The Women of Hare Farm Hideaways in Sussex

For most, winter feels like an endless epoch come January and February. But this time of year on Hare Farm in East Sussex, everything and everyone are abuzz. Temperatures are still quite chilly as spring barely peaks over the horizon. In just a few days, lambing season begins. It generally lasts about 3 weeks, and over 1,700 lambs enter the world. The Howard family holds this time dearly. Not many people get to experience life multiplying in such a beautiful way.

“March. The month when new life emerges with gusto. When one pair of farm hands is multiplied by 5. When all eyes focus on the woolly kind, and when the valley turns green again.… It makes you remind yourself that, despite the tired limbs and small earnings to be made, working in the lambing sheds in the Spring is a special place to be.” -Jo Thompson

This sprawling grassland, once a hop farm dating back to medieval times, became fully dedicated to sheep in the 1990s. The pastures stretch across Brede Valley, rolling softly into marshlands and riverbeds. Several of the original structures still stand on the property. True conservationists at heart, the family restored each building with great care, using local and historically accurate supplies. The craftsmanship and perfectly positioned facets speak to how greatly tradition is honored.

A chance to experience the farm first hand is within reach in several ways:

  • The folks of Hare Farm offer a lambing course every March where you can witness this natural marvel up close. Students learn through instruction, observation, and by pitching in. The in-depth class covers the full lambing cycle—from tupping to weaning, basic sheep care, and other valuable tidbits.
  • The oast, where the hops were originally dried and stored from the 16th to the 19th century, is now an idyllic country home that sleeps 12. It’s available for rent as a guest house, allowing for a rare inside look at life in the countryside. As all farmers know, opening your backdoor and stepping right onto the pasture is a treasured perk of the job.
  • There is even an authentic shepherd’s hut where you can camp on the land as sheep herders did during the Victorian era.

Lambing class starts March 11th this year, but there is much to be done around the farm in the mean time. Some of those tasks include: shearing expectant mother’s backsides, vaccinating the sheep, setting up 145 lambing pens—each one housing a new mother and her babies, and planting a final line of hedging.

The Howards partner with Natural England as stewards of the land. The 500 acres they call home are happily shared with neighboring wildlife. You’ll easily spot rare birds, laughing frogs, badgers, and boars. There’s no telling what creatures you’re bound to see on the property, and that’s just the way the Howards like it. Creating a healthy equilibrium between raising sheep and nurturing the environment is paramount. Hedgerows, waterways, and areas dedicated to the wild coexist with the herds.

Hare Farm Hideaways in Sussex / Crafted in CarharttJo Thompson is co-owner of Hare Farm Hideaways. The land, along with the farming lifestyle was passed down by her parents. About 7 years ago, she started a lambing class unlike any other, allowing 8 to 10 students to spend time on the farm learning straight from the farmers’ mouths.

“There’s nothing like it. Farms don’t tend to open themselves up to the general public. Or if they do, hundreds of people show up. The courses I run are very hands on and helpful. It helps us educate the community and helps us promote British farming and sheep.” -Jo Thompson

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Paula Gwynne began her work at Hare Farm 2 years ago, since then she’s rapidly advanced. She plays a major role during lambing season, watches over the herds, tends to the gardens, and even runs the farm when the owners are away. Hare Farm Hideaways in Sussex / Crafted in CarharttHare Farm Hideaways in Sussex / Crafted in CarharttHare Farm Hideaways in Sussex / Crafted in CarharttHare Farm Hideaways in Sussex / Crafted in CarharttHare Farm Hideaways in Sussex / Crafted in Carhartt

Hare Farm Hideaways in Sussex / Crafted in Carhartt
Jo Thompson, Annie Howard, and Caroline Maddocks

Annie Howard lives on the farm. Her many responsibilities include managing the oast guest house, bottle feeding orphaned lambs, and ensuring that everything runs smoothly.

“Lambing time is draining, both physically and emotionally. From the month’s of build up beforehand making sure each ewe is in prime condition, feeding, preparing the sheds and planning for all eventualities.

