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Stuffed Up on the Salish Sea

Hello beautiful person! Welcome to June.

I'm actually writing this on the afternoon of May 31st, but it's already June at Bernadette's so that's good enough for me.

This morning I decided that since I can never remember which months have 31 days, I shall declare all months complete on the 30th. Any thirty firsts are hereby bonus days where you can have fun and do whatever you like. I worked all morning but considered it all bonus work that helped me get a head start on June, rather than scrambling to finish May's work. Then I went for a walk, made some art, chased the cat and sat down to write you this letter. Good day.

One thing which has made the leap from May to no-longer-May is my stuffed-up-ness. I'm clogged, folks. Clogged but healthy. On my fifth spring on the Island I have finally developed allergies to all the flora out here.

a mass of poppies growing on a streetside boulevard


Decades of dust and grit and snow mould have not prepared me for roses and poppies and rhododendrons and lilacs all blooming at once. I spend my afternoons skipping merrily down the street, humming a happy tune and tipping my cap to passers by, stopping often to inhale deeply at each nose-level blossom. Delightful. Then once I get home I'm snorting, sneezing, rubbing my eyes and reaching for the kleenex. I love you Mother Earth! Why aren't you loving me back?

Tall Pea Syndrome #

pea shoots in my garden bed, with one shoot exceptionally high

where are you going, buddy?

My balcony garden is doing great. We've had a feed of lettuce already and most of it is coming back and will be due a second trim in a few weeks. The tomatoes are solid and stocky and ready for some more heat.

The star of my spring garden are the peas. They are all up and starting to grab onto the supports. I check every morning to see if I need to run more string to help them climb.

One plant in particular is keeping me busy. This little fella is twice as tall as the rest and seems to be growing two inches every day. I hope it starts to flower at some point but I don't really care, I'm having fun watching her go.

But my pea-shoot-that-could reminded me of a phrase I heard before. Tall Poppy Syndrome. It's not a positive phrase. It means that you shouldn't stand out or be different. Don't stick your head up higher than the others, lest you get cut back down to size.

Phooey. Not if I can help it. You grow and grow, pea shoot. I'll support you and help you grow even taller. And every morning when I check on you, I'll think of my own work and how I need to stick my head up too. Forcing my head down accomplishes nothing except a sore neck and shoulders.

Same for you. Say it with me, phooey! You be you. Different, beautiful, interesting and awesome. Dance that dance, make that thing, walk that walk. Do your thing with gusto. I'm cheering you on and I know I'm not the only one. 💖

New Podcast Alert! #

Jessica Rivers with husband Adam Christie and their baby Otto.  Photo by Johann Vincent Photography

Jessica Rivers with husband Adam Christie and their baby Otto. Photo by Johann Vincent Photography

Rise Up! The Baker Podcast is back with the first new episode of 2024. I have an awesome chat with Jessica Rivers of Working Culture Bread right here in Victoria.

I've been wanting to talk with Jess for ages because she impresses the heck out of me. The marketing and promotion work she does at Working Culture is outstanding and she's built a stellar service team there too. But what really gets me is how she is so engaged in the community here. If there is a fundraiser or event worth supporting, Working Culture is part of it and more often than not, Jess is leading it. And the bakery is busy. And they have a young baby to care for. And, and, and. I told you, she's awesome.

It's a great talk and is the perfect way to kick off a new season of the show. You can listen in here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Bakery Leadership Circle Update #

Bakery Leadership Circle Logo: Some bakery challenges require more than a recipe

The last time I wrote you I mentioned that applications are open for the next session of the Bakery Leadership Circle, the workshop I created with Karen Bornarth of the Bread Bakers Guild of America. Applications are starting to come in but we still have room for some more bakery owners and leaders to join us.

Next Tuesday, June 4, Karen and I are holding a live information session on Zoom to share more details about the program, hear from alumni from our first session and answer any questions you might have about the workshop. You can register for the call here.

If you're a bakery owner who knows you need to change and adapt, but aren't actually making the change, this workshop is for you. If you care about a bakery owner who needs some support, this workshop might be just what they need. Come check it out and let's get started, together.

That's it for this week. Stay healthy, stay safe, enjoy each day. What would it feel like to treat every day as a bonus day?