I have been told (by myself and others) that I probably take too much of the world's worries as my own. Or, maybe I don't do a particularly good job of balancing them with all of the good stuff in my life so I can be a healthy, functioning individual that can work to make things better on this earth of ours.
On the other hand, I think that it is healthy to care about what is going on in the world and it is right to want to do something to make things better. But, it only remains healthy and I can only be effective when I can also celebrate and appreciate the positives. So....
Here are some 'wins' that I want to highlight for this year.
Outdoor Space to Roam
Tammy and I are fortunate that we have outdoor space. Granted - it is outdoor space in which we work as farmers. But, unlike so many other folks who live in cities, we can get outside and we do not have to worry about physical distancing protocols because ... well... we're it as far as humans on the farm go (with rare exceptions this year).
We both appreciate wild birds, trees, flowers and nature in general. It is entirely possible that we enjoy it even more this year than we have before. Or, more accurately, perhaps we enjoy the outdoors at our own farm more than we have before? Either way - this is a "win" for us. Hurray for the outdoors!
A Supportive Workplace and Team at PAN
When a person works for themselves for many years in a row, it can be quite the transition to working for someone else. Of course, there are plusses - a regular paycheck and a little less stress that comes with every decision related to the job. You might think it would be hard to adjust to answering to others for my work - but I answer to others when I offer produce and poultry to customers. It's a little different, but not entirely so.
The biggest "win" here is that the Communications Team at Pesticide Action Network is a great team to work with. It doesn't hurt that PAN takes care of its workers. Many of the same principles I hoped to follow when I had people work with us at the farm are a part of the PAN culture. It feels a bit odd to be a valued 'worker bee' rather than part of the 'management.' But, I am appreciating the change and the environment.
Solar Panels and Electric Cooling/Heating
In the past twelve (or so) months, we added solar panels to the farm and some electric powered mini-split air conditioning to the farmhouse. This is part of an overall strategy for our farm to attempt to reduce natural resource consumption. Our main heating source is LP Gas, but these mini-split units should be able to get us through cooler nights before the real winter cold hits. They also replace the highly inefficient window A/C unit for the super hot and humid days when we need to take the edge off so we can sleep (and work) effectively.
Tammy and I need to remind ourselves that these are positive accomplishments that are worthy of celebrating. Sometimes we (as in the royal everybody 'we') get caught up in all that we are doing or looking to do and we forget what has been accomplished. The use of solar power is a 'life goal' and we should celebrate it as such!
Tasty Green Beans
We always set our goals high for production numbers, so it would be tempting to be disappointed in our green bean production numbers. But, the reality is that Tammy and I have had fresh green beans for many of our meals. And, frankly, we're not tired of them at all.
The biggest issue is that harvesting green beans takes a LOT of time. We hope that we can manage another batch so we can freeze some for the winter. But, even if we don't, we should not forget that we got a fair amount of beans to our customers, ate a goodly amount ourselves and we were able to donate 40-50 pounds to a place that needed it. All of that qualifies as a "win."
Family and Friends
When the world makes it harder to stay in touch the way you want to, it reminds us all how important our family and our friends are. Family and friends? That's always a "win."