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Home Blog This Week on the Farm: week 17-19
May 11th 2015

This Week on the Farm: week 17-19

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IMG_4990I had grand plans of being able to do it all this past month. Pick the thousands of bunches of flowers blooming in our hoophouses and get them delivered on time, keep up with my book writing deadlines, continue to shoot every beautiful spring moment for its pages, get all 250+ dahlia orders out the door, teach two Farmer-Florist Workshops, keep up with the blog and social media schedule, run the business smoothly and then have quality time with my family.

While I can report that a lot of those things happened, although not as smoothly or as quickly as I would have liked, a couple of important areas got the short end of the stick, primarily my family and this space.

IMG_3943One of the most common questions I get at the workshops is how I manage to “do it all.” Juggle work, family, self-care, being a good partner, going for my dreams, all while having a life. Every time it comes up I cringe a little and Chris and I exchange knowing glances because the answer is probably not one everyone wants to hear.

The truth is I don’t do it all, far from it actually. I have an amazing team around me, keeping this heart-centered, flower-focused business moving forward and then I also make a lot of mistakes.

IMG_5221Oftentimes you’ll find Chris and I working right through dinner, and on into the night, because I’ve once again over committed us or an unexpected problem has come up that can’t wait until the next day.

When you’re a business owner you don’t get to leave at 5:00 like everyone else, you have to stay until the job is done. And when you’re an overachiever, you take on way more than you should without even realizing it. It can be a deadly combo sometimes.

IMG_1965 IMG_1970I’m slowly learning, mostly through failing, how to set boundaries and say no. It’s really the amazing women I work with who are teaching me this most. They can see when something is actually too much and gently remind me how full my plate already is.

More and more often I’m listening to them and more and more often things are smoothing out. But it’s hard, and slow and I feel a little like a wobbly newborn calf, unsteady, trying to find my footing.

IMG_2013Because I love to solve problems and also make people happy, my automatic answer always is “yes, lets try and find a way”. But more often than not, coming through for someone else means I’m dropping the ball here at home. Even though I wish I could please everyone, all of the time, I’m slowly learning that it’s ok to say no.

There’s almost nothing more painful for me than letting someone down. But when it’s at the cost of my family or my health, it’s gotta stop. So, I’m also choosing to leave some really amazing opportunities and big dreams on the table for a later date instead of trying to grab them all now.

Somedays I feel triumphant, others like a total failure. The rollercoaster is pretty extreme.

IMG_4949 I learn best by seeing first and then doing under the watchful eye of a teacher. Apprenticeships and having a mentor have always worked really well for me. It’s the ladies behind the curtain here at Floret, who are keeping this whole thing running beautifully, who are the ones teaching me this new way of approaching life.

Their gentle encouragement and unwavering patience, as I fumble and try again is such a blessing.

IMG_3585Each year I make a list of personal and professional goals for myself. Last year it was to be courageous, step out and go for all of the dreams I always thought were impossible.

This year I’m working on setting boundaries and realigning my priorities. It’s still such a work in progress, but slowly and steadily I’m starting to see and feel a real change taking place.

IMG_1524How about you? What are you working on or trying to master right now? Any big breakthroughs or things that you’ve learned along the way?


  1. Liz on

    I am putting in a high tunnel, the first of three. I am still landscaping and moving out of that back into cut flowers.
    I started out in wholesale cut flowers 25 years ago, but the market really wasn’t ready for “local grown” here in Vermont. Hence, I accidentally moved into landscaping, as people asked to purchase my flowering perennials – and by the way – install them in their gardens. I guess I became popular and that business took off.
    I have still offered specialty floral design for weddings and special occasions.

    And now I am working my way back to growing cuts again. I am so excited. Thank you for being such an inspiration.
    Also thanks for not gilding the lily about the hard work needed…this is very hard work and it is so multifaceted an occupation…not for the weak willed nor unstudied.

