2018 was a milestone year in terms of growth and expansion for Bliss Farm and Retreat. We know this next year will be equally monumental, and we thought these cold January days would be the perfect time to reflect on how far we’ve come and where we plan to go!
In the past year, we’ve built A LOT of infrastructure, including two cabins, roads, water and power utilities, and two bell tent decks. These undertakings required us to clear land by hand and with tractor for the cabins, bell tents, and gathering spaces. We managed all of this work in the wettest year ever recorded! We repaired fencing, and built new fencing. Our accomplishments were born from tenacity and a tireless work ethic!
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and recap some of 2018’s highlights and hardships!
Travel + Fun (January)
We started the year off right and managed to somehow leave the country for two weeks and see Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Korea!
The Osa Cabin at Bliss Farm and Retreat (January- June)
The first cabin, the Osa, was built between the months of January and June 2018. The road wasn’t done, and for most of this construction endeavor, it was either frozen or too wet to build the road, which of course brought its own set of challenges. There were times when Frank’s truck was stuck up there for days on end.
From the time we dug and formed the footings for the first cabin, it took four weeks until we could get a concrete truck to the construction site, because the road that we did have was a block of ice. Then, we had to the pour concrete into the bucket of the tractor and shovel it into the forms by hand, one bucket at a time. It was another four weeks for the ground to thaw enough to backfill the footings and begin framing. Materials had to be brought in one bit at a time with the tractor as it was the only machine that could get to the cabin site on account of the ice or mud!
The first cabin was built from a plan in Frank’s head, and he didn’t sleep for more than a few hours each night for the duration of that project!
Farmhouse Remodel (March)
In addition to building new cabins, adding infrastructure, and expanding our farm, we remodeled the entire exterior of the house with fresh paint, new railings, gutters, a new front door, new garage doors, and custom wood architectural details, and redesigned landscaping!
Landscaping + Roadbuilding (April - September)
It’s both a blessing and a curse that we have an endless supply of boulders on the property. They make for beautiful additions to our landscaping, but require heavy machinery to move. From running power lines and water lines underground, to digging foundations, and a myriad of other landscaping and grounds-building projects, we were met with the challenge of unearthing and relocating boulders that weigh more than SUV’s!
In addition to boulder management, our landscaping adventures included responding to flooding and washouts, remediating erosion issues, and continuing to beautify the grounds in tandem with problem solving and dealing with the consequences of sometimes ominous weather conditions. We’re aligning more and more the needs of our land, and continue to improve our stewardship in farm and ground management with each passing season.
The Bali Bliss Cabin...the Perfect Mountain Retreat! (May- September)
We also built our second cabin, the Bali Bliss! Inspired by our travels to Indonesia, this cabin was a bit easier than the Osa to construct. We had experience, a team, and construction plans on our side this time! Though we were still up against some of the same weather-related challenges, the cabin was completed in the fall of 2018!
New Offerings at Bliss: Farm to Table Dinners + A Busy Retreat Schedule (June)
We had our first dinner of our guest chef dinner series with 60+ people and our biggest year for bookings to date!
We were thrilled to receive a near-perfect health inspection score of 99.5%! This culminated after passing classes, submitting paperwork, and clearing inspections in addition to all of the government red tape. In addition, we received our beer and wine license with more classes, paperwork, inspections and government red tape. Imagine the DMV... but worse.
Additions to the Farm (July)
We added two cows and added fifteen chickens to our existing flock of twenty on the farm. Along with breeding our goats for kidding and milking, we added a new garden plot and harvested are biggest produce yield yet!
Furry Trouble + Loss (July)
Sadly, Frank ran over one of our dogs during a construction project. Our pup recovered, but it took months of care with a few weeks of not sleeping at all and thousands of dollars in veterinary bills! We lost a goat to a rare medical complication that we had spent weeks of sleepless nights in sub-zero temperatures caring for. The power company fed our goats toxic rhododendron, so we were up again for days, and thankfully saved them.
Enjoying Autumn in the Mountains (October)
Bliss Farm and Retreat saw our busiest month in stays and sales! It was exciting and involved some problem solving along the way. We were so grateful for our most successful spell and to meet so many interesting guests!
Professional Development for Our Yogi Founder (November)
Kelly started her 500hr Yoga Alliance RYT and we acquired a new family member, Jolene ( an American Bulldog), rescued off streets!
Bliss Central (December)
Kelly left her full time job to be at Bliss full time! It was a fitting way to end an eventful year of success, challenges, and exciting growth for Bliss Farm & Retreat. December was certainly a month of cherished time with family and celebration!
Here’s to an industrious 2018 and great times ahead at Bliss!
All in all, 2018 was certainly eventful and full of hard work, grit, and determination! Luckily, we’re seeing the pay off. We’re excited for another year of growth, and to welcoming our guests to the ever expanding farm and retreat center!