Tuesday, March 22, 2022

In-Deedy-Do!

Sometimes you need to pursue what you want in life. In this case, it was the deed to our home and store.


In October of last year, we were supposed to sign the papers for the property and move in. Unfortunately, there was a mix-up, so the document signing was postponed until November.

However, we'd already made plans to move on October 9th, and we couldn't get out of it because the day we were moving out, the new owners of our old home were moving in.

Luckily, our property owner said we could move in for a security deposit that would be taken off the total purchase amount of the house and store. So we agreed and moved in.

The following month, we signed the documents, and the attorney said we'd be mailed the deed as soon as it was surveyed and registered with the county.

We waited and waited. The locals warned us to not call the county because that would delay things further. So we bided our time and wondered if we would ever get our bakery up and running.

Finally! The surveyor showed up in January. Excited, I went out to speak with him. Unfortunately, the news wasn't good. He told us they were backlogged, and we wouldn't see our deed for another six to nine months.

Months. Not weeks. Not days. Months.

We had to come up with a new plan. Repairs and a few renovations were made to the home, but we had to have the deed to get the grants and loans needed to make any profound changes. The sale of our old home allowed us to pay off all debt and avoid a mortgage on the new place but didn't leave much left once the necessities were purchased. Nearly three months after the move, the money was running thin.

Our daughter got a job. However, during our employment search, we got The Virus, and after recovering, my husband badly sprained his foot. That double blow knocked us out for over two months. During that time, we did a lot of searching for ways to get the bakery started. But it all fell on the premise that we have a deed first.

My husband is a patient man, but this delay was even wearing his patience thin. My patience was almost non-existent from the start, so I kept looking for loopholes. I wanted to call the county, but my husband discouraged me due to the advice of the locals. They know how things work here, and we don't. I complied.

For about two weeks. 

My husband found a job two weeks ago. Last week, they were both working. Being unsupervised, I decided God gifted me with a big mouth and tenacious nature for a reason, and I would call the county while they were at work, thanks to a neighbor who gave me a name and number to speak to at the courthouse. 

I'm also gifted with being polite and tactful (she said humbly), so I knew better than to get on the phone and yell. All I wanted to know was how much longer we needed to wait, so I could make plans to have all our ducks in a row as soon as the ink was dry.

Unexpectedly, the county clerks were super friendly and really helpful! A fifteen-minute phone call clarified everything, and there was some surprising news. Our deed was already registered. It was recorded in early December.

What?

Apparently, the real estate attorney in charge of sending us the deed dropped the ball. Had they sent it in December like they should have, we could've gotten a three-month jump in getting the bakery started (despite covid and his sprain).

Deep breaths, people. Deep breaths.

Sure, we could get mad and badmouth the attorney that made the error, but to be honest, we'd rather put that energy into getting the business started. Much more positive and productive!

Last week when my husband came home from work, I told him the good news and why there was a delay. The next day he stopped by the courthouse on his way home and got our deed. 

WOOHOO!

Sometimes being a big mouth pays off. 

We have a lot of work ahead because our ducks aren't in a row yet. We got distracted with things like jobs because we needed heat and food and other stuff not bakery-related, trying to keep ourselves afloat. Sigh.

The good news is we just got a mentor two weeks ago from SCORE (retired business people mentoring new business owners) who is helping organize our ducks. So now we finally can apply for the funds needed to rebuild the store into our dream bakery cafe and an advisor to help us avoid making dumb mistakes. 

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to start!

Hoofin' It

Some say living in the country is boring. I disagree. In fact, a lot more goes on around here than you think; but unlike the city, these adventures often include our four-footed friends with hooves.

Who...me?

Deer run rampant in the mountains and sometimes wind up on the roads. Unfortunately, many get hit, especially around dusk and dawn. That's usually when people are traveling to and from work. 

Not good for the deer, but a mixed blessing for the driver.

