Good Days

It is our nature, I suppose, to focus on the negative, or at least to allow the negative to capture our attention in ways that positive things do not.

So, I may find myself distressed about deer eating my okra while not being sufficiently mindful of all the beautiful gardens that are undamaged and producing great food for us.

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I may become distressed over the death or sickness of a goat, and not be sufficiently mindful of all those that are thriving and healthy.

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There is much to be happy about and much to be grateful for these days.

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Our farm’s production continues to expand.  More and more people are becoming aware of us and are choosing to get their food from us.  The things we’ve been advocating for years no longer seem quite so crazy to people.

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These are good days.

21 comments on “Good Days

  1. I agree. And the deer get me, too.

    Here is my small offering to both good and bad. Via Rumi:

    “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
    and rightdoing there is a field.
    I’ll meet you there.

    When the soul lies down in that grass
    the world is too full to talk about.”

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  2. DM says:

    but to your defense on this one….the kind of deer damage and ongoing issues that they create are not small issues…lots of $ on the line, and affect long term life goals.

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    • Bill says:

      You’re right. It takes a lot of work to try to coax a crop out of the ground. The financial rewards are minimal. Laughable by most standards. And there are so many things that can ruin gardens–weather, pests, wildlife. There’s also the emotional investment. I actually feel an attachment to the plants I’m raising, and an obligation to take care of them.

      Still, my point is that as much as I hate the deer damage, we are fortunate to have lots of food coming in nevertheless. It seems that I grumble about the crops we lose more than I’m grateful for the ones we don’t.

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  3. Jeff says:

    And the pigs seem to think so, too!

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  4. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, During my quiet time, I try to find three things every day that make me thankful. Once I started doing that I found that there are always more thankful things than negative things. Soon, I’m filled with joy and ready to start the day. Every day is a gift of life to me and even that is a thankful thing to be glad about. You have encouraged me this day by not focusing on the negative and choosing to be happy about the provision that remains.

    Complete devastation of all but potatoes and green peppers in the garden has only given my Terra Nova Gardens a year of rest while I focus on finishing the 68 feet of wooden fencing to completely enclose my garden with seven foot high wooden fencing and revamp my raised beds for next year. The cabbage is ready for some kraut so all is not a total loss. My eggplants look good but still have not bloomed. There is still a chance for some fall gardening. There’s always a bright side to everything, don’t you think?

    Have a great homestead day.

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    • Bill says:

      There is always a bright side indeed. Dave, I’m very sorry to learn that you lost most of Terra Nova. Our losses here hurt, but aren’t that severe. The only total loss so far is the okra. I just read today that hundreds of farmers in Nigeria abandoned their crops leaving them to rot in the fields to flee the Boko Haram violence. That kind of thing puts our inconveniences in proper perspective.

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  5. valbjerke says:

    It’s the nature of farmers to become weary of the struggle at times – we all work so endlessly hard, to the point of exhaustion – and sometimes the smallest of things hits you over the head like a brick. And of course it’s frustrating – technically we should be able to be smarter than the deer, or the gopher, or in my case tent caterpillars.
    Still – I think these trials keep us from becoming complacent – that’s a good thing.

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    • Bill says:

      That’s right. We learn from it and move on. For our ancestors it was a matter of life or death. There was no grocery store option if they lost their crops.

      I don’t like losing crops, but we get in a lot more than we lose. Our problems are petty in the big scheme of things.

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  6. Laura says:

    Agree, that we often focus on the negative, or along those same lines, focus on what still needs to be done, rather than look at everything already accomplished. Love those adorable pigs!

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    • Bill says:

      Millions of people engage in acts of kindness and compassion every day and rarely is it newsworthy. But if one psychopath commits a crime, that gets the headlines. Things like that are newsworthy because they’re rare. But because those rare things are always in the headlines, it starts to seem like they’re common, and kindness and compassion are rare. It’s all a matter of what we focus on. So in my case I get all steamed up about deer eating a garden and I do blog posts about it. So it may appear that deer are wiping out my farm and all is despair and gloom, when in fact things are going great on the large majority of the farm. That seems to me to come from our tendency to emphasize the negative.

      The pigs are at a fun stage of life. Playful and cute.

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  7. avwalters says:

    That “negative” focus is not all bad. It pushes us to make things better, to care for the sick goat, or fence the garden. The balance is to keep gratitude in full view at the same time.

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    • Bill says:

      Well said. We shouldn’t ignore the negative, since as you say they give us the signal to make improvements. Staying grateful while doing so is the key I think.

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  8. Hard to get any happier than a pig in mud, Bill. I suspect that they have a lesson to teach us all. 🙂 –Curt

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  9. EllaDee says:

    The balance, I aim for, is to use the negatives in a constructive way and have a happy outlook regardless because being miserable only makes any situation worse. When I start to annoy myself, that’s when I know it’s time for an attitude re-adjustment 🙂
    Good news re the uptake of interest, appreciation of the benefit of real food rather than commodified is growing.

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    • Bill says:

      I know some homesteaders won’t put up “negative” posts, for the valid reason that there is already enough negativity on the internet. On the other hand, only posting about the happy and pretty scenes gives a false impression of what farm life is really like. So I try to balance it, but I think I tend to emphasize the negative too much. I need an attitude re-adjustment. 🙂

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  10. shoreacres says:

    That bee is happy. Are the orange flowers milkweed? We have a beautiful milkweed species here with orange flowers, and the bees and butterflies love it.

    I’ve surely quoted this before, just because I love it so much. It’s Eliot, and it’s my answer to the old pessimism/optimism quandary.

    And what there is to conquer
    By strength and submission, has already been discovered
    Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
    To emulate – but there is no competition –
    There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
    And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
    That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
    For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

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    • Bill says:

      I’ve always called them butterfly weeds, but I just googled it and learned that they are indeed milkweeds. Maybe its the same plant you have. This time of year they’re usually covered in butterflies, but we’ve had very few butterflies this year–and, sadly, very few honeybees.

      I think I’d continue to try even if I didn’t have hope for favorable results. When Luther was asked what he’d do if he knew the world was going to end tomorrow, he supposedly replied, “Plant an apple tree.” I like that. But I enjoy my trying more believing that it is going to make a difference.

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