Once lambing has started, we hope for kind weather and not the challenges of rain, wind and occasionally snow. The best time is seeing a ewe leave the shed, go out into a lush, green field on a warm sunny day, closely followed by her two healthy lambs.” -Annie Howard

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Hare Farm Hideaways in Sussex / Crafted in Carhartt
Caroline Maddocks and Paula Gwynne

Caroline Maddocks is a full time crop sprayer. With five and a half years of experience, she’s quickly worked her way up the ranks. Aside from tractor driving, she diligently looks after cattle. Caring for animals is in her blood.

During lambing season, you’ll find Caroline helping out on the ground. Born and raised on a farm herself, there’s no one more suited to lend a hand as new life emerges in the valley.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my life.” -Caroline Maddocks

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“I remember being told that lambing time is like a marathon not a race, it’s hard physically and mentally, you need to pace yourself where you can, to be able to make sound decisions about when to intervene and to last the duration of lambing time. We work roughly 12 hour shifts every day for that duration to ensure continuity of care, so burning out early isn’t ideal. That shift is very busy, you need to keep an eye (and ears) on everything whilst carrying out all of your tasks.” -Paula Gwynnne

Paula’s advice for aspiring farmers:

  1. Know your fears and be prepared to manage and challenge them. Work through the low points and keep on at it. You’ll feel proud of yourself.
  2. Don’t give up if it doesn’t work first time, it may not be the right fit for you. I’ve been so lucky to have great mentors around me, they were definitely the difference between success and failure.
  3. Lastly, if you’re older like me (I’ve bought up my kids and had lost my confidence along the way) remember that you’re not past trying something new.

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To find out more about Hare Farm Hideaways, click here.

Mother-Daughter Ironworkers, Carolina and Kat in Seattle

Carolina Taylor has been an Ironworker for the past 22 years.

That statement is loaded with accomplishment. In the 1990s, becoming an Ironworker as a woman was no easy feat. How did Carolina pave that road for herself?


It started with a road trip, an 18 hour quest up the West Coast from Los Angeles to Seattle. Carolina packed all of her belongings into her ’65 Galaxy with her daughter, Kat, as her copilot. She searched for a job that would provide for her and Kat—but all the “female” jobs like clerk typist, medical translator, or assistant tax accountant paid very little and offered no benefits.

A friend of Carolina’s who worked on highway construction suggested she check out a new program at Renton Technical College that offered good wages and benefits. She signed up immediately. After seeing The Space Needle as an example of what Ironworkers could do, Carolina realized her calling. She wanted to be one of “The Cowboys of the Sky.”

The beginning of Carolina’s career had its obstacles. Her car gave out, and she had to wake up early every morning to ride the bus to work, often rising several hours before her work day began so she could drop her daughter off at day care.

“On the job training began when I first stepped on the job site. It was mental and physical. All my senses were on high alert to make sure what tasks I did were done well and showed that I wanted to be there and that I belonged there.

As an apprentice, I was the only women in the gang… My arrival on the job site meant behavior change. (ie: taking down calendars with naked women, using different language, stepping out of comfort zones, etc…)

Did I work my fair share? Was I worth the trouble?

I remember the sticker on a hard hat that said, ‘I won’t work with someone who squats to piss!’

I walked tall and fearless, focused on learning to work safe and efficient to make it another day and provide for my daughter. I gave no one permission to break me or make me feel like I did not belong there.” -Carolina Taylor

With such a hardworking mom as her example, Kat grew up to be self-sufficient. Obstacles weren’t so daunting—she had living proof of what was possible watching her mom overcome her own hardships.

It wasn’t until after Kat attended her first orientation that she told her mother that she too wanted to be an Ironworker. Carolina felt a rush of colliding emotions when she heard the news.

