Our small business life is front and center at the farm. When we look out our front window, we see our business buildings. When we look out the back windows, we see our orchard, gardens, and farm animal shelters.
We are here most days for 24 hours a day. Usually, I go a whole week without leaving the farm. Sometimes, I get to go shopping on a Saturday, but now that the farm store on our property is open on Saturdays, I don't get to go shopping. On Sundays, I get to leave to go to church and sometimes to shop. Once in a while, we go somewhere during the week so I get to leave. Most of the time, I do not mind being out here. Really, I love our farm and our business.
We started our small business, David's Garden Seeds®, almost 12 years ago in our living room in San Antonio. In November of 2015, we moved to our first business location outside the home and we quickly outgrew the space. In May of 2018, we moved next door to a bigger building. We outgrew that and moved the business out here to our farm in July of 2020. We now have a compound out in front of our home consisting of six buildings, all used in the day to day work of our small business life.
Outback we have five sheds plus three animal shelters (so far) that are also used in our small business life. In San Antonio, our business was just selling seeds. Now it is outdoors, too, growing our products, selling them, canning them, and selling our chicken eggs.
Many of our visitors come into our farm store thinking that the store is the business. They ask what the other buildings are for. Some ask if we rent them out to other businesses or for people to live in. When they get the tour, they understand that we use all of the buildings each day. We have no empty space so if you are looking to come live with us, don't bother. We have no place to put you. Yes, some people have asked if we can put them up or get them a travel trailer to live here and others have declared that if it gets bad where they are, they are coming here. No. This is our home. It is also our business. We are not landlords. We have tried to get more land around us, but no one is selling. We were fortunate to get four acres.
So this week we will concentrate on our small business philosophies and the good and the bad of our small business life.
Good Monday morning! I have fresh eggs in the farm store refrigerator for you today. It is overcast but no rain so far.
David hired a young college student to help the outside team this morning. We bought him steel toed shoes and a work hat so he is ready to roll. Jerry has been showing him the ropes. Hopefully, he will work out well.
Around lunchtime, a lady walked into the Farm Store and it was our friend, Ruth Anne from Leakey. Her husband, Clyde was out in the car. They drove out to buy some of our strawberry preserves. I was so surprised and happy to see them. Please pray for them. Clyde will be having surgery this week and needs your prayers.
I showed Ruth Anne our new pond with fish and the fish swam out so she could see them. David came out from the small business life in his office and visited with Clyde for a few minutes and then they were on the road again going back home. Clyde and Ruth Anne have been good friends of my in-laws for many years so we saw them a lot over the years. They are just like family to us.
After they left, a man came in wanting pumpkin seeds and watermelon seeds. He bought about six different packs of each. He said he lives near Pleasanton on ten acres and his nine year old wants to grow pumpkins and watermelons. He said he has never grown anything before. I told him about our website and that it would help him a lot. Then I told him the biggest mistake beginner gardeners make is planting the seeds too deep. We recommend you plant seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep, no deeper. This is just a part of small business life, knowing how to explain vital information and selling your product.
I have become fairly good at selling seeds now. I know which ones do well in these parts and which ones come up easily without even trying. It is how we keep our small business life going well.
I just heard we are under a flood watch from today until Thursday, May 20 here in our area. It still has not rained here today so this is just wild. The humidity outside feels so thick that you could cut it with a knife. No rain yet and it is 4:18pm.
At 5pm, I have to feed Molly before I go out to take care of the chickens and collect the eggs. Why? Because today Molly cannot eat anything after 6pm. She is getting spayed tomorrow morning at 8am. However, she can drink water.
The new piece of lattice we got on Saturday is really keeping Molly in the den better than I expected. It is just a hassle to have to move it each time I want to go beyond the kitchen. It has not been sanded with sandpaper so it is easy to get a splinter.
David left with Molly about 7:30am to take her to the vet in Lytle to be spayed. They said the bill would be about $270.00.
