A door closing opens new paths. Reflecting with gratitude about life’s changes

This past January I closed my brick-and-mortar boutique.

Faced with the prospect of new landlords, lovely people, but inevitably suggesting rent/heat hikes, or the alternative, a quasi-colonization of my beloved shop, the decision to close the store was the only course of action this very independent minded person could make.

As the dust gradually settles, I feel much better about the situation! After all, people are in business to make money, and even though I’m certain the store could have remained open as long as the status quo remained intact, it wasn’t in the cards. Unfortunately I wasn’t in any position to aid the landlords in their goals, nor they in mine. Moving on, I wish them well!

The business of Wall Flower Studio sprung up at home, so it now scales back to its roots! This is an exciting prospect.

I’ll continue to offer my products through various online e-commerce sites, offer lessons in online marketing, helping and setting up social media sites for other small businesses, and have enough time and energy to focus on garden design, photography, this blog, and that bloody book I’ve been putting off writing for the past few years!

Except for our basement, currently looking like a contender for that show Hoarders, with everything now home from the shop, I’ve actually enjoyed sorting and organizing, de-cluttering, (planning that garage sale in May), and having time to cook proper meals for my wonderful husband, much to his delight and both of our amazement!

This time at home has been a period of reflection about the evolution of the business over the past four years.

Yes, there were ups and downs, small personal triumphs and many frustrations that at the time seemed cataclysmic, i.e. flooding, mountains of ice/caution tape in front of the shop, driving in snow storms, moving the physical location of the store, and even a car accident, to name but a few.

However, ninety-nine percent of it was the most rewarding activity of my life so far, and with that in mind, I’ll always look back with a full heart towards that store.

Lavender Harvest

Corporate-types won’t likely understand this, but to have had the opportunity to fully engage with one’s true entrepreneurial spirit, and believe me, Wall Flower Studio began on a threadbare shoestring, I feel enormous gratitude and pride to have taken the risk to open a retail storefront. I had the pleasure of meeting many like minds and pursued my passion, even within the context of a small enterprise, which is what many might have judged Wall Flower Studio to be.

I think that’s something to write home about, even if I’m the only one who reads it! 😉

Upon reflection and turning a new page, closing the store doesn’t suggest the failure that I first feared it would. The only way to fail is to never try in the first place. I’d like to celebrate by declaring this isn’t the end of Wall Flower Studio, it’s a new path!

With that in mind, a big thank you goes to family, friends, and each lovely customer who supported this former shopkeeper’s independent spirit on Minden’s Main Street! It truly was my pleasure.

– Karen

Wild leeks, aka ramps – Foraging for local food is always in season

Wild Leeks, (Allium tricoccum) also known locally as ramps, grow wild and fairly abundantly here in our Eastern Ontario woods. It’s a spring delicacy to look forward to each spring, easily harvested before the blackflies arrive, and prized for their culinary value because they’re versatile to cook with, and so very tasty!

Foraging food from the woods is a joy everyone should experience and leeks never disappoint! There are dozens of ways to cook and eat them.  From omelettes to pesto, soups, sandwiches, salads, or even pickled, and that’s just for a start, foodies are coming up with new ways to enjoy leeks all the time.

With that in mind, and after perusing through some food photos on Pinterest, I was intrigued by Hassleback potatoes enough to make them. Thought they’d be the perfect candidate for my leeks harvest, too.

I washed the harvest, chopped them up, squeezed some lemon juice on them and voila.. (see photo!). I stuffed the potatoes, which look like edible accordions, along with the baked chicken thighs, which were also stuffed with mushrooms, goat cheese and the rest of the ramps. Delicious!

If you don’t have access to leeks where you are, I am offering several tasty culinary goodies from my harvest at the store. We’ll have our own hand made, locally sourced and locally created herbal Vinegars and condiments available again this spring, while supplies last,  which offer a taste of these delightful plants.

With regards to the leek pesto I created, silly me forgot to take a photo. In any case, here’s an easy recipe (below) that anyone can do.  It is lovely drizzled all over fresh pasta or spread on some crusty baked bread. Nice as a dip or on salad, too!

The directions are similar to a basil pesto, but with a substitution of leeks. One could experiment and add both!

Ingredients:

  • Dozen leek leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts (roasted)
  • (optional) 1/2 cup of fresh parsley

Combine in blender and mix to a smooth paste. Enjoy!

Happy foraging, but please note: Don’t take more than necessary from the wild. Take a few, but leave most behind. – Thank you!

Happy Easter, Ēostre or Ostara – #WordlessWednesday