You see, out here in the sticks, if you hit a deer, you can take it home for meat. The upside is that you get enough meat to last a few months; however, the downside is that deer can damage your vehicle when you hit one.

Our neighbor hit a deer on the way home, tossed the five-point buck in his truck, and drove another thirty minutes to get home. He put the deer in his shed and went inside to eat dinner.
After dinner, he and his wife went into the shed to butcher the deer (yes, many people around here are farmers and butcher their own animals for food.)

No deer.

They looked down the road, and their dinner was making a run for it. Talk about fast food!

Apparently, the buck was stunned unless we have zombie deer out here. They let him go without a fuss. If he could walk away, he earned a second chance. Just stay off the roads, buddy!

A few weeks back, I missed an incident with cows, even though it happened right across the street. A cow decided to play freedom fighter and managed to escape the fence by opening the gate. No one knows if the cow unlocked it or if the gate was accidentally left unlocked, but the heifer and a few others made a break for it and took off down the road.

Luckily, they got them back before they got too far. I still can't believe I missed that!

Spring is springing, and as the weather warms, we hear new sounds all around us. Unfamiliar birds chirping, the cries of hawks and eagles, and the occasional farm animal letting farmers know they're hungry.

The other day, I was at my desk and kept hearing my phone go off. I had the phone muted, but the vibrations were on, and every few minutes, I would hear my phone vibrate. But there weren't any messages or notifications.

Frustrated, I restarted my goofy phone. Again, those low, rumbling vibration sounds, but the phone was in my hand, restarting this time. It wasn't vibrating. What gives?

It took me a minute, but then it dawned on me. That sound wasn't my phone. It was a cow.


It was a low, soft moo that sounded exactly like my muted cell phone! I called my daughter downstairs to tell her the story and listen out the window; we both had a good laugh.

Spring is coming. The crocuses are popping up, as are the daffodils. The sun is out, and on warm days, I sit outside and read a book, enjoying the fresh air and gentle breezes. Sometimes I stop reading just to listen to the birds, chickens, and the occasional moo.

I know it was a cow this time because I'd left my phone inside the house!





Saturday, March 12, 2022

Changing Gears (Temporarily)

 


Oh, Time, you manipulative beast. How you toy with us! Then, just when you think you've got a plan, Time comes along and pees on your shoe.

The weather up here is much like our lives, all over the place. 

Yesterday it was almost sixty degrees, sunny and warm. Today we're in the middle of a blizzard, expecting seven inches of the fluffy white stuff- and I don't mean bunnies.

Unfortunately, the same thing is happening concerning the bakery. Red tape is sticky stuff and can clog up the works under normal circumstances, but throw in a pandemic and things get downright entrenched.

We have the business registered. We also have the bakery name registered (I'll announce the name when we get the logo trademarked). However, we need the deed to the house and store to move forward. 

I know what you're thinking. Yes, we should've gotten it when we officially bought the place. However, the surveyor still hadn't redefined the property lines (they had to separate our property from the parcel of land of the previous owner), so until they surveyed, the deed was in limbo. 

So we made repairs on the house, excited that it should be only a few weeks before we could start applying for grants and loans.

The surveyor came in February. Yes! We could finally move forward! 

But wait. He told us it would take more than a few weeks. It would take at least six to nine months.

Uh oh.

We paid off everything- including the new place when we moved- so we had zero debt. However, the repairs had cost more than expected (especially when a thousand dollars in building material went from a full skid to barely one-fourth of a skid), and the reserves were running out. Fast.

Time to change gears. We had to start looking for work. In the boonies. Even the locals said, 'Good luck with that!'

Our daughter found a job with a local egg-producing plant. God blessed us unexpectedly because the plant allows us to take home free eggs (as long as it was for home consumption). My husband found a job that was twice the distance, but it paid well. All he had to do was take the safety classes, and he was good to go.

Then things got weird. 