Later in the morning, we took Lucy, Annabelle, and Ethel in to get groomed. They came home looking so pretty.
Today was an interesting day. Four of our folks were out. This seems to be a trend. We had a small rain shower this morning. Once that was over, the tax appraiser from Atascosa County came by to measure and see what all we have added to our property. Unfortunately, we have added many buildings since the last time they were out here. The business is here now, along with many buildings, covered decks, the gazebo, animal coops, and our new big greenhouse. Also, they are making us inventory everything inside the business buildings so we can pay taxes on that as well.
Somewhere around noon, a customer came in wanting four packs of Clemson Spineless Perfection Okra for her church's community garden. This was her first time to visit. We had a wonderful visit, discussing gardening problems and planting. She is the sweetest lady. Then she saw our canned carrots on the counter and bought four jars! They are going fast now. We have two jars of orange carrots and four of the black nebula carrots, all grown in our backyard. We have one jar left of the pickled onions. We have four jars left of the canned green beans and eight jars left of the strawberry topping that is wonderful on waffles and on ice cream.
We also have about 80 jars left of the strawberry preserves and that stuff is delicious. So if you want some delicious home canned, garden fresh produce from our garden, come on by before it is all gone. Don't forget we have delicious, fresh eggs from our chickens out back.
So we picked Molly up from the vet around 3:30pm. David paid $235. I rode along thinking I would hold Molly on the way home. She just stayed at my feet in the truck.
The vet said to feed Molly some food and let her have some water. When Molly got home, she would not drink or eat. She just wanted to lie down. So we let her relax on a dog bed in the comfy den. We offered her water every little while so she would not get dehydrated. She finally took a little water and then promptly got up and barfed in two spots on the carpet. I cleaned it up. About two hours later, she barfed again. Then, around 9:30pm, she barfed a big old bunch on the wood floor. I feared she would barf all through the night. David slept in the den to be sure she was okay.
We awoke this morning to more thunder with a big display of lightning going on out back. Molly did not throw up during the night. I took her out on a leash because she would not go out on her own. She nearly dragged me down the steps and then she went potty and was ready for a light breakfast. She took her pain medicine and ate some dog food and drank water. Now she is resting comfortably in the den.
Now it is 10:10am and the thunder is rumbling again. We are getting ready for another storm.
The vet called a little while ago saying that they did not get enough money from us yesterday and that there was a balance of $58. So I had to go to the house in the rain and get my card to pay her more for their mistake...
We have four people out today. There used to be a time when employees were at work every single day, unless there was a huge emergency or if you were so dizzy that you couldn't stand or if you had a bad fever. Now, they call in for any excuse they can find, or so it seems. We pay our employees well. Most people make at least $12 an hour here, some more, and still they call in for whatever reason they can think of. Companies are begging for good help and many workers are earning more unemployment from the government due to covid to stay at home. This has to stop. People just don't have a good work ethic anymore.
We had a housekeeper scheduled through what used to be Angie's List to come tomorrow at 9am. She just called to say she can't make it out here until 3:30pm. Yeah, that means she won't get her until at least 4pm and then it will take four to six hours to clean the house. It is pretty big and some of them have taken eight hours to clean it. No, thank you. If you can't start by 9am (which is code for 10am), then it won't work. Her employer is not clearly thinking through his small business life policies.
According to the guy they sent us two weeks ago, these cleaners can pick the jobs they want to do. If a job doesn't fit in their schedule, they don't have to choose it, so why did this girl choose a job that starts at 9am but she can't make it until 3:30pm? Not one of the cleaners through this service has been on time out here yet they all leave on time. This is not right. We are getting short changed. I notice it in the things they dust. Half of a dresser will be dusted, but not the other half, for example.
Our small business life talk today is about employees who don't appreciate how good they have it. We are decent employers who pay a good wage, not minimum wage. When they don't show up because they want to do other things, that slows our production down. Soon, we have to hire someone else to take their place because they keep on calling in. Then, they get upset because they are not getting a promotion or a raise but the new person is.
