We are on the cusp of actually beginning our farming endeavor. We ordered 55 Rhode Island Red chicks a couple of days ago (they should be here early next week), I quit a part time job I was working, we got a preliminary copy of the lease for the land (with our names spelled incorrectly), and this morning, with the help of our senior pastor, I got our tiller running. With each purchase and each commitment, it becomes less and less likely that we are going to somehow back out of this. We have no plans to back out, of course, but the idea that we are invested beyond the point of no return is a little bit frightening. Partly because of how much work I know is ahead of us, but even more because this is an adventure with a fairly high probability of failure. Neither Rachel or I have had major failures in our lives up to this point – in large part because we have never tried anything we were likely to fail. That isn’t to say we haven’t done anything difficult; we both have degrees, experiences, and achievements in which we can take pride, but up to this point, we have been likely to succeed in each major thing we have undertaken. This seems different. There is a reasonably large chance that we will give it everything we’ve got and find out that we haven’t got enough. So this whole thing is getting more and more scary.
But it is also exhilarating. We found something we care deeply about, and rather than just talking about the way we would like to see things change, we are jumping in and doing something. We are making a major life change based on issues we care about and a lifestyle we think we want to lead. After spending most of my life talking about things in school, it is very exciting to be actually doing something. Not signing a petition or “voting with our dollars” or sharing articles on facebook (although we may do some of those things too), but getting outside, breaking a sweat, sticking our hands in the dirt, and growing food.
I guess I’m trying to convince myself not to be stressed out about the many ways this could blow up in our faces (what if I get sick or injured? what if aphids eat all of our vegetables? what if coyotes eat all of our chickens? what if everything is ready to harvest at the same time instead of at regular intervals? what if we can’t get rid of the grass? what if someone breaks in and does donuts in the middle of our field? what if our landlords pull the plug on us? what if the food all goes bad before we deliver it? what if we don’t grow enough? what if it turns out that I just suck at farming? etc…).
Before we started all of this, we decided that we would be prepared to handle failure. It sounded easier then. There is no doubt that we will at least have minor failures all along the way, and that could be good for us. But whether or not we succeed, we’ll be able to say that we got our hands dirty, and we’ll have some stories to tell. So here goes nothing.