On day two of the mandatory classes, we got The Virus. All three of us. He lost the job because he didn't show up to the second safety class. He was viral. Oh sure, he could've shown up for the class with a 102-degree fever, but the safety class he studied for said not to go to work if you're sick because they work in the food industry. So he was let go for obeying the rules.

Gotta love the irony.

He could reapply, but only after two weeks in seclusion. It was a significant bump in the road, but our daughter said she would do what it took to keep us afloat. I'm thankful that God blessed us with great kids.

He also blessed us with a great church. They didn't know us from Adam (a little Biblical humor there), but they still wanted to help and donated a few gas cards and some food items to keep us going. I can't tell you what a blessing they are!

Almost three weeks later, my husband was in the process of reapplying for the job when he had to fetch our daughter from work. Unfortunately, he severely sprained his ankle on some black ice walking to the van. He was down for the count for at least six weeks.

Honestly, We felt like the Hebrews in Egypt. You need to listen to what God tells you! The first time, he got sick for two weeks; the second time, he was hurt for six weeks. We are not stupid people, and we took the hint that God just didn't want him to work at that job. We weren't willing to see what 'third times the charm' would do! 

The last time he didn't listen, he was in the hospital for eighteen days with third-degree burns. Thanks, but no thanks. We'll listen to the Big Guy from now on.

We found out later that the job required a five-year contract. Yikes!

So now we were back to square one. Should we keep looking for work, or did God have something else planned? We delved deep into business regulations to see if there was an answer. There was, but it wasn't clear what we should do about it. So we prayed. a lot.

Several things happened this week that both clarified and muddied the business waters. When we first moved here, we asked for a mentor from SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) but were told they were fresh out due to the pandemic. However, this week we were contacted by a mentor willing to talk with us!

Mentors help new business owners sort out what they need to start their businesses. His advice was constructive; we're considering changing the dynamics of our original bakery cafe. He also suggested we start out in the cottage industry until we get our business legs under us. He helped clarify a lot.

But we still needed income, and we knew God wasn't thrilled with the last prospect, so being more than a bit trepidacious, we looked for employment elsewhere. 

My husband starts his new job next week, and because we only have one vehicle, I'll be working out of the home, making things to sell at local fairs and online. In addition, I'll be going through what we don't need from the move to sell via a giant yard sale.

It won't be easy, but we will get this bakery off the ground! It might take a year longer than expected, but we know God put us here to feed people both physically and spiritually.

And when that happens, it's going to be awesome.

Monday, February 7, 2022

The Calm Before the Store

(yes- this is part of the actual store!)

Wow- has it been two months already?

How can time pass so fast when the outside world is so quiet?

Maybe it's because of the icy weather we've been having. It's been in the single digits for a few weeks. I didn't even know the van thermometer could go into negative numbers. So glad my husband was able to clear out the garage in time to avoid the snow- the entire yard is a sheet of ice. Yikes!

Much has happened lately, including all of us getting that lovely little virus that shut down the world. My homemade remedy helped a great deal, and though the actual virus couldn't be avoided, the symptoms were significantly less severe after drinking my special blend of tea.

We're over it now, though my husband is still coughing a lot. It aggravated his Irritated Bronchial Syndrome, but he's getting better each day. 

And speaking of my husband...remember that ice I mentioned? Well, Mountain Man decided to take the shortcut up the icy hill to the garage and sprained his ankle. Bad. I had no clue until he came in the door limping. He was surprised he could walk, no less walk back to the house. So he's been down and out for the past three weeks.

My daughter and I have been playing nurse, and he's recovering nicely.

As for the bakery, the paperwork is slow going, like molasses in...er...February. We have the LLC and the business name, but not much else- I won't go into details, but God let us know that him getting a job was out of the question (the ankle was the 'icing' on the cake- forgive the pun- but we got the point, Lord!), so our focus has been getting the business up and running.

So much paperwork! And of course, the papers we have aren't the right ones. And the mentors for the Small Business Association (SBA) and few and far between, so we're basically doing this blind. But I'm glad God is leading us!

