Cooperation Makes It Happen

Cooperation – 1. An act or instance of working or acting together for a common purpose or benefit; joint action.  2. Economics. the combination of persons for purposes of production, purchase, or distribution for their joint benefit:

A co-op counts on everyone to do their part!

A co-op is a group of people who order things together to get a better price.  Sometimes you get the better price because  buying in bulk is cheaper. Sometimes it is just the combined order total that allows you access to things at a reduced price through a buying club type of organization. 

There are certain things that you need to take into consideration.  

You might think this one is obvious, but to many it is not.  They have never thought about what a co-op is or they are new to the world of co-ops.   You all have to cooperate together to make it work.  There are several areas where you need to cooperate.   

You must be team minded.  If each one of us is only concerned with ourselves and what we need or want that is unfair to everyone else.  If the group is having to buy a large quantity of an item to get the best price, maybe order a bit more than you normally would.  Watch for communication that they are a bit short on something and maybe bump your order up.  Pay attention to minimums on orders.  Let’s say that the item comes in a 50 lb. bag.  Sometimes they will have a minimum of 5 lbs. or tell you that you have to order in 5 lbs. increments.  Don’t order 2 lbs. because that is all you need.  Find someone else to go in with you to make up the difference and then you be responsible for separating out your items.  Often times a couple of people make up the difference and order more so that everyone gets the good price.  This needs to be spread around and shared. 

Many co-ops handle payments in different ways.  I am part of one group that requires all monies up front when the order is placed.  It is a large group and not everyone knows everyone.  In my co-op I run, I pretty much know everyone and I handle different orders, different ways.  Some of them I know when I place the order how much each person owes me.  I usually go ahead and place the order and immediately send out emails telling people what they owe.  I order from one company each month.  I never know for sure until the order gets here the next week what the exact prices are.  People are expected to pick up their orders on the day of delivery and they pay me then.  Other orders I place with a friend’s group.  I never know exactly when it is coming, and  I pay them when I pick it up.  Then I send out emails telling people what they owe and have them communicate when they are going to pick it up.  I determine from that if they need to mail me a check or use paypal.  Here is what can happen and you might not even realize it.  A large order is usually paid via credit card.  If people are slow to pay, sometimes the billing cycle on their credit card rolls around and the person who placed the order is paying interest on that amount.  In other words it cost the person that placed the order fees.  Prompt payment is one way you can cooperate. 

Another area of cooperation is on picking up your orders. Be as prompt as you possibly can to get your items.  We have started doing a delivery once a month to a nearby town.  Anything that they order through the month will be held until the next delivery.  If you do not have prior arrangements to leave your item for a later pick up, come and get your order in a timely manner.  Space may be an issue.  Items needing refrigeration may not always have a space in the fridge.  Damage may occur due to unforeseen circumstances.  Who is responsible for that damage? 

Unloading may be another area you can help in.  Ask if you are supposed to help with that and what time you should be there.  We used to be part of a group that the truck gave a half hour window of when it would be there.  We were all expected to come and help unload the truck.  I do not require that for my deliveries because I am given a 2 hour window and don’t expect people to wait around that long.  I also have wonderful neighbors that lend a hand at unloading. 

I have some people who are wonderful at communication.  They never leave me guessing at where they are with an order.  I appreciate good communication.  If I tell them we have a chance to go in on an order of salt and they are not planning on being part of that order, they let me know.  If they are going to order, they are very clear about what they want, and they list the amounts clearly and state the price.  When the odd unscheduled order comes in, they give me a couple of different times they could pick it up and let me pick the one that works best.  Communication saves everyone time and keeps mistake from being made.  

Co-ops are a team effort.  Think about ways you can help the whole group. 

Did you learn anything new with this post?  Something you had not thought of before?  Let me know in the comments below.  You KNOW how I love comments.  :D

 

Grain & Bean Storage

How to store grain and beans

When I first starting grinding my own grain and keeping a storage pantry, I lived in Florida.  It is the land of humidity and bugs.  So how you stored your food was very important, if you did not wish to waste your money.  We lived in a coastal area, so basements were almost unheard of.  You either had a cement slab, which can have moisture issues or you lived over a small crawl space which brought its own problems with bugs, rodents and snakes. 

