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.



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