We just have to be patient.

Patience is a virtue I barely have, but God makes me practice it- All. The. Time.

Ugh.

We're still getting to know the natives, but they are hermits and hibernate during the winter months, at least until the weather warms. It was a balmy 35 degrees this morning, and I greeted a few heads that popped out of their hidey-holes as they grabbed firewood or went to their day jobs.

We hear spring is where the action is. Not only is spring when fishing season opens, but flea markets, fairs, and farmers' markets start to pop up everywhere. In fact, we were told to have our yard sale at the first inkling of springtime. So hopefully, we'll have everything sorted by then!

The church folks are warming up to us, and we will start taking new member classes in March. I'm not sure if we'll be involved in any ministries yet, though we'd like to; we just don't want to commit too soon because we have no idea what the bakery will require of our physical and mental strength.

Community meetings are every second Wednesday, so Mr. Gimpy and I will be attending this week. We're curious to see differences from those in Philly, and we need to ask if we should present ourselves as a new business in the near future.

In the meantime, we'll bundle up and take a quick peek at the stars- because winter skies are crystal clear at night, and the view is spectacular.

And we get to go inside and warm ourselves by the propane fireplace when we're done!

Would you like to see a new blog depicting our journey into becoming business owners? I'd love to hear from you in the comments! 

Friday, December 3, 2021

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

The wait is over, and I have so much to share with you!

We've finally got an internet connection, and I can stop inundating you with multiple postdated posts! Not only can we upload and download everything we need to do, but our daughter can also talk on Zoom, which means she can do her spring semester classes online. No eleven-hour drive to New Hampshire, just to have her secluded in her dorm room!

Can I get a WOOHOO?

Renovations are going well for the sewing room. We've painted it, and the color came out so pretty! It really brightened up the room. My husband also decided to take out the carpet and replace the flooring- and I got to choose the color! We also bought a ceiling fan to match the floor. Not everything is finished yet, but here are a couple of pictures of the walls and floor (and the beautiful new air vents too!)


Next up is new baseboards with a fresh coat of white paint. After that is the ceiling fan install and an area rug (for the rolling desk chairs), and we're done! 

Well, almost. My husband wants to build a few more bookshelves before moving everything in, but I can start creating and writing before those are installed. We plan to turn a small part of the space into a reading nook for the three of us since we became avid readers during our disconnection to the Web.

Not having internet has its benefits!

As for the propane issue, the guy never showed for the appointment. Again. After a very heated phone call (from my husband, whose fuse usually wraps the equator several times), we finally got propane the day before Thanksgiving. We were very thankful for fresh-baked bread and turkey!

We learned an important lesson concerning certain gas stations. Some fuel might be cheaper, but not good if it has enough water in it to freeze in the lines overnight. We also learned that the locals sometimes know better than the mechanics when figuring out what's wrong. Leaving the van in the garage and storing a few bottles of dry gas makes for better winter driving.

And speaking of driving, we had a sprinkling of snow the morning we went to pick up our son for the holiday week. And I get to try out the camera on my new phone!





It was the perfect snow- just enough to coat the grass and trees, but not the roads. So pretty!

Last but not least, we are now officially a company! We have our EIN number and can finally start becoming business owners. Grants, schematics, trademarking, and copyrighting- and that's before we do any renovations.

So many more changes happening; my head is spinning. In a good way!

God has taken us a mighty long way into a whole new world of business we only dreamed was possible. I can't wait to see what He does next!

I Reckon We're Wreckin'

(postdated Tuesday, November 16th, 2021)

Oh, so many changes since my last post!

First, we bought new phones instead of waiting for the chips that never came (and are probably still in the depths of Tennessee). The switch to the new phone service allowed us to drive two to three miles from home instead of seven to twelve.

Believe me, it makes a difference!

Second, I've finally broken my plateau in my weight loss journey! My body decided to clean house due to what we thought was me getting used to the water. After three days of sheer bliss, I realized I was probably still overeating during my eating windows and that smaller portions are warranted for further breakthroughs.

