If you know me, you know that I am kind of all or nothing. Kind of obsessed, or I disregard almost entirely. If something is important to me, it’s more than 100%. If something is outside of my notice/attention/focus, then it is completely outside – less than 0%. Or at least, that’s how I feel about me. I don’t feel like there are many areas that I accept partial effort from myself. (Occasionally I over commit myself and the result is less than 100% effort to things accidentally. That’s another post for another time.)
Farming has been no different. We’ve been here for a month. In the month leading up to moving here, I arranged to purchase a pig. I told myself that I would wait a month for any other animals, and that I would add them 1 at a time, or maybe in pairs, with the exception of chicks.
I told myself I would space out my purchases. I would buy critters in time with having the freedom in our budget to build appropriate critter shelters.
I would go slow. It takes time to build a farm. It’s a thing for turtles, not hares.
Slow. Steady. Consistent. One thing at a time.
And then I bought 9 goats in 1 week, 7 of them came with 2 dogs. I got a border collie the week before them. This past week we bought 12 chicks (who are happily chirping in their brooder in my kitchen.)
Slow. Steady. Not this Ma.
I want my farm to be up and going all the way, so I have a pig, 9 goats, 16 chickens, 1 horse, 5 dogs, and 8 ducks. And now I’m trying to build shelters for all of them. And I am spending countless hours reading about all of them.
You know, until this week, I thought I really knew quite a lot about farming. My rapidly growing farm is humbling me – I don’t know all of the things I thought I knew. I only know some of the things and I have lots of learning to do.
I’ll be honest, guilt is a plague I am familiar with – and the things I don’t know were causing me to allow guilt to prod at me. I was upset that I didn’t know everything, that I wasn’t an expert before I started bringing my farm animals home.
Then a friend said it’s best to learn as you go. And her words were a salve to the sore that come from the prodding. I allowed the words to soak in and I realized, experts don’t become experts only by reading the books. Experts become experts by practice – and even knowing all of the things doesn’t put a drop in the bucket compared with doing some of the things. So I am doing and reading and learning, and my bucket is overflowing.
You know, it’s a lot like parenting, really. I didn’t know everything when my first born made me a mom. (Now, I thought otherwise, at the time, but the years have taught me the truth.) I could have never known everything before having kids. In fact, 7 kids, 11 years later, I don’t even know close to everything. In fact, I hardly know a thing. I’m a student of parenting – always learning, every day.
Remember to learn as you go – it’s not necessary to know it all. It’s an elusive thought, thinking you can know everything about a field. It’s like waiting for everything to be perfect before doing something, that something is just never going to happen. It’s just better to jump in with both feet and get started.