The Saddest Words I Know

Friday, March 30, 2012

Throughout my life, as a sheep breeder, a farmers wife, an Ag business professional, a 4-H leader and a suburban homesteader I often talk with people who want to do the same kinds of things I’m doing—growing my own food and living a more simple life. They claim to want this more than anything else; it permeates to the very core of their being. But, as I talk with them about what I am doing and encouraging them in how they too can walk this path, an interesting thing happens. A litany of reasons why “I can’t” begins to emerge. The reasons usually revolve around the fact that they don’t own a farm, or their family will not move out of the city, or still yet they have to wait until the kids are out of school. You get the picture.

As I listen to the excuses one thought runs through my mind—if you want to farm then farm. Just get started; no matter where you are.

I understand the reluctance and obstacles. Some people have city rules or HOA regulations that prevent them from participating fully in a farm life, but I do not understand doing nothing. No matter where you live you can start growing your own food NOW! If farming is something you want to do then nothing will stand in your way. Not location, not time, not money, not the job, not family reservations. Nothing. If this is your dream, stop dreaming and start doing. If my seemingly lack of understanding makes you mad then get mad. But, remember one thing…all these excuses…all these reasons…all the “I cant’s” for not doing has stopped you before; stopped you from pursuing areas that interested you, projects you wanted to try, places you wanted to go. You know I’m right. No matter where you live or what your immediate situation is you can start now. Start with a potted garden on your condo balcony. Start with a small unused planter near your patio, but do start. Give yourself permission to start.

If you live in an apartment or city high-rise you can still order seeds, set up some grow lights or pot up a bunch of herbs to set in the kitchen window and start growing a little of what you use. You can volunteer at the local farmers market; get acquainted with farmers who can mentor you. You can offer veggie starts or eggs for sale to co-workers, eventually working your way up to a small business. In a few weeks starting with nothing but borrowed equipment and a few packs of bought seeds you can be on your way to becoming a farmer. This may sound crazy, but it’s not. Not unless you are still hanging onto the long list of “I can’t’s”. If you want it to happened, really happen, you will find a way. Nothing will be able to stop you, and once you start you’ll be surprised how things just come your way. A friend may offer an extra table to use as a potting bench; another may ask to partner with you to raise chickens for eggs or meat. When your new life begins, your old life begins to fade away. You become a careful spender, an avid seller of unused belongings, and that brings money into your world, allowing you to do more.

Don’t be influenced by the people who don’t understand, who don’t agree, who perpetuate the “I can’t” excuses that chip away at your resolve and you dream. Stand with people who are excited about your ideas and prospects. Stay clear of those who want you to wait until life gets a little easier, gets a little slower, when you have more time on your hands because those days will never come. Life is always busy. Always crazy. The question is what do you want to be busy with or crazy about. Wouldn’t you prefer to busy yourself gardening or getting crazy planning for a new batch of chicks? I know I would.

This is my advice to you, folks, my wish for you—start today; not just dreaming, but doing. Take a few steps towards that farm in your mind and make it a reality. Surf the net for information. Call the farmers market organizer. Find a local garden club or sustainable farming organization and join. Borrow books. Barter for help. Find people who are trying to do the same and set up a group to encourage each other, support each other. This is not something you will ever regret. Not ever!

If farming is not your thing, but you still want to live a simpler less stressful life there are steps you can take to move that direction too. The moral of my story is “if you want it badly enough, crave it ‘til your stomach aches, even cry at night because it hurts you don’t have it…remember one thing…NOTHING and NO ONE can stop you from pursuing your farming dream if you have taken “I CAN’T” out of the equation.” And every day you put if off is one more day you have killed off life’s enjoyments. Choose life my dear friends…choose life.



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