Our Journey Part 5 – The Sugar House & The Big Dream

View More: http://eveswishphotography.pass.us/putnam

All photos courtesy of the talented Erin Witkowski 

So, I know it has been a long time since our shared the next part of the story of our journey.  Truthfully, I am not really sure why I have kept this all quiet while it was all happening.  But, for some reason, that is what has worked for us.  I think it may have been the uncertainty of it all that caused a lot of it.  What if we changed our mind?  What if we didn’t do what we said we would?

But now, there is no doubt.

We are in.

Let me stop here and say that if you have no idea what I am talking about – it all started when my husband Dana quit his great job and we decided to change the direction we were going in.  You can read the other parts of the story here…

Part 1    Part 2   Part 3    Part 4

I am going to get to the sequence of events in a minute.  But first, I want to tell it like I would tell you if we were face to face.  I wish I could just sit down with you all together, so you could share in our excitement.  The truth is, this is a life choice.  We are going for the BIG DREAMto make a living and a life doing what we love the most.  I love creating a welcoming and beautiful home for our family and Dana loves, with every fiber of his being, making maple syrup.  Finding Home is going to now live where those two worlds overlap.

And in the place where these worlds join will be our business.  We will continue to be a home decor and DIY blog – but we are also becoming a maple syrup brand.  In the next few weeks we will launch our new branding and site design and we will launch our online shop.   We will start out just selling our syrup, but soon we will be adding other food product and home decor items.  We are looking to partner with smaller brands, especially in the food area, who are just as passionate about their brand as we are.  We want to create an online store that is filled with items we love and we think you will love too.   We will offer products that we would use in our home and our own kitchen – so that we are comfortable offering it to you to do the same.

 

View More: http://eveswishphotography.pass.us/putnam

 

But even more than this being our business, this is our life.  Dana left his job about 18 months ago now and we know with complete certainty that it was the right decision for us.  He is happier and healthier, our marriage is happier and healthier and our family is happier and healthier.  Dana has also started a consulting business in the industry he has always been in, but our primary focus is Finding Home.   In choosing to “make a go” at our biggest dreams, we are doing what we love the most.  And although it has been really challenging figuring out all the details of starting a new business, and at times, overwhelming, we know this is the right decision and direction for us.  Even if we fall flat on our faces and fail at this – it is still the right decision.  In doing this, we will never have to look back and say, “I wonder what would have happened if we just tried.”

We have also started selling locally in shops around here as well.  We are currently in three shops and the response has been fantastic.  In fact, we have been hand cutting all of the labels because the orders keep coming in before we can get the labels printed.  And once we are up and running, we will be looking for some additional retailers to partner with as well.  I will be handling most of the online side of things and Dana is handling more of the face to face.  He is handling the business side – insurance, lawyers, NY state codes and such and I am handling the marketing side of things – packaging, web design, marketing materials, etc.  So far, the balance has worked out pretty well.

 

View More: http://eveswishphotography.pass.us/putnam

 

We have learned pretty quickly that if we waited till we had it all figured out, we would never get off the ground.  There are so many details that you don’t know about until you start to do them.  NY seems to have an abundance of codes and regulations that you need to follow, but they are less adept at sharing how exactly you need to go about meeting them.  We are rule followers, sometimes to a fault, so we are working through each of the details one by one.

 

Maple-Syrup-Sugar-House-Collage

 

So, how did we get here?  When I first started telling our story, it was about the journey from a dollhouse to a sugar house.  And we reached our destination.  We have a sugar house!

After we realized that the search for a house with sugaring land really wasn’t going to happen, we started looking just at land.  We looked at a lot of  property lots.  Dana looked at tons.  And when he wasn’t visiting a property lot or driving by one, he was studying real estate maps to see who owned the maple tree filled properties that he had scouted.

Dana dropped many a letter in a mailbox asking if they would consider selling their land.  Then, we came upon a name, on an amazing lot, that we knew.  A letter was sent and a conversation began.  He wasn’t willing to sell us the property, but he was willing to lease trees by the tap.  Did you know that you could even do that?  It is land that is used for hunting, but then it just sits idle the rest of the year.  It is a win-win, the owner makes a little extra money and we have access to maple trees to tap.  This past season, we tapped about 800 trees this past season and we have plans for about 2,500 for next season.

