I had planned today, on just posting pictures of the daily tasks here, but something more pressing has been weighing on me, and though I'm way behind in much of the work scheduled for today- it seemed important to take a minute and write it out.
So many folks have told us that this farm wouldn't be possible. That our inexperience (at the start, a million years ago before our various internships etc), our lack of capitol, our commitment to uncompromising ethics would cause us to fail. That is still a likely scenario. We are entirely capable of failure. Our budget is tight, the hours are long and sometimes impossible. We make mistakes, we have mechanical failures and oversights. I have sleepless nights, and stomach aches thinking of those variables. I don't know what will happen with this farm. But in 4 years I know how far we have come, and it astounds me everyday.
I also know something else- we are going to try. We are going to work continously, and unflinchingly to keep this farm afloat and reach it's potential- just like we have for the last 4 years. We have had a lot more 'wins' then some, but we have also had some crushing defeats, not all of which we share. But so does everyone. The difference is- we know we could fail and we are still out there trying.
We've long said that if we can't farm the way our ethics dictate, we don't want to do it. If we can't farm using the best feed, and the best care, we don't think we should farm. That means our labor and feed and time costs are high but the quality of what we grow is incomparable. Folks will tell you, if you are a young start up business that there is some kine of clear way to make your business succeed. While there is certainly some good advice- the truth is a lot of good businesses fail for a variety of reason. People loose passion, make bad decisions, have health issues... anything could happen. There isn't a clear trouble sign of what makes small businesses, or small farms fail- it's a lot of things that add up. I kind of think the difference is a combination of drive, and of luck.
But the difference between living an intentional life and playing it safe is that if we fail, it won't be because we didn't throw everything we had into it. It won't be because we didn't want it bad enough, or we left stones unturned. We grow great food, but that is only a small product of a huge big picture.
There is no one way to find your calling. But I know, from the depths of my being, that farming is where I belong. Now, if I can make that knowledge truly work may take a few more years to figure out. But I'm ok with that. There is no road map. There are some helpful signs along the way- but in the end if you don't take the big risks, you spend your life wondering. I'd so rather fall flat and really, really, screw up then wonder.
I'm just as terrified of failure, of change, of the unknown as everyone else, including those people stuck in the same rut job of the last 30 years. But those are conquerable fears. They are fears I am much more comfortable with then the reality of stagnancy. It's like a body of water, (stay with me)- the water, flowing in and out with a place to go like a stream or a river stays healthy, supports life. If it sits, it basically rots, becoming a pool of deadly bacteria. This farm is my pond. We will keep it moving, and hopefully it will flourish. We all should be so lucky.
I want to go to bed afraid, go to bed worried, go to bed ALIVE. We're taking a chance. If we fail, so what? It still makes a really good story. And when we succeed- then that opens up a whole new world of opportunities to fail at.