Posts Tagged ‘Economy’

leaves4_copyI made an announcement a few days ago that I was going to work all weekend to free myself up for Monday (today) and Tuesday.  My statement ended with, “To free myself up for the blessings ahead.”

Eight words to describe the employment situation for many…jobs are not growing on trees these days

Unemployment statistics are released quarterly, monthly, etc…, but I know first-hand that the statistics do not nearly include all that are unemployed.  For example, they do not include those that cannot collect unemployment, those that are not eligible to apply for benefits.

My husband and I shut down a business right before the economy crashed.  He hit the books, studied, took classes, and passed tests, just to find that his new career path had hit an all-time low. 

But now we are fighting back, fighting back with our own fireballs. 

What we have been working on is a new business that will ensure my husband is up and working again.  His new skills will be put to use.  I am a firm believer that there is good in all bad.  Frustration and bitterness does not lead to good.  What does lead to good is determination…a listening ear and eyes (our own), to what we are really supposed to be doing in life. 

If I seem a bit distracted, I am.  Is it affecting the farm and Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps? No.  I am just a tad bit slower with email and comments on the blog this week. 

Life is a beautiful thing.  Sometimes we have to pull up the bootstraps and say, “I have had enough.  I am determined to make my life a good one!” Determination, sheer will-power!

And, yes, we can use all of the prayers, good wishes, and positive thoughts that you might want to send!

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Welcome to my corner of the office.

I am feeling better today. But somehow I woke at 2:30 a.m., and have not been asleep since. My face is beginning to lose the Frankenstein monster look. My vision is slightly out of sorts, ibuprofen does that to me after a few days of regular doses. So, the hubby took me to the grocery this morning. That felt rather silly, but oh well, things will improve, and I was grateful. Again, I am writing from the phone, waiting for the start of today's headache to slip away.

The remainder of today (and during some of my own quiet wee hours) included planning a new business. Bob has been unemployed for well over a year. So, we are putting our creative juices into action to put him back to work. I can dig it. I love business planning. I am of the type that likes to learn as much as possible so I can act as a resource when needed, and when I can be creative it really sparks me.

We will find a way to beat this economy…I am determined! One thing I seldom do is lose confidence in the silver lining, there always is one. Prayer is amazing. And I strongly believe things happen for a reason, ears and eyes open!

Have you had to be creative with work as well?

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On this bright and beautiful March day, with green grass sprouting, the world is full of new things, and good news.

As I have been saying, and I am far from being an expert, I think we will see our economy on an upswing. I developed the attitude to not worry. Why worry? Worry does not change a thing. Well, let’s back into that, worry does change our happiness. It does change our demeanor. But worry does not change the circumstances that led to the problem. And, as I have been saying, I encourage everyone to be creative, if you feel you want to be, start that Etsy store, fire up a website, promote your hand-crafted products in a farmer’s market, or start a small business. You will be in the train car on the down side and you will be in the front car on the swing back up. For about a week the “experts” have been reporting that the economy is strengthening. I am not worried. I do hope people begin to rebuild their lives, however (those that have lost jobs and homes). But whatever it brings, be happy, do not worry.

On this bright and beautiful day it is good to see the animals outside, enjoying the sun. Occasionally stopping to munch, as Aleecia is in this photo. But more often I see the girls kicking up their heels and playing chase across their lot. Carefree worry-less animals!

And on this bright and beautiful spring day I am announcing a package on the way to Florida, destination Casa Hice. A random pick of commenters on this blog resulted in pulling Alix’s name from the hat. Thank you, Alix. Her package consists of one of her favorite scents, a lilac based soap, and a lilac goat milk lotion, very fitting for spring. I see my lilac bushes are budding out green today, and I cannot wait to smell their scent in a month or so! I agree with Alix, a very nice scent.

Thank you everyone!

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Me and the boy spent some time together today…the boy is a 90 pound boxer named Spike. More on that later in this article…

No, it isn’t just a dog’s world, the opportunity is now. What am I referring to? I am thinking on terms of today’s economy, both business and personal opportunity.

I have done a lot of talking recently regarding the positive side to the downturn in our pocketbooks, with many references to what I think the opportunities are.

