Thursday, September 27, 2012

Still working on farm business plan. If only I could find someone to plunk down 150 K, I think it is highly plausible that the rest of life would begin to work better than it has been. The location is perfect. I don't care if it is in my name, or I am willing for it to be in someone else's name until I have paid them off, plus interest.

Let's say that this happens. Then I would need to come up with the capital to buy and plant the apple trees, etc. Even if I start slowly, half an acre or an acre of trees per year....the initial investment would need to be figured in. And, although I don't want this to be a monoculture anyway, it would be critical to have crops that would produce a marketable crop the very first year, ASAP. Some of those crops would continue to be grown over the long term, while others would be phased out as the apples came into strong production.

I ran into a friend the other day, one whom I hadn't seen in some time, and we chatted happily for about half an hour. Wonderful! We discussed work, money, how one balances all that sort of thing. And then she said something that wasn't new to me, something that had always been my ideal anyway, and I might not be able to state it as meaningfully as she did. She said that one must never do something just for money. Money can never be the first motivation. If you don't love doing what you do, if you are doing it only to make a buck, things will not go well, you won't be happy. And she's right. The times when I've been the happiest were when I was doing what I loved and the pay just sort of came along with it. That job working on a sheep ranch in Wyoming? Loved. It. I would have done it for free, I had so much fun. They were so happy with my enthusiasm for the work that they paid me extra and paid for a free tank of gas for our truck. The initial rate of pay in the job description wouldn't have been that good, maybe $25 a day for 2 days? Something close to that...I ended up getting paid a lot more. Modeling, same thing. The blueberry farm, the elephant garlic ranch....same stuff...although I did get tired of sitting and peeling elephant garlic for 8 hours a day towards the end of that job!

Working with the earth is something I love, so how does this relate to the farming business plan? Simple: I must not raise an animal, crop or breed of animal with money as the first consideration. I did that this year with garlic. I hate softneck white garlic, but it braids well and people buy braids long before they'll buy loose garlic, and softneck is easier to braid so that's what I grew. I grew Killarney Red, a hardneck garlic with more flavor, for myself. Well, I hated peeling the softneck, although braiding it was okay, but hadn't pulled it soon enough to braid well because it matured earlier than the hardneck garlic. And I can't sell it very easily because the truth is that I don't like it nearly as much as the hardneck. Oh, it's good, better than standard commercially grown garlic of course...but I don't love it the way I love the Killarney Red. There's no conviction or enthusiasm in me for the product I am trying to sell. It is only a product, not a labor of love. I still have a couple of pounds of the damned stuff, which I am struggling to unload. And guess who eats it and uses it if it never sells? Me. I am stuck looking at and eating something I didn't like very much to begin with. Well. That was dumb and misguided and I won't do it again. My friend has a different, much nicer sounding softneck garlic that she's offering me seed from and I might try that one. But generic production softneck white garlic? Never again.

It gets worse with animals because if you don't love and care about your animals, it's next to impossible to do a good job of raising them. The little touches, the little things that matter, fall by the wayside. I have raised animals I didn't love and it was just as disastrous as trying desperately to be a good wife to my husband when I was married to him. I am trying to think if I have ever had good sex, soul satisfying sex, with someone I didn't feel close to....and am coming up empty. When the love goes, so does the passion and all the little things that matter, the joy, the fun, the merging of souls, and it's just a dead act with no meaning...well, no good meaning anyway.

So anyway. I am going back through my business plan now and ensuring that there is nothing on there that I don't love so well that I would grow it for it's own sake, that I get excited about eating or using myself, etc. No iceberg lettuce or florist's roses or pigs or rabbits or Cornish Rock chickens!

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