!I thought I would take a moment to answer a question we seem to be asked almost every day by someone – How do you keep gardening and your projects so fun?
I realize that there are a lot of variables in gardening that can drive a person crazy. First the weather: frost and freeze worries – too much rain or perhaps a drought – windstorms, hailstorms, dust storms…you name it, and it can happen!
If that wasn’t enough – then come the pests – cabbage worms, aphids, beetles and grasshoppers – to be followed by the bigger ones like raccoons, rabbits and deer! Should you build a fence – do you need to spray – do I need to water…and why did my cucumbers just fall over and die?
We haven’t even gotten to weeds yet! Before you know it – it’s not fun anymore.
The same goes for our building projects. I can’t tell you how many times something hasn’t lined up – or fit the way it was supposed to – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun to build or make them.
The real key is this – make the “fun” about the process and not the results.
Think about it for a moment…If you could just simply throw a few seeds in the ground and thousands of perfect tomatoes grew from it without any work – would it really be fun? If you could just pound a few nails into a board and have a coop or a barn – would it mean anything?
As a great example…for some reason – no matter what we do – we have had a hard time the last two years getting large yields from our cucumbers. It’s something that we keep working on, and will figure out at some point. In fact –Mary and I have already schemed out next year’s plans to have the harvest of a lifetime. 🙂 Whether we do or not – we have more fun in the banter back and forth about trying to figure it out together than if the plants had grown well in the first place!
I was looking back over the last year and a half of our Sunday Farm Updates (see: Past Sunday Farm Updates)…and it hit me that we always talk about our farm and garden as a “work in progress”. We utter those same words to those that visit or tour the farm.
I think no matter what we ever build, or make, or grow – the farm will always be a work in progress. Mainly because it’s in that very “work” that we find all of the fun! And that is the key! It’s where all of our stories and experiences come from –whether it be mice jumping out to scare Mary, or bats flying from an old barn to terrify me – the fun and memories come from the process – not the finished results.
Sometimes though, it just seems that people worry a little too much about everything. Trying to get it perfect, and working so hard to finish – that they never have fun along the way. Mary and I just don’t subscribe to that theory. You see, at the end of the day – it should be about fun and about keeping it simple – or why do it at all?
15 minutes a day – goes a long way..
If there is one thing we do that I think really helps – it is to work a little at it every day. Not only does it keep it fun – it keeps it manageable. We try to always take 15 minutes a day to work at something on the farm. Whether it’s in the garden, building a new structure or just planning. If it can’t be both of us – then usually at least one of us will work on something. It makes you realize you are always making progress – and so much more fun than trying to kill yourself doing it all at once.
Quite honestly – I guess the real fun for me is that at the end of every single day, I can say that I am doing something I love to do, with someone I love to do it with. Now that is what I call real fun – whether the cucumbers grow next year or not! 🙂
Happy Gardening! – Jim and Mary