I do a lot of business reading. One of my favorite spots is Entrepreneur.com. I also focus in on stories that relate to businesses that are succeeding in today’s world because they remember who they are, where they started, and the basics in life (caring for the backbone, the people that do the work), along with good products at low prices, such as Chick-fil-A and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Today is a grand opportunity to start a small business, even in the current downturn. It is also the time to sharpen up your own personal people skills, and believe me, it goes very much hand in hand.

If you were dealing with a person, or a business, wouldn’t you want to have contact with them again if they were honest, hard working, not afraid to show up early or work late, with old fashioned values? I would. I talked with a customer service rep the other day regarding my internet service. He actually took the time to speak with me on a personal level. I felt he was interested in fixing the problem. He gave me a very positive feeling about the company that he works for. Customer service gets a gold star when you talk to a person that emits respect for you. They fix the problem for you, or offer a good solution, and do not doubt your value. That is true customer service, and is true on the personal level, caring for the neighbor (as you want to be cared for yourself).

On a strictly business level, what about making sure every dollar counts? What about sound business practices (not cheating on the accounting)?

I see a lot of back to the basics in business and personal lives. I pat you on the back first (because I care about you). Yes, it can happen, and I believe it is happening! We can all succeed with a bit of effort. I love it. And I do think we are learning a lot from our world today. It isn’t all about money (I want to see happy customers, and people that feel valued first), it is about who we are, and those that we care for. True success in life follows.

Now…back to the boy. Spike is from my first litter of boxers. The boxer boy did not get the training that his (late) father, Samson, got from me. He rode in the truck with me this morning when I ran a few chores. He has a lot to learn, almost wore me out! But he is worth it. I should have started on him when he was a 25 pound puppy, not a 90 pound, 4 year old boy. Does he look worn out in the pic? He was. But it was worth the trip, and the effort.

Enjoy your life!

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I have been writing about goals, happiness, staying focused, and keeping a balance in life, amongst other things.

At times we are faced with unexpected challenges. Today’s challenge is a good example.

One of my saanan does, Chandra, and I rode in the bed of the pick up truck last March, 55 MPH all the way, in an emergency attempt to rescue her badly tangled twins. Surgery was not required, and one of the twins was saved. All of us felt it would be a one-time occurance, never would Chandra have that same kidding problem again. However, once again today, we made an emergency run to the vet’s office, this time it resulted in a C-section. Two huge bucklings and a very sore Chandra. And a Chandra that is now going to be retired.

Early this morning, as I realized that I could not fix the problem the doe was having, I calmly accepted that I had done my best. I then waited for good things to unfold. I put my mind in the right position to march forward and handle whatever was being dealt to me. This is the wisdom that I referred in my last post, this is the happiness in life that I referred to in another post. It is up to us how we advance in life, how much happiness we allow ourselves. It truly is.

At the vet’s office I wanted to take names and phone numbers. There was a woman, probably in her mid 60’s, that wanted to watch the C-section. I smiled as Dr. Junk, not the one performing surgery, asked the non-medical person if she wanted to watch the surgery through the glass. Dr. Junk smiled at me at one point, winked, and said, “Onwards and upwards.” Yes, sir, you betcha’!

There was another women in the office with her “terrible 2’s” boxer. I have 3. She and I talked about the economy, and how much we are learning, and how it really can be a positive thing (my post 2 days ago). We talked about Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps, and the getting down to sustaining ourselves.

No, it was not a good thing that poor Chandra had suffered, but it was good to know that there are people in the world that are human, good genuine people. People that did not care that I smelled like the barn floor, nor that I had blood and dried birthing fluids on my jeans, nor that I had on my most raggedy barn coat (that has to see the dumpster this spring), nor my mud packed muck boots.

We all make the best of things, and that is how we allow ourselves to be, and that is how we are successful in our own lives.

Remember to look for the good things in life, they are there!

By the way, the kid in the photo is one of my bottle kids this year. The middle-aged men across the road get together once a week to play old classic rock. They shake the ground. After we did our bottle feeding a few evenings ago, Bob scooped up one of the kids and took him to visit with the band. I heard the music stop. Bob said the cameras and laughter came out. The kid came back zipped up inside of the work overhauls, and I had to snap the adorable photo as his head came out!

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Cheap Is The Rave?

