Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Big Deal

We have been writing this blog, writing email newsletters and creating other social media posts for our farm for some time now and we are fully aware that some themes keep showing up.  Things like the weather, pictures of flowers, farm struggles and the wisdom of our farm supervisors (cats).  We like to be creative when we can - but that takes time and energy.  We do not always have that. 

The net result is that those who read our blog get little nuggets of creative hidden amidst a whole lot of weather, flowers, farm struggles and farm cat wisdom.  We have found that some level of consistency in publishing posts is the best thing if we want to be able to be able to capture a truly creative moment.  So, here we go - a truly inspiring and creative post!

Weather is a Big Deal
Did I say creative?  Um.  Well, we have to get the creative juices flowing somehow.  What better way than to mention the weather?  Isn't that how we try to get conversations going with people we aren't entirely comfortable with?

Rob: Well, that rain sure is wet today.
Other person: Yep, pretty darned wet, if you ask me.
Rob: Yeah, and I've noticed that it gets even wetter when it rains harder.
Other person:  Yep, noticed that too.
Rob: But, the sun came out.  Got kinda hot when that happened.
Other person: Yep, the sun makes things kinda hot.
Rob:  Ummmm.   Have you seen Paint Your Wagon?

At that point, most people leave the conversation.  Rob is left to ponder exactly how BAD Paint Your Wagon must be to cause conversations to end so abruptly.

To be serious - if only for a moment in time - most people can relate to the weather.  It's a common experience to be impacted by the weather - even if you spend most of your time indoors.  However, we are also aware that there is a significant divide between us and most other people with respect to their observance of the weather.  The recent 2.5 inches of rain might postpone a Little League game or cause a person to walk around a puddle or two (or just JUMP RIGHT INTO IT if you are feeling like a kid).  But, unless your basement flooded or you are in some of the flash flood areas of Des Moines (we hope things dry up for you quickly) the rain has done little to impact your life.  On the other hand, people who work outside may have to make adjustments for days.

In other words, weather IS a big deal to us.  It can color each and every day a different shade than we anticipated it would be and one event can alter more than one week of plans.

Farm Struggles are a Big Deal

Ok.  Maybe they aren't such a big deal.  Everyone has their struggles.  So do we.  We just happen to share some of them via our blog in an effort to keep others informed about our efforts. 

Actually, neither of us tend to seek out public affirmation all that much.  So, sharing struggles isn't so much about getting sympathy or empathy or any other "pathy" you might like to consider.  It's about communicating what it takes to run a small diversified farm and the choices and efforts we make to do it.

We think there is value in this sort of work and we think there needs to be more support for those who do their best to raise produce and meat for local consumption.  The support does not come if people are not exposed to the efforts and the goals of local food production.  Failure to be informed simply makes it easier to take things for granted.  Therefore, we think farm struggles are a big deal too.

Sometimes, we find our own struggles to be amusing - especially after the fact.  When the mower deck on our lawn tractor abruptly ceased working, we were pretty irritated.  We already had a nice long list of things to do and, of course, the lawn tractor was supposed to be working to accomplish a couple of those tasks.  Not only that, but the list was plenty full.  We didn't need "take the deck off the lawn tractor, clean it off, get a new belt, take the old one off and put the new one on and while you are at it lube the spindles, sharpen the blades and tell your Mother you love her!"

Ok, "tell your Mother you love her" should always be on the list.  Hi Mom! 

Flowers are a Big Deal

Our attitude on the farm can often be changed by the simple appearance of a good bloom or by the LACK of appearance of an anticipated bloom. 

This year, the iris bloom was very disappointing.  In fact, we have noticed that a significant number of plants fared very poorly.  Apparently, this past Winter was very rough on them.  Hopefully, many of them will rebound, but one never knows until the next bloom season.  Our cranesbill usually provide us with some fabulous flowers in June and they barely gave us anything to enjoy.  Some other flowers have been a bit wimpy as well.

On the other hand, the flowering fruit trees were wonderful earlier in the Spring and the Husker Red Penstamons that have volunteered all over the place are having a very good year.  Thank goodness for some diversity on our farm.  If it weren't for that diversity, we would be very sad.

Why?  Because flowers are a big deal because they can help you manage farm struggles that feel like a big deal.  But the weather can change how your flowers grow because weather is a big deal.

And that, my friends, is how to make it seem like you've made a "big deal" out of nothing!

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