As I write this, there is a rogue snow squawl just outside. This blog post is a detraction from my normal communications and social media related posts, as I examine my own New Years resolutions for 2012. I encourage you all to grow a garden this year, in pots/containers, on a small raised bed in the back of your Townhouse, or on a larger plot, or a rural rented plot somewhere.
It’s also that time of year when it gets pretty darn cold out at night. I can’t even go outside to dig in the dirt ( as it’s frozen), because it gets dark at 4:45 pm. When I was a young girl in upstate New York, where every year, when winter rolled around and the very cold January and February winds blew and dreams of green grass and soft warm winds haunted us, our mailbox had the annual welcoming and oh so colorful seed catalogs.
This is the time when I look back to my roots and my love of gardening, which I got honestly from my father. Therefore, I dedicate this post to a man who also loved to garden and where I fondly remember him pouring over seed catalogs during the winter months to order seeds for our very large family with six siblings. So, I begin my New Year not really making any new resolutions I can’t keep. Instead I am hard at work ordering seed catalogs and look forward to the spring. As planting, growing, toiling, tilling and working on seven acres provides enough of a workout that I never have to say, I will exercise more each year! . I was crazy enough to buy seven acreas that needed to be tamed, last year. OMG!
Exercise and work, and seasonal communication is part of the ebb and flow of the changing seasons. Whatever happened to old fashion face-to-face communication, and doing it over the backyard fence, chatting about and compairing proudly grown veggies and new seeds we plan to plant next year?
For now, while I am trying to embrace cyber-nating inside, I will continue to pay homage to my father and grand mother’s well taught basic life skills (communication 101, for life and business).
And yes, I will order a few seed catalogs to dream of fresh veggies to harvest later in 2012 . To get started, last night I planted heirloom Marglobe tomatoes, Yolo pepers, and a slew of cantaloupes, and some onions from seed (as a test).
In this modern age of technology, about 70% of people still order most of their seeds from seed catalogs! I think this is great and here is why I think so. I believe that some old fashion ways of doing things should not change. We are beginning to raise entire generations who do not know anything about gardening, canning or growing things when it used to be a staple activity for families which kept people from starving, being less dependent on the government, and they ate healthier. Conversely, I know most of us have embraced many of the new fangled ways and technologies. But, we are passing on nothing to our youth, and our grand children. Rather, we are forgetting about being close to the land and living with a more purposeful existence, soon many will not know how to provide for themselves at all. This does not mean I am gonna go all Amish on you all. But, I refuse to pay an additional five cent tax at the grocery store for buying food to live on which is already taxed and not fresh.
As a result, in my opinion something is missing from our daily lives, many are unemployed, the environment is suffering. There is value and purpose in time honored old fashion traditions such as; sitting still next to a crackling fire ( Yes, with wood you cut or stacked by yourself) and actually reading next to that fire with a snack like warm peach cobbler ( from peaches you canned or grew yourself) -instead of playing “farmer” with Farmville, texting, checking or tweeting your Facebook status 16 times a day or playing mindless time-sucking video games for hours and hours (which have no real intrinsic value, in my book).
Like with so much else in life, technology is displacing the need for printed catalogs because a company can just list their seed selection on their website. Add to that the rising costs of doing business, the consolidation of seed companies, and the pickings can seem slim if you prefer printed seed catalogs. Fortunately, if you know where to look (and are willing to pay a few dollars in some cases) you can still participate in the tradition and escapism that is a seed catalog.
Did you know there are more than 100 seed catalogs out there? As every gardener knows, seed catalogs are wonderful reading. Between the tantalizing descriptions of varieties and the first-rate cultural information, many catalogs can double as reliable gardening books. They are also interesting as historical sources.
Note: Many heirloom vegetable varieties are not available in the seed trade, but can be found through seed saving networks. For more information, see also: Seed Savers, Seed Exchanges, and Seed Societies. You can find a larger list of seed catalogs at:
Below are a short list of favorites derived from a recent Mother News (MEN) survey. MEN’s printed that one customer said, “Fedco’s catalog make wonderful, entertaining, laugh-out-loud reading and all the vintage graphics are wonderful.”
