A Home-Based Baker Shouldn’t Have To Choose Between Her Dog and Business

Hula is a good girl. She gets overly excited when guests visit, and sometimes she pokes her nose through the backyard fence and barks. But she follows one important rule: She avoids the room between the kitchen and the driveway.

No dogs are allowed inside. Hula, a 7-year-old Belgian shepherd mix, learned quickly when her human parents renovated the space in November 2022, adding an oven, freezer, cooktop and mixers. “She knows not to go in there,” says Hula’s mom, who uses the pet-free zone for a homemade cookie business and asked to remain anonymous for this piece.

The door mostly stays closed anyway, creating clear boundaries between the main kitchen for family meals and the workspace for “cottage food,” which refers to homemade food for sale. The setup eliminates any sanitation concerns about indoor pets.

“I have really high standards for myself,” says Hula’s mom. “My product is a reflection of me and my integrity.”

Despite the safeguards, Hula’s existence jeopardizes the business. North Carolina, where the family lives, bans pets in homes used for cottage food production. The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services makes no exceptions. Even a goldfish or hamster could turn an otherwise legal business into a criminal enterprise.

The pet prohibition puts Hula’s mom in a bind. She could stop selling cookies, move to another state, or lease space in a commercial kitchen, which would mean driving 30 minutes each way to bake on a fixed schedule while paying thousands of dollars in rent—killing flexibility and profit.

The other options are unthinkable. The family could return Hula to the shelter where they rescued her as a puppy. Or they could banish her permanently to the backyard. Hula’s mom refuses.

“Your pet is part of your family,” she said. “I don’t think it’s fair to make me choose between business and family.”

Rather than comply, Hula’s mom took her cottage food operation underground. She pays taxes and obeys other laws, but she skips the mandatory home inspection and certification. Now she must look over her shoulders when she bakes. She cannot advertise, participate in big community events, or do anything else to draw attention to herself.

Too much success could alert government agents, who could show up and bust her. No puppy dog ​​eyes could stop the assault on economic liberty—the right to earn an honest living in a safe and responsible manner.

The zero-tolerance pet policy is just one example of misguided and sometimes unconstitutional cottage food restrictions nationwide. All 50 states and Washington, DC, authorize these home-based businesses. But most jurisdictions also hold them back.

Our public interest law firm, the Institute for Justice, filed lawsuits in Minnesota, Nebraska, and New Jersey to end some of the most stifling cottage food regulations. We sued Wisconsin twice. Yet these are not the only states with problems.

Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and Washington state cap annual revenue at $25,000, leaving little room for profit after expenses. Hawaii tires online sales and mail-order delivery. Many

Read More

Airdrie House & Home: Airdrie’s quarterly housing market review

There’s been a drop in total sales in all markets in Airdrie during this first quarter of 2023.

There’s been a drop in total sales in all markets in Airdrie during this first quarter of 2023.

“While higher lending rates are impacting sales activity, there is a stronger pullback in new listings, keeping supply levels low and supporting some stronger than expected monthly price gains in the Calgary area,” said CREB Chief Economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “However in Airdrie the benchmark price of $487,200 is below the peak price of $510,700 in April 2022.”

Overall, the Airdrie market is still healthy for those selling.

The start of this year has total inventory levels up 18 per cent to 158, sales down 58 per cent to 184 total units, months of supply is 1.71 months – still a strong seller’s market for all of Airdrie’s residential market and average price is down 9.8 per cent. A seller’s market is defined when inventory is less than two months.

Single-family detached homes 2023 YTD are down 69 per cent with 86 sales, compared to last year of 276 sales. This puts the detached homes for 2023 in a balanced market with 2.4 months of inventory. The average price is $577,530, down 2.3 per cent from last year ($591,070). Days-on-Market (DOM) increased to 33 days, from 12 days in 2022.

Semi-detached (attached style) home sales prices YTD are down 43 per cent with 21 sales (37 in 2022). Attached homes are also in a balanced market with 2.15 months of inventory. The average price of attached homes sits at $434,948 up 4.9 per cent from last year YTD.

Townhouse sales have had a decrease of 45 per cent, with 50 sales YTD, compared to last year’s 91 sales. Townhouses are still in a seller’s market with .93 months of supply. The average townhouse price YTD is $349,058, up 5.4{b5e4caabb46945dac267f6fa1789e0b2b1831cce91f79b27f72a0de22e4bb018} from last year $330,914.

Apartment condominium sales are down 10 per cent YTD for 2023 with 27 sales, compared to 2022 at 30 sales. This market is doing well in Airdrie, leaving the apartment market in a seller’s market with .75 months of inventory (remembering 2016, with over 14 months of inventory). The average YTD sale price is $208,678, which is up 14.3 per cent from last year ($187,873).

New home builds for 2022-year-end in Airdrie decreased significantly to 621, down from 2021 of 1118 units, 2020’s 486 new builds, 768 new builds in 2019 and 701 in 2018. New communities to join Airdrie are Cobblestone Creek, Wildflower, Dry Creek Bay, Southwinds, and Bayview.

There were eight homes sold over $1 million last year on MLS in Bayside and Coopers, and currently two in Coopers for sale in that price range.

Gary Lock is a local REALTOR® with CIR Realty and has lived in Airdrie for the past 38 years.

Read More

Bloom Fest and Gardening Tips | News

BILLIGNS, Mont. – As the Roots Garden Center prepares for their third annual Bloom Fest this Saturday, the team there is busy setting out new shipments of plants, bulbs, garden tools, and just about anything else that relates to what you would need to get your landscape in tip -top condition.

They’re also busy answering questions from customers about what this recent weather swing in south-central Montana is going to do to their existing plants.