  2. Killoran Moore on

    I don’t have a hard time with ‘no’ – it’s one of my favourite words. I do have trouble with balancing, though. I don’t know if it’s because my son is so young (just turned one on the 13th – had his little banana cake right where I gave birth to him and it was so great and sad and I was a mess), or his personality, or my personality, or my ineptitude, but I have felt like nothing is getting 100%. Not my son, my husband, my ideas, my flowers, certainly not me. I do think it’s important (for me) to realise that there isn’t just ONE 100%. I can give 100% of myself to my son while I’m with him – asking the husband to watch him for a couple hours while I work does not subtract from that. Those two hours alone will allow me to give 100% to my work. I need to just.. do that. Instead of giving him 80%, instead of giving the garden 50%. Realising you don’t have to feel guilty for making things better and more balanced is hard.

  3. leslie emanuels on

    Not only an I trying to learn not to take control. I am also learning to submit to other people’s idea. I don’t need to struggle and strive, God knows what I need and provides it abundantly.

  4. Nidhi Raina on

    Thank you for sharing! I love your blog and follow highlights on social media! I have a one woman show of baked samosas showcasing local Pemberton organic potatoes and seasonal chutneys at Farmers Markets in Vancouver, Whistler and Pemberton and I draw inspiration from like-minded small business women! Love your work and hope to see it some day in person when we manage a road trip to the States.

  5. Brennan Marie on

    I so appreciate your honesty! Everything you said… I relate completely, it puts me at ease knowing that I am not alone in the balancing act of it all. You’re a rockstar. Thank you for your willingness to share and openly grow!

  6. Heather on

    I know this is something I have to keep re-learning. Sometimes it’s tough to decide which dreams to pursue now and which can wait a little longer. But I’m thankful for a supportive husband who helps me find balance and makes sure I get some play in with all the work.

  7. Joanna on

    I have been reading your writing and admiring your work from afar and I want to say thank you for your honesty and willingness to share success and struggles with the world. This entry is really timely, for me, because in my life I have realized that I cannot do it all! My husband and I are starting what I call a micro-farm and I also run a small not-for-profit…I am person that sees my plate as able to hold more than it can. To help clarify what I want on my plate I have been working to determine what is my true north, my purpose, is. It is nice to know others are working through the same steps.

    Best of luck to everyone who is trying to find more balance in your life… I believe it is an ongoing practice and this quote has been front and center of my mind as I try and fail when finding balance. “You can do anything, but not everything” – David Allen

    Finally, I wanted to share one tool that has helped me reflect more on why I say yes. A wise women, mentor and friend shared the book Essentialism – Greg McKeown with me and I found it help me see my life decisions through a different lens. (Please note: I feel odd promoting a book but I found it helpful with my reflection around this very subject. I just wanted to share the resource in case anyone was seeking a book or tool. I would love to hear about other books or ideas people use with regards to saying no and staying balanced. Oh and please use your local library to find the book, if you are interested in reading it).

  8. Susan on

    I do love your refreshing honesty about not actually “doing it all.” It makes it so much easier to accept that none of us can do it all. Off subject here… I wanted to let you know that until I ran across your site (only in the past month) I had completely given up on my dream of a flower business. I have extensive perennial beds, 5 acres and horses and I micro manage all of it. I am revisiting my long time dream and starting out small with a cutting garden next spring. I will sell at the local farmers market and will see what the response is. I am older and know that this is my last chance to reach for my dream. I will never forgive myself if I let this slip by, especially when I have the land and my children are grown. Baby steps moving forward. I would love some of your zinnia seeds to get started. We are long distance neighbors. I am located in Battle Ground Washington. How wonderful that you are such an inspiration to so many of us and I for one thank you.

  9. Laura on

    At the moment I’m trying desperately to balance my full-time executive assistant job with my fledgling dahlia/cut flower business (hopefully my only job in the future). It’s no small task keeping focused on which job is at hand. There are too many moments where I’m sitting at my desk, mind wandering to dahlia/flower planting, when I should be concentrating on the details of another huge meeting. Then at night I find myself preparing my raised beds thinking of the hundred things I’ve got to do the next day at the office. Viscous circle to say the least.

    As always thank you for your candidness and for constant inspiration. Both are more than appreciated!

  10. Drea @ Morning Glory Acres on

    I love the reality sometimes Erin! Even tho I love looking at your seemingly perfect pictures also! :) I have a problem with saying no also, but one thing that helps is that husband can tell when I’m starting to over promise, and he just gently tells me to always ask him first before saying yes or no! So if he says no, I can say that it was my husband that said I couldn’t! Most people understand that because they realise saying yes means compromising my family! :) You go girl!

