The story so far: 2012 and me
I didn’t really set any New Year’s resolutions this year. I find that they only make me feel bad about myself when I don’t accomplish them, or fizzle out on them (the perennial “lose weight and get in shape” being the worst offender). Nevertheless, the year has been busy so far, and I’m committed to getting things done and making things happen. Instead of talking about doing things, I’m taking steps toward doing them.
As mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been taking classes like crazy. This is partly because they all seem to be presenting themselves now (coincidence?) and I just can’t pass up the opportunities. Even so there are plenty I’m missing due to conflicts or just plain no time. So far there was my felting class in January, and then a week later was the WSU Extension Country Living Expo and Cattleman’s Winterschool. It was the third or fourth year I’d attended the Winterschool and again enjoyed it immensely. It’s a day long series of workshops, each an hour or so in length, and for every session time there are dozens of topics to choose from. I again had a hard time deciding what workshops to take but just decided to focus on a topic – the sheep – and stuck with things pertaining to that all day long. My first class was taught by a veterinarian who teaches at WSU veterinary school and was all about the rumen (the four chambered stomach of sheep, goats, and cattle). The next class was the same instructor, all about sheep diseases and ailments. Both classes were crammed with info, and while I knew the basics, this extra information just made me want to know more. Then it was off to the Preparing for Lambing class. Since it’s been a long time since I raised kids (of the goat variety) I needed the refresher course, and it was excellent (again taught by a veterinary professor at WSU), with lots of information and tips to be ready. After lunch was a marketing class that wasn’t as good as I wanted, though I did learn that there are a lot of licenses needed and regulations for selling farm produce. More research needed there. My last class of the day was about evaluating hay. It was really instructive and made me feel better about what I’m feeding them now and about purchasing next year’s ton. Good stuff all around. There were another half dozen classes I would have loved to take, but since I don’t have a working time turner (or just don’t know how to work the one I have), they’ll have to wait until next year’s Expo.
I had a weekend “off” – no classes or events, whew – and then had another all day class this past Saturday, again conducted by WSU Extension, called Women in Agriculture. It was a great day of panel discussions, two great presentations – both virtual – and a connecting with other women doing what I’m doing. Some of them are further along than I am (farming) and some were still in the dreaming stage (I’m only a wee bit past that, really), and it was a very informative and validating day. The keynote speaker was Lyn Garling of Over the Moon Farm, who started farming at age 48, and gave a great talk. She had a ton of information about the definition of farming, and what a “real farmer” is, and the opportunities for women in farming. It made me realize that I am a farmer, and I can do this. I don’t know yet what exactly I will be producing for sale – so far it’s just been eggs – but now I also know that 91% of farmers have to work off the farm in order to survive financially. Just like me. So as I work towards achieving the goal of farm income, I know my little place is not a hobby farm, or a lifestyle farm, and I’m not a gentleman farmer. I’m growing and producing, and soon I’ll be marketing. I am a farmer.
In addition to the classes I’ve taken and have yet to take (a cooking class at the end of the month, more dog training classes with Daisy – to start in March, an editing course in April (online – weee!), an environmental writing workshop in April), I’ve also hired an amazing life coach, Nancy Carlstrom, and have been coaching once a week, determined to finally discover and blast past whatever’s been holding me back for so long. Instead of sitting around wishing and hoping and dreaming (though I still do all three), I’m determined to take some action and realize my goals. The work so far with my life coach has been great, learning more about what motivates me on a deeper level and what trips me up too, and learning a new way of looking at things and do things differently so that I can achieve these dreams I’ve been dreaming.
So I guess without stating it via “resolutions” (such a depressing word, really)I’ve decided that this year is the year I make these changes. Look out 2012, ’cause here I come!