“I know what it’s like out there. So many feelings…proud, excited for her. I know she is capable of working in the field in a safe manner, however as her mother, I had to prepare myself in the event she got hurt. Being in the same union eased the fact that even though I was not working in the field with her, my brothers in the field that did work with her would let me know how she was doing and would keep an eye on her.” -Carolina Taylor

Mother Daughter Ironworkers, Carolina and Kat / Crafted in CarharttMother Daughter Ironworkers, Carolina and Kat / Crafted in CarharttMother Daughter Ironworkers, Carolina and Kat / Crafted in CarharttMother Daughter Ironworkers, Carolina and Kat / Crafted in CarharttThe Taylor women have come full circle in their work and personal lives. Carolina, who began her career after seeing how the Space Needle was built, worked on the recent remodeling of the structure. Kat became a Jorneyman Ironworker in 2018 and is now herself a loving mother and a first time homeowner.

Mother Daughter Ironworkers, Carolina and Kat / Crafted in CarharttMother Daughter Ironworkers, Carolina and Kat / Crafted in CarharttMother-Daughter Ironworkers / Crafted in Carhartt

Ironworker Carolina Taylor’s Advice for Aspiring Tradespeople:

  • take good care of yourself
  • spend quality time with your family
  • continue making goals to achieve the next positions as a union member (ie: business agent, organizer, union president, apprenticeship instructor, coordinator)
  • be a dream-chaser, goal-reacher, and butt-kicker

Carolina has taken her own advice, advancing her career as she kept her goals in mind. In 2013, she was asked to be an apprenticeship instructor, teaching fundamental trade skills to pre-apprentices and 1st year apprentices. In 2015, she was named Tradeswoman of the Year by Washington Women In Trades. Right now, she teaches a welding class for TERO (Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance) for Yakama Nation in Toppenish.

On top of it all, Carolina still works in the field, building the city she lives in, tapping into her inner strength and original intention for being on the job site in the first place. It is still a thrill to see the transformation generated by her own two hands, working together with the crew she now sees as part of the family.

Mother Daughter Ironworkers, Carolina and Kat / Crafted in Carhartt
Building beautiful cities like Seattle would be impossible without Ironworkers like Carolina and Kat.

If Carloina’s sacrifices and strength remind you of your mom, share this story with her and thank her for everything she’s done.

Life on a House Boat in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is famous for the canals that line over 60 miles of the port city’s streets, and those canals are famous for the houseboats that in turn line them. In an effort to raise their daughter nearer to nature, Mijs and her husband, Casper, decided to move into a houseboat. From the water, you are that much closer to the elements and animals alike. Life on a House Boat in Amsterdam / Crafted in CarharttLiving on a House Boat in Amsterdam / Crafted in CarharttHowever, buying a houseboat in Amsterdam is no easy task. There are only so many allotted spaces where people are allowed to set up camp. One must be lucky enough to find a current home for sale and buy their spot on the quay.

The ship this family of three has called home for the last 9 years was once a cargo boat for sand. It still functions as a seafaring vessel, but its engine has been removed. Once every 5 to 6 years, their boat is tugged to the wharf where it is inspected. There the boat is cleaned, removing all dirt and clams that have attached themselves to the bottom, and then re-painted.

“In Amsterdam it’s normal to have people living upstairs, downstairs, on both sides of you, but with our ship, we are like an island. We have one neighbor next to us, but we don’t hear each other, so that’s really nice (especially for them, because my husband loves to play the drums). When people sleep over, they say it’s the best sleep ever. We think it’s because there is no concrete underneath us, but water and mud.” -Mijs van de Griek

Life on a House Boat in Amsterdam / Crafted in CarharttLife on a House Boat in Amsterdam / Crafted in Carhartt

Life on a House Boat in Amsterdam / Crafted in Carhartt

Mijs is a small business owner, with 2 side jobs. She works hard, but also finds time to enjoy free time with her daughter, Runa (age 9). The family often swims in the canal during the summer and skates on the canal when it freezes over in the winter. Together, they’ve raised a duck who also calls their houseboat home. Runa helps her parents with chores, and enjoys the tasks of those who are lucky enough to reside on the canals. Life on a House Boat in Amsterdam / Crafted in Carhartt

“We think Amsterdam cannot be without houseboats. It’s part of the scenery. Most of the people who live on a boat are handy people, who are kind and would love to help each other. We are a bit more independent than people who live in a ‘normal’ house, because we need to do more things.

