It’s no secret…

We are very open about the fact that we are moving back to Alaska. The original plan was to leave by May of 2016. Not gonna happen. 😕

Things happen. Sometimes they happen and aren’t what you were planning. In my case, I lost my high paying job (which was a blessing) and took a detour to get a degree that will help me reach our long term goals.

My new career pays a whole lot less than my old career but it is much more satisfying.  It also tends to be seasonal in nature… So, me being me, I ramped up a business I started in 2014 and took a huge leap into being “official”. This is no longer a “craft/hobby” business, we are now a full blown, serious, professional services provider.

We are licensed, bonded and insured as general contractors. Good golly Miss Molly! What have I gotten myself into now?!

When I was meeting with the insurance broker he made the comment “you sure have your fingers in a lot of things”, my response was “gotta make sure I stay employed”. I’ve got bills to pay and a future to fund.

Here is what we are doing;

* Landscape design and maintenance

* Pruning and weeding services

* Plant material selection and placement/installation

* Container design and maintenance

* Client Education & Garden Coaching

* General contracting

Why are we moving to the village? Why are we changing our entire way of life?

Now more than ever I am feeling called to make a difference. To help with a long-term solution to an increasing problem facing our small villages in Alaska.

Why? This is why… Angoon, Kake and Tenekee face ferry shut down

Even if this is a short-term issue, I foresee that it will continue in various ways and force people away from their homes and culture. It will force people to live in the larger communities in order to meet their basic needs.

When a community is only accessible by boat or plane, not having access is a huge deal.

I get it that people make choices, and that living in remote communities means that a person will not have the same access to services as they would in a larger community. I totally get that. I lived in Juneau for 11 years. A very different way of life than living here in Seattle, or even in Anchorage.

Fred and I both believe that people should not have to move away from their homes in order to survive. The subsistence culture is alive and well in these places. We aim to expand on that in a way that will allow people to access additional resources in order to stay where they are.

Our native communities/villages are shrinking. Children are seeking life away from the villages and the elders are having to leave in order to seek or receive needed medical care. With that exodus, culture is fading away. Fortunately there are efforts to revitalize the language and the culture… But is that enough?

Angoon

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We will keep plugging away at our goals. We will get back to Alaska. We will achieve our dreams.

Here is another view of our future home –

We are stuck here for the foreseeable future, but not for forever. Where there is a will, there is a way… We have the will and we will find a way.

Angoon or bust!

~ Molly & Fred

 

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Graduation! 🎓

Yesterday was a BIG day!

Along with six of my classmates, I have completed the Environmental Horticulture Program at Lake Washington Institute of Technology. Woot! Woot!

2015 Graduating Class
2015 Graduating Class

This is an intensive HANDS ON program that covers a multitude of important topics, so many that it is difficult to cover them here. So I won’t. Put it this way… I feel totally prepared to handle whatever comes my way with regard to landscape design and maintenance and so much more – life, I feel prepared to handle life, and whatever comes my way.

Some folks choose to get a Certificate in Environmental Horticulture, I chose to pursue the AAS in Environmental Horticulture… Why not?

I am really going to miss these folks. I just spent the entire last year with them… Four days per week, all day long. They are amazing people!

Each one of us brings special talents and individual goals with us to our learning adventure. We each have gotten what we need from the program. We will each take our learning and apply it in ways that have not even been dreamed of before. It truly is a whole new world.

Our instructors were amazing! Industry experts that shared their wisdom and knowledge with us. Supported us and mentored us, all along the way. The support staff were fantastic. My family has gotten so much bigger.

Our graduating class is leaving behind a new class of folks that are just beginning their own journey, and I must say, they are also an amazing group of people. I’m going to miss them too.

As I lay in bed last night, I marveled at the realization that I had no homework that was due… No assignments to complete… No plants in the green house or beds in the arboretum to maintain. What on earth was I going to do with my “extra time”?  I have spent the past year going to school full-time and working full-time…

Well, that sensation lasted all of about two seconds! I am still working full-time, but I also work in an industry that slows down in the winter months (for some sectors). I have been busy with bid estimates and projects. That alone will keep me plenty occupied, not to mention that fact that Fred and I are moving from this house, very soon, and have a lot (A LOT) of cleaning, sorting, culling and packing to do.

Most of all, I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you to my friends (old and new), my employers, my clients, my classmates and the staff/instructors at LWIT, the donors who contributed to the foundation that awarded me scholarships, which helped in so many ways. I could not have done this without any of them.

Even more importantly I am thanking Fred and my mom… For putting up with my endless hours of study and project work. For making them learn plant ID right along with me…for supporting my dreams.

THANK YOU! Because I really could not have done this without YOU!

~ Molly

❤️

Creativity boost…

I love the Fall and Winter seasons. The cool moist air with torrential downpours in contrast with the crisp blue skies and frosty temperatures on any given day here in the Seattle area.

Work (both at the nursery and with my business) has been keeping us very busy. Seems like a never ending opportunity to engage my creative skills.

Working with clients and getting to know them well enough to be able to make appropriate design and plant selections has been a highlight of my work as of late.

A client popped into the nursery this past weekend to show me pictures of the containers they planted based on design suggestions that I had made.  We picked out plant material to meet their needs and preferences and then I laid them out according to how they should be placed in the container… They LOVED it!!! And they did a great job! Their containers look amazing!

