Getting Back to our Groovy Roots

A groovy history lesson

As far back as I can remember I enjoyed being and working outside. I attribute a lot of this to my grandmother, Mary Costelo. A little history about my granny is necessary in order to understand what a unique and fabulous women she was. She was British, from the town of Wisborough Green, West Sussex England. She lived through WW11 and always told stories about how lucky she was to grow up on her farm during that time. They had eggs and milk which they could trade for sugar and other everyday necessities. Even as a kid, I found the simplicity of this farming and bartering lifestyle alluring. Granny did her part to contribute to the war effort and moved to Canada after the war in 1954. She was proud of her heritage and didn’t shy away from correcting improper table manners: “elbows off the table” and “if you’re done eating your knife and fork go together at 5 o’clock so the waiter will know you’re finished”.  She was caring, a little blunt at times and loved her routines…a beer with lunch, wine with supper, scotch after supper, nine rum soaked raisins to keep the arthritis away and golf, lots and lots of golf.

I can remember back as early as seven years old going to her house. She lived in a fairly dense subdivision, though her front yard overlooked a golf course and the back was completely fenced in, which was her little oasis. She had beautiful shrubs lining inside the fence, a few flower gardens, a small green house to grow basil for making pesto and a big shady beech tree. It all looked so nice, but it was a lot of work. Cue the seven year old. I mentioned that my granny had a big part of shaping my outdoor work ethic. Every weekend I visited she would have a small list of things she was hoping to get accomplished; we would get them done and she made it fun. I don’t remember how, maybe because I was young and got to start using shears and saws and things that other kids my age didn’t really do. But from edging in her gardens to mowing her lawn and trimming the beech tree, it all got done and I enjoyed it. This enjoyment of the outdoors, gardening and processing produce (like our summer tradition of pesto making) was the cornerstone in my love of the outdoors and enjoyment of work.

Today, I still enjoy working outside and trying new things. We have lots of exciting future plans for Groovy Goat. We are designing a new build, new products and maybe even a cool new service. But at the roots, we are going to try to grow more (literally!). Our goal was always to use as much as we can from what we raise and grow on our little farm. This year we added bees; we didn’t take much honey from them since it was their first year as a new hive, but we have enough to make our Orange Honey Oatmeal soap for the entire year. We also have a large hedge of red currants (Hmmm … red currant soap, anyone?) Last year we got enough local lavender from our farm and wild to use all of our own lavender buds in our soap. This year I am hoping to add a Groovy Goat seaweed powder made from local Ingonish seaweed. We also want to try growing more varieties of herbs and grow our bee colony. Who knows what else is in store? We are always open to suggestions and inspiration! What we do know for certain is that farming and gardening will always be the roots on which our business continues to grow.

The Groovy Farmer

Hired Help? More like hired family!

Happy New Year

I’ve been a bit slack in the blog post department! However, it’s a New Year and with it comes the promise of more posts so that you can keep up-to-date on the shenanigans here at Groovy Goat. Follow our blog to learn about all aspects of our endeavor, from the highs and lows of entrepreneurship to life on a small farm to experimenting with fresh new products. It’s going to be a great 2020!

Love What I Do

If you have read any of my previous posts you will pick up on a theme that I pretty much love what I do. I enjoy the animals, enjoy the people and enjoy making product. Like everything, there is always a downside. My downside is TIME. There is just not enough time in one day to complete all the things I want or need to get done. Enter “The Help”……

Staffing a Small Business

For any business, the people you hire should be an extension of yourself. They are the person you are when you are not there. You want them to conduct themselves properly and hopefully get their tasks done efficiently, work well with others, come on time, and so on. This is a list of a good employee attributes, but far too often this is a wish list. A list that you are constantly picking one or two items off and compromising on the rest. You tell yourself  “ah I can train them to do that better” or ” it’s not that big of a deal”. Staffing is one of the biggest issues within my business community and I don’t see it getting any better. Fortunately for Groovy Goat we have sneaked by most of these issues.

Groovy Goat Joys

We rang in 2020 and with every new year comes the daunting task of hiring new staff. Not this year for Groovy Goat! We have nailed down our dream team. We have a front end clerk that is ready to learn and experienced enough to run the show on her own if we need her too. A product maker that is an artisan at heart and has business in her head. A summer student that teaches us about our website and social media, and farm volunteers that bring the largest amount of joy and happiness to the entire business. Collectively they are a creative, self motivated group that pitch ME ideas daily. It’s all I can do to keep up with them! It adds a lot of excitement to our business and letting them make decisions gives them some control over their own jobs, which I hope makes them feel like Groovy Goat is part theirs too. Not having to focus on staffing is allowing me to spend more time on other things like developing online marketing strategies, ordering material for new products and looking at overseas printers for packaging. I am feeling so positive for what the future holds for Groovy Goat. Now the only staffing challenge “How to keep them?”