My grandfather taught me how to build things with wood. My father taught me how electricity works and what you can do with that. And I’m a bit handy myself, so I don’t really ask people to come and make stuff at our ship, I just do it myself. I built us a cupboard. I wanted to have more light in our ship, so I’ve taken the jigsaw one day and sat on our roof and sawed two large windows in our roof. We also wanted a fireplace, so we made that ourselves as well. I’m used to fix things myself and don’t ask for help, and I kinda like that.” -Mijs van de GriekLife on a House Boat in Amsterdam / Crafted in CarharttMijs has spent much of her life on boats. Before living on one, she was a boating instructor. Like many locals, Mijs has a smaller boat the family uses on weekends to cruise the canals. This summer, they’ll set off for a two week boating adventure.

Advice from Female Gypsy Brewers in Amsterdam

Two sisters from Amsterdam, Do and Tessel de Heij, turned their kitchen experiments with hops, herbs, malt, and wheat into a business—Gebrouwen door Vrouwen, which translates to “Brewed by Women.” Currently, they are gypsy brewers. They travel from one brick and mortar brewery to another to make their own beer, paying for the use of the space and equipment.

Since their founding in 2015, their products are enjoyed throughout the Netherlands. Over 600 Dutch cafes and restaurants have Gebrouwen door Vrouwen on the menu. The sisters have also expanded their reach to China, Bonaire, an island off the coast of Venezuela, and eventually Singapore.

Do and Tessel are thirsty to push their brand to a whole new level. They are currently in the middle of making their own brew pub. They’ve purchased a location in the Oud West area of Amsterdam. This up and coming location boasts diversity, full of quaint cafes and a charming neighborhood feel. If you’re interested in investing in this female-run business, read more on their crowdfunding venture. As of now, they are on track to open their doors March 1, 2019.

In the immediate future, Do and Tessel are at Troost Brewery, working on a beer called Zonnig Zeewit, made with seaweed from Zeeboerderij Ijmond. This foundation grows seaweed in the North Sea in efforts to clean up the ocean. Gebrouwen door Vrouwen will donate 10 cents for each bottle they sell of the new seaweed beer to the foundation.

Even with the major advancements Do and Tessel have made since the start of the company only 4 years ago, they are still looking toward the future. In the next 5 years, they hope to build the most sustainable brewery in Europe. To stay up to date with Gebrouwen door Vrouwen, follow their spunky, girl-powered instagram account here.

All About A Group of Female Run Gypsy Brewers in Amsterdam / Crafted in Carhartt
Left: Fenna van Strien, Right: Tessel de Heij

Advice from Brewer Tessel de Heij to Starting Your Own Beer Company:

  • Just start brewing and you will be motivated by all the positive reactions from the people around you!
  • Write everything down very carefully.
  • Clean Clean Clean! One bacteria can destroy your beer.
  • It is important to be able to share your successes and failures, so bring at least 1 partner into your business.
  • The people you hire are your most important asset.
  • It is really, really hard work, so you HAVE to like what you do, otherwise you won’t be able to keep going.

All About A Group of Female Run Gypsy Brewers in Amsterdam / Crafted in Carhartt

All About A Group of Female Run Gypsy Brewers in Amsterdam / Crafted in Carhartt

“It is really nice to be an all women company in the beer industry, we get a lot of attention and positive feedback. People really like the ‘girl power’ vibe that comes with the brand.” –Tessel de Heij, co-founder and brewer at Gebrouwen door Vrouwen


All About A Group of Female Run Gypsy Brewers in Amsterdam / Crafted in Carhartt“The beer industry has been booming the last years. Many craft breweries have developed and put themselves in the market. The industry, however, is still a man’s world. In Amsterdam we are still the only woman’s beer brand (as far as I know). In the country there are a few more women who started their own beer brand.” -Fenna van Strien of Gebrouwen door Vrouwen

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Crafted in Carhartt Goes to Amsterdam!