My work ethic comes from my father. He taught me that unless you are dying, you go to work. So I did, even when someone was sick or I was ill. Unless I was continually throwing up or had a fever, I was at work. When my father was dying, I was still at work because that was what was expected. When he died on a Tuesday evening, my supervisor at Aetna Life & Casualty told me that I could have off through Friday of the same week and I had better get my happy butt back to work the following Monday. So much compassion, right? So we had the funeral on Friday and I was back at work on Monday because I needed the money to keep a roof over our family's heads and to feed my babies.
David and I are much nicer in our small business life, but I think people are using that to their advantage. I feel like they think they can get away with a lot. Most people these days do not have a good, solid work ethic. When they get tired of it, they leave and go elsewhere. The trouble is that we pay way above what everyone else around us pays so sometimes they hang around to get fired so they can get some of that ridiculous unemployment that people are getting right now due to corona. If they ever open their own small business and hire employees, they will find out how difficult it is to find good people and to have to pay all of the money we pay out in taxes and unemployment just to have employees.
A lot of our team members leave at 4:30pm. At 4:27pm, I came out of David's office and I noticed a car pull up in our parking lot. One of our team members was walking across the parking lot to clock out and go home in three minutes. The driver of the car was an elderly woman who was talking to Brendon. I heard her ask him for a phone charger. She was parked in the middle of the parking lot, not in a space with the motor running. Brendon was listening to her go on so I walked on over and told him he could go home. She did not ask me for a charger. She asked me for the name of our place. I told her we are David's Garden Seeds. Her phone rang as she talked. She answered the call, backed up and went out of the gate.
About seven minutes later, she was back and came into my store asking for a restroom. I showed her where they are and she told me I look familiar. I told her I am Mrs. David's Garden Seeds® and she said she never heard of me or our company. Wow! So she used the restroom and then left again. She never did ask me for a phone charger. We have some interesting characters stop by to become part of our small business life.
In our small business life, we try to diversify our business as much as we can to have multiple streams of income. We sell on Amazon as they have a giant platform. We sell in our store, we sell online from our website and from eBay and Etsy.
Over a month ago, I got an Etsy message from one of our customers saying she did not receive her seeds and wanted a refund. Now, I am the only one who ships out our Etsy orders. I fill them the same day I receive them unless you order after 5pm. In that case, I will fill the order the next morning and ship it. All of the Etsy orders include tracking with USPS. So I looked up the order, found the tracking and went to USPS. The order was shipped the same day it was made. It was delivered two days later. I copied and pasted all of this information and replied to the customer. Several days went by with no response so I messaged her asking if she had found her seeds. A month has now gone by and she still has not replied. I would at least have said thank you.
So today, another customer from Etsy messaged me saying he did not get his seeds and wants a refund. He ordered them on May 4 and I shipped them on May 4. His seeds were delivered on May 7. USPS says they were handed directly to a resident. I copied and pasted this information to him. It has been about 12 hours since I responded and he has not bothered to respond to me. No thank you or anything else. What has this world come to that they can't take the time to say thank you or sorry I wasted your time looking up tracking information that I could have looked up myself...
A good amount of our small business life is wasted each day replying to silly things like this by message or email. I also have to deal with all of the social media messages like why is this a hybrid seed? Or how many seeds come in a pack? (It is listed on the front of every pack and on our website. I don't mean to be a complainer but we make it easy by listing everything on the seed packet and on our website.
It is now noon and there is a lovely breeze that feels chilly. Alexa says it is 66° and that tonight it will get down to 64°. It feels amazing outside. The sky is overcast. The rainstorm has stopped but the thunder is still rumbling every now and then.
It is 1:30pm and it is chilly with heavy winds now. I went to the house and got my windbreaker because the wind is so strong. I am so grateful that we have low humidity today with cool breezes but it is getting to be like tornado weather...
