Thursday, September 4, 2014

A new idea - what do you think?

I am not an expert on anything, but I do know stuff.  And I love to share what I know.  Some people have noticed that I know some stuff, and they ask me to teach them.  One of the coolest examples is a mother and daughter pair who participated in my cheese making class a year ago.  They came to my little farm, learned how to crank out a good Gouda, got to eat a lot of different cheeses I made, met the goats, and toured my veggie garden.  A few months ago, the 14 year old daughter e-mailed me to ask if she could come for a weekend and help me out with any chores I need to have done, and in the meantime, she could learn stuff from me.
No, I thought immediately, I don't need someone trailing behind me, being in the way, and needing to be taught how to do everything that I could do so much faster.  Do you see what a control freak I am? I didn't tell her how I felt, but she must have sensed it because she wrote back that she would do ANY chores I wanted her to, plus she would bring her own lunch, and she would camp at a campground with her mother.  
Hmmmm..., I thought, that sounds pretty good.  I kept procrastinating on my decision, until I heard back from her again, saying that she would understand if I didn't want her to come, but if I decided it was okay, she would be very excited.
I loved her gentle persistence, and anyhow, how could I resist the idea of mentoring such an eager young woman?  So Anna spent the past weekend with me, learning how to pickle, can, make sauerkraut, practice milking goats, trim their hooves, clean out the goat shed, bake bread, and weed the garden.  She was an absolute joy and tirelessly worked harder than an adult would have!
Here is Anna picking cucumbers for making bread and butter pickles, and beans for dilly beans, and me holding freshly harvested Walla Walla onions:

The first day, we made four gallons of bread and butter pickles.  We also made two gallons of dilly beans.
After lunch, I showed her how to trim goats' hooves.
Afterwards, she helped Steve muck out the goat barn.  Then it started raining.  Anna wanted to go out to weed the garden.
"Are you sure you want do weed the garden in the rain?" I asked.  
"Yes!  It's not too bad", she replied.
So we weeded the garden in the rain, which is a good plan because the weeds come out easier that way. 
In the evening, Anna milked the goats like a pro.  I was very, very, very impressed.

This is Anna's happy victory dance!  We did it!

On the schedule the  next day: make sauerkraut.  We harvested cabbage from my garden, and then spent the morning making it into kraut.  If you want to know how to do it, here is a tutorial on my blog.  Again, Anna had a smile on her face the whole time.  We made 35 pounds of sauerkraut, which is currently gently fermenting and bubbling in my kitchen, exuding an interesting aroma into our abode.
After a lunch of homemade bread (I showed Anna how to make it the day before), goat cheese, and tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden, we made goat milk soap.

A productive weekend, ey?  Anna and her mother were very appreciative of the experience.  And I really loved teaching this amazing young woman how to be more self sufficient and take care of the earth and animals.
So here is my idea: Why not create an apprenticeship program and offer it to the world at large?  A weekend just like the one we just had, with lots of skills learned and practiced.
Anna and her mom told me that a two hour canning class in Seattle costs $75.  Seventy-five dollars!!!!!!!  I could offer my two day event for an amazingly great deal, and people would go home with their own canned pickles, bread, and soap.
What do you think of this idea?  I am looking for ideas about where to market something like this, and how much to charge, so if you have any ideas or feedback, please let me know!


  1. I think it is an awesome idea! It should be marketed to teens with a welcome for Adults too if they want. This is an opportunity to change all of the worlds future my teaching life skills to these young people who otherwise would not have known. My life has taken a turn for the different when my 15 year old Step-Daughter came to live with us. SO far I have been teaching her how to cook, make jam, take care of our rabbits, and much more! These are skills the teenagers NEED to know that not all young people get nowadays! Just like Steve has HIS classes, so shall you! Miss you gal!

    1. I know, right? They need to know this! I am so happy that you get to share your skills with your step daughter! I know you are changing her life by doing this!
      My problem is always with marketing... I don't know how to get the message out. If you have any ideas, I am all ears!!!

  2. Great idea, Corina! If I was planning on offering this, I would start with having a very clear idea of what I offer, how much it cost, and getting testimonial maybe from Anna about what she has learned, not just the skills, but beyond that. Her mom may have some more insights into the value of this. I would then create a Facebook page with the clear description of the offer and show a video and share this blog so it can be "experienced". I would also approach communities that you know like Feminine Power, and ask for support to spread the word. There are many FB sisters who are also working with young women who might be interested in giving you some exposure. Good luck with all of this!

  3. Tuyet, great suggestions! I will continue to let the idea percolate in my brain and in my heart, and in the meantime go on with what I do. I always feel like the marketing part is so much work, and I don't know much about it... but I know that it will fall into place when the time is right! Thanks!


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