Friday, January 05, 2007
Reading is good ... doing is better!
I believe that is the exact quote from my uncle. I agree with that completely, but for now it is winter in Iowa. Even though the snow is not falling this year there still isn't anything going on at our city lot except some thinking, dreaming, and maybe a little planning.
This year I had placed quite a few farming books on my Christmas list only to have my uncle loan them to me when we went to visit one afternoon early in December. One of the books that I picked up that day, along with a whole file of binders and articles, was "You Can Farm" by Joel Salatin. I began reading it and now have almost completed all 500+ pages so I thought I could share a few thoughts that I had.
Mr. Salatin has titled this book, "You Can Farm", but I believe he is also trying to point out that possibly you can't farm. Not because it isn't possible, but because maybe you and your family aren't willing to make the sacrafices needed to make a living full-time on the farm. He brought up many points that made me think and I spent quite a bit of time sharing things with Becca and mulling things over in my own mind. I go through phases where I believe I am able to sacrafice and then others when I doubt that I could do it ... but, in all honesty I believe we are already making many of those sacrafices to be able to have the ministry we have and keep Becca at home with the children. A simple life is just the path we have chosen ... as long as I can control my knee-jerk purchases!
Another nugget that I have gleened is the importance of not starting out in a hole. Mr. Salatin encourages beginning farmers to find an older farmer to work along side of or to rent land from. He is a firm believer that you don't need to buy your farm with the perfect barn and buildings in order to consider yourself a farmer ... in fact he believes the exact opposite. This one is difficult for me to swallow, becuase the dead end gravel road farm with the nice house is one of the things that I have really wanted in my life. But, I see the business sense behind his point of view and it has really impacted all of my thinking and brainstorming.
Finally, I think the biggest thing that I have taken away from what I have read so far is that you do just need to be doing it! Just like my uncle said, "Reading is good ... doing is better!" It is easy for me to come up with excuses of why I can't farm or try to make money from farming practices (I live in town, I don't have time, my neighbors won't like it, it would cost too much, I don't have the right tools, and on and on and on), but if I really wanted to do it then I would make it possible any way that I could. So, now as I have been reading I have been trying to think of ways that I could "farm" right where I am with my 1/4 of an acre of grass (1/2 of which is under a canopy of leaves). If I really want to become a beginning farmer I need to start my "doing" right now.
I'll let you know more of my thoughts later...