 

View More: http://eveswishphotography.pass.us/putnam

 

When we first started looking at properties, Dana was still at his old job and we were looking for something to go to.  When we continued the search without the job being in the way, it became clear that the best decision was to put the sugar house right here.    Just after Christmas last year, Dana began digging the holes for the pole barn structure.  We had a small window of mild weather and the ground was not frozen, it was just meant to be.  But, shortly after that, the ground froze hard, along with everything else.  Jim, our contractor, and Dana worked together to build the whole structure through some of the coldest weather we have seen in years.

It is funny, when we made the decision to leave Dana’s job, it was a very memorable conversation.   I can not tell you when exactly we decided to get into the maple business, it was more of a process that evolved over time.  And even then, what did that mean, would it be Finding Home, would it be something new?  As with all of this, we went through it one step at a time, while the sugar house was being built.  Dana and Jim got the structure built to a bare minimum in time for sugaring last year.  The equipment was in, the smoke stack was working and there were walls and a roof.   But none of it was airtight, there was no floor and the area around it was a mess from construction and snow.

We have spent the last few months getting all of the details finished.  In fact, as I am writing this, the concrete floor is being finished and a gravel driveway to the sugar house is being installed.  We never intended it to be done on the same day, but a last minute cancellation moved us up on the calendar and we had to chalk up to one of the many “meant-to-be” moments we have been experiencing.

View More: http://eveswishphotography.pass.us/putnam

 

And today, as I write this, I am so thankful.  So thankful to you.  So, so incredibly thankful.

Thankful that you have read this blog and allowed us to grow and love our brand.  Thankful that we can take what I have done to this point, and we can grow it into something more for our family.  If it wasn’t for all of you, none of this would be possible.

Thank you.

 

View More: http://eveswishphotography.pass.us/putnam

 

And so now, you know it all.  Of course, there is more to share.  Like the pretty cool story that lead to our new logo, and the amazing branding and design company we have been working with.  And don’t worry, you will only have to wait a little bit this time, not months!

Update – you can now read about “The Story of a Cardinal and God Conversations in the Bathroom”.

Thanks so much for reading!

Newpostsignature_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

About Finding Home

Welcome to Finding Home where we share our favorite DIY and decorating ideas and inspiration. We believe your home should be a reflection of you and your family. Our blog is the story of our journey - and what we find along the way. Thanks for joining us!

Leave Us A Comment

69 thoughts on “Our Journey Part 5 – The Sugar House & The Big Dream”

Comments

  1. It is the best maple syrup I have ever had, and that includes the syrup my family made when I was a girl. The best!

  2. Oh it’s all sa amazing for me:-) I mean your decisions, your courage, your hopes….I’ve been quietly following your blog and now I’ve decided it’s time to speak my mid 🙂 I wish you all the best, you are such a lovely family and I know that all your plans and dreams will come true 🙂 What a pity that you maple syrup will not be available in Europe (or will it??), I’d love to try it 🙂 Hugs&kisses from Poland!! Magda

  3. I have been reading along as you have unfolded this journey for us and it it so beautiful to see all yours dreams come to fruition. I just want to say how absolutely beautiful the images are of your family and the products. Pity I am all the way in Australia as I know my hubby who is a huge maple syrup fan would love to buy your syrup! Congrats and I wish you all nothing but the best, you really do deserve it and your blog and voice are such a blessing to others. xo

  4. What an amazing journey and wonderful, truly wonderful story. Will you be selliing your syrup at The Chapel Market? Sure hope so! My daughter will be working the show and I am sure she will run an errand for her Momma!

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. I look forward to reading how He continues to guide and bless you all.

    Yipeee and a big Woo Hoo

    Gloria

  5. The product looks great, love the labels and bottles, great details! Good luck and congratulations, I can’t wait to try your syrup and see what else your business will sell!