Just what I have been thinking! Exactly!
When I tell my friends that the recession is good for us because we are learning, I am seeing proof of that.
We are learning to change our way of purchasing (buying carefully). We are looking beyond what we would have bought in the past (without a second thought in prior years). And we are living with things that we might have quickly thrown aside before our economy flip-flopped. What is that doing for us? We are learning! We are growing!
Not only are we learning to spend wisely, we are learning to deal with more challenges, and we are gaining wisdom as I write this. I love it.
I have learned to look at the glass as half full, an integral part of my personal being. Because of that it, I have looked for the silver lining since our economy challenge has unfolded into what it is today.
Before I go on, I do feel sorry for people that have lost their homes, their vehicles, and worst of all, their jobs! Please do not begin to feel I am making light of those horrible situations. I have shed many tears for loved ones that have not been able to hold onto the roofs over their heads, or their source of income. Better days are ahead, they truly are. You will look back on this period of time as a bridge to better waters, there is no doubt about it!
Last week, Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps started a Brown Bag Special. It is booming. I am helping my customers make wise decisions in buying good for their skin soap (no wrappers, no frills, just the soap), and they are helping me by buying soaps that I might not have otherwise sold. I am cleaning the store shelves of bars of soap that weigh a little less than 4 ounces (to sell in the brighter days ahead). And, I am making room for the Sunshine Packs that are in the works (more on the packs later). Spring is going to come, and so is Sunshine! And I want to spread it around!
Back to my real topic, and it goes hand in hand with wise spending, cheap is the rave? Look what CNN wrote today: http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/03/04/cheap.new.chic/index.html?eref=rss_topstories. Granted, not too many of us can buy $7,000 watches or purses, but we know what it means to cut back. And yes, I agree, Cheap is the New Chic!!!
I say, get on the bandwagon. Decide what is most important (the topic I posted on yesterday). We can beat this thing. Perhaps not painlessly, but we can do it with fun, and with a fresh new outlook on life. Goodwill clothes on the runway? Yes!

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A little sneak peek of gift packages going out to some Ohio shops tomorrow. Sets will be available on the website soon as well.

Despite the slow start to the morning, I accomplished quite a bit today.

I fumbled with some behind-the-scenes website problems, but did get things up and rolling again just in time for lunch break.

Then I headed out to the shop and got the packages ready for delivery tomorrow. Thank goodness the sidewalk between the house and the shop was ice free today, despite the 2 degree wind chill all afternoon. Such a warm single digit! 🙂

No signs of immediate labor tonight in the goat barn. Way to go girls!! Good job!!

Heading to the kitchen now to get pancakes on the griddle. Seems like a Log Cabin sort of day. Have a great evening!

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I have been working on inventory in the shop. Today, I announced on the news page of our website that we will not be holding an Odds and Ends soap sale. Instead, I will be installing clearance sections into our online soap store. My goal is to have this completed by 1/12/09.

Onto a different, and very important topic…last night a friend forwarded an article to me out of one of our local newspapers. My friend, Bob, knows that I am very much interested in agriculture, small business, and ways to support others (beyond monetary). From reading the article, the brain wheels started turning. It is amazing what we think of when we really put our minds to work.
How many times have we had such a bounty of vegetables grow from our gardens, even after canning and freezing, that we have turned to giving extra food items away before they spoil? We give the food to neighbors, friends, co-workers, but how often do we give the food to the homeless, shelters, or food banks? And I began thinking this goes beyond perishable vegetables, what do we do with our unwanted soap products? We might think that the bar of lemon soap, for example, is way too lemony for us, or way too lemony to sell, and perhaps too ugly. But who says that small and ugly soap would not help inspire a person in the shelter to see a brighter horizon? Or what if that soap puts a smile on that person’s face for one day?
To keep this article within reasonable length, I am going to insert bits and pieces and links of what I have read today.
Meetings are going to be held locally regarding the aspects of development of a local community garden, put together by volunteers, with the produce being given directly to local ministries and related organizations (the last sentence really touched my heart):
“Sugartree Ministries is likely to receive the greatest amount of produce from the farm, based on the heavy community involvement and its central location, said Swindler. “I’m very excited about what this could mean for feeding people in Wilmington,” said Willoughby. And, he said, for the people themselves. Just imagine a sign over a mound of fresh produce, reading something like this: grown especially for you, by your neighbors.”
I did a Google search on charity gardens. Americans may have a lot to learn from our friends across the seas. Entities such as the following have been around for quite some time:
“Few people realize that through this we raise £2 million each year for nursing, caring and gardening charities. Since 1927 we have raised over £40 million (£22 million in the last 10 years). Our office is small so most of the money goes straight to the charities we support.”
I found good links for ways to share your local harvest, and if I had the time just this very moment, I would imagine there are many more links on the internet. These are now bookmarked, and I will be reading more! Here is one example:
“Rather than alienate friends and family with the results of your exuberant gardening turn to those who would truly appreciate it- the needy poor in your community. When your neighbors lock their doors, and your family shuns your tomatoes- look to your neighbors elsewhere in your community so that your efforts will not go to waste but uplift the hearts and souls of people in need.”


