Have your days been full and busy, but few of your goals actually seem to have been accomplished? That kind of describes 2015 for me.
We were busy. We slept maybe six hours a night (if we were lucky) and worked away the rest of the time. Spring was slow in coming. The winter (of 2014-2015) with its record snowfalls encroached on spring more than usual. Everything seemed to be late: that welcome spring thaw, the warm dry air, the end of the mud. The mud especially needed to go so one could actually accomplish something outside.
We finally figured out where we would set up our new combination pet store, Christian bookstore, feed store, consignment store, crafts store, and any other kind of store we could squeeze in that space that kind of made sense. It wasn’t easy. 20 Waldeck Line Road is a stunning property, but abundant flat building lot space it does not have, at least not close to the road. There was an undeveloped mucky area at the front of the house, at the bottom of a fairly steep hill, that looked promising…with a lot of fill!
We knew we did not have the time nor the will to build a new building for our store. We liked our manufactured home in Smiths Cove, so we decided to find a good, solid mobile trailer in which to set up. As luck (or divine provision) would have it, there was one for sale quite close to us, right in Deep Brook, about a five-minute drive at the most. And the owner also happened to be a contractor with all the necessary excavation equipment. Ian had some excavation equipment, but it was for smaller jobs. He knew it would take him a painfully long time to accomplish what the operator of larger equipment could accomplish in a few days.
Before the trailer arrived, a new access needed to be put in from the road. The area on which it would sit needed to be raised up and solidified. That meant lots of fill. Loads and loads of fill. But after a couple of days of non-stop filling and leveling, an access was in, and the site prepared.
The trailer was not a thing of beauty, but it turned out to be perfect for our needs. It was among the smaller mobiles, 12X48, but it was more than ample, and easy to heat in the winter. Ian tore down walls (he seems to love to do this) and transformed the structure from a small home on wheels to a small much more open trailer. New windows, new walls, new flooring, new shingles on one half of the roof….all of this work took us well into the fall. So much for the spring 2015 reopening of the all new and improved Three Little Bears Cottage Store and Gift Shop.
But we also kept busy building up our breeding stock and pet supplies inventory. We started the year off with one hamster, three budgies, four lovebirds, four cockatiels, four rabbits and ended the same year with 31 hamsters, 20 gerbils, 13 degus, two hedgehogs, five chinchillas, seven guinea pigs, 36 rabbits (some pure Polish, Netherland Dwarf and Holland Lop), 20 budgies, 28 lovebirds (peach-faced, Fisher, black-masked), nine cockatiels and too many guppy fish to count, along with one huge goldfish and an algae eater. On top of that we purchased a ton of good used cages of different sizes and aquariums from a retired breeder of primarily small pets, especially Syrian hamsters. And we had lots of shelves on hand from our previous two retail operations.
All ready to go?
Wrong. There was the small matter of electricity. Nova Scotia Power came out to assess the situation, and the end result was that we decided to purchase two baby barns from a local lumber store. One would be for the feed we hoped to sell. The other mainly for Nova Scotia Power. Both sheds were in place by mid-October, but by then our plans were changing again. In order to develop that well-rounded country store that we originally envisaged, we needed more workable land, which the property we owned on Purdy Road already had–at least seven acres of it. So we put the NSP hookup and store idea on hold. As winter was looming, we felt we would not be missing much, as some small businesses, especially in our area of Nova Scotia, traditionally slipped into hibernation over the winter months.
We sold a few of our pets to their new families over the winter. The critters themselves were kept quite cozy in their trailer, heated primarily by a woodstove.
If nothing else, we made an awesome start in 2015 on our pet-store-to-be.