Thursday, February 2, 2012

Start Small

Me. Leaving Polyface Farms.

Plan A, which was going to Polyface for the summer, has failed. Now it's time to fall back on Plan B.

Question is, what is Plan B?

I've been mulling that answer over since Monday, which is when I first learned the news about not getting the internship. My summer was suddenly open, and I was as free as a bird. What a terrifying thought!! I'm the sort of person who has to have a job. I need to know that I have work to do, or else I go insane. So I put on my well-worn and somewhat battered thinking cap, and began hatching plots.

 I had a lot of ideas. Big ones. I was ready to build my own utopia; one that included cattle, hogs, sheep, goats, chickens, and dogs. Someone just hand me a hammer!

 And then I plunked down to reality. A wise cattleman, whom I met in Maryland offered me a golden piece of timeless advice: "Start small." I don't know how many times I've heard, or been told that, but each time it always brings me to my senses. I want to do it all NOW!! I'm not a patient person, and the ache to be out moving cattle, and feeding hogs is intense. Someday I want the whole shebang: The herd of cattle, flock of sheep, hogs, dairy and meat goats, draft animals, a market garden, a line of customers.... But that's still the future. And I'm still here in the present. [big sigh] 

Once I had floated down to normalcy, I began thinking logically. Yes, I actually am capable of such a thing. After awhile, and with the advice of some friends, I had my battle plan. Well, at least it's an attempt of a battle plan. This year will be small in my eyes, but it should be enough to keep me contentedly busy. I'll let y'all in on the scheme once the kinks have been worked out, and it's been give the "okay" from higher ranks (AKA, parents.). 

What are your plans for 2012? Are you planning your first garden? Getting chickens? Starting a cattle ranch? Sourcing local food? I would love to hear your plans, hopes and dreams!


Autumn said...

My big "plan" (still chatting it out with the Big Man Upstairs) is to get my head out of the ground- start participating in clubs and events and get to know people- get connections, really! If I had to describe my hopes for the year in 1 word, I would say "Knowledge" because this year is going to be spent learning!


Melissa said...

Loved reading your post!! =)
My big plans for this year are to start my garden this year from seeds ( where did that idea come from??). Have been picking up my packets of organic seeds as I come across them (Walmart). May need to make a bigger garden this year!!! ;)

Aunt M

DebH said...

this year, I am adding a REAL barn! One that may take me several years to totally complete, as I can see the interior will take me longer than the exterior. I want stuff in it, and an area that if I need to sleep there...I can do it! I love that advice of start works. Believe me, I started with 2 goats, the next year I got 2 milk cows along with a couple horses. Now, some 10 years later, I have built that herd of cows to 27 and 7 milking goats, along with 5 horses and an ever growing population of chickens. I sell at the farmers markets in the summer and eggs all year long. It works, but I still have to keep the day job at an office. I have that 10 year plan to retire happy and doing the things I love. Goats, cattle and farm minded people are what brings me pure bliss! That's my true goal all along!

Illinois Lori said...

Late posting this, been super busy with the guys and college/graduation plans...
I love that photo, I have one of Bryan in the EXACT same pose, LOL, when we left PFace with him!
He is now preparing to leave for an internship in New York at a place called Sap Bush Hollow Farm. Google it if you have time, it's very cool! It's a "special" one they're doing for him to satisfy his college requirement...the school offered him an "industrial-ag" internship, but we found and were able to get him this one, so he leaves here in Mid March and will be there in NY until mid May. Then he comes home to attend commencement, and then we go from there! Still sad he won't go on to PFace, but, as you've said, it's time to move onward. He's hoping to continue at Sap Bush...we're in the mega-suburbs of Chicago, so a bit more real-life-farm-training is in order! His goal is a Salatin-style (smaller, likely) pasture-based farm with sheep as the primary, plus pigs, chickens, etc. Good grassfed lamb...yumm! Enjoying keeping up with your posts and plans, I'm glad to hear your doing better (feeling happier and looking forward!); will check out Mother Earth soon...time for bed now!