Time Management

One of the biggest problems that we are dealing with on FiveDollarFarm right now is time management.  There is just so much to do that on some mornings after not having enough coffee we can seem lost.  This is exacerbated by the fact that we still work off farm in an operational position where planning is difficult due to constantly fighting fires.  Our primary short-term goal is to leave the off-farm job and generate enough income from the farm to live a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Rooster Time

I know that the Wall Street crowd will not be pleased to hear that this is an increasing trend for many that are simply disillusioned with the status quo.  Because we have shifted our focus away from accumulation and into productive quality, we possess an alternative perspective on value and wealth.  This also assists us in making our time more valuable because we feel we have eliminated mundane tasks, not by doing them faster or “outsourcing” them, but by making them less mundane.  When a task is done joyfully it sometimes seems more like pleasure than a chore thus he spoke, “do what you love.”

Yet still we find a limit to our joyful tasks with the ones that may not yet have become so joyful.  How do we deal with these? We have gone back to the basics and utilized the list of to do’s.  This time we have broken them down into three categories: short-term, mid-term, and long-term tasks.  This has seemed to work rather well for us.  We have set aside a time to discuss what should be included in the two latter categories while the short-term list is my daily direction to get to the mid and long-term task completions.

Using checklists.
Using checklists.

Building on a small success as crossing an item off the list helps to build on future successes by keeping us motivated to move forward with our plans and where we want to go.  One particular difficulty this can bring especially in our situation is the dependency of tasks to be completed.  For example, I need to prepare the seed starting area in the greenhouse but the water system is not yet fully installed.  Sometimes larger projects are forestalled by the amount of time available needed to complete them, the material resources necessary and available, or the prerequisites for that particular task.

This problem is solved by breaking larger projects down into smaller tasks that need to be accomplished.  For instance, all materials for the water systems project have now been purchased and are available when the time becomes available to complete that job.  Before we know it, the water system is ready and then the next task in line is completed.  Remember every now and then that it is a good idea to review previous lists of tasks to see how well you did in completing them and making notes of improvements that can be made the next time a similar task is attempted.  Success builds upon itself.

Let us know how you manage your time.

 

 

Organic Farming

What exactly is organic farming?  Thank goodness the USDA has a website that defines exactly what that means.  Not really.  I find it hard to espouse and embrace the organic culture as it has been defined recently.  To think that for thousands of years humans grew food, tended animals and lived off the land without our benevolent government to tell us the correct methods is not commonly accepted.  Actually, I personally despise the certification of the food I grow and the methods of which I grow it.

How is it that humans lived so long without an agency to approve of the methods of food production?  Maybe the free market had something to do with it.  Perhaps if someone produced bad food in a community, word got out that the food was no good and the locals ceased buying from that producer.  Word of mouth advertising is more prevalent today than ever with the explosion of social media usage.  When you find a good restaurant or local produce stand you surely tell your friends and family.

And what of the producers?  What are their motivations?  Do they wake early in the morning determined to produce the best possible product that they can? I believe most of them do.  But lately, I have met some local farmers who think it is important to have a USDA Organic label on their products.  I ask them why and the response is that it proves that the food was produced responsibly.  But does it really mean that this is the case?  I believe the jury is still out on this issue.

 

The sun provides all the energy we need.
The sun provides all the energy we need.

 

What must happen to insure the safety of our food supply?  I have given this much thought and have come up with some answers to my own questions and provided myself with some standards that I will utilize as a new farmer in my community.  Please note that the items listed below are my virtuous attempt to get to an ideal.

  • FiveDollarFarm will leave the land in better condition than we found it.
  • We will not use chemicals to produce food or enhance the mediums in which food is grown.
  • We will care for our animals humanely to the best of our ability.  We will not cause suffering or discomfort.
  • We are thankful for the sacrifice of the animals given to us for our sustenance.
  • We acknowledge that we are merely caretakers for God’s gifts to us and that they belong to him.

 

 

 

More sunshine

 

Soon we will explore in more detail the solar energy that is available to us and how we understand it and use it to our advantage.