The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...

When you choose to be a farmer, there is so much that can derail you. 

Weather – every farmer knows that no matter how well they plan, the weather can certainly derail those plans.  Too much moisture, drought, early frosts, late frosts, hail, wind, you name it, the list goes on and on.  For us, we’ve been trying to “level” our garden space for the last month and a half and have been at the mercy of the rains.  It is hard to get heavy equipment on your land when you are trying to slice off the top soil and move the clay around. 

Time – there is never enough hours in the day to get everything done.  When you have a full time “off farm” job, the problem is exacerbated.  My husband and I fall into the camp that loves DST because those extra hours of daylight after we get home really help.  If the weather mentioned above happens to not be cooperative on the weekends, well, we are just further behind.

Family – we love the fact that our son and daughter come out on the weekends.  When they get involved with farm labor, it really does help.  However, when you have the responsibility of a 101 year old mom that lives with you, not everyone can be outside at the same time.  When this same 101 year old mom falls and breaks 2 ribs, well, the plans have changed to working the land to staying inside and helping her navigate every single step she takes and getting her to the restroom and to the table to eat her meals and helping her dress, etc.

Competing interests – there is wood to cut, there are poultry chores to do, there is infrastructure to build to house the additional poultry that will arrive in April.  There are freezers to buy and a trailer to find that will transport our poultry to the market or home from the processor.  There are equipment needs, there is a barn to build.  There is fencing to do.  There are only 24 hours in a day.

Finances – my husband and I both work because the farm is still in the early stages where it needs so much to become a viable self-supporting farm.  Infrastructure needs are everywhere we look.  Equipment needs are always in our minds.  We know that we are not “young farmers” and we know our time in any given day is limited so any mechanization that can speed up processes is needed.  Of course, that all takes money.  Complicate this with the fact that when my husband misses work he doesn’t get paid.  Add to this the further complication of an unexpected fall (mentioned above) and the need to stay home to help his mom.  Further complicate this fact with his wife’s job of needing to be at work for audit week and the inability to be home.

Even with all of the above, the hope of spring forever looms in our heart.  Hope for a long spring before the heat of summer.  Hope for good weather on the weekends.  Hope for our mom to heal quickly.  Hope for our finances to stretch to be able to meet the needs of the farm. 

A month ago when I wrote our last update, we were planning on being a part of the farmer’s market and were in the middle of our 10 week class called “Grow Your Farm”.  The class is over now and we learned so many things about what we are doing wrong.  Plans to be a part of the farmer’s market are still in limbo.  The garden still isn’t in the ground due to the dirt work that we did.  The March 25th Farmer’s Market workshop may not happen now due to our mom’s fall.  Soil samples we received back from the county extension office show that we still have a lot of work to do to get our ground to maximum production potential.  We need to add lime in bulk, not just to our garden area but to our pastures.

Arrivals of strawberry plants, rhubarb, asparagus and other perennials need attention while we decide where to add them based off of our need to amend the soil.  Seed potatoes need to get in the ground.  Seedlings still await to be planted.  How will we ever get done what we need to get done when life happens and the best laid plans fall apart?  It will happen as it always does, one day at a time, by doing all that we can do to live life and enjoy it even in the midst of problems.  We all have them right?  Plans and problems.  Our goal is to enjoy life in the midst of both and enjoy every day that is given to us with those that God has given us in this life.  Nothing more, nothing less.   

Paul Trusty