Our first full year in the property was a huge learning experience, not to mention more work than I’d ever imagined. Nothing I’ve ever experienced has come close, but the sense of accomplishment made it all more than worth it.
I think the biggest lesson of the first year was that we have to be adaptable. I had planned and replanned our veggie patch, and we’d all put our heads together to plan things like stock yards and the orchard area. However, it’s all changed multiple times and ended up better for it.
I like to think things through, research them, make plans, and then execute those plans. It’s my nature to tackle problems, find solutions, and make things work. I can apply that to the farm, but have had to be much more adaptable. Basically, the things we do create a continual feedback loop into the plan, constantly refining it. We find something that doesn’t grow so well in the hot weather, and so change the plan to grow and preserve enough over the cooler months. Or we find that we actually don’t need to grow as much of something as we first thought, allowing us to change the rotation.
To my mind, the best thing about this is that it’s only just beginning. Being here a full year means we’ve seen all of the seasons and variations, and that’s the first iteration of our plan adaptations. That cycle will continue every year, and each iteration will fine tune our processes. That means that, as well as we did this year, each subsequent year will get better and better. The work probably won’t become any easier, but the results will be even more impressive.
Most weekends end with me physically exhausted, but emotionally elated. Combine a year of those weekends and I can’t imagine ever being happier. I’m looking forward to the second year more than I can express.