I am singin’ the blues along with my friends. At night, we look toward the moon and howl our woes. For on the farm there never seems to be enough to do everything we see needs done. The storms knock down a fence or blow over a shed. Your prize animal gets sick and you incur a sudden vet bill. The garden fails to produce enough with the drought and you have to buy your food from the store when you are not accustomed to it. You, the farmer, gets ill and has to hire someone to care for the farm or sell at least the animals off. You are starting out and want to add some goats and cow to your chickens, and oh, those pigs sound lovely, but the fences have to be put in and shelter built, and don’t forget the food! You know what I mean. There is seldom enough to go around and it can be discouraging as most of us are hard workers and not being able to do more, build more, care for more can make us crazy, especially since we have such lovely dreams. However, these limitations actually help us succeed if we take advantage of them.
First, and probably hardest of all, you have to make yourself do one thing at a time and get really good at it, make it so easy and finished that you have the time and money to work on something new. There is nothing worse that watching your garden fail, your birds die, and to have money go down the drain because you half-a** everything at once. It is far better to start with just one thing, put the time and money into getting it right, and when it is successful move on to something else while maintaining the other. It makes you feel so good!
Second, if you don’t already, start a budget based on farming. Plan your project and what it will cost. Decide if you can work in steps or if you need all the supplies at once, then save up for each step or the whole project. It is awful to get only half a barn done and then let it sit and rot because you didn’t have enough money for shingles. Make sure to reserve some money for things you forgot or mess up. Debt is not cool in farming. Never go into debt for the projects on the farm. Never. Farming does not increase property value at all! A good barn sort-of might, but not enough to cover interest. Just don’t do it. The “savings” you will get by spending a ton of money you don’t have will leave you very hungry, especially when something bad happens, and you can pretty much bet you will have a bad garden year, a bad loss in your chicken flock at some point, a sick goat, a bad storm that ruins something and sets you back. You can recover from these things pretty easily if you are not in debt for them to start with.
Third, finish a project and don’t buy stuff to start another until you have the first done. It is easy to say you will get to something next week and will then be able to start the next thing, go out and get supplies, and then have them sit around until they are stolen or rot or rust waiting for you. Enjoy the fact you have one thing done and then go get the supplies to start the next. It will save you a lot of grief and stress, and if married your spouse will be thankful you are so good at planning and doing, not just talking and spending.
Last, write these down in big, bold letters and pin it somewhere that you can see every day (they are all my own “sayings” that I remind myself of each and every day and try really, really hard to live by!);
“Farm smarter, not harder.”
“Plan it out, or do without.”
“Save for it, pay for it, finish it!”