“‘Can I plant? What can I plant? How do I protect the things that I’ve already planted?’ Those are the three main questions that we’re getting,” explained co-owner, Jon Switzer. “As it gets down to below 30, potentially in the next couple of days, it’s not the end of the world for most plants. What can happen is that plants can get a little crispy from that because they’ll get some frosting on them .There’s frost blankets for that so we have that as an option.You can also pull stuff inside at night.The ground itself, too, is probably hovering around a constant 45 degrees right now and so plants are safe in the ground.”

A lot of gardening and landscaping is trial and error. And that’s ok. But Jon is emphatic about one specific spring faux pas.

“Don’t turn on your sprinklers yet,” Jon proclaimed loudly. “That’s one thing to know. The ground has enough saturation, we have enough water for a little while and we’ve still got some freezing temps. So particularly if you have some exposed pipes that come right out of the house, that’s the part that’s at risk. Those things can create a lot of damage. A lot of people are like oh my gosh the sun is out, we just had an 80 degree day, we need to turn on the sprinklers…it’s ok. Stuff has enough water in the ground to be pulled from it.”

If you’d like to ask Jon and his team more questions, or check out the 2023 edition of Bloom Fest at Roots Garden Center in Billings, you can head over this Saturday, April 15, from 9 am to 5 pm They will have more than 30 small business owners and hands, 4 food trucks, and thousands of blooms to choose from.

Biden announces 2024 election bid: 'Let's finish this job'

Read More

Feeling stressed? Gardening might help

SAN ANTONIO – When people ask me why I love gardening? My answer is always, “It’s my escape.”

Whether I’m rushing out to get to work or letting my dogs outside, I love opening my front door and stepping out and seeing my flower garden for that brief moment.

It gives me a sense of peace, almost reminding me to take a deep breath. Another favorite part of mine is that it’s one-on-one time with nature.

I love discovering the Monarchs and caterpillars, to the family of toads living in my plants.

Science shows that gardening or just spending time in a garden or with plants doesn’t just reduce stress, but it also has several benefits for your mental health.

Texas A&M AgriLife experts say it can help fight depression, anxiety, ADD, PTSD, promote creativity, reduce the effects of dementia and even boost your self-esteem.

One study showed participants found spending time gardening just twice a week for an hour to an hour and a half helped them with their mental health.

So here is the good news. You don’t even have to be an experienced gardener or have a garden. Researchers say this is because just being in a garden helps you relax, by being in such a beautiful and tranquil place. It makes you feel peaceful in your mind and soul.

But why does being around plants make us feel good? A study out of Florida suggests the answer might be found in the important role of plants in human evolution and the rise of civilization.

The study says as a species, we may be innately attracted to plants because we depend on them for food, shelter and other means of our survival.

If you are a beginner gardener and want some tips on soil, how to plant a veggie garden or pollinator garden, check out the Gardening with KSAT segments here.

Copyright 2023 by KSAT – All rights reserved.… Read More

Walking through beauty in Hidcote’s hidden gardens | Gardens

If the previous owner of your garden came to visit, which part would you show them first? That’s what somebody asked Lottie Allen recently. She took a moment to think it over.

Allen is head gardener at Hidcote, in Gloucestershire, one of the National Trust’s flagship destinations – and the first to be acquired, in 1948, specifically because of the garden rather than the house. Since then, visitors have drawn inspiration from its ingenious architectural layout – a series of small rooms divided by hedges – as well as the dense, colorful planting, which includes many rare varieties.

Allen is keen to raise the profile of the man who created all this. On the 75th anniversary of its acquisition, the Trust is putting on a series of major exhibitions. “Lots of people have heard of Hidcote, but not of Lawrence Johnston. This was his only garden. If it wasn’t for him, this wouldn’t exist.”

'If it wasn't for him, this wouldn't exist': Lawrence Johnston with gardeners and his dogs at Hidcote in the 1930s.
‘If it wasn’t for him, this wouldn’t exist’: Lawrence Johnston with gardeners and his dogs at Hidcote in the 1930s. Photo: National Trust Images

So the first thing she would show Johnston, if he happened to visit, would be something that reflected continuity with his original vision. But with so much variety, what would that be? The old garden? The white garden, maple garden, pillar garden? Gazebos? Red borders? Bathing pool? One of the terraces, stream gardens or wildernesses? The great lawn? The souvenir guide lists 37 separate highlights.

Allen has been a head gardener at the National Trust for 20 years. But coming to Hidcote was a “massive, daunting” prospect. Its sheer complexity required her to write a five-year plan. “It would be so easy to come in and be scattergun,” she says.

On my first visit, in March, I walked around the garden before going in, on a path provided for dog-walkers. Keeping tightly to the perimeter, it provides tantalizing glimpses of what’s inside. Most striking, high above the rest, was a giant Magnolia campbellii waving its big pink hands to welcome me inside.

The lily pool at Hidcote.
‘Spaces to arouse curiosity’: the lily pool. Photo: James Dobson/National Trust Images

Map in hand, I entered the mazy garden and instantly felt a slightly anxious thrill: how could I possibly manage to see it all? And that Fomo is built into the design quite deliberately.

Johnston was born to a wealthy American family. His parents divorced when he was 12, and his mother brought him to England. He made a career in the army, but was always interested in gardening: three years before buying Hidcote, in 1907, he became a fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society. He was influenced by Thomas Mawson’s idea of ​​creating a series of spaces to arouse curiosity, rather than a panorama that can be grasped in one view. –

He built out gradually from the house, adding a series of garden rooms. It’s easy to imagine that without an initial design for the finished garden, he might have ended up with something boxy and

Read More