It’s hard to really explain why we bought the property. At the time, we were nearing the end of our summer vacation in the US. The oil industry was entering the most severe down turn in 30 years (if not EVER), cops were being assassinated in the streets- we have several family members who are in law enforcement. And it sort of seemed that society was falling apart at the seams. So, we were kind of discussing how we wanted a place that could be self sufficient with a little work. Something that we could grow into. As it turned out, there was a couple who are good friends with my In-Laws. They were looking to sell their place… The property had all of the physical requirements I was looking for and the price was fair. So with one visit and before it was even listed, we made the offer and BOOM, we own a farm…
We weren’t (and still aren’t) exactly sure what we wanted to do with it. Do we continue with cattle? Do we specialize with some sort of unique crop? what
about dairy? The ideas are all viable, but most of them require you actually live in the same country as the farm… We then sort of discussed the idea of creating a “blog” (Not sure why, but I really hate that word) and documenting the whole thing. Now, that was sort of easy… I mean that the idea was easy, actually writing something on a regular basis is really hard! What do you write about? What if it makes someone mad. What if it’s not correct? Who would read it? Could it be of value to someone, could it be a source of information and ideas for others? … Yeah, I had to reign in the ego and just re-focus the goals to something more easily attainable. Write about what you know, and for your known audience- in this case friends and family members. While also making note of the progress and decisions we make leaving the results up to God.
The first decision was when to begin the “Blog”… I REALLY hate that word…? I basically told Allison I would begin it once we had a name and after we bought a tractor. She asked, “What kind of tractor are you going to get?” Dang her and her questions!! She may as well had asked me “Whats the coefficient of friction a tire experiences on a dry road- asphalt and compare that to the coefficient of friction that same tire has on an icy road?” What the hell!?! “And show your work!” Ehhhhhhh, riiiiiiiight…
So I replied “Let’s just focus on the name and worry about that for now…” whew! Bullet dodged!!! The name came about much more quickly than I had imagined- What’s in a Name?… But I still had caveat #2! Clearly, you can’t write about a
“farm” if you don’t have a tractor! I mean, who would even listen to you? You got
no pasture cred!!! Or whatever the general Mr. Salt of the Earth types term as “street cred“. Figuring I had a good year/year and half before I needed to really get a tractor I set about vigorously putting off the idea of writing about the experience.
I mean we talked about the property. We tossed around different ideas. We debated what needed to be done first. And finally, we decided to take a deep breath, count to ten and wait until I actually got to spend some time on the place. I mean, I literally have spent 45 minutes on Fernweh… After that, we could then really sit down a get some things going. In the meantime, we had a few other things come up, where we had to make some rushed decisions about the property while in Jakarta. So, the very first piece of advice I would give to anyone looking to get into “homesteading”:
1) Make no decisions about your place until