was volunteering his 'Poppy' (grandpa) to build them a store to sell out of. My son recently toured the 'Food Coop' in Port Townsend. Isn't it wonderful how the young mind thinks big without a concern for the details.

We came upon a family visiting and playing outside. There was no garden so I said to the boys "why don't you stop and ask if they want to buy anything". They said no they didn't want to. I explained once again they were passing up a good business opportunity. They looked at each other and mutually agreed to turn around and go back. They made a new customer and all it took was a few minutes to introduce themselves and get to know the neighbor. I try my hardest to let them to talk and tell their stories, helping when asked. They let me hold the money which I find kind of surprising.

Once the transaction was complete they were running to the next stop. Really we were running pulling the cart. Not everyone wanted to buy something and it didn't even phase them, they were just off to the next house or passerby on the street. They didn't care why someone didn't want to buy, there was never a thought like "maybe I don't have the right vegetables or was I pleasant enough". They were simply enjoying their time and completing a task so they could get on to something else.

We were out for one hour, met a few new people, the boys learned about 'coops' and I came away from the day with a new perspective. The realization that we as citizens, city administrators, parents, teachers, business owners and what have you, neglect to consider the ideas and input of the children in town. They are so enthusiastic and creative with their own ideas and opinions. They may not be able to specifically say what their ideas and opinions are, but as adults we should be able to observe and make some discoveries that could help our communities Economic Development.

Next blog: My Son's Father thinks I'm raising a peasant boy. (stay tuned)

September 8, 2009

Learn to Earn, Earn to Learn

A College Savings Journey
by Jean Hoiland

My son Brennan (6 years old) and I were busy this summer manifesting college credits, and following through with the plans described in the Roomanski Tale of veggies door to door. Three months from the original posting of our garden story the veggies are growing out our ears. We started with bags of spinach and progressed to a cart filled with kale, carrots, rhubarb, onions, zucchini, cucumbers, beets, eggplant, green beans, sweet peas, tomatoes, parsley and basil.

Our neighbors have been fabulous and eager to support our "learn to earn, earn to learn" endeavor. My fledgling entrepreneur hasn't always been very cooperative but in the last few weeks has certainly come a long way. We have both learned valuable lessons down the path to ensuring a college education.

Lessons I learned from my son.

  1. "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit". I'm not sure where he heard the saying but it has stuck with him and he uses it....on me of course. Translation - don't expect too much. He is 6 and very normal for his age. The attention spam can be fleeting and delivery may be weekly or who knows we might hit the pavement twice in one week and not at all the next. Fortunately as a parent my yoga skills come in handy and I am pretty adept at going with the flow.

  2. "Whatever you think it is worth". He learned very quickly that some of the neighbors think home grown fresh produce is worth more than other's do. He tends to stop first at the neighbors who tip for the delivery. He loves going to see 'Don and Geneva'. They know he likes getting the quarters with states on them and make sure to have some handy for tipping.

  3. "That's it, no more houses". The melt down after only one house. That means I got carried away in the garden picking and weeding forgot about the time....and neglected to make sure my son had a snack before heading across the street. I've done this to the poor boy on more than one occasion.

  4. "It will be way more fun if Hunter comes with me". Brennan's best friend. He has eggs. Won't our neighbors be happy when they hear the news. Let's hope his mom (one of my best friends) is willing to get more chickens. I have to agree, it is way more fun sharing with friends.

  5. "Let's cut stuff up for taste testing". His 'aha' moment last week as he flew back into the corn after the carrots finally released from the dirt. He went running into the house to wash and cut a few carrots for his customers to try before buying. This week we are making a 'Kale, beet salad'. Never underestimate the intelligence of children.

We have many more weeks of fresh produce and time visiting with our neighbors. I have to admit I am way more into this than my son. I love digging in the dirt, and socializing with the neighbors. I'd like to put a commercial kitchen in our garage and host neighborhood meals, cooking classes and block parties. Sshhh, don't tell my mom and dad they would have a fit.

I hope my son appreciates the things we grow. I think he does, I hope he does, and I know, he is only 6, "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit". I'm off to practice some yoga now and release my expectations... then I am launching an email to my nephew to make sure he is coming to help me tear down the old green houses and make room for some new.