Failure?

I’ve written numerous times that I feel like I am a failure at farming.  I really am not … I am a failure at “market farming” meaning raising things to go to a weekly farmers market to sell.  Does that make me a failure at farming?  Probably not.

Sarah Lewis, a cultural historian and a Du Bois Fellow at Harvard University writes in her book, The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery, “We thrive, in part, when we have purpose, when we still have more to do. The deliberate incomplete has long been a central part of creation myths themselves. In Navajo culture, some craftsmen and women sought imperfection, giving their textiles and ceramics an intended flaw called a “spirit line” so that there is a forward thrust, a reason to continue making work. Nearly a quarter of twentieth century Navajo rugs have these contrasting-color threads that run out from the inner pattern to just beyond the border that contains it; Navajo baskets and often pottery have an equivalent line called a “heart line” or a “spirit break.” The undone pattern is meant to give the weaver’s spirit a way out, to prevent it from getting trapped and reaching what we sense is an unnatural end.”

So, perhaps, like the Navajos I have intentionally left a “heart line” or “spirit break” in what I’ve done so far so I am not trapped.

Then again, I am not selling what people really want.  I am selling good, well-raised and healthy products, but they are not the norm. They are what we raise well and what does well on our farm. If, for example, we raised meat chickens instead of rabbits (heaven forbid!); we could sell them like hotcakes, but nope, not going there. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, I never buy chicken anymore, we eat rabbit instead and both Wally and I like it better than chicken.

I met a woman yesterday while I was picking up feed and sold her four rabbits so maybe things will change in that department.  I do believe once we get vegetable production going, that will open a new door for us.  At the old farm, we did not have a good, flat area for row crops that was not a LONG WAY from the house.  Where we tilled recently, we walk by every day.  It is less than 100 yards from the house.  Keeping the garden close to you is key.  If you’ve got to get into a vehicle to drive to it, it makes putting off weeding or harvesting pretty easy.

I am keeping to my goal of writing without negativity and for respect and I believe this post works in that regard.  I believe it is okay to question things and to explore.  One of my favorite writers, Anaïs Nin wrote, “You must not fear, hold back, count or be a miser with your thoughts and feelings. It is also true that creation comes from an overflow, so you have to learn to intake, to imbibe, to nourish yourself and not be afraid of fullness. The fullness is like a tidal wave which then carries you, sweeps you into experience and into writing. Permit yourself to flow and overflow, allow for the rise in temperature, all the expansions and intensifications. Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them. If it seems to you that I move in a world of certitudes, you, par contre, must benefit from the great privilege of youth, which is that you move in a world of mysteries. But both must be ruled by faith.”

Something is always born of excess and of great terrors and I’ve certainly experienced both of those in the past few years. Nin is a writer, but I do not think good writing is any different than good photography and for me, they are very interconnected and always will be.  As I write this, I have one camera sitting on my desk on top of my Walking on Alligators book.  This is simply where the camera ended up when I took the memory card out of it to import the images I took yesterday into the computer. My desk is a cluttered mess of photography and writing books as well as seed catalogs and seeds.

Also on my desk are 2012 and 2013 calendars.  Yesterday, I looked up the individual that bought most of our goats from us back in 2012.  I was exploring the possibility of buying some of them back but they were unwilling to sell any of their senior does or doelings.  Apparently there are close to 100 individuals living in that community and I guess they drink a lot of milk.  So, back to the drawing board.  I know what I am looking for, it is just a matter of finding it.

It is freezing outside and I need to get going and get Moon milked and the rest of the chores done. I need to leave for school early this morning because I need to have a new radio/CD player installed in Yoda.  The CD player in one he has in him now stopped working and I am going crazy not being able to listen to my books on CD.  They play, but the tracks skip around and I have to constantly switch them back to where they should be which means eventually I am going to drive off the road.  That would not be good.

Until later …