Crafted in Carhartt recently traveled to Amsterdam to visit the Carhartt Europe office. Along the way, we gathered stories and took in the sights. This bustling city is the capital of The Netherlands and dates back to the 12th century as a small fishing village. Since its founding, the city has grown dramatically, with 165 canals stretching across the epicenter. The charming architecture creates lines that are slightly askew, caused by the buildings sinking unevenly into the wet soil beneath. Amsterdam is below sea level, after all. EMEA Carhartt Europe / Crafted in Carhartt Goes to Amsterdam

There are more bicycles in Amsterdam than people, coming in at just over 881,000. EMEA Carhartt Europe / Crafted in Carhartt Goes to AmsterdamEMEA Carhartt Europe / Crafted in Carhartt Goes to AmsterdamEMEA Carhartt Europe / Crafted in Carhartt Goes to AmsterdamOne of the most fascinating places we visited was Zaanse Schans, a functioning saw mill in a windmill. And just in case you were wondering, some of the workers do wear wooden shoes.

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The Dutch are a fascinating, inventive people. They are warm and funny. They put their hearts into each venture and enjoy the outdoors. They hunt and fish and work with their hands. Thank you for welcoming us. It’s so wonderful to see how far the Carhartt family reaches.

Stay tuned in the next few weeks as we share the stories of several industrious women we were lucky enough to meet during our time there.

The Incredible Legacy of the Women of Rankin Ranch

The epicenter of Rankin Ranch lies in a valley of Walker’s Basin, just outside the tiny town of Caliente, California. The cattle ranch has been in operation for over 155 years—and remained in the Rankin family the entirety of its existence. Six generations have sweat over the vast acreage they call home (31,000 acres to be exact).

Rankin Ranch / Crafted in Carhartt
Walker and Lavinia Rankin

In 1863, Walker Rankin established the property. Years prior, the Pittsburgh native felt called to the West, and luckily enough, found success in the California gold fields. All the hard work and dedication he and his wife, Lavinia, poured into the land left a lasting impression that would extend from their children, to their grandchildren, and so on. Walker is even credited with being the first to bring purebred Hereford cattle to the region.

After his passing, Lavinia continued to run the ranch.

“Her family came across the plains by covered wagon to settle in California when she was a young girl. This pioneering spirit carried through her long life of 100 years and 4 months. During this time, she saw so many changes with transportation transitioning from horse and buggy to seeing planes fly. She was a very progressive woman and owned one of the first cars in the area. My great-great grandfather, had little interest in traveling by car and preferred to ride his horse. But Nana would travel to her grandsons’ football games and take a car full of kids with her to cheer on the team…Her longevity and adaptation to the many changes that she experienced are admirable.” -Amanda Barrett

The expanse of all that has been accomplished on Rankin Ranch piles high. Many have been involved with the Kern County Cattlemen and Cattlewomen’s orgainzations. The honor of Cattlewoman of The Year has been bestowed on Helen Rankin in 1988, Glenda Rankin in 2008, and Amanda Rankin in 2013. Amanda was also selected to be a National Beef Ambassador is 2007, allowing her to travel around the US and speak about the beef they raise.

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Rankin Ranch also serves as a Dude Ranch, with mountain cabins and the opportunity to experience the cowpoke lifestyle. A wide range of activities from horseback riding to fishing to feeding farm animals to square dancing are on the agenda each day. It was developed by Helen Rankin in 1965 as a way to diversify the family business and take the edge off their dependence on the ever volatile cattle market.

“My grandfather, Leroy (grandson of Walker and Lavinia), had passed away unexpectedly in 1954 and my grandmother, Helen, found herself with a difficult decision to make, should she keep the ranch or sell it? Many people advised her to sell, as there were not many cattle ranches run by women at that time. She chose to honor our family’s legacy and learn how to manage the cattle ranch. Less than 10 years later she began building our guest ranch facilities. She was ahead of her time in the field of agritourism and inviting ‘city slickers’ to experience life on the ranch. Through her hard work and determination, she established our guest ranch which has been in operation for over 50 years. We now have 3rd generation Rankin Ranch guests. One family celebrated their 50th year visiting the ranch in 2018.” -Amanda Barrett

Rankin Ranch / Crafted in CarharttShelby Newman started full time at Rankin Ranch in 2017 after graduating from the University of Montana Western with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Natural Horsemanship. Before that, she spent her summers working with the Rankins.

