I’ve heard people can’t change and a leopard doesn’t change his spots. But you do change, your personality, values, prejudices, pre-conceived notions, abilities, confidence and tolerances change. I am a very confident, self reliant individual but I’ve been humbled in so many ways that that confidence sometimes gets second guessed. Sustainable farm life is hard and making a profit is challenging. We haven’t seen that yet but it can be done. I know people who do make a profit and I marvel at their tenacity.
Having spent over twnety-five years in the city, I have what is known as street smarts. I understand urban life. I mean how life is lived and what it entails. Because of friends, still there, I'm close to the pulse of the city. They are by no means boring people, there is no shortage of things to do but I do like getting back to the farm. Yet when I was younger I’d run from bugs, didn’t like touching worms and wasn’t into wildlife. I thought that a garden was a sterile environment; I don’t remember my father or father in-law ever talking about pests other then the neighbor’s cat or maybe deer.
Yet here I am today, picking bugs up and looking at them under magnification. Researching predacious versus parasitic species and learning how to identify bug types in general. We rely on beneficial insects and nematodes as part of our integrated pest management practices. Another metamorphous was my idea of a flower garden. I always thought flower gardens were a waste of time on a farm. (I said that once during a presentation that had Master Gardeners in it and you’d thought I dropped the “F” bomb.) You have to put labor into a flower garden yet you’d never get revenue from it. So each year I’d fight the notion of planting flowers. We tried it a couple of times but we ended up giving more flowers away then selling so we stopped. Then I read about an insectary and how it is supposed to help overwinter your beneficial’s. The insectary is made up of different flowers, bushes, weeds and grass. The beneficial’s live off of the roots and plants until both their prey and they become adults. So we’ve had a flower garden for the past four years.
I’ve met farming’s elite like Joel Salatin and
Buy Local- From a farmer near you. Their effort is well worth yours.