Friday, April 12, 2013

Learning and Researching: Farming Books that Inspire Me

I come from a family that loves research. In any given argument, I can guarantee you the dictionary was near always pulled out at some point. With a linguist for a father, a Scrabble champion for a mother, and five older siblings all ready to correct me at every opportunity, I picked up the Know-What-You're-Talking-About mantra. I plan forever in advance, read all that I can from different sources, and make list after list of what is needed and what I like. Yes, Pinterest is just about my favorite invention ever. Every once in a while when Birch and I are out shopping for needed supplies for whatever project, he'll say something like, "Are you sure we need that specifically?" It takes all my energy not to slap him upside the head with all the books, time, and effort I've used over the last several months planning for the project we're finally executing. I don't, though. Usually I just shoot a look of death and sigh that passive-aggressive sigh most men have come to fear and loathe.

So, it should come as no surprise that while Birch and I scheme and plan to exit our current life and enter into a dreamworld (to us) of buying farmland, raising heritage breed farm animals, building a sustainable house, and becoming self-sufficient, we are both soaking in just about everything related we can get our hands on. We talk to friends we've made here (farmers and ranchers) and vendors at the farmer's markets, read blogs written by farmers across the country, read magazines and articles dedicated to farming, and follow farm-related news. But most of all, we read books. As you can imagine, some are more helpful than others and some are more inspiring than others.

We borrow books from our local library then buy the ones we know we'll read again and again. Here is our list:

There are SO many books out there begging to be soaked in and churned out into practice. We're still making our way through them and more continue to be written! It is so exciting to experience this life through others and I am so grateful that so many people are returning to the farming life, even those converting their yards into a place rich in animals and vegetation. I look at this shift not as a trend or "the hip thing to do" but a movement. Sure, there are people not as serious about the philosophy behind the change, but I believe that as more and more people start growing their own food, more appreciation and concern will surface and our world will be a better place for it.

Birch and I struggle with our current place in this movement: willing and dedicated, but honestly, scared. Right now, Birch has job security, a regular paycheck, and amazing health insurance. He also has debt that we must pay. Changing our lives will mean the end of all those things. It will be a sacrifice. However, it is a sacrifice we are willing to make. We are confident that the satisfaction of our new life as farm owners and workers will greatly outweigh the comfort we feel now. It will be a difficult change which is why we strive to go in knowing as much as we can.

We can't, however, research forever. At some point, we'll have to act. Find land, move, and start the rest of our lives. So now we wait for that When. It's coming but not yet and we'll need to learn a bit more patience and take advantage of our advantages while we can.

What do you aspire to be? How do you help yourself to become the person you long to be?

1 comment:

  1. This post has been really thought-provoking for me and I've had to sit with it. The whole process of having the spark of an idea, researching it and letting it ripen, and deciding when its time has come, is really interesting to me. I too tend toward the too much research side. Can you ever know too much?

    For myself I feel I'm at an interesting place where I have become the person I wanted to be (and felt so utterly far away from) for the last, oh, seven or eight or more years? In the professional, emotional, dietary, spiritual realms. So I'm sitting with that and feeling how it feels to be here, while I also continue to work for other goals I've added and let new seeds germinate.

    As far as one aspect of what I aspire to be, I have a longing to do the type of healing "they did in the old days" as my friend says, where people come visit when they're having problems and we do whatever combination of sitting with, talking, lighting candles, making food, or going to the garden to pick tea to help them out. I have no idea how this will work in terms of professional ethics and legal feasibility, not to mention the space and clients and earning a living and really, how I'll get all the knowledge I need to work that way. But right now just having that image is where I'm at in the process.