David and I had to go into New Braunfels on several errands this morning. The sign company still had a sign they had not given us so we stopped by their office to pick it up. It looks good! After that, we stopped by Sam's to pick up more drinks and treats for the store. So when you drive an hour or two to come see us, there are refreshments that can be purchased and enjoyed while you sit out in our gazebo and watch the fish. We have a good variety of soft drinks, water, juice, cookies, chips, candy bars, cakes, pretzels, and gum. Photos of our snacks and drinks are below, in tomorrow's slot.
Once we got done with that, we came back to the farm and got busy with our everyday work.
Matthew had to go run some errands for the business at the end of the day so he stopped at a pizza place in a little town called Somerset. The pizza was so good. We were very surprised at how good it was.
David and Matthew took my Toyota to a Toyota dealer at 7am to have the airbags replaced. There was a recall and after getting my third letter, we scheduled a time for the fix. They called at 10am and said it was done.
I started the day outside, feeding the guineas and chickens and making sure they had fresh water for the day since it was going to be a hot one. When you live on a farm, small business life includes taking care of animals as well as plants.
In the store, we continued to price the items from Sam's and then got onto the regular store business.
I finally got my new chicken feeder. It actually came a week earlier than Amazon said it would. I had a terrible time snapping the plastic pieces together. I got one just like it several months ago and it was easy to put together.
Today was a whirlwind of activity. As a part of small business life, I had to send a bunch of to do items to our farm manager, Jerry. He had his people, clean the coops and put in fresh hay, sweep up the feed shed, hang lights, hummingbird feeders, and wind chimes in the gazebo, and several other things.
Small business life includes keeping our home fixed up while I am working crazy hours so I started a new lady today. She steam cleaned my den furniture and did several other chores that I have not had time to do.
Our new farm helper's grandfather died so he will be in Florida next week. Stephen is still out. One of our team members has a son who just graduated high school so she brought him by for an interview. Small business life includes doing constant interviews. Anyway, we liked this young man so he will be starting with us on Monday. We can use a lot of help on the farm with planting, weeding, putting in the watering system, and helping with the animals.
It seems I was constantly moving all day long. Then we had to run into Devine right after work so we ended up picking up Subway for dinner. It was good.
Small business life means long days and late nights, especially in the first few years of small business life. If you don't have 60 or more hours a week to work on your small business life, it will remain a hobby. You need to work on your business if you want it to succeed so you can quit your day job.
Around 3am, I went to the living room couch because I could not breathe from pollen or mold. I did not look up which today. Just as I was dozing off, David's phone rang. I could hear him answer but I did not know at the time who had called. It was ADT calling to say that the internet was off. We live in the country and the internet goes off and on all day long so why constantly harrass us about the internet in the middle of the night?
Apparently, it rained sometime during the night. When I let the dogs out, everything was wet outside. David requested waffles so I got up early and made waffles, eggs, and ham. It came out good. Then I paid the household bills online.
Now it is time for me to get ready to open the David's Garden Seeds® Farm Store. I have seed orders to fill and egg cartons to put together. Come on in today between 10am and 2pm and get fresh eggs for the weekend as well as all of the seeds you need for your backyard garden. Summer will be here soon. Will you be growing delicious melons in your backyard or will you depend on the grocery store's flavorless varieties for your summer enjoyment?
I did some shopping in town today. When I got back, I decided that even though there were dark clouds above, it was hot and humid and the pool looked good. The water was 78° which is not very warm but in I went. I spent the first part of the time cleaning up floating bugs with the skimmer. Then I swam for the first time this season. It was a bit chilly but it felt good except for my right shoulder, re-injured when I fell over two weeks ago out in the parking lot. It got better with time. Then my right toes started having a spasm and I could not make the spasm stop so I finally had to get out of the pool because of the pain.
