50 TILFTF: #8 Remain calm

50 Things I've Learned from Tiny Farming: #8 Remain Calm

See the growing list of 50 Things I’ve Learned from Tiny Farming:

#8 – Remain calm: In tiny farming, you can indulge WORRY to the max. You can really work yourself into a frenzy. It’s usually about, well, the weather, people, money (specifically, stuff that has to be paid for), time, people, and…the weather. In that order. The big factor in outdoor farming that’s NOT present in a lot of lives, particularly when you’ve been living a largely indoor urban existence, is the DAILY effect of the WEATHER. Or really, Mother Nature in general: bad weather, disease, deer eating all your lettuce, zombies, all of the destructive things that an overwhelming, out-of-your-control force can deliver, just like that! Thinking about the possibilities can be…stressful, and that’s not to mention dealing with a tidal wave of so much to do, so little time. The COOL thing about farming: over time and your share of intense worry, you notice that things come and they go. You plant your crops over and over again, and here and there they get eaten before their time, and people sometimes fail to meet…expectations, money may get tight, deadlines get blown, but it’s all really not terminally terrible. If you’re still there, and the land is still there, you keep moving ahead, because that’s the game! The simple arc of the farming year makes obvious exactly where you are at any time, and what the next step is. Farming is unpredictable, but it is not fuzzy, there is always a clear result, one that you can hopefully, and usually, eat! So really, just keep farming and you will become increasingly calm as it sinks in by example that A) You really don’t have THAT much control, and B) It generally works out anyway. Sooner or later you’ll realize, the easiest thing to do is just…remain calm. :)

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One Response to “50 TILFTF: #8 Remain calm”

  1. EtienneG says:

    I find that most farming-related stress I live with is self-inflicted. Strangely, I am pretty zen about money and the weather, actually. What’s really working me up is all the things to do, half-finished projects and blown deadlines I have to cope with. I find that my management capacity (in other word, my ability to cope!) is *the* limiting factor on the farm. How many balls can you juggle at once without going crazy? That’s the question!

    And when I think that I got into this business to live a simpler live … Oh well!

    • Mike (tfb) says:

      Hahaha. Great reply, very candid. :) I picked maybe the hardest one to start with (but for me, it’s also the prize!), most have a lot simpler points, but I liked the title! Coming from the city, not growing up as a farmer, for me it started as concern (worry) about the weather and production details, then as soon as I saw that basic things actually…worked, and started getting a little help and stretching out, the people and money considerations (worry) grew. And with a little more time and experience, a bigger picture emerged, and I began to see ALL that had to be done and could be improved, and then the new pressure (worry) of getting it all done kicked in as well. Kind of an if it’s not one thing, it’s the next situation. It’s all human nature, I guess, gotta be concerned about something. But after more time, the pattern of things settles in, and you can see how things just keep rollin’, and worry doesn’t help at all, and it starts to fall away! Kinda like farm field therapy. :) I was trying to capture that, simple idea but a lot to cram into as few words as I could. Anyhow, I rewrote it a bit already. Cheers!

  2. Chelsea Carter says:

    I think this is a great idea! It’s very motivational and inspiring to be able to write about our hardships and find the good in those perplex situations. I’m constantly making lists of all kinds of things: the good, the bad and things I just think are important to remember in the future. Great post!

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