My friends, my friends it’s fall! Time to wrap things up, wind things down, and settle into the autumn.

In my line of work we talk alot about “realization rates”. Realization rates are a measure of goal achievement. If I say I can build a plane in 200 hours and it takes me 400 hours I have a realization rate of 2. If I build it in 100 hours I have a realization rate of 0.5. The ultimate realization rate is 1. That means you set a realistic goal and achieved it. The 0.5 means your goal was too easy. The 2 means your goal was too hard or your effort was too small.

I would put myself at about 1.7 right now. I don’t think my goals are unreasonable nor do I believe that my effort has been too small – although I will admit to probably taking more sabbaths than I should. πŸ™‚ But I’ve begun to realize that my plan may have been too spontaneous and chaotic. And… maybe non-existent in certain areas.

Our first ever batch of hard cider. It’s bubbling away on a top shelf.

I like to end these posts on a positive note so let’s talk first about where I missed.

My biggest failure was not getting the house painted. It was Don’s most important goal and I just couldn’t find the motivation when the days were sunny. I wanted to be out in the barn or clearing the woods or anything other than painting. Painting is so not farming, except that it is. Realization finally dawned on me a couple of weeks ago that farming as a lifestyle is wholistic – land, house, animals, garden, family, friends, even off-farm employment – it’s all one life. This one is due to lack of effort.

At breakfast I realized that the eggs, tomato, honey, apple juice, and blackberry jelly were all produced right here!! πŸ™‚

I didn’t get fence up (although I started) nor did I get a real garden in (although we did have the small potato/tomato patch) nor did I get the barn totally repaired. But it wasn’t due to lack of effort or unreasonable goals. I didn’t have a plan and by that I mean a realistic, thought out, written down with dates plan. I was also missing my overall farm philosophy.

It’s philosophy that drives action and provides boundaries for decision making. A smallholder, which I may begin calling myself, farms to fill her or his larder whereas a “Farmer” farms for income. I realized as I walked onto the back porch the other day that we had created a larder. In addition to the shelves of canned food from the grocery store, there are jars of home canned apple juice, buckets of apples, buckets of potatoes, boxes of onions, and even a big bag of our own walnuts.

Not our pig (yet) but we’re still makin’ bacon!

It felt good, this realization. If I am really honest I farm for the satisfaction of a full larder. I am not entrepreneurial nor a good businessman. I’m okay with that. I am however a good provider. I think mostly because it’s the thing that gives me the most joy. A smallholder with a full larder, yes, I can live with that!

I’m considering those goals realized.

Other things we’ve accomplished are our first batch of hard cider, pressing our own juice, CHICKENS and hatching chickens. The bees made it to the end of the season and we have something akin to honey. Our first try at bacon is in the refrigerator in the barn curing away. And in a couple of weeks we’ll have meat rabbits. All longtime goals that I never

Two scavenged shipping crates on their way to being a rabbit hutch.

really thought we’d achieve and yet, here we are.

We’ve been here one year and two months. It’s been chaos, bewilderment, bedazzlement, be-damned wonderful.

I realize that.



I think all that introspection deserves a nice, pickled egg.

6 thoughts on “Realization

  1. We’re on about the same schedule (but not yet finished building the house.) So you’re way ahead–despite the paint. Living is the most important–connecting with those we love and finding joy. After that, well, this year we will move into the house, the orchard is in, and doing well (next year we may begin to see fruit), we’ve had two years of haphazard gardens (with tons of ideas for future improvement), and we’ve been diligent about harvesting deadfall to heat the house. All is well.

  2. I think you’re judging your efforts too harshly. To have accomplished that much in barely more than an year is, in my humble opinion, outstanding. Well done! You’re off to a much better start than we had. It’s important to make sure you go at a pace that will encourage you to continue, rather than at a pace that will burn you out and leave you discouraged. That comment comes from personal experience. πŸ™‚

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