“I would say that my job title is a secretary…but not the kind of ‘secretary’ that everyone thinks of. My job varies greatly from day to day and you never know what you might end up doing. In the case of Rankin Ranch, titles don’t mean much and no title is more or less important than another.” -Shelby Newman

On any given day, Shelby may have responsibilities to manage in the office like answering emails or helping guests. On other occasions should could be out in the pastures wrangling horses or being a camp counselor to the visiting children, many of whom are experiencing ranch life for the first time.

Rankin Ranch / Crafted in CarharttRankin Ranch / Crafted in CarharttMarie Myllyla has spent the past few summers working at Rankin Ranch. Earlier this year, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls with a BS in Animal Science and an emphasis in Equine Science.

“The best part of working on a ranch are the horses. I wouldn’t have had a job if it weren’t for those horses. They work hard day in and day out. They don’t complain. You’ll find one you get along with well and that really makes for a good day working with them 10+ hours. You get to know what they want, they get to know what you want.” -Marie Myllayla

Rankin Ranch / Crafted in Carhartt

“After graduating from Cal Poly in 2008 and returning home, I had an interest in selling our own beef. My time as a National Beef Ambassador had opened my eyes more to the ‘beef’ side of our business. This idea was not something new, as the family had considered it over the years. My father and I had many conversations about it before taking the leap in March 2014.

It has been an exciting adventure, with lots of learning along the way. We sell our beef here at the ranch to guests and the local community. We also travel to neighboring communities for Farmers’ Markets. We have earned a loyal following of repeat customers who love Rankin Ranch beef. Our beef is all natural, grass fed and grain finished. The beef is aged at the butcher shop for 21 days before cutting up into delicious steaks, roasts, and more. We are very proud of the quality of our beef with everything grading high choice to prime.” -Amanda Barrett

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“The best part about my job, that is an easy one… the people! The Rankin family is one in a million. From Bill and Glenda Rankin (Nana and Papa, as I know them) to all eight cousins in the 6th generation and everyone in between. Everyone is kind, genuine, knowledgeable, inviting, and so much more.” -Shelby Newman

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“Growing up on the ranch I learned the value of a positive work ethic and teamwork at a very young age. As children, we were always included in the day’s work and learned what it takes to keep the ranch running. My parents also emphasized the value of respect. You respect others, the land, and the livestock. When you give respect, you will often get it in return.” -Amanda Barrett (pictured below with her father, Bill)

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Horse Etiquette to Remember from Marie Myllayla

  1. Your horse dictates what you’re going to work on for that day. If you start your day thinking, “we’re going to work on leads,” you and your horse are going to struggle.
  2. Recognize the slightest response and reward it.
  3. Consistency is key with training – present a cue the same way every time. I think a horse’s best quality is their try. You find a way to get desire and try out of your horse and you really can’t ask for anything more.

Shelby and Marie herding cattle with the modern-day help of a helicopter.

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Stay up to date with the Rankins on instagram and facebook.

Nico Voyatzis of Dory Fishing Fleet

Dory Fishing Fleet, operating since 1891, was founded before the city of Newport Beach. The location can’t be beat—beachfront, in the sand, at the base of the Newport Pier, once known as the McFadden Wharf. Over 100 years ago, the market was designed to cut out the middleman, selling the daily catch directly to the public. That business model remains untouched to this day. The Market is open Wednesday through Sunday until noon. They offer a vast array of the freshest possible seafood. The stone crab and spot prawn are among their most popular items.

Nico Voyatzis has worked in the fishing industry for 25 years. She’s run the gamete of occupations, from fishing to cleaning tanks and cutting lobster to selling fish at the market. She, along with her husband and his family, work tirelessly to maintain the historical business.