- Johnny’s Selected Seeds (Winslow, Maine) www.johnnyseed.com
- Seed Savers Exchange (Decorah, IA) www.seedsaver.com
- Bakercreek Heirloom Seeds (Mansfield, MO) www.rareseeds.com
- Burpee Seeds & Plants( Warminster, PA) www.burpee.com
- Territorial Seed Company ( Cottage Grove, Ore) www.territorialseed.com
- Seed of Change (Rancho, Dominquez CA) www.seedsofchange.com
- Ferry-Morse Seed Company (Fulton, KY) www.ferry-morse.com
- Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (Mineral, VA) www.southernexposure.com
- High Mowing Organic Seeds (Wolcott, VT) www.highmowingseeds.com
- Fedco Seeds ( Waterville, MA) www.fedcoseeds.com
- Nichols Garden Nursery (Albany, OR) www.nicholsgardennursery.com
- The Cook’s Garden ( Warminster, PA) www.cooksgarden.com
- Botanical Interests (Broomfield, CO) www.botanicalinterests.com
- Renee’s Garden Seeds (Felton, CA) www.reneesgarden.com
- Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply (Grass Valley, CA) www.groworganic.com
For long term seed storage, seed vaulting, non hybrid garden seed kits, try a few of the following:
- AAOB Foods which also provides info with tips on planting
- Patriot Survival Seed Vault 37.95 | MyPatriotSupply.com
- Heirloom Organics- Survival Seed Vault $99 – 50,000+ Seeds
- www.non-hybrid-seeds- 2 Acres, 1.5LB, Eat for .01/LB
- Prepared Planet-Canned Seeds | Organic Heirloom Seeds | Emergency Seed Storage
- Livestock Seed Storage Pack
- And here is a list of culinary vegetables too from Wikipedia
Happy Gardening in 2012. And I encourage to resolve to share more with your family, neighbors and friends, the old fashioned way!
Call, write, txt me if you’d like help with a contract or communication plan! And, all my best for a better and more prosperous 2012.
Alice M. Fisher, Owner of Unlimited PR & Associates, LLC which is a Woman Veteran-Owned Small Business. For more informatin visit our website @Unlimitedpr, Website: www.unlimitedpr.net
Well this is a short up date on why I have not posted much lately for those who occassionally read my blog. I have taken the plunge and filed as an official small business, gotten my Federal EIN number, registered with the state of Maryland, updated my website and have nearly completed filing as an 8 (a) with SBA.gov.
Just in time for the Labor Day Weekend! So, with that said, I am hungry to get some work and proposals out the door (I think it’s nearly dinner time-hence the food reference). And, I excited and scared at the same time.
The one thing I have learned thus far is, you can not just flip on a light switch as there are quite a few hoops to jump through to get it right. And, it took me some time to learn that there is no longer any Dynamic Small Business Search Numbers (albeit that is still required on an SBA form). For future businesses filing with SBA, please note that is now your Federal IRS EIN number which goes in that spot.
I am now in the process of decorating and setting up my small business office suite, and carving out a nifty little space to run this new small business. Comments and suggests are welcome and I will try to post a picture of the new office once completed. Maybe I will post how to set up a little office on a no cost budget.
On top of the small business start up paper work I have been completing faxing and mailing out scads of stuff, and I am also rehabing a house I bought last summer, trying to tame 7 acres that was let go and grew wild for about two years, canning fruits and veggies, building a chicken condo and maintaining a newly deer proofed garden.
I am sure there is a future possible blog posts that can benefit small business owners in some analagous way on the anatomy and value of daily chicken dust baths, how to build a chicken condo with no plans, and the value of gardening as it relates to running a small Woman Veteran-Owned small business.
For now, suffice it to say I am up and running and look forward to providing consulting and management services; as such relates to social media, Web 2.0, Internet marketing, outreach, strategic communications, traditional media relations, public affairs, advertising, e-commerce and social networking.
PS, Really, any decorating, color or painting ideas and comments of course are all welcome! I will try to post a photo or two in the next post.
It’s been a busy summer, the days are getting shorter as fall approaches… so stay tuned for more posts soon.
Now, it is time for dinner!
Alice M. Fisher, Owner
Unlimited PR & Associates, LLC
A Woman Veteran-Owned Small Business
I have a nine month old grandson, who is at that stage where he babbles, giggles and appears to know what he is saying, but does not speak yet. He is utterly adorable to watch as he trys to learn to mouth sounds.
My four year old grandson on the other hand, is a chatter box. He will soon be of school age.
