Mike and I got away over night Saturday to attend the Forestry weekend in Woodstock, Vermont.
This, by the way, was the first time just the two of us have had a night sans children for three and a half years.
With regards to the forestry part, Mike and I both enjoyed a guided walk at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park about George Perkins Marsh and we bought his book Man and Nature which was written in 1861. He is considered one of the first environmentalists by some, although known by very few. I will, perhaps, share more of his writings here as I get through his book which is not very easy reading.
We also attended the woodworking show where woodworkers and forestry types showcased their goods. There were several different organizations represented and Mike and I did talk to a couple of people about our business and where we are and where we would like to be with it. I have written here before about where we are at a point of desiring a new homestead with land to selectively harvest for both our business and firewood and to increase our food production and also one with a suitable workshop and studio/office space. One of the men we talked to was just amazed about what we do with so little and practically no overhead and very little expenses and that we did it all without going into debt.
The hard part for us right now with our business is that we really don't want to grow it - we just want to make it more efficient. And the thing is, all the organizations that give loans and grants want to hear is how we would expand, market, hire, increase, etc. starting with a business plan detailing how all this would happen.
I, on the other hand, want to share with people that you don't necessarily need to go into tons of debt, don't need to do things the way the world tells you you should do business-wise, and that there is nothing wrong with having a modest business that allows you to be at home with your family, gives you time to work on growing your food, get a year's supply of firewood cut, split and stacked, learn and discover with your children, help out in the community, and pursue creative outlets (need more time for this though!) - or whatever your own priorities are for you.
This isn't to say we won't change how we do things with our business, or learn new ways of marketing, or even need to get a loan at some point, but it is really the thought process behind the typical business model in our country and probably elsewhere - that you have to keep growing, growing, growing. For our family, that just doesn't fit.