Tammy and I decided to spend a little time this past weekend trying to do "non-active" things on the farm. So, Sunday, for example, we limited ourselves to feeding the hens, henlets, ducklings, turklets, ducks and cats. Making sure all of the above had water. Watering plants that are still in trays or pots. Opening the high tunnel. Setting up and running drip tape on the newer broccoli and cauliflower planting. Planting another 14 hot peppers in a raised bed and replacing about 20 tomato plants in the field with new tomatoes. A couple of laundry loads, some washed eggs and composting of all remaining tomatoes in pots. Always nice to have an easy morning start.
In the early afternoon, while Tammy was at an event, Rob sat down and worked on doing a little "mind mapping." Essentially, what this means to me is that I need to get a handle on all of the things that are roaming in my head that I think I need to be done. I usually hope that getting as much as I can down on paper will help me.
But, I don't think I feel much better because I ran into the Law of Expanding Lists!
Definition: A to do list is compiled with a certain period of time in mind.
|We really need to work this plot west of the old high tunnel.|
The working lists include the list of things to accomplish during this particular growing season. Typically, we do not expect these items to be accomplished any time in the near future, but we need to know that they loom in the horizon.
Then, there is the "critical" list of things that have a high priority and need to be done. Some of the things on the critical list actually make it to the weekly list, followed by the daily list. And, all of these actually ignore the "recurring list" of things that get done on a regular basis. Sometimes these appear on the daily list because they are not quite a daily chore. But, the daily recurring list only makes it onto the daily list as a single line item: chores.
And, before you get too worried that I am spending all of my time making lists, let me assure you that there is not typically a hard copy of daily lists unless there is need for clarity in communicating with workers. Even the weekly list is not necessarily wholly committed to a physical form unless we get to the point where we feel like we are overwhelmed or missing things.
Now for the rules. Note that these rules apply the similar time period lists. For example, transitioning form one daily list to the next daily list - or from an old critical list to a new one.
Rule 1: Completion of n items on the list results in the addition of a minimum n items replacing it in the list.
|We weeded and tilled the North bed in the high tunnel - now we needed to plant beans, rosemary and run the drip line.|
The sneaky part is the recurring portion of the daily list. Remember chores? Well, we just added irrigate the bean and rosemary rows has just gotten added. Then, there is the sneaky addition of WEEDING these rows that will appear in later daily lists. We won't even consider harvesting at this point.
Rule 2: Every item on a list has at least 2 hidden items implied by its inclusion on the list.
|List item: pick up lumber by the new high tunnel|
Rule 1 still applies since we now add cleaning up the tall weeds South of the Poultry Pavilion to one of the upcoming daily lists (for example).
Rule 3: Time Critical items increase future entries by simply appearing on the current list.
|Oh, winter squash, how we love thee and how we wish the grasses would not grow there too.|
Rule 4: Failure to complete Time Critical items multiplies future entries by a minimum of 2 times.
|Hey! That field was FINE last time I looked!|
Rule 5: Unless you are at a terminal point in the season, carried over items from one list to the next will typically be 50% of an ambitious farmers next list.
This really is beginning to sound like a losing battle. Therefore, I propose that we adopt a new list system for our farm.
1. Do everything.
1. Do what you did yesterday.
Simplicity at its finest.