When we ordered our first grain, we bought it in buckets and the grain was nitrogen packed.  What this means is the grain was put into the bucket and the bucket was filled with nitrogen, which forced oxygen out. No bugs or critters could live in that environment.  The problem was a bucket of grain (6 gallon size) only held 42 lbs. of grain which was a lot less than a 50 lb. paper bag of grain and it cost a lot more.  We were willing to do that at first because we knew of no other way. 

Someone shared with us the method they used to store their grains.  It involved putting together an apparatus and getting a tank of Co2.  We talked about it with a couple of friends and one of them decided to get all the stuff and put together what we needed.  They allowed the rest of us to use it.  We got buckets and the next grain order we put in, we all bought it in bags.  We then used the Co2 and we were thrilled with the results.  We then moved to Ohio and years later our friends with the Co2 set up also moved to Ohio.  They no longer do a large pantry and so they gave us the equipment. 

We did not use it right away because everything was already in buckets (without nitrogen or Co2) and it was working well.  We had a bulk food store on our farm at one point and I kept a vigilant watch for critters.  Then last year, we had an outbreak of pantry moths.  We went through everything and got rid of anything with evidence of moths.  We gave it to the chickens so we did not feel like it was totally wasted.  We put out pantry moth traps (we sell those in our store) and killed every moth we could find.  We thought we had taken care of the problem, but then a whole new batch hatched.  We found their larvae in weird places.  We have those camping chairs that come in their own drawstring bags.  The were all over the chairs and the bags.  Those got banned to the shop area.  We had some egg cartons stored and they laid their eggs on those.  I put them in the freezer for over a week and then went through them one by one picking off the little webs.  Then winter came and that area of the house gets really cold.  It is not heated.  We thought we were finally rid of them.  Then when it warmed up in the Spring, it all started again.  I went out and got a 25 lb. bag of spelt and opened it and it was riddled with tiny holes.  There were moths in the grain.  I lost 5 more bags of grain to the chickens. 

We knew it was time to break out our Co2 apparatus and put it to use.  I thought some of you might like to learn how we do this, so I took pictures and I wanted to share it with you. 

We again put out the moth traps (which really do work) and got rid of any evidence we could find of the moths.  We went through and found some empty buckets and we got more from our store inventory (we sell food safe buckets and gamma seal lids in the store)

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We made sure that every bucket had a lid.  We love the Gamma Seal Lids.  There is a ring that snaps down tight on the edge of the bucket and the lid part is then screwed on.  It makes for easy access without a bucket opener. We put the beans and grains in the buckets.  Make sure you label them as you go because wheat and spelt and kamut all looks alike.  :)   

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Once you have all the items in the buckets, you open a couple at a time.  This allows you to keep track of what grain is what. This is where the apparatus (for a better term) comes in.  

We had to buy a tank of Co2.  Originally, we were going to go with nitrogen and I bought a tank of that.  You can find the different gases at a welding supply store.  We could not find a fitting to connect our regulator to the tank of nitrogen, so I went back and took my regulator with me.  They informed me that my regulator would only work for Co2 and not nitrogen because of the higher pressure that nitrogen is in the tank at. We had no clue that you needed different regulators for different gases. So keep that in mind if you purchase one. They let me return my tank of nitrogen and exchange it for a tank of Co2.  Thankfully both the Co2 and the regulator for the Co2 are cheaper than those for nitrogen, so you may want to go with Co2 for that reason.  Here is the size of tank we got.  It is a 20 lb. tank.  When it is empty they will just exchange the whole tank out instead of filling it.  He actually apologized to me how bad this tank looked and assured me when it is empty we would get another.

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Here is the regulator for Co2. 

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You will need a length of rubber tubing.  Ours is between 3′ and 4′ long.  This allows you the ability for a farther reach and maneuverability with the copper pipe portion that it will be attached to.  Then you need a piece of copper pipe about 3′ long and fittings to attach the copper pipe to the tubing and the small fitting on the other end of the rubber tubing that allows you to connect it to the regulator. There are also the hose clamps on each end to secure it snuggly.  The welding shop has lots of fittings and they were very helpful.  