“Families get crazy when working together, a fishing family more so. You have to be on call 24/7. You compromise and take a deep breath knowing that they will be there no matter what, especially when your employee doesn’t show up for work. It has been an interesting 25 years of events. Many fisherman have left the fleet, but thank God there are still a few that are willing to replace the hard work and long hours of their fathers or retired fishermen.” -Nico

Dory Fishing Fleet / Crafted in CarharttDory Fishing Fleet / Crafted in Carhartt

“The Dory Fleet is quite a unique piece of history. It was here before the city of Newport, since 1891. I’m lucky enough to have been here a while to hear some of the retired fishermen’s stories, working outdoor by the beach, seeing all the regular costumers and locals for as long as I can remember and the great support from the community.” -Nico

Dory Fishing Fleet / Crafted in Carhartt

“My husband’s father was looking for a job, coming to America with only $600. Back in 1981, it wasn’t very much at all. He went fishing on the pier and happened to notice a few fishermen down at the fleet. He went and asked them for a job, lucky enough a guy hired him. He was bating lines in the beginning, then started to go fishing with him. After a few years, he saved enough to buy a boat and fishing gear for himself. Marco and his brothers started along side their dad at a very young age. By the time Marco was 16 he was able to go fishing on his own.” -Nico

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“My favorite part of the job is being outdoors.” -Nico

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Barbie Thompson Lee of Lucky Dog Ranch

Barbie Thompson Lee left the advertising world to become a farmer in Valley Center, just outside of San Diego. She invested many years developing her own company, but felt it was time for something new. So she went out in search of the perfect plot of land to begin her new adventure—where she’d have to start from scratch, and self-teach her way to success.

“I think some people have a picture of a small farm as an idyllic place that’s kind of laid back and simple. The reality here is that there are always so many things that need to be done and sometimes it feels more like warfare than a laid back place. It’s a constant battle to keep on top of the various bugs that are out to eat your plants, the birds, squirrels and gophers who are found of eating them too, the broken or chewed through irrigation lines. You can’t ever let your guard down.” -Farmer Barbie Thompson Lee

Lucky Dog Ranch / Crafted in Carhartt

Tomatoes are Barbie’s favorite crop.

“I start the seeds in the greenhouse in February then plant when we think it’s safe from frost. Most of the plants go through September or October if we’re lucky so it’s a long time you spend with them. There are so many different varieties that it’s really fun planning out what you are going to grow and adding new varieties to your favorite producers.” -Farmer Barbie Thompson Lee

Although Lucky Dog Ranch is named for Barbie’s pack of happy dogs, she also has quite a few other four-legged friends. There’s Tigger and Tom, a set of barn cat brothers, and horses Buddy and Joanie.

“There really isn’t one Lucky Dog. We really liked seeing how happy our dogs were when we moved out here. They had so much room to play and just be themselves that the name just came about.” -Farmer Barbie Thompson Lee

Lucky Dog Ranch / Crafted in CarharttLucky Dog Ranch / Crafted in Carhartt

I asked Barbie what skills from her previous career translated into her new lifestyle. It turns out having a sense of humor has been crucial in her journey.

“Farming can be really humbling and your plants don’t care how important you think you are or what promises you’ve made on their behalf. They are just going to do what they are going do. You can’t take yourself to seriously. They are really the ones in charge. You just need to do what you can to support them…Never give up! It’s a very rewarding lifestyle. You’ll learn a lot about yourself as well as how to bring a crop to market.” -Farmer Barbie Thompson Lee

Tugboat Captain Michelle Walford

Meet Tugboat Captain, Michelle Walford. She’s been in the industry for 10 years and currently works for Pacific Tug Boat Service out of Long Beach, California.
Michelle was born and raised in Bakersfield, CA. After high school, she applied for colleges all over her home state, with her sights set on International Relations so she could travel and work in other countries. This dream was fueled by her desire to explore and be by the water.

“I applied for Cal Maritime with a Global Studies Major and was accepted. My very first day of orientation someone in the grade above me asked my major. I replied, ‘Global Studies,’ and he immediately shook his head and said, ‘You don’t want that. You want to be Deckie. You want to drive boats.’ I immediately walked over to the orientation table and changed my major to Marine Transportation. I’m pretty sure I didn’t know what a ship really was.