  6. This is so exciting! Cannot wait to try your syrup. I love the Sugar House and family pictures…….beautiful!

  7. Fabulous, inspiring, beautiful! With a tear in my eye reading today’s post, I am certain your life choices are the best for everyone at Finding Home. Looking forward to the next step and tasting your attractively packaged products. Thanks for sharing your adventure.

  8. Finding Home is one of the first blogs I started reading. It was and still is one of my favorites. I have been following along and patiently waiting to hear the end of the story. What an ending it is or rather a begging. A beginning of something great. How excited you both must be. I look forward to when your on line store is up and running. I can’t wait to try the maple syrup and see what other items you will be selling. The best of luck to you and Finding Home. Love it!

  9. You know what this reminds me of?? “Just Jump!!” This story sounds very familiar and it is wonderful that you decided to go for it. Sometimes God doesn’t shout at us — sometimes he whispers in our ear. Congratulations and I am pleased that i got to travel a little bit on your journey. I love the to be continued . . . . We are here to support and cheer you on! Big Hugs!!

  10. Oh Laura, I’m so incredibly excited for you! What a wonderful opportunity you have created for yourselves through vision and hard work. I’m glad that things are going well for you. Your sugar house is darling and I’m sure that your online store and the “next steps” are just around the corner. Congratulations! xoxo

  11. Congratulations on your new journey!!!! God gives us one life to live here on earth….live it to the fullest, with all the bumps and celebrations it holds. Love the label and jars the syrup is packaged in! can’t wait to order a jar.

  12. You and your family have certainly found your “Home”.
    Congratulations and best of luck on your business.
    What a wonderful heart warming story.
    It’s all about the LOVE!

  13. What an awesome story! I’m so happy for you and your family…..can’t wait to read the rest of the story!

  14. This is so exciting! I was wondering the other day if I had missed the final post about finding your trees. I can’t wait to watch your dreams unfold.

  15. So very exciting! Best wishes for much success. My family loves real maple syrup so I definitely will be excited for your online store! Also, your family has the best smiles!

  16. I’ve been following this story without ever commenting but today I just had to. You and your family are literally living your dream. That’s not for the faint of heart or people who aren’t sure. It’s for brave people who know that life is short and that sometimes you just have to take a chance. I am so, so happy for you and wish you great success. I can’t wait to order some maple syrup. Best wishes and much luck, Ann

  17. So incredibly happy for you all! You never cease to amaze me! Can’t wait until you have the site up & running, I will definitely be one of your first customers! Best of luck! ❤️

  18. This is so exciting and just so GOD sent! And you are coming to The Chapel Market – can’t wait to get some of your syrup for my family in Alabama! So, so happy for you!

  19. What a great story and journey, with the start of a happy ending! SO happy you are both able to live your dream together – conratulations and good luck!!!

  20. I read this with goose bumps! A million congratulations and best wishes for following your dream! I can’t wait to continue hearing about your successes and following your story! What a lonely and inspirational way to start my day! Hugs!

  21. I am so excited for you and your family as you start this new venture. I love your sugar shack and the labelling. I know you will be a success in all your endeavours and I look forward to seeing your product line and home decor as well. Blessings. Pam

  22. What an amazing story! I love to hear how people have a dream and WORK to find the way to LIVE it! God is good, and He has blessed! I can’t wait to try some of your syrup! 🙂

  23. What a wonderful story! Loved every part of your journey you shared with us all. After all this excitement I sure hope you will have an online store for your faithful followers to get to enjoy your products! Before my post was complete I was already counting how many Christmas gifts I could get!

    Thanks for allowing us to be a part off your beautiful family’s journey!

  24. Congratulations! I have enjoyed reading your story! Just wondering if you will be able to ship maple syrup to Canada through your website? My daughter is a huge maple syrup fan (well, we all are but she takes the cake, really). For her birthday, her friends all gave her bottles of maple syrup as gifts. So far her favourite has been from Quebec of course, where some of the best maple syrup comes from… I was thinking it would be fun to gift her a bottle of your syrup sometime. I think that someday when she grows up, maybe she should be a maple syrup sommelier, if such a job even exists! Ha!

