Wednesday, February 28, 2007

How CG Gets Her Groove On

Morning Milking
Originally uploaded by Contrary Goddess.

We drew out plans for a new milking parlor. It utilizes parts of an existing structure, isn’t too ambitious, fits in larger, longer term plans, simplifies rather than complicates. Hopefully it will actually get done, and hopefully sooner rather than later.

This is the time of year for plans. Garden plans, seed orders, fence plans, pasture plans, building plans, business plans. For us it is always an assessment of direction. We do not stand still. We attempt to move always in the direction we want to move in. Which isn’t as easy as it sounds. Things that seem like the direction you want to go in sometimes aren’t. Market gardening was like that for us. Not a failure but not where we want to go either.

This is the time of year when everything is possible. Anything might be possible, anyway. Last year we made plans to convert an outbuilding to be a barn. It doesn’t look like it has happened and yet, when the lists of things that have to be done before the actual conversion is examined, most of them short of the conversion itself have been done. The milking parlor becomes an extension of that, except it probably gets done first. Also handy is a different plan for the basement of the house -- an area that had always been rather amorphous has become, it seems possible, a work area . . . and the old floor from the building could become part of that.

Now, any of this or none of this might actually be done. Any of it or none of it might actually be a good idea as it plays out. But this is the time to plan it anyway.

Then the rest of the year can steam roll over us.

Sometimes that’s how it feels. As much as I hate whining and complaining, and I do hate it, life isn’t all neat and in control and stress free. Dancing, surfing, log rolling through it can take your breath away and/or knock it out of you. That is the rest of the year.

February is a good time for checking the direction, reassessing, making plans. Always asking ourselves the question, “And how’s that working for ya?” and going from there. It is easy to sell beans for 17 cents when you don’t have any on the shelves. It is easy to plan your farm or garden when you don’t have one. It is easy to decide how you will live after you win the lottery or some other equally unlikely intervention in your everyday choices.

What is hard is to not keep doing what you think you should be doing to get to where you think you should be, and to instead do something, anything, else. Different. Part of what we hope to hold in mind this year as we go about things is an even wider concept of “littling along”. This is a concept mentioned only in passing in a book by Harlan Hubbard, and only in reference to their financial life there, but it is a concept that so resonated with us that we’ve applied it to pretty much everything. Think piddling. What we hope to do is to piddle along at a lot of things. Not to juggle so as not to drop. Not to discard the enthusiasm but not to disregard the dailies, the needfuls, either.

There are always forty eleven things that need doing on the homestead. There is no use trying to do all forty eleven of them. No use at all. And we have clearly set our priorities toward having fun rather than having the perfect whatever anyway. What we try to do in February is to get in the groove that can carry us through, a groove that isn’t so deep that you can’t adjust its course when necessary, but a groove that won’t let you get thrown out in the steep and rapid corners either.


thingfish23 said...

That's right where I'm at.

Losing the fear of failure was a big first step. It's okay for things to go a little wrong every now and then, and it's okay to put out fires, so long as they get put out.

There's only so much I can control - the rest is up to the Lord. I'll do what I can with what he gives me to work with.

the Contrary Goddess said...

Bless your little heart for commenting on this one. I thought it had some deep bits on me in it and maybe nobody noticed :::g::: According to the world, I am such a failure, but most of the time I think that is ok. The Good Lawd, as it were, gives us all all of it to work with. Where ARE our priorities. It continually occurs to me that that is the question. Most of my being a "failure" has to do with having radically different priorities and trying to get used to how that feels. It took me a decade to get used to how it feels to walk around without shaving my legs, so I adjust rather slowly.

thingfish23 said...

I have also learned to measure my victories in baby-steps. My thumb is getting greener (I haven't KILLED the tomatoes yet) and there are fresh eggs in the coop.

Life is good, and I have faith that it'll continue to get better. Not EASIER, mind you (though ease and dificulty are relative to task), but BETTER.

Once I become Master of the Chicken, it'll be GOAT:30 - if the Federales don't come shut my little acre down first. I won't register my property nor my animals.

the Contrary Goddess said...

Well, the federales may have more problems out of those who don't have food than those who do. I hope anyway.