When I am at work, I sell A LOT of plant material. My goal is to help folks find the right plant for the right place. I do not even look at the $$$ volume of what I sell. That is not my focus. At all.

Some people get excited by the volume of sales. I get excited by building lasting relationships with people. Helping them find the most cost effective solutions to their landscaping and design needs because I know that happy customers will return again and again if they trust you and know that you have their best interests at heart.

I am not interested in a one time quick sale, I am interested in building long term professional relationships where people seek out my guidance and creative ideas. That, by far, has been the most rewarding part of my work.

I have been fortunate as of late to get to work on some pretty fun projects. Embellishing wreaths at work for the holiday season (all of which have been sold) and creating winter containers for inspiration.

A client actually hugged me on Monday for “making his life so much easier.”  He purchased my container greens…

I am also working on a couple of landscape design projects right now. Getting people excited about their outdoor spaces is super fun! I came home from a consultation today with a whole lot of ideas on how to remake a space for a client… Hopefully her client survey will reveal what she likes, and it may even be the same as what I perceived about her.

We’ll see! I am usually pretty good at reading people…

~ Molly

Cropping Assignment Progress… And other stuff

Well, I am happy to report that my seeds germinated… Yeah me!!! In the first week after germination they are doing well.

I keep a daily written and photo log to track their progress and in the next few weeks I’ll be adding two more crops to my daily activities.

My work is more detailed than what is required by the assignment but I am looking at this as a long-term investment and not a short-term grade. The more I understand how things grow and the fine nuances in a controlled environment with access to people who can guide me, the better I will do when we are on our own in Angoon.

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So, you are seeing my foibles as well… I did not do a very good job of getting my seeds evenly spaced when sowing them. I have a nice big clump (or two) and then empty space. Oh well, live and learn.

As far as my other work in class, I am struggling a bit with Plant ID. We are learning seven to nine new plants per week. A lot of information to remember and my last quiz had me scratching my head.

It wasn’t that I couldn’t identify the key characteristics of the plant, my brain froze and the genus/species and common names completely flew out of my head… Until I turned in my quiz. 😞 Then they flew right back in.

I would do so much better if it was a verbal quiz where I could go out into the arboretum and point out the plant on the list. But, that isn’t how they do it. I’ll just keep plugging away at memorizing and know that I am learning how to identify the plants in ways that will allow me to refer to resources that I can use to make positive ID’s, at least until they are burned into my brain.

That will happen. I am slowly replacing health administration data and information with horticulture information. Pretty soon you’ll ask me something about Medicare or Medicaid or human resources and I’ll give you a blank stare. Hopefully sooner rather than later!

I am NOT missing that work (or management work) AT ALL!

Lately I’ve been struggling with motivation. Feeling down and really wanting to tuck myself away in hibernation until things change. Unfortunately, things aren’t going to change if I don’t get to them.

What is dragging me down? The enormity of what I need to get done in the next year and how I am going to do and pay for it all.

We have so much stuff to sort and cull. And not just our own stuff. I’m tempted to just get rid of it all. That is the goal anyway, what am I talking about! 😜

But even then, I still have to sort and cull. A never-ending cycle. It wears me out.

I know I will come out of this funk. It is a cycle.

~ Molly

2015 – A year of possibilities and preparation

My head has been swimming. So many ideas, so many plans.

I am not really sure where to start.

Well, I am sure where to start but it is all very overwhelming at the moment.

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We are seriously vying for a spot on the next episode of hoarders. This picture doesn’t even scratch the surface!

You can see why it may be overwhelming!

We are making progress though. Slowly.

If you remember, we plan on downsizing to a 40 x 8 ft motor home. There just will not be room for all of this stuff.

Since moving to Washington nearly three years ago (and spending thousands of dollars to get our stuff down here) I can tell you that we have barely used anything that we so carefully packed to bring with us… And that was AFTER downsizing and selling enough stuff to pay for a good part of our move. Truly disgusting.

I have just over one year to cull as much as I can down to what will fit (is necessary) in the motorhome and into an enclosed trailer that we will pull with our truck.

What do we really need? REALLY need!

Being that I am currently “unemployed” and starting school on Monday (January 5), I am planning on utilizing any extra time I have to keep sorting and culling our belongings. Besides the fact that tackling a bit each day will help with the feeling of being overwhelmed by the huge task that we have ahead of us.

I am looking forward to learning new things this year that I will be able to take with me when we move to the village.

2015 is going to be a challenging and exciting year! Woot woot! Let’s roll!!

~ Molly

Motivation… Or lack thereof

2015 is just around the corner… Looming on the horizon… I have so much to do in the next few years. So much to do, each and every day.

Today’s list is no exception. What am I doing? Procrastinating.

What’s on today’s list?
Hardly anything really…
🔹Rotate the worms and clean the worm farm
🔹Clean the kitchen and put away the extra holiday leftovers
🔹(Re)Clean the office and deal with work stuff
🔹Laundry

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What is my problem?
I’m overwhelmed by the shear enormity of stuff that I need to do.

What is the solution?
Get moving!

What are some things that you do to help with motivation?

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

~ Molly