  25. All I can say is “WOW!” Congratulations! I could tell from reading your story this morning that you are so incredibly HAPPY to be starting this new adventure with your family. I am thrilled for you.

  26. Congratulations! The old saying is really true, if you do what you love you never work a day in your life! I am happy for you and can’t wait for the online shop to get up and running so I can order some syrup. After having the real thing no one will ever go back to the store/mass produced yuck ever again!

  27. LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are both adorable (and I love your boots)! So happy that you are following your dream……
    ….and your heart. 🙂

    Happy amazing day to you friend!
    karianne

  28. WOW! What an amazing journey!

    But AMAZING is the God we serve! Isn’t He AWESOME? I think so. Only the good Lord can take nothing and make it into something!

    You and your family are always in our prayers.

    Blessings!

  29. Laura, congratulations! I am wishing you and your family lots and lots of luck. I think it is such wonderful news. I can not wait to try the maple syrup. You are such an inspiration.
    Best wishes,
    Susan

  30. amazing !!!!!!!!!!!! I admire anybody who has the courage to do what you and your family are doing, I think it is awesome !!!!! What an exciting journey!!!!! And, I LOVE homemade maple syrup, when your ready to sell online, I am ready to buy…..Good Luck and much success and happiness !!! bty, so good for your girls/family !!

  31. xoxox so very excited for you! Love that your dreams are unfolding and coming true!! I know that your new business will be a great success!

  32. Congratulations. I’m so happy for you and your family. Even though I have never had the opportunity to meet you , I feel you are such a genuine person. Can’t wait to try the syrup and whatever products you will have in the future. Wishing you much success in what ever you do.

  33. How wonderful this all is for you and your family! Now I’m interested to try your syrup! Congratulations to the entire Finding Home family! 😉

  34. Laura, as I was reading my lip started to curl into a little smile….the kind that shares your joy and rejoices with you. By the end it was a full smile! SO happy, for you and with you!! We are in northern MI this week and reading the history behind the village where the little vacation house we recently inherited started. our yard if full of maples and I read that in the 1800s this densely wooded area supported a logging industry. And then the people discovered making maple syrup! I read all about the interesting early process. Your story will be just as interesting!!

  35. Oh my! This is so exciting, Laura! I’ve followed your story and had a feeling y’all must be up to something. Absolutely beautiful packaging, your brand is just the right fit. Love it!

  36. Congratulations Laura to you and Dana on your new venture! You two make a great team with a combination of business, marketing, and design skills so I know this will be a great success! How amazing that everything came together and you are living your dream. When I was up in NY state this summer (Ithaca) we went to a wonderful farmers market on Cayuga Lake. There was a man selling not only maple syrup but maple flavored cotton candy. All I can say is that it was out of this world good.

    BTW…… the sugar shack looks amazing!!

  37. YAY! So excited for you sweet friend and your adorable family. Love that you are following your dreams, and could your label be any cuter? So you, and so perfect! Can’t wait to see the rest, I know it’s going to be amazing!

  38. May be you have mentioned it already and I missed it but where can I order your Maple Syrup? Thank you and best of luck to you in your endeavors!

  39. So happy for you! Everything is beautiful from the building to the labels. Our family loves pancakes on Sunday mornings, so we can’t wait to place an order to try some of yours! We took our girls out to watch the whole process of harvesting and cooking the syrup last year. It was an amazing experience! Can’t wait to follow more of your journey!~Michelle

  40. Just recently started subscribing to your blog so I had some catch up reading to do. Great story, great blog. Looking forward to reading about the rest of your journey. All the best!

  41. Just had our first taste of “Finding Home” maple syrup. Wa are hooked. Thanks Laura and Dana. Sorry Mrs Buttersworth and Aunt Jemima you can’t compete with the homegrown flavor and delicious freshness of this great new product. When can we get more?

  42. Thanks for the lovely story about Finding Home. It’s wonderful when someone follows her heart with such love and faith. You are a lucky person, to have a family and to know where your place in this world is. I hope you get everything you are dreaming about.