I’m often asked how Steve and I manage farming when neither one of us grew up on a working farm. While we have always maintained a small vegetable garden, we have never owned chickens or any other livestock.
Desire and curiosity is pretty much all it takes…..well, and not taking yourself so seriously that you can’t laugh at your mistakes along the way. Every one of our successes has a trail of laughter in its wake. Here are a few lessons learned.
Vibrating phones are a must. We have no neighbors within shouting distance so if one us needs something we are screwed without our cells. Early on, while building the guest cottage, I headed out to bush hog the pasture while Steve was hanging doors. I had my phone in my pocket, but I was also wearing headphones to protect my ears from the loud engine. After a few hours on the tractor, I pulled out my phone to check the time…..15 missed calls from Steve. Seems he accidently locked himself in the closet while hanging the door and he had been sitting in there for three hours in the pitch dark. Laughed so hard as I opened the door that I was crying.
Realistic goals. I’m competitive by nature, so is Steve; difference being, Steve is a full foot taller than I and outweighs me by about 100lbs. But there are only two of us here so it is “game on” more often than it should be. I’ve yet to win a single competition and have nearly knocked myself out while trying. I shove him aside to swing the ax or carry the load, only to have the ax pull me over onto my ass or the load be dropped and scattered, but I entertain Steve in the process so he never discourages me from trying. One of these days, victory will be mine.
Solutions can be simple. Steve is a thinker, a problem solver, a high IQ, fabulous GPA and test scores kind of guy. Occasionally, I will happen upon him deep in thought as he is stumped by his latest project. He has handmade blueprints and tape measures and numerical scribbles and almost every tool and piece of equipment pulled off of the shelves. He has tried everything and he is frustrated. I look over and say “why don’t you just take that piece and shove it through there?”, and then I turn and walk away. Oh the look on his face…….priceless.
Shit gets ruined. No matter how careful we are, we break, stain, tear or run over stuff. I did a fabulous job of cutting the plastic greenhouse cover to fit the doorway, but also cut off my shirttail that was lying underneath. I nailed down weather-proofing AND my glove securely to the door opening of the farm shop. Steve could have left me for dead, but instead freed me because it was dinnertime and he doesn’t cook. Our latest mishap? We have been working with PVC pipe for our pasture water source. Honestly, it is like playing with adult Legos. Difference being, every piece has to be glued together with a very strong adhesive. The blue colored stuff is runny, gets everywhere and doesn’t come off easily. Both of us have so much of it embedded onto our fingers that neither of our phones will open with the thumbprint recognition scan and the swipe function is compromised as well.
Which takes me back to the importance of workable phones.