Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Musings on disaster.

Yesterday our heat lamp fell into our brooder and burned through the bedding, the plastic and the rolling dolly I had the brooder set on. We were lucky in that we discovered it before it had the chance to ignite and burn down the garage. We were lucky but this Springs chicks were not.

Life on a small farm is not without its successes and triumphs but that is not what this post is about. This post is about failures and setbacks. No matter what you do on a small farm you will have failures and setbacks. I have had quite a few. From hail storm ravaged gardens to rabbits that wouldn’t mother their young. Some are my fault either through ignorance or mistake and some are simple acts of random chance. 

As small farmers we invest so much of ourselves into our farms. From hours carefully tending gardens and herding flocks to time spent constructing pens and buildings we shape and mold our farms to be a reflection of our desires and dreams. For some this may be an intricately integrated vegetable garden with carefully plotted and planted varieties, plants that were selected with promise and tended with love and affection. For some of us it is a flock of busy little hens whose antics and names came to be dear to us over the hours we spend with them caring for their needs.  And when we invest so much of our hearts, minds and dreams in our farms it can be an especially difficult blow when disaster strikes. Failures on the homestead can crush your heart. Any time an animal dies I feel it is my fault, that I messed up in some way in care or prevention of harm. That can be an especially heavy burden indeed.

 There may be some luck few out there that will avoid all calamities but for the rest of us the question isn’t if but when and where disaster will strike. We have had many failures and setback and if you are a homesteader or small farmer than my guess is so have you.  So what can we do about it. First from the outset decide that you will have setbacks and that they may sadden you but that they will not stop you. Stiffen your resolve before it is even tested so that when the blow comes you have something to lean on. Second see destruction as a teacher. If you are observant you will find that every failure has a lesson in it. Whether that lesson is specific such as a hole in your fence or more general such as you can’t control everything is up to you. But I urge you to find these lessons as they will make you and your farmstead better with every realization. 

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