Third, we'll finally be able to cook and bake again! The old electric stove had an unusable oven, and though the burners worked, they were all tilted inward towards the center. We think the previous owner used all four burners for a giant canning pot that weighed a ton and bent the burners. My husband refused to cook anything but breakfast on it until the new propane range came in.

It came, but the propane to run it wasn't installed yet, due to a hiccup via the service order. So we were without any way to cook in the house for almost a week.

But we are now sturdy country folk, so my husband decided to make a few breakfasts and a giant pan of pepperoni cheesesteaks on the propane camping stove when we got tired of the pre-prepped fridge and freezer food.

The propane for the range comes in today- I hope!

Four, my sewing room/reading nook is getting renovated, so I can start sewing and writing again until the bakery is up and running. There was a makeshift wooden cabinet in the corner of the room, and let's just say we had a big fire last night that kept us warm outside, despite freezing temperatures. Next is spackling and painting from that insanely bright blue to a more calming periwinkle.

This is what it looked like when we first moved in:



And now:


After a fresh coat of paint, new flooring, and a few more bookshelves, we can finally move everything into the space, and I can begin working and creating! I miss making things so much, and I bought the supplies to make my first project- a giant Christmas wreath for our front door.

No, we still don't have internet, and according to the service, we won't have it until the end of this month. Apparently, they scheduled it for November 29th instead of October 29th by mistake. Thanks a lot, Service-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named.

We're not even sure if the signal will be strong enough to do essential things like uploading videos and Zoom calls. We need both to promote the bakery and allow our daughter to do college from home. At least we'll be able to make phone calls.

We've not even touched the stuff left in the store- including our moving boxes!

We learned more about starting this business. We registered, but it might take a few weeks before we get the tax number. We can't move forward with trademarking and copyrighting our business name without the tax number. We also can't apply for grants until we have our EIN number.

And we can't have the FDA in before everything is built. We must have them in after everything is renovated. If we decide to change anything after inspection (from a bakery to a bakery café, like we originally planned), we must have the FDA in all over again. So we get two inspections before they start charging big bucks.

That changes everything. We can't start as small as we intended. A lot more reckoning than we thought and a lot more wreckin' than we planned.

God got us here. He'll get us up and running. We're sowing the fields, expecting God to bring the rain. And as we wait, I'm going to be letting my muse off the leash and run free in my sewing/writing space.

Step back and watch the awesomeness!

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Country Roads, Take Me Home

So much to do...and see!

When we weren't fixing up the house or unpacking (which we are still doing, by the way), we went sightseeing and checked out the local scenery. Some of the views were spectacular! Unfortunately, I can't share some sights because stopping on a two-lane mountain road to take pictures when everyone is doing seventy is a big no-no.

Please forgive the windshield.



Though sometimes, the traffic was sparse, and we could.


That was the first two weeks. Then things started to get colorful. Unfortunately, our cameras don't capture the depth of the colors- but they were so pretty!








The sunsets were pretty too...





And then we had our first frost. As the sun rose, the trees protected some of the crystals- this was across our street...


It gets below freezing at night now, yet the days are surprisingly warm- in the sixties. 

Neighbors are already asking what we're doing with the store, and after we tell them, they ask when we plan to open the bakery cafe. Yikes-We haven't finished unpacking yet!

We still don't have internet or phone service. It's a blessing, not a hindrance, because we have more house repairs to do than expected. But, if we don't get connected soon, our daughter won't be able to do her college classes online come the spring semester, and we can't get our cooking videos out like we'd planned.

We're still hopeful and optimistic, though! God is good, and this could be just another lull before the last big push to get the store up and running. Whatever He has planned, we'll do. All we ask is that you keep us in prayer. If two or three pray, it's a powerful thing, so imagine if everyone who reads this prays- that's super powerful!

I hope you enjoyed some of our country roads!