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On the other end of the copper tube, you will crimp the end together.  You can leave it slightly open or you can crimp it tight and put small slits in the flat side of the pipe.  You do this to help slow the flow of the Co2 (the regulator will mostly take care of that) and it also does not allow grain or beans to go up and clog the tubing. 

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Place the regulator on the tank of Co2 and then attach the tubing to the regulator. 

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Now you are ready to start.  You place the copper pipe into a bucket and put it all the way into the bottom.  You very slowly open up the valve on the tank.  You will barely turn it on at all.  You want it to come out very slowly.  You want to fill the bucket up with the Co2.  How do you know when it is full?  Co2 is heavier than air.   You can light a match and either hold it just inside the rim of the bucket or hold it just outside and below the rim of the bucket.  When the bucket gets full of Co2, which happens fairly quickly, the match will be extinguished for lack of oxygen.  Then you turn off the valve.  It is helpful to have 2 people doing this.  One holds the match and can even hold the copper pipe and the other controls the valve. You can also do other containers like gallon jars, etc.

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Put the lid on and you are ready to go.  As long as you do not tip the bucket the Co2 will not go anywhere.  This worked for us when we lived in Florida and we moved some of our grain storage from Florida to Ohio.  It worked well and we never had problems with bugs. 

It can be a little pricey to get the whole set up, but you can find some friends to go in together and agree to share it.  I don’t know how many buckets of grain it will do, but it did at least 3 families worth on the tank we used in Florida without running out. 

Here are the costs for the Co2 in our area.

The 20 lb. cylinder (without the Co2) – $129.00

The regulator – $76.95

The Co2 to fill the tank – $28.95

I did not price the copper pipe or tubing because we already had that.  I also did not need to buy the regulator, but was looking at them in the store.  Now, all we will need to do in the future is fill the tank up for the $28.95 so all those other costs are one time up front costs. 

If you have any questions please ask them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them.  You also know how much I love comments.  ;)

Wait, There Is MORE!!

Black Friday sales are all around you. Lilla Rose has outdone themselves though and brought you the best sale ever.

For those of you thinking about joining my team with Lilla Rose, if you join now, you can earn a paycheck on the first of December!!!! This is the biggest sales month of the year and over half of it comes from the BLACK FRIDAY sale!! This year, they blessed us with allowing us to share with you before hand. This is the time people are buying gifts and stocking stuffers. I will personally work with you and train you. There is no fee for your back office and you can join for as little as $49.95 and that include 5 Flexi clips and some business supplies. There are no monthly quotas that you have to meet and you only need to buy or sell $29 a year to remain active. You can earn a commission between 30% and 45%!! Please email me with any questions.

Now, on to the sale. You are going to flip when you see what it is all about!!! So many of you wanted a Flexi of the Month and it sold out quickly. THEY ARE BACK!! ALL of them!!! PLUS, they are 20% off!!! They are in limited supply though and some of them will literally disappear in an hour or less, so be quick!! :) Here they are including a new Holiday one along with their matching hairccessories!!

They are bringing these back with a limited supply

We are not sure if the new holiday one is the Flexi of the Month for December or not. Here it is by itself.

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It is called Crimson Joy!

 

That is not all. Yes!! Certain select styles will be 30% off!! Here are a few of those!

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And if all of that is not enough to celebrate, THERE IS EVEN MORE!!!!! They will be retiring some styles and you will get a whopping 50% off on these while supplies last!!! Here are a few samples.

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I am so excited and I knew you would be too!!!

Would you believe me if I told you there was still MORE????? There is. If you order is over $50 then you will get FREE SHIPPING!!!!! Lilla Rose has gone all out to bring you the best sale possible!!

So I know you are dying to now when the sale is and for how long. It starts at 12AM on Friday, November 28th and goes through midnight on Sunday, November 30th PST. There is limited availability and it will be only while supplies last.

In this post, I told you about little Christopher.  He is 3 years old and battling a very rare cancer!!  Recently, he was thrilled he got to take his first real bath in 5 days.  Normal things we take for granted are a special treat for him.  He is away from home with his Mom and Grandma for 7 weeks undergoing chemo and radiation.  He has such a sweet spirit.

