A palate cleanser, if you will….

Women in Biz.

Women in Biz.

I promised to let you know what we’d been up to during our lengthy blog silence.  The picture above is actually a much more organized encapsulation of my regular work load, but very indicative of my tendency to shed tools and earrings and pens everywhere I go.

October-going-into-November was a busy and active time in my realm of Crown O’ Maine. Louise moved in house, off the road, and together she and I embarked on a new and sometimes scary journey to create a new job out of some of my responsibilities, while building in the things we’ve desperately needed but I’ve been unable to get to.

She placed a lot of trust in me to craft this job-in-progress, and to train her in things that were pretty far out of her comfort zone. We started slow, with basic office orientation, and eased our way into truck schedules, and building spreadsheets in Excel. She turned out to have a hidden knack for numbers, and embedded formulas, which, needless to say, delighted me.

She and I ventured together out of both of our comfort zones, and went to Philly for a sponsored training for food hub operators, focused on developing training programs and capacity building for food hub staff. Poor Louise had to sit still for an entire day on the train with me, but she did it, god love her.  Train is the way to go, in my estimation. This may or may not have anything to do with the decided lack of leg room for people of my stature in other forms of transportation…

You see what I mean ...

You see what I mean …

We found out at this training that there’s a big turnover problem in our line of work, some of it endemic in driving and warehousing industries, some of it intrinsic in the detail rich environment of dealing with many small accounts, both customers and vendors.

We were both somewhat surprised by that, because at Crown O’ Maine, we’ve been fortunate to have relatively little turnover.  We’ll share more about this training as a separate post, but one of the prime delights of the trip for me was the series of lovely conversations with our different cab drivers. Get three professional drivers in a car together, and you have a recipe for interest in each other, and a good conversation.

I asked each where the best place to eat in Philly was, in their opinion, and though we didn’t get to go to them, we passed our commutes in mutual imaginings of good food. Every single driver had a different answer, in a different part of the city, and led us into interesting conversations, including a polygot of Caribbean patois, Louise’s Canadian French, and Philly vernacular. Good stuff.

One month of our three-month wall calendar, erasable, and movable on magnet-strip frames.

One month of our three-month wall calendar, erasable, and movable on magnet-strip frames.

Our days in October were full of facility work; getting ready for colder temparatures and the upswell of storage crops coming into our house. We started thinking about rearranging the freezer to make more room for new products, and for the fall’s bounty we’d need to tide us over the long winter and cold spring ahead. We were still training our new drivers, and hustling to keep up with a booming fall.

Katrina and I did manage to get ourselves the bonfire up on the farm that we’d been promising ourselves all summer. The fields had just been bush hogged, and it was unseasonably warm. We loaded the El Camino (my ride) full of old pallets, and hauled them over to the burn pile that’s been waiting for us for a few years.

You know you're a farmkid when ANY vehicle is an off-road vehicle. It all depends on your driving ability.

You know you’re a farmkid when ANY vehicle is an off-road vehicle. It all depends on your driving ability.

My friends came over, and as we built the fire, and cooked, and failed at a few cooking experiments (the squash in the fire didn’t turn out so well), the night wheeled above us and the temperature dropped slowly. Towards the later end of the night, we heard the whistlings of the coyote pack back in the hawk woods beyond the summer field. We all listened, appreciating the music, and drawing closer to each other, though without alarm.

From over by Marada’s cabin, to the other side of the fire, and our pack, another group answered their howls, and they sang to each other out in the dark, in the low spot and the higher hills, us in the middle.

October was good, busy and sweet. It was full of new surprises and challenges, and granted new insights and a few moments to pause and appreciate the still warm sun on our faces.

You can’t ask for much more.


Out in the woods, up in the County.

Out in the woods, up in the County.


About crownofmainecoop

We are Maine's most innovative little food distribution business. We get Maine foods from HERE to THERE, and not just in the most literal sense...
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