Both are as we call them today digital natives. The four year old already calls me to talk on the cell phone, as he knows my speed dial number. He likes calling his Nanna. He can’t even read or write yet. But, he uses a cell phone already.
Teens, well that is an altogether differnt story. Mine, they are now young adults and they actually want talk to me now instead of just hanging out with their teen friends like they used to do.
My own children did not initially grow up with all this social media or cell phones. The phone hung on a wall in the kitchen and they did have to learn how to write handwritten letters to people. Times have changed.
But, now with all the social nessnessness of ever changing enabling technologies out there, it’s getting pretty evident that you just can’t hang out “everywhere” on the Internet. There are just way too many sites to keep up.
To reach out and to educate or inform people about important issues is getting tough as well. Which site do you go to and where for the best and most correct information? It is indeed a slippery slope.
Case in point #1: Whose reading newspapers? Predominantly, it is not teens, but, if they were how in the heck would they be able to sift through the slippery slop of different presentations with all the slanted information and figure what is the most correct information? How would you help youth sort out all that information, and let’s say do a social studies report on it??? How would you communicate important news to children at their level in newspapers? TV news hours?
Case in point #2: There are so many channels. Which channels are you on? Which Channels are youth using? ”Everyone’s on Foursquare, and everyone’s on this and everyone’s on that,” says Xianhang Zhang, a researcher with “social design” firm Bumblebee Labs, which studies innovation and social mores. “A lot of time they don’t even know why,” he confides. “They just feel like they should be.” He’s also hearing a lot about Quora.com now, a Wikipedia-like network based on user-generated questions and answers. Quora and Hunch.com — which recommends sites based on what you already like — might be the next destinations the tech-savvy feel compelled to add to their personal browsing itineraries.
But, if you want to do outreach say to reach a significant number of youth across America, then studying how they communicate today is vital. PEW has some great studies and insights, btw.
And, you won’t reach most of youth if you are simpling creating informational sheets, a web page loaded with scads and scads of files or documents to try to find or sift through, doing print ads in newspapers, radio PSAs, Twitter, or Blog campaigns. Wrong Mediums and Channels altogether. Surprised?
Well, it’s not surprising that daily text messaging among American teens has shot up. Way UP! For example, over the course of 18 months, from February of 2008 to September 2009 they numbers rose from 38% to 54% of teens texting daily. It is now November 2010 and I bet that number is even higher.
And it’s not just frequency – teens are sending enormous quantities of text messages a day (1,500 to 3,500 messages a month).
Get this, half of teens send 50 or more text messages each day, or 1,500 texts a month, and one in three send more than 100 texts a day, or more than 3,000 texts a month. Older teen girls ages 14-17 lead the charge on text messaging, averaging 100 messages a day for the entire cohort.
Hmmm, no surprise here, that the youngest of teen boys are the most resistant to texting – only averaging 20 messages per day.
If you want to build tools and reach youth, then I might suggest strategically developing a viral MMS campaign or SMS campaign. I have previously posted about which companies are doing this sort of work.
Text messaging has become the primary way that teens reach their friends, surpassing face-to-face contact, email, instant messaging and voice calling as the go-to daily communication tool for this age group. However, voice calling is still the preferred mode for reaching parents for most teens.
So the next question is just screaming to be asked….if so much communication is being done via the cell phone and text messaging by teens, then can we reach youth by emphasizing more interactive MMS design thinking, MMS games and mobile education simulations, user experience designs, mobile social media marketing and outreach, 3D and virtual environments, and related disciplines?
Are there others who are out there wanting collaborative teams for the development of important solutions for youth, and youth design-based solutions all the way up to solving bigger problems?
Here are some other links on recent research about How Youth / Teens are communicating.
2) Social Media & Young Adults: http://bit.ly/b022ZP
3) Teen and Mobile Phones: http://bit.ly/daj263
4) Latino Youth: http://bit.ly/b4yWC7
5) 100 Best Apps for Learning: http://bit.ly/9n4ksh
A website to view website audience demographics ://www.quantcast.com
More About the Parent-Teen Cell Phone Survey
This study is based on the 2009 Parent-Teen Cell Phone Survey which obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 800 teens age 12-to-17 years-old and their parents living in the continental United States and on 9 focus groups conducted in 4 U.S. cities in June and October 2009 with teens between the ages of 12 and 18.
The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The interviews were done in English by Princeton Data Source, LLC from June 26 to September 24, 2009.