Another new year is upon us. It’s a time for making (and breaking) resolutions, for looking back at the old year and making an effort to assess it. What worked well in 2013? What didn’t? How are you going to move your business forward in 2014?

I was hoping this would be the year I conquered the snowblower. I had a lesson after one of our recent snowfalls. It got off to a rocky start. Or rather, it didn’t get off to a start at all. My instructor, who is 6 feet 4 inches tall, seemed baffled that I, at nearly a foot shorter (even in my big snow boots), could not pull the starter cord with one fluid motion, much less get the engine to roar to life. It seems that having arms a mile long is very helpful in starting snowblowers.

After having it started for me, I did manage to make a pass down the driveway without the machine dragging me off into a snowbank and leaving me for dead. Of course, I forgot everything I learned about five minutes after going back inside. I’m not very mechanically inclined. Some days I think it’s a miracle I can drive a car or operate a toaster oven. So I think I may be sticking to my trusty shovel. It’s friendly for stumpy arms and has no moving parts. There’s also less chance of slicing off limbs.

But at least I tried. It’s important to try new things, even when you know you are foredoomed to failure. Speaking of new things, we’ve implemented some for this year. And I feel far more confident about them than my ability to use advanced snow removal systems.

We’ve added a new control column. The inaugural piece is about spotted wing drosophila, an unpleasant insect pest. We’ve also added a business column that will cover a wide range of topics. This month it addresses something that’s sure to be on everyone’s mind: the Affordable Care Act.

Our mission is still the same: To inform you, our readers. Let us know what you like about what we’re doing and what you want to see more of. And share your stories. Share them with us, on social media, on your website, at trade shows (such as the upcoming New England Grows and World Ag Expo). Learning about other growers’ struggles and successes is a way to gather new ideas about how to better manage your own operation.

Learning about my struggles with the snowblower is not so useful, except perhaps as a reminder that while it’s good to try new things and methods, you also need to play to your strengths. There’s no single right way to accomplish any task. That sounds good, but maybe I’m ignoring the notion that I need to try harder. Winter will be here in the Northeast for a few more months. I might get tired enough of shoveling to tackle that snowblower again.

Stephanie Peake