I went out to feed the fish this evening and it was so windy that the lid to the container the food was in blew into the pond. It took me several attempts to fish it out with a net, but I finally got it!
Matthew grilled three types of meats and corn on the cob so we could have a fun meal while watching Kong on Svengoolie this evening. It was a strange movie from the 1960s, so fake looking. Today's special effects are so good that you can really tell how fake the old movies are in comparison but we had a good time watching it.
Happy Sunday. We have had dark clouds most of the day and it has rained a few times. I woke up late after a rough night so we visited a local church this morning instead of going into San Antonio. I have been having a lot of breathing issues at night because of mold and grass pollen so then I have to sleep in a recliner and it is not always comfortable. Combine that with late night phone calls when someone is trying to reach David and I just don't get much sleep. Me? I turn my phone off at night because too many crazy people call in the middle of the night.
My hands and right foot have been aching all day long. I have taken Ibuprofen and used some arthritis cream but they are aching. I had the foot pain in the pool yesterday and it still won't go away. Fun times.
It is now 4pm and I have 15 Etsy orders to fill tomorrow morning. Normally I have about six on Monday mornings to fill. David and I have an important meeting tomorrow morning about our business plus we have a new outdoor worker starting.
I finally put my white photo light box together and took some photos of the strawberry preserves we recently made. It has several light settings.
We pay ADT to monitor our business buildings to see if the doors and windows open as a part of small business life. I guess they determine that out here by the internet but it is crazy because we are nowhere near a city where the internet would be constant. It goes on and off all throughout the day and night.
This afternoon, as I was relaxing my aching hands, I got a message from a customer saying she had not received her seeds. Tracking shows they were delivered by her mailman to her box on April 1. Now that it is May 23, what can be done? She said the mailman is her son and he never saw the package but wouldn't he be the one to show that the package was delivered?
This makes no sense. We send all of our orders through USPS with tracking so we pay over $3 for every mail out. Some cost more depending on weight and where the package is going. Why would the mailman mark the package as delivered to her box if he didn't deliver it? And why would she wait to contact us when tracking says it was delivered on April 1?
More small business life problems...About a month ago, I got a note from a customer saying she did not get her seeds. Tracking shows they were delivered to her box. I asked her about them three times and she would not answer so I am thinking she found them but was too embarrassed to admit it.
When you place an order to us, we ship the order the same day unless it comes in late in the afternoon. Then we fill it and it goes out with the next day's mail. We do not put the orders off unless we are out of the seeds you want at that moment. As soon as they come in, we special pack your order and ship it out to you. Most all of our orders go out the day they are placed with tracking. Some customers ask why we just don't slap a stamp on and save money. This is why. We need tracking to prove that we mailed the packages and to show they get delivered where they are supposed to go and that they went out in a timely manner. Paying more and delivering quality service is all a part of small business life. You can't do anything cheap if you want to be a success.
Since 2009, over 1,500,000 home gardeners, all across the USA, have relied on David's Garden Seeds® to grow beautiful gardens. Trust is at the heart of it. Our customers know David's Garden Seeds® stocks only the highest quality seeds available. Our mission is to become your lifetime supplier of quality seeds. It isn't just to serve you once; we want to earn your trust as your primary supplier.
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Peppers and peas
And lots of yummy greens
You can't go wrong
With Squash This Long
At David's Garden Seeds
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Please like and subscribe on YouTube and come visit us at our Farm Store! The music on our TV ad was written, played, and sung by our son, Matthew Schulze. You can meet him when you come to the farm. He just might give you a tour. Ask him to grab a guitar and sing our jingle that he wrote.
We are David's Garden Seeds®. If you need great seeds, we've got over 1200 varieties to choose from.
Find out what is going on down on the farm by reading our blog and by subscribing to our free newsletter for all of the information going down at David's Garden Seeds® and on the farm. I love to share helpful information with you. Please let your friends know and y'all come on down for a visit when you get the chance. We would love to meet you!