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Life’s too short, only read what you’re interested in.

Life’s too short, only read what you’re interested in.

Working with corn maze clients across North America and the UK, creating attractions and marketing plans for hundreds more farms and entertainment businesses, plus managing nearly 100 staff across three businesses and 1,400 acres of production, retail, and entertainment in a family business generates a lot of stories. This blog is a connection point for seasonal and family business owners to look inside, learn from our mistakes, and connect on a level only people in the small business community can. Choose what you'd like to read by category or search, then surf around occasionally for something interesting you might not…
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Take your own advice.

Make your list, check it twice, but don't make too many resolutions - Even this list is too long! Take your own advice. I never think of myself as particularly swayed by remembrance, nostalgia, or special dates - I can eat birthday cake anytime within a week of my actual birthday, for instance. However, Christmas & New Year's Eve likely create the most profound internal feelings: a sense of momentousness. Christmas is my heartwarming family time. Kids are back from college; in the past, we'd created Christmas magic with Legos and stuffed animals. Family games and meals make it a cozy time…
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Part 4 – The “Day of” & “Post-Apocalypse.”

The 2023 Sunflower Festival Apocalypse before we hand-replanted... Not the best look! Below, the tent in mid-self-destruction. Part 4 - The "Day of" & "Post-Apocalypse." The last three weeks, we covered what we learned, discovered, and uncovered as the weather handed out an old-school rainy season over much of the upper Midwest to the mid-Atlantic and into the Northeast US. If you missed the other three blogs, take a few minutes to find and read them, as the process is sequential. We thought first about choices made "Years in Advance" regarding the very structure of our businesses to create a more stable operational…
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Part 3 – Pre-season Actions & Systems.

The light beam from the watch tower on a misty October night at Maize Quest. Part 3 - Pre-season Actions & Systems. The last two weeks, we covered what we learned, discovered, and uncovered as the weather handed out an old-school rainy season over much of the upper Midwest to the mid-Atlantic and into the Northeast US. If you missed the other two blogs, take a few minutes to find and read them, as the process is sequential. We thought first about choices made "Years in Advance" regarding the very structure of our businesses to create a more stable operational…
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Part 2 – Strategic & Pre-season, the first 4 of a dozen.

Our lavender festival brings guests and revenue into late June & early July which coincides purposefully with blueberry picking season. Part 2 - Strategic & Pre-season, the first 4 of a dozen. Last week, we started looking at how to plan for what turned out to be a rainy season (and for future rainy ones). We're breaking our planning & strategies out into five categories. Years in Advance Strategic Choices Pre-season Actions Day of Weather Event Post-apocalypse Today, we'll briefly review "Years in Advance" and then move through "Strategic Choices" & "Pre-Season Actions." Years in Advance. Some choices that enabled us to survive 2023's…
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Three lessons from a plain ol’ rainy season: Part 1 Year’s in Advance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N8zACnXLdA The video above is "Time to wash the pumpkins" was our spoof on the old Dunkin Donuts commercial we made one rainy fall day years ago. Three lessons from a plain ol' rainy season: Part 1 Year's in Advance. It wasn't a disaster. Being hit by a tornado, hurricane, flood, or fire - is a disaster. It was a plain ol' rainy season, and it just kind of sucks. We aren't used to rainy seasons; our last one is back in 2018. The last one this pervasive was back in 2002. Measurable precipitation every weekend from Labor Day through Oct 27th, with the…
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Quiet. How the recent power outage shows the hidden message in the crops.

Hey folks, It's quiet. The power went out Monday after the crazy thunderstorms rolled through, and it's still out. I'm writing to you from a laptop connected to a temporary hotspot, connected to a backup generator, that is working hard to keep all the farm market freezers running. The frig and freezer are plugged in at our house, but that's about all. It's amazing the undercurrent of fans, HVAC, chargers, humming, buzzing, and noise that surrounds us most days. Now it is quiet. We enjoyed a candlelit dinner last night, then off to bed early because what else is there to do? Usually, we'd…
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About endings, deadlines, and being told “No.”

Any time something comes to an end, it brings a touch of grief. Loss of a loved one, sure, but simple things like the end of a youth soccer season or completion of a child's 4th grade year. Each ending brings a touch of grief, but why? We operate within our patterns and our habits. The longer we do or say the same thing, the longer we are a part of a group or participate in an activity, the more ingrained the routine of it all, the more comforting the practice. Breaking, ending or starting something new comes with pain. Try to begin…
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While the sun is shining.

The old farmer's adage is, "Make hay while the sun is shining." The meaning has morphed over the years but originates with a few essential agricultural factors. Let's take a look and then bring them into the modern day. Back then. Hay is food fuel for livestock. All farms had to be self-sufficient back in the old days. Your livestock plowed the fields, made milk, laid eggs, and provided fertilizer in a continuous cycle. The hay was fuel for the livestock, and storing hay kept your animals alive throughout the winter. Hay needs to be stored dry. The phrase "while the sun is…
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Barn Raising, Time-Lapse.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD_Xrl7kbck Barn Build Time Lapse Video! Steve Miller Band taught us so many years ago that "Time keeps on ticking, ticking, into the future..." Our perception of time is what changes. Our perception of time is what changes. Time is constant, but every aging person you know will swear that it goes faster the older you get. Kids rocket through the final years of high school. Parents seem to race through old age. We can find ourselves mid-career or 15 lbs heavier seemingly overnight. But it didn't happen that way. Time is constant. It struck me as I watched the time-lapse videos of the barn…
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Seasonal abundance mentality.

It was dusty for so long that I yearned for a rain shower to wash things clean. It's rained for 4 days, and I can't wait for it to stop. Apparently, my feelings are fickle, seasonal even, but either way, they can't be trusted. Mastering one's feelings is a lifelong tension, not a problem to solve. In both situations above, each was good in its own way; my negative perceptions were based on my desires and expectations not being met. I know, I know, that's a little heavy for this time of year, but it leads me towards the value of appreciating the season - the now.…
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