I chose this photo because of the undisturbed snow. No one has traveled this path until you start down it. Maybe it’s the time of year; maybe it’s the circumstances we find ourselves in at this time; maybe, it’s my age, nah. No matter what the reason, I have been meditating quite a lot lately on life’s journey: the meaning of it; the brevity of it; the importance of it; and it’s relativeness – it’s personal nature.
As a farmer, we are always in the circle of life. I was thinking about all the things I have planned to be learning about this winter and began feeling overwhelmed. I wondered, “If someone like me, raised on a farm, always having had a garden, animals of all sorts, could feel overwhelmed by the vastness of information and things to study, ways to improve…on and on it goes; then how must someone just starting to live this kind of life feel? I wanted to offer some words of encouragement and ask you to share your thoughts too.
You should never feel like you can “arrive” in this lifestyle. There are always things that can be done better, more efficiently; areas you want to enlarge which requires different techniques; things you want to add to your life or farm which brings the need to learn about another animal, plant, etc. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to unlearn the way you have been doing things. Often I find that I am unlearning something and remembering the way my grandparents or great-grandparents did things. The number of things we have forgotten, or forsaken from the past, but which need to be relearned, is astounding to me.
Just prioritize the things you determine to be needful for your farm, homestead, lot, whatever you are working with. Once you have prioritized, begin learning. As you know, there are limitless resources available online. You will determine which ones you most agree with, the ones you trust or who offer reliable information. I suggest two things: Countryside & Small Stock Journal and Carla Emery’s Encyclopedia of Country Living. These two will open doors for you to all kinds of resources and you build from there. Of course, I recommend this website. 😉
When you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, take a break – move around your place; remind yourself of your goals; your reasons for this lifestyle; and take a few focused, deep breaths. Don’t undertake too much, that’s part of prioritizing, and be willing to change your plan, re-prioritize, be flexible – now that’s a great trait for a farmer. As you and your place grow, you can take on more and more, but little bites are easier to swallow than a mouthful.
No matter how much we read, we really only learn by doing, making mistakes, and adjusting to them. Experience is the best teacher, but don’t be afraid to try and fail, we all do. Someone may try to convince you they know everything and don’t have any room for growth, avoid that person, they are not truthful. Most importantly, remember to enjoy life. This lifestyle is as rewarding as it is challenging. Your journey is just that, your journey.
Be sure to leave your questions, or comments. You can also email me. I look forward to hearing from you.
Safe and Happy Journey,
Rhonda and Hershe