Restlessness Sets In

I can’t remember exactly when Ian began to seriously consider moving on.  I was trying to keep up to the demands of my two full-time government jobs while he managed the day-to-day activities on the farm.  I helped out with the animals as much as I could. Originally he looked at campgrounds, particularly in the United States.  He thought that the warmer climates would be a nice switch from Ontario’s cold winters.  And as I was American-born, it would be easy to move down there.…

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How to Lose One’s Privacy (But Meet Some Nice and Not So Nice People): Operate a Farm Bed and Breakfast

By 2005, we were beginning to feel the financial stress of our farm venture and approached our local economic development agency for support. They offered a few hundred dollars to hire someone to develop a website for us.  I ended up creating a website myself.  It was full of errors that made it a slow process for anyone trying to load it but wasn’t bad for a first attempt. The economic development staff did confirm the viability of an idea we had been tossing around (the farm bed and breakfast)…

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How to Ruin One’s Financial Status in One Easy Step: Build a Farm from Scratch!

Ian and I did everything right from a financial standpoint during the 1990s.  We worked hard at multiple jobs and earned decent wages.  We paid off two mortgages.  I even managed to maximize my RRSP savings. We entered 2000 with sterling credit ratings.  Then we decided to build a large farm from scratch on 220 acres of land. The house we built was large.  It was a seven-bedroom, two-bathroom one-and-a-half-storey wonder with approximately 1,500-square-feet on each level.  And then there was the full partially finished basement.…

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A Dream Come True: The Evolution of Noah’s Farm

Too few of us actually have the opportunity to make a dream a reality.  I will always be grateful for the 10 years Ian and I spent developing (and sadly collapsing) Noah’s Farm. The beginnings of the farm can actually be traced back to Prescott, Ontario, a town that is about a 20-minute drive from Brockville on Highway 401.  We had successfully purchased (with the help of a first mortgage) an older bungalow with a  garage that was larger than the house  on a crowded street in the town of Prescott.  I…

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What to Do When Your New Business is “Failing”

Build customer loyalty.   It’s easy to take this for granted until you don’t have it.  Our first retail business purchase in Nova Scotia involved a long-established business with a loyal customer base.  And the customer base was different than that of our new business in Smiths Cove.  There was actually some industry around Fundy’s Mountain General Store – fish plants as well as wharves from which the many lobster fishermen in the area worked.  There is only one year-round business near Three Little Bears: auto salvage/body shop.  Owners of a new business will…

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A Bumpy Start for The Three Little Bears Cottage Store

My husband and I opened our new store (The Three Little Bears Cottage Store)  in the small community of Smiths Cove, Nova Scotia, with great expectations one morning in early December 2013.  We changed our “Opening Soon” and “CLOSED” signs to “OPEN”.  We waited inside for the inevitable herd of eager, curious shoppers.  Oh, we knew some of them wouldn’t buy much.  They would step in mainly just to look around and see what this new store in their small community was all about.  After…

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