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I am currently holding a fundraiser for his family.  I will be donating all of my profits on anything ordered through this special link.  It will be 45% of all retail sales.  So, I would ask if you plan on making a Black Friday purchase through my website, please use this link so that the family gets credit. All the hostess gifts will go to his mother and maybe brighten this dark place on the path for her!!
https://www.lillarose.biz/parties/7132

 

As always, if you are new to Lilla Rose and buy 3 items, I can offer you a free item up to $16 value. Do not place the order for the free item. You will need to do that through me.

Birthday Giveaway

You can win these!!

My birthday is coming up in early December!!  I love birthdays and I love to give gifts.  One of you wonderful people will receive a handcrafted wooden butter mold and a handcrafted old fashioned oven stick, both in Red Oak.  These are made for our store by a young craftsman and he does a wonderful job with an attention to detail.  

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The butter mold makes a rectangular block of butter that is approximately one pound and can be cut into 4 sticks.  It is made of sturdy red oak and you will want to have it displayed when not using it. 

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The old fashioned oven stick helps you to pull out the rack in your oven or push it back in without burning your hands or arms.  It is also made of sturdy red oak. 

To enter use the Rafflecopter Widget below.  The contest starts on the 21st of November (My Mom’s birthday) and ends on December 9th (my birthday). 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do You Struggle At Your House?

Which scenario is it at your house?

When you think of the holidays and Thanksgiving, do you think of a quiet family time where everyone is sharing what they are grateful for?  You sit down at a long table surrounded by family and friends.  You set the table with the special thanksgiving plates and the fancy goblets.  Your napkins are folded to look like turkeys.  You have the pilgrim salt and pepper sets out, one for each end of the table.  The turkey is golden brown and steam is rising from its crispy skin.  It is overflowing with stuffing and surrounded with an artistic display of fruits and veggies.  There are bowls of heaping mashed potatoes and more stuffing, some with oysters and some without.  Don’t forget about the sweet potato casserole and the fluffy hot rolls.  Over on the sideboard is sumptuous display of desserts that is making your mouth water.  You are right on time with the scheduled meal time.  You take turns sharing what you are thankful for this holiday season.  Is this what happens at your house?

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Or maybe it is a bit different at your house.  You are scrambling at the last minute to pick up the house because company is coming.  Your voice rings out telling everyone what they need to be doing.  You feel like you need to be everywhere at once because it is not all coming together.  You are hoping the turkey will be done by the time you sit down at the table.  If you are like most of America, your turkey is already carved and sliced up before it ever hits the table.  There is no artistic display, but simply a platter full of turkey slices that look delicious.  You are trying to come up with enough plates and silverware and they will not all match.  The rest of the food display will probably look like what was described in the first paragraph.  You may be up to an hour later than the scheduled meal time, but everyone is pitching in and helping to get it all together.  It is loud and boisterous, with lots of conversation and laughter.  It is finally ready and everyone comes to the different tables you have put in the dining room.  You bow your head and thank the Lord above for the people around the room and the food you are about to eat.  You may go around the table and share what you are thankful for, or you may just share it in conversation  as you all dig in.    

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Two totally different scenarios, but neither one is wrong.  Many of us strive to have the first one, but our expectations are not wise for our family.  My family experiences (either side of the family) are more like the second one.  It causes a whole lot less stress if you realize that and don’t shoot for something you are sure to miss.  Stop putting unreal expectations on your day and enjoy your family and share your blessings with each other.  Remember the day is about thankfulness and gratefulness.  Many stress the thanksgiving part but leave off who we are thankful to.  God is the one who gives us all our blessings.  God is the one who allowed you to be part of the family you are.  God is the one who deserves our thanks and praise.  It is hard to have a heart full of thanksgiving, when you are stressing over the details of the day.  So who cares if you eat an hour late.  Look at all the fun you are having with your family and friends, trying to bring it all together.  You will still have a delicious meal and wonderful fellowship. 

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I would love to hear about your Thanksgiving.  Please leave a comment below and tell me if you are more like the first scene or the second one.  I would also love to hear any special tradition that you have at your house!