As the days turn cool and the fleeting heat of Summer fades we turn to preserving those moments. Here on the farm we are making salsa and tomato soup with our surplus of leftover tomatoes. Our first attempt at curing olives ensues and we look for ways in which we can pickle beets, eggs and all the other bounty that we grew this year.
We had a great season and are looking forward to growing in the Fall and through the Winter. Although we don’t know what our production will be like for the Winter there is a certain eagerness that comes from trying something new. The beauty and the curse that come with living on the land is that nothing is ever a guarantee. Perhaps this is the ultimate understanding that modern living has eluded from our society at large: there are no guarantees in life. We live and die, and in the moments between we try to hold and preserve those precious memories.
Farming is the ultimate source for lessons on life and I feel that I was fortunate enough to glean a few of those this year. Here are a few lessons that I have come to understand in a whole new way.
- We reap what we sow: So literal and always true. The work put into farming is always realized when it comes time to harvest. I had the pleasure of experiencing both the positive and negative aspects of this and learned from both situations. Take the time to learn the right way to do things, get your hands dirty and learn from your mistakes.
- You can’t always get what you want but you get what you need: Learn from what worked and what didn’t and make the necessary adjustments. Sometimes we can get set on what we are doing that we don’t allow things to happen naturally. Take cues from nature on what works and what doesn’t and apply it to your own life. Just because we have an idea on what things are supposed to be does not always mean that’s the way they are. Being open to change and letting go of control is much easier than trying to control and changing things.
- Focus: “The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing” Stephen Covey. A very simple quote yet so fundamental. What is the main thing? Well, that’s for you to define but without out it we tend to work on things that may be irrelevant to the cause. We can climb a ladder as fast as we can but if it doesn’t go to where we want, then it will not matter the speed in which we climb it. Staying focused this year has been a challenge but it is one that has taught me what is truly valuable in my life.
Farming is not easy. But it is in this unease that we find out who we are and what we are capable of. We find that we are not the ones growing food but that food grows us. Being a part of “where food comes from” gives a purpose far from a title, career or profession. It is who we are, all of us. Struggling to grow as a farm we are reminded of all those that came before us who struggled to make a living from the land. We are lucky. We are privileged to grow food. With that privilege we push forward into the unknown guided by the thought that, as we care for the land, the land will in return care for us.