Monday, December 12, 2016

Instant Results (don't forget the lacquer)

I've been mulling over a few recent emails from some people who have just completed ther first year on their projects --- going and living off grid; starting an acre garden; developing a few acres into a permaculture setup; trying a new back-to-nature lifestyle. The underlying current through these emails is that they are disheartened that things aren't coming together faster. They universally are voicing their frustration that they aren't getting instant success, or even just fast results. My thoughts......if you want to see quick results living my lifestyle, you had better plant radishes. 

What the heck does that mean? 

I've been at my own projects for over a dozen years now. And rather than making my goal be the completion of everything, I've "planted radishes" along the way instead. You see, radishes germinate really quickly, seem to grow by leaps, and are ready for harvest in 21 days. It's hard to find something more satisfying than that when it comes to gardening. In the kitchen, the analogy would be growing sprouts to eat. In just a few days they're ready to eat. Wow, instant reward!.........don't forget the lacquer (old Polaroid joke). 

I never expected to get my house and farm completed quickly. But by segmenting the project into little tiny projects, I reaped the feeling of success over and over again. My first garden bed was tiny, I think 2' by 3'. I planted beans. Boy, I was thrilled when I harvested those green beans and ate them. What a heady feeling of success! 

All along my journey I've celebrated one success after the other.....all little ones. They helped counter all the failures and mistakes I made. And geez, I had plenty of them! One failure seems to wipe out a dozen successes, so as long as I was seeing daily little successes, I was able to shoulder the failures without despair. 

What I would consider my really big projects are not completed yet, nor do I expect the achieve them by end of this year. Perhaps not even next year. The only big job I've completed so far is the fencing, and I only finally got it completed this past year. Of course I have fencing replacement to look forward to so I can't gloat too much and get lazy. With this erupting volcano on my island, I'll always have fence repairs to look forward to. But at least all the major fence runs are now in place. 

I consider building the house to be one of the big projects. Completing the barn is another. Building an ohana yet another, one I haven't even started yet. And ultimately getting the farm to generate a livable income to be the clincher. This coming year I hope to have the house finished, possibly the barn done, and at least somewhere along the road to producing farm income. As for the ohana, I've picked out the location and plan to start it once the house is completed. 

While I do indeed keep the main goal in mind, every day I set up little goals. I try to keep them small enough for some to be attainable that day. For example, in addition to the normal daily chores and routine, today the lilikoi all got harvested & processed and the juice frozen, enough rocks gathered for the upcoming week's concrete work, the tomato seedlings got planted, holes were prepared for two new fruit trees, the next layer of cardboard went into the hugelpit, wind blown twigs were gathered and broken up for kindling to last the rest of the month (they are in a loose pile for now in order to dry), trash was taken to the dump, gasoline was purchased for the various farm tools, new seeds orders placed, and several pea trellises made. The rest of the time was spent tackling paperwork. Not bad, considering it was raining all day. Sure, I didn't get everything done on my jobs list, but I give myself credit for the things that I did get accomplished. Plus I verbally compliment myself. That may sound odd, but there's something about hearing it that helps me feel good about having gotten a task done. I have a friend who thumbtacks a gold star on her kitchen bulletin board for each job completed. It works for her. But what works for me is hearing a good old attaboy! I simply believe in doing whatever works. 

Yes, do whatever works for you. I find that I need to have little successes along the way when working on a big project. Maybe someone else could work for years on a big project without getting discouraged, but not I. I don't at all mind that a task takes years to complete, but I need those daily little attaboys in order to keep my interest and fulfill my happiness quotient. Perhaps it's just a game I play with myself, but as I said, do whatever works. 

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