I know I’m not the only one noticing the abnormal amounts of extreme behavior situations in the news. Stress isn’t a good thing but many of us were told “count to ten” before responding. I think that needs upped.
Consider the couple who ordered breakfast, threw the bag back at the McDonald’s worker then called 911 to get their breakfast. They ended up with charges. For hash browns?! Really?! It seems more productive to say “Miss, I should have an order of hashbrowns and it’s not in the bag.” They’d be on their way in seconds, rather than on the way to jail.
Or the man who shot his roommate in a disagreement over the television. Really?! A passing story, which I admittedly didn’t read entirely due to the absurdity of a life being so “worthless.”
There’s the veteran who simply wanted to buy an iPad for a Christmas gift – and paid for it with his life.
It makes me think counting to 10 isn’t enough. Surely there are decent people out there in the cities – but an awful lot of folks lacking basic respect for other people.
What a waste.
It’s hard to believe that for five years this blog has brought to public view events here at SlowMoneyFarm as we have grown, issues affecting agriculture, events that we’ve attended and a host of information that hopefully made people think a little big about something differently.
We’ve seen fellow ag friends get national attention, shared disappointments when things don’t go our way, celebrated new additions and things. And sometimes I go back to roots. Basics.
A few things over the years, in those basics – 5 reminders for 5 years.
Family is important. They’re our first, and most enduring contacts.
We can’t pick our family but can pick our friends. While they might not be blood relatives, they can be close because of choice.
Don’t be too proud or shamed to ask for a hand when needed. This is the hardest!
Help others when you can and they need help – asking isn’t easy for many. We don’t mind helping others when we can. Sometimes it’s a meal, a heater, help with a bill or some task.
Don’t miss life – enjoy the little things. Don’t take things for granted. It’s what makes life matter.
These are foundations I strive to bring to the blog, because it’s the basis of community. Life. It’s behind the clinics and plans for retreats and sponsorships to provide food to others.
Sometimes life doesn’t play fair. We’ve had vehicle issues for some time, but managed to get around it. We’ve focused on getting out from under payments, keeping things moving, keeping everything (including us!) fed and housed. Once we got the mortgage paid off (two more payments!) we could catch up a few things then truck and land in earnest.
Nephew Jake is coming back to get married soon, and we’d hoped to get up home to share that, but with outstanding bills it appeared that was not to be. Then yesterday dad’s hospitalization brought an urgency.
So, as timing is off. And as much as I hate reaching out to the online community, getting a vehicle is something we can’t put off. There is no do-over on some things. So be it from our shopping or sponsorship or a slow money style loan for repayment, getting a good used vehicle is pressing. I don’t want to get a vehicle just for the sake of buying something, and run into problems breaking down. I don’t have a down payment or credit from a lot. I do have a determination to be debt free as soon as possible.
The direct way above is fastest, under the circumstances. Networking – if you know someone with something that’s near enough to get, spreading the word to others that will help will also be hugely appreciated. I don’t know what comes of it – a new truck isn’t a goal, but a safe, reliable one is important in a timely manner.
Know someone? Send them our way please. Thank you.
Last week I made note of an interesting book called Bullets and Bread, looking at food in the time of World War II. The war effort including rationing, Victory Gardens, advances in food processing and a host of other changes. Not surprisingly, agriculture adapted also to accommodate the changes and demand.
Rationing items involved more than what many today can imagine.
People may often think of things such as beef and sugar when talking about rations however the first thing rationed in January of 1942 was actually tires. This was due to wartime shortage of rubber. The rationing of tires was aided by the efforts of the government to educate the public on conservation and recycling. A combination of printed pamphlets covering a staggering amount of issues, motivational choices, celebrity appearances, and news reel reports worked very effectively in getting the message out. Rationed Items included tires, cars, bicycles, gasoline, fuel oil and kerosene, solid fuels, stoves, rubber footwear, shoes, sugar, coffee, processed foods, meats, canned fish cheese, canned milks, fat and even typewriters. When the war ended the need for rationing was slowly lifted. Most items rationed returned to normal purchasing for the consumer by the end of 1945. But the limits on sugar remained until 1947.
Can you imagine today going in to get sugar or coffee and being told no it’s rationed for the soldiers? Can you imagine getting a flat tire on the car an not having another tire available to buy? Can you imagine doing without a host of items you probably deal with every day?
Like many industries, the war changed agriculture forever.
One aspect of the war on the United States Agriculture business was the incredible amount of improvements the overall system saw. As America entered the war the majority of produce farming was very regional in nature and relied on many smaller farms. Over the course of the war advancements in production equipment, transportation, markets, storage, packaging and even seed and crop selection had dramatically increased. The way farmers selected crops, planted, treated, harvested them and shipped to market had improved in a few short years. These wartime advancements in agriculture on a commercial basis were not lost. Agriculture had quickly changed, and continued to change, from smaller operation to larger corporate style farms.
In three years agriculture changed for efficiency, for the market handed to them that they had to find a way to fill. This was for several reasons, but certainly food storage, food transportation and reducing losses while increasing production was a huge factor.
What modern things shall we do away with in other sectors of life? Why is agriculture penalized for success and profit when few other businesses are? After all – Verizon, AT&T, Dell, WalMart and hosts of others aren’t the same as they were then! How could they imagine computers when typewriters were rationed?!
