Oh the things I would buy! The farm will absorb all the money and labor I can throw at it and it will never be enough. There is always more work to do. More I could spend money on. More I could throw resources at.
Some things are better than others. Some things are higher priority. Sometimes priority is somewhat ambiguous. It’s hard to know. But there are several things we own that we don’t need but enjoy owning…places we have tucked a little spare cash and feel we have been rewarded for it.
The wood burning cookstove is totally a want.
Well, mostly anyway. We have an electric range. We have a furnace. They both work well when the power is on. But the wood stove is so nice all winter long. Just park your tookus next to it and you’ll thaw out in no time. Wet, ice-covered gloves will thaw and dry while bacon fries and bread cooks. It’s amazing. The whole skillet heats evenly, not focused at the center! You will also lose weight, gain strength and stay warm cutting wood to feed the thing. 5 months of wood is a lot. No. A lot. No. You are still thinking too small. A Lot lot.
So we sharpen the chain, mix the fuel, put on safety glasses and hearing protection and heavy gloves and spend dry days in winter cutting hedge trees, cleaning fences and managing the woodlot for the future. Multiple shoots come up from a coppiced stool. We pick the one that looks the strongest and cut the rest…year after year. We build fires. We build brush piles for wildlife. Then we remember we forgot to stoke the fire in the stove so somebody goes home to put a big log on. Nothing worse than a cold stove on a winter evening.
It certainly isn’t something we need but it really is nice. This old, drafty house is hard to heat so we don’t. We just set the thermostat at 57 and keep that fire roaring. We recognized a need, had a little extra cash and are now reaping the benefits.
There are any number of places I would spend extra cash on the farm but we don’t seem to be burdened by unspent money these days. It would be nice to have a second car, more and better cows, a round baler, a loader tractor, 1,000 chestnut trees, 3,000 hazelnuts, sheep, a new machine shed, more and larger greenhouses…on and on. Long lists of things I don’t really need but would REALLY like to have. Things that would make our life here a little better. Trenched water lines, pond, a floor in the loft of the cattle barn…heck, a new cattle barn.
But it all costs money.
Well, Mr. Jordan, don’t you have a bona-fide city computer job? Well, yes. So where does the money all go?
A few years ago I could tell you to the penny. To the penny! I kept a little notebook outlining my goals and stating my finances clearly. But that fell to the wayside. Some people only pray when they are cornered and look to God as their last chance. That, I guess, is how I feel about budgeting. And it shows.
But, again, no matter how much money I spend I could always find a need for more. That’s unfortunate but it’s the truth. It doesn’t matter how well I budget. It matters how I prioritize.
I’m glad we bought the wood stove. However, I am careful to distinguish needs from wants. There are wants that are worth having. But maybe not right now. I think the pond falls into that category. It would be nice but there are other priorities. That was a hard thing to say though.