Doing it All Wrong!

I’m doing it wrong.  All of it.  It’s wrong, wrong, wrong.  Grandpa didn’t do it this way.  Dad doesn’t do it this way.  None of the neighbors do it this way.  It’s wrong.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  I’m going to either go broke or wear myself out doing this.  Oh, the things people say to me…

“You’re going to kill that beautiful alfalfa stand running chickens over it like that.”

“You can’t sell enough chickens to make a living.  Even if you could, the workload would kill you.”

“Nobody is going to pay $X for eggs.”

“You’re a smart guy with a good job.  Why do you want to be a farmer?”

“You’re not a farmer.  You don’t till soil.”

“We can’t feed the world farming the way you do it.”

“Who has the time to move the cows several times each day?  That’s a lot of work.”

“What do you mean you’re only feeding your cows grass?”

“Who in their right mind would want to milk a goat?”

“Raw milk will kill you.  Look at our ancestors…they’re all dead!”  (OK, that was a joke.)

“Did you see [Popular Reality Show] last night?  No?  What do you do out there?  I would DIE without my TV!”

“How can you just kill a chicken?  I mean, it’s alive.  I couldn’t eat anything that used to be alive.”

“Oh.  You home school your kids.  You’re one of those people.”

“Even if it pollutes drinking water and helps to destroy the Earth, a flushing toilet is a basic human right!”

“I just can’t imagine why you would want to live out here.”  (Nevermind that they live here voluntarily…)

“Well, you’ll learn.  No, just go on ahead and do that.  I tried it once.  You’ll learn.”

“Your kids will hate you for this.”

“I used to think like that.”

Yup.  Again, feel free to move out to the stix, buy a little scrap of land and try to make it productive.  Be sure to have thick skin, write down your vision and be in total unity with your spouse/business partner/whatever.  Well-intentioned friends, family and neighbors will fearlessly tell you how wrong you are, how quickly you will go broke and what a mess you will make of things if you do it your way.  Find a way to filter their input while maintaining relationships.  You need those people, even if they tend to be negative.

Not everything you do will work.  Not every idea is great.  Once in a while your detractors will be right.  Don’t be defeated.  There will be awful days when you feel like a total failure, when you have wasted significant sums of money, when your dreams become nightmares or when that little goat you spent a week feeding, loving and worrying over dies in your arms…poor Shivers.  A friend recently filled a 5-gallon bucket with dead baby chicks.  He analyzed the problem, made some adjustments and worked to do better.  Don’t be defeated.

Finally, never tell the next generation, “I used to think like that” or “I tried that once”.  Tell them to keep improving.  Expect them to keep looking for new ways to solve old problems.  Button your lip as you help them back to their feet.

6 thoughts on “Doing it All Wrong!

  1. As Joel Salatin says “if anything is worth doing, it’s worth doing wrong”. We haven’t yet been able to make the jump to a homestead but I’ll be sure to come back and read this post when we do. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Thanks. We live by that quote. Salatin also says not to try anything that others think is a good idea. If they think it’s a bad idea…you might be on to something.

  2. We’ve been laughed at several times. We just laugh along with them……..The most common thing we’ve heard is that the hawks will get all of our chickens if we put them on the pasture.

    • Yeah, Chicken Hawks. We hear that too. Mac Stone at Elmwood Stock Farm had a series of slides in his presentation showing how he foils raptors using fishing line strung above his chicken houses. He also showed images of hawks tangled in his poultry netting and the nightmare of releasing them.

      Even the valid disaster scenarios presented by our detractors have possible solutions.

  3. I don’t think it is. I know a woman taped the presentation at the Missouri Organics Association Conference but I haven’t seen it posted anywhere. I’ll send you his contact information. I’m sure he’ll send you some slides so you can see what he was doing with the fishing line.

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