We have nearly two and a half times the population now as then, and there were shortages then of food. As many farms got larger and more efficient, they could afford to mechanize as smaller operations can’t. And consumers welcomed the changes! If we return to those good old days, there will be widespread hunger, and consequences many cannot imagine.
As we approach Christmas, consider how much we want, rather than need. It might surprise you, and hopefully will bring more appreciation that we have so many choices in our lives now that didn’t used to be.
Be thankful for them.
On the Facebook page of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers I recently shared something recently read.
The Victory Gardens were not just part of the war effort – it was survival. I followed that read with an outstanding story of an Australian race horse. Completely unrelated except that Shannon was a young horse at the time of those rations. It spoke of the rationing of tires and food, of not being able to get the horses to the turnout farms because fuel and resources were used for the war effort.
It brought up the question about the quality of life now, as compared to the 1940s. I wasn’t around then, but from family that was, having little to eat was not something that was comfortable. Not knowing where the meals would come from and a host of other issues is stressful.
But in many ways, from a quality of life standpoint, wasn’t it slightly better? Looking at today, how much do we really want to give up of current day comforts? I could do without cell phones, but many wouldn’t know how to survive without checking for texts on a regular basis. It’s become part of our life.
Over the last 40-50 years there’s been dozens of time saving devices introduced, from microwaves to dishwashers. We even have floor cleaners that work on their own. And yet with all that free time we have kids without proper supervision and teaching. There’s more anxiety and an increase in medicating emotional problems.
How many of those could be lessened with some time cleaning a barn, or taking a ride on a horse or spending some time in the garden? Why do we look to OTHERS to provide our food choices, as if we can’t do it ourselves?
Some points to consider, and some points we’re doing something about with planning clinics, classes, retreats and more. If our health – including mental health – isn’t important then why blame companies, food and a host of other people rather than the decision to remain in a stressful situation.
Some folks are addicted to drama. They swear they want out of it, but remain in it, foster it, feed it and cut out those that threaten to interrupt or smother their drama teddy bears. They ride the satisfaction of being right, the depression of battling and being misrepresented but continue right on doing the same thing and feeding the same energy. This isn’t one or two people folks – it’s millions of them. It creates chaos where it really doesn’t need to be.
Quality of life means a lot. I think of toddlers who don’t want to let go of their blanket even to be washed, as if it will disappear. Life isn’t about giving up things, it’s about starting over and making a life. Not making a survival. Isn’t that what quality of life should be?
We have so much surrounding us our grandparents could not have imagined! Let’s use it to make things better – not as a crutch to avoid washing the blanket.
From the beginning we’ve instituted projects $100 or $200 at a time. That has grown to have not just those projects but others $300-500 at a time, and some larger ones on the horizon! And who says those in agriculture can’t have wish lists?!
Some of these are to expand planning, others to prepare for presentations.
Seed starting pots – we’re looking for a couple thousand of these by spring! Partly for starting seeds but we’re also looking to have started seeds available for several varieties in March to sell to visitors at an agriculture show. It’s just one way leveraging works!
Amazon is a big possibility for useful gifts, from books planning and informing to equipment to bring more photos, videos and other information to the blog and social media.
VistaPrint is where we’ll be ordering banners, promotional items and some other goodies for public displays – about $400-500 worth before spring. That’s a big expense, but a professional appearance is important.
Seed Savers Exchange is but one place where we get heirloom seeds. Johnnys is another – the seed starting is fun, but can be expensive with some of the initial heirlooms. The Sustainable Seed company has some interesting possibilities too. The seed order will likely rival the VistaPrint order.
Farmtek and Farmer Boy Ag both stand to benefit from equipment sales as we move forward, and many things there will be beneficial going forward. Until that time, more local places – Jasper Feed Supply and the county cooperative farm store – both are an asset as we creep forward, as well as the local Marvin’s hardware store and Duncan Road Hardware (where there’s a ‘scratch and dent’ outlet some of our building supplies have come from. Of course not all of these have nice, neat gift certificates available. That can be a problem filling the order. Building supplies for our super hutch will be around $400-500. As most folks in agriculture can tell you, there’s always something needed! Hoses, wire, electrical cords and a host of other things – it adds up and, equally, is handled $100-200 at a time.
Lastly, a big thing on the list is a used truck. It’s a necessity to be able to haul feed, supplies and even just getting around town. A trailer would be an asset for going to events.
While this post is mostly in fun, I hope it illustrates the difference those sales make. Twenty subscriptions cover the hutch. A few farm shares cover our expenses for the year, or that used pickup.
We are extraordinarily thankful for the customers and friends we have, for those folks that sponsored in small ways – few in number but large in impact. We wouldn’t be here without the particular support of a few people late in the year that have gone over and above to helping us regroup after a year that did not pan out as promised. When promises say one thing and actions another, after some time we look at actions.
That means a few more steps, but a more reliable and solid footing so that we can meet our promises when we make them.
While many may have diamonds or gadgets or new cars on their Christmas list – ours is, simply, survival. Getting to do what we love for one more year. What could be better than helping others in life work and producing food choices?!