I graduated with a BS in Marine Transportation and a 3rd Mate Unlimited License. Since then I have upgraded to a Chief Mate Unlimited along with my 1600 Ton Master.” -Walford

Tugboat Captain Michelle Walford / Crafted in CarharttTugboat Captain Michelle Walford / Crafted in Carhartt“I can be treated differently because of my gender, usually when I first start a new company, and not necessarily treated negatively, just different. I overcome that with mountains of patience.” -Walford 

Tugboat Captain Michelle Walford / Crafted in Carhartt“I believe if you have to tell people how great you are at something, you’re generally not that great at it. I’m not a yeller, especially with a crew I’ve never worked with. I treat everyone with respect and ask for the same in return.” -Walford 

Tugboat Captain Michelle Walford / Crafted in Carhartt

Michelle encourages women with a bit of wanderlust and a penchant for adventurous vocations to consider maritime professions. 

“I don’t think our career is advertised as much as it should be. Lots of women want to travel and do something outside the norm, we just need to get the word out.” -Walford 

Tugboat Captain Michelle Walford / Crafted in CarharttTugboat Captain Michelle Walford / Crafted in CarharttAs captain of her own tugboat, Michelle gets to be her own boss, use her gut and her knowledge to make tough calls, and occasionally bask under the northern lights if the location is right. 

Bobbie Rowe of Kubich Lumber Company

Meet Bobbie Rowe. She’s been a nurse for two years, but she’s always played a big role at her family’s lumber mill. Her main gig is driving the water truck, and when it gets busy, it’s all hands on deck. Then you can find her throwing strips or controlling the multi-head resaw she built with her dad as a child.

The mill has been in operation for over 70 years. It sits deep in the woods of Grass Valley, a small Californian town that was the epicenter of the Gold Rush in the 1800s. With a population of just under 13,000, the city is closely knit together by a strong sense of community and tradition.

That small town nostalgia comes alive when you step foot on Kubich Lumber Company property. Many of their techniques are similar to the ones used in the 1800s. Gorgeous old equipment alongside newer technology makes for a one of a kind service.

KUBICH LUMBER YARD / Crafted in CarharttKUBICH LUMBER YARD / Crafted in Carhartt

“It’s hard work, but in a way it’s simple. Way down here, surrounded by acres of forest and so far from the rest of civilization I can just focus on my job without all the chaos.” -Bobbie Rowe

KUBICH LUMBER YARD / Crafted in CarharttKUBICH LUMBER YARD / Crafted in Carhartt

“Nowhere else feels like home. I really enjoy that Grass Valley is surrounded by natural beauty, but my favorite thing about this town is the rare sense of community. No matter how much the town grows, downtown is still the center hub of activity. We still have so many town traditions. I love walking into the supermarket or the movie theater and running into people who truly know me and greet me with genuine smiles. I hope it never changes.” -Bobbie Rowe

KUBICH LUMBER YARD / Crafted in Carhartt

“I’m a true believer that if you want something bad enough and are willing to work for it, you will get it. I would encourage anyone interested to get into the lumber business. It’s so underrated these days, but it’s an industry that needs to be kept alive and it’s up to our generation to get our hands dirty to see that happen.” -Bobbie Rowe

KUBICH LUMBER YARD / Crafted in Carhartt

“People are especially shocked to find out I’m a nurse when I jump out of the water truck. I remember dad laughing really hard one day after I drove the truck when I first became a nurse. He told me a couple customers had just commented on how cool it was that he hired a woman truck driver and he replied ‘That’s actually my daughter, and can you believe she is giving up truck driving to be a nurse at Stanford? She must be crazy.’ The truth is I really would be crazy to completely walk away from the mill.” -Bobbie Rowe

KUBICH LUMBER YARD / Crafted in Carhartt

“As kids, my cousins, brother and I lived to go to work with our dads. It was the best place to play and be kids. We didn’t even realize that all the while they were teaching us lessons about being hard working, decent people. We didn’t care about the video games and MP3 players other kids had…We had the trees and the creek and the sawdust pile, so what more did we need?” -Bobbie Rowe

KUBICH LUMBER YARD / Crafted in Carhartt
an imprint left by Bobbie in her childhood