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We do not eat many meals out these days. Everything seems to taste pre-frozen, boxed, processed, salty, and very expensive to boot.

I have been doing quite a bit of reading on farm sustainability and supporting the local farm. In my readings I stumbled across The Farmers Diner site. They seem to have a great concept started for bringing back a network of restaurants that utilizes locally grown food. What an ingenious way to make money (through their own idea) and to help bring the local economy(s) back as well!

What a mission statement!

Quotes from the Farmer’s Diner About Us page:

“The Farmers Diner. Food From Here. We’re a great diner based on a simple idea: prepare and serve hearty meals with fresh ingredients from area farmers and small-scale producers.”

“Our goal is a national network of The Farmers Diner restaurants, serving typical diner food sourced from local area farmers and producers. We expect The Farmers Diner to be a leader in family/casual dining because local fresh food tastes superior, customers prefer to support their neighbors and communities, and we will always provide great service at reasonable prices.”

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With talks of the auto makers in trouble, the decrease in fuel consumption (despite the lower prices at the pump), and layoffs amongst many city, county and school employees (including universities), I wanted to give an outline of how our local (and rural area) will be suffering from job losses.

We are going to lose 9,800 jobs in a 5 county area (a mainly rural area). Approximately 2,600 of those jobs are people that live in my county. This major job loss stems from DHL pulling their business, taking it elsewhere, back to Germany. The ABX employees that work at the airstrip, ensuring DHL gets their daily shipments in and out, will lose their employment. A percentage already have.

The commercial air strip is 25 minutes away from our farm. Many of our neighbors, friends and famly are employed at ABX/DHL. Some of the employees are farmers, most cannot afford the current diesel fuel prices, and some that cannot either afford or obtain health care without the 2nd job (1st job farming). If they cannot afford diesel, and if they cannot afford health care, I can see hay, feed, and (human) food prices on the increase. I can see many more foreclosures on farms and properties.

Last year ABX employees started posting red signs in their yards, similar to real estate sale signs, to indicate that they were employed at ABX. For a while, and still to this day on some occasions, it brings the goose bumps up to see how many people are going to be affected by these jobs losses. Within one mile of home, I can count at least 7 households that will be affected.

We have already seen businesses close, with more to follow. We have been told by our local real estate experts that our property values are to decrease, and the economic experts are saying the values will stay in a slump for at least the next 2 decades. The example given, to put this in perspective, a property valued at 195,000 a few years ago, will be valued at 145,000 within the next year. Because of the economy, we have been told property taxes will be increasing this coming year as well. More taxes, less property values.

Some of my friends are farmers at night, school teachers during the day. They are concerned about the children attending their schools. A nearby school is expecting to see 40% of the children’s parents unemployed once DHL completely pulls out.

The pull out is expected to be nearly complete by 1/31/09. We hear news daily of the next round of job losses. As in today’s newspaper article: http://www.timesgazette.com/main.asp?SectionID=18&SubSectionID=175&ArticleID=159893&TM=46995.52

In my estimation, there is nothing we can do to stop DHL. United States government officials have tried, politicians have tried, people have tried to stop the deal. The deal is happening.

My husband has been unemployed for 6 months. Yesterday’s paper had no job listings in it, the big 0! And I keep thinking about these 9,800 people. Who is going to employ them? Is there going to be a people bail out (like a big bank or car manufacturer might receive)? Help is needed.

I cannot change the economy. I cannot change any of the after affects. The only thing I can do is hang tight, prepare to be a good community member. Keep my boots on, and hold on to them snugly. It could be a slippery ride. They say what goes down has to come back up. That is what I am focused on, the ride back up.

I am a optimist. This article is not meant to be negative, it is just factual. I wish we all had an answer!

Until the prayers are answered, keep your faith!

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