  11. Elisa on

    Thank you for your honesty. I feel like I’m totally failing over here. The amount of work is overwhelming. I just hope I learn from my mistakes and find efficient systems to put in place. I’m also wondering at what point do you hire help. Can you do a blog about that? This is my second season farming and I’m not yet paying myself but I’m always literally and figuratively ‘in the weeds’. I wonder if hiring someone now will keep me more sane and be a good investment even if it means I won’t make money for a little longer. I worry that if I continue to work at this rate (12 hour days) I won’t last long. And shouldn’t the definition of sustainability include the mental health and and quality of life for it’s owner/employees?!

  12. AMY on

    I don’t really feel qualified to comment, but I find when things start to feel out of kilter it’s good to stop, take stock, reevaluate & readjust where necessary. I often remind myself of the Stones in a Jar analogy, helps me prioritize the really important things in my life. This world and unfortunately a lot of people in it are quite happy to chew you up and spit you out if it suits them. Do what suits you and your loved ones, at the end of the days that’s what really matters.

  13. Carolyn on

    I’m just starting my own flower farm whilst holding down an office job to pay the bills… having a couple of kids, husband and various animals. How stretched do I feel some days – I can’t even begin to tell you but I know that it I have never wanted something so badly and one day I won’t have to go to my cubical each day trying to stay focused and not thinking of what I would rather be doing. You inspire me and reading your blog has made me realize that some days are not going to go as planned but you pick yourself up, dust yourself down and keep moving forward. Thank you as always for letting us know that your life is not always as perfect as your photos look!

  14. Dru Rivers on

    Our motto has always been”you can sleep when you”re dead”. After thirty years I wish I had slept just a little more!!!!

  15. Allysha on

    I feel like these confessions seem to resonate with so many of us. If we are all over-extending ourselves a bit can we just make a pact here and now to ask a little less of eachother? To be a little kinder and more compassionate?

    • Floret on

      Allysha, I’m with ya! These standards we’re holding ourselves and each other to are just too much. It’s time to chose differently.

    • Karin on

      Allysha I’m in! Cheers to healthy Boundaries for this summer and beyond. Thanks for the post Erin. The word no can be a postive thing in that what we say no to, often is more about what we are leaving time to say yes to. We are all so fortunate to have such opportunities! So much so, that we don’t want to deny them at the front door. My biggest and most painful and difficult “no’s” so far (even people and careers that put up a tantrum/fight with every “no”) have led to the “yes’s” of my dreams.

  16. Amanda Cook on

    Its been a whirlwind around here, our personal goal this year is to live in faithful persistence. To stick to our plant schedules, dreams, and goals in the midst of an ever swirling world of change. I can’t begin to tell you how much going to your workshop has prepared me for this moment. As we hunt for a new farm, I keep telling myself there will be flowers, the money, ground, house, and energy will show up and wherever we land there will be flowers. Thank you for your authenticity, honesty, and your strength. It’s all going to be awesome, whether it happens today, tomorrow, or ten years from now. You rock my socks!

  17. Valerie on

    It’s good to know we are not alone in this struggle. Love your transparency and realness!

  18. Wanda Fox on

    Thank you Erin! All my life I have tried to be everything for everybody! It will takes its toll!

  19. Corina on

    Well, my dear, as you know, I am really, really good at setting boundaries. I had to learn it though. But as you know as well, it IS possible to learn! I won’t get preachy here, but you understand! I am so glad you have great evolutionary women out there who are reminding you of this! Call me anytime if you need a kick in the ass from me, darling!

  20. Sara Balmer on

    I sure can relate. Thanks for your transparency. I’m glad I’m not the only one who struggles.

  21. Alia on

    Thank you for sharing with such honesty and vulnerability. You are amazing!

  22. Erin Rochelle on

    Thank you for sharing! So often we all feel this way and keep it to ourselves…guilty, right here… so it’s refreshing to hear someone I utterly admire say this “out loud”. Thank you for inspiring not only with your gorgeous flowers, but with your vulnerability here.

  23. Zinnia Seed Giveaway - Floret Flowers on

    […] last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity here on the farm and in the aftermath of all this controlled chaos, I tried to once again find the top of my desk […]


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