farming, Feed Store, Things I Enjoy

A Week and A Day

They say time flies when you’re having fun…I have to say I agree.

Time also flies when you’re answering questions, learning new things, and meeting new people. All things we’ve been doing for a week and a day, today.

My brain often races at night, probably because it’s the only time the kids aren’t making much noise. One particular night, the night before we opened the store the first time, I remember thinking about my first trip to Young Family Feed. I wandered the store, looked at the shelves, and found the dollar bin that my dear friends told me about. I dug around that for a few minutes, meandered toward the front counter, and stared at the feed board.

I was buying feed from a big box store and thought maybe I could find something I would like at the little feed store that was full of charm. Jack started talking to me and asking questions and listened to everything going on with Risky, the feeds we tried, and the times we made progress, the times we stalled. He listened, and he asked questions, and he finally made a recommendation.

So began my switch to using Young Family Feed for my feed needs. I changed products a few times, asked lots of questions, began growing fodder, and continued shopping there. They helped me find a good dog food, helped me get my hands on the barley I need to grow fodder. They always asked how I was, in a genuine way.

I looked forward to my trips to the feed store.

As I lay awake, considering all of this, I realized that I would now be answering questions. I would now be the one telling people about the products and what products are good for what application. I would have to learn about the things I don’t use, but I would have to learn when/where/what/why they would or could be used.

Each day, I’ve learned something new about something we carry. I’ve learned about products we don’t carry. I’ve learned about products we could carry. I’ve learned about products I never would have heard of.

I love answering questions, I love helping people find a solution that fits their needs. This week has been a real eye opener for me. I can’t tell you how many times I would answer one set of questions (or find an answer) for someone standing at the counter, only to switch gears because someone on the phone had a different set of questions they needed answered.

I left today with a few things in my “to-do” pile that I just wasn’t able to get to through the course of the day.  At first, I was a little frustrated that they weren’t done, but I had an appointment to make after we closed, so I couldn’t stay late. But as I drove, I realized my pile doesn’t only represent what I didn’t get done. It represents the best interruptions – the people I am meeting every day. The conversations I am having, the questions I am answering (or trying to), and the beautiful souls approaching the counter.

I’ll take a pile of not quite done paperwork at the end of every day if it means the smiles, warmth, and purpose that is filling my days.

Folks, I’ve manned the counter for a week and a day, and I cannot tell you how incredible it’s been. I’m thankful that a week and a day is really just the beginning to a journey that I hope and believe will span many years.


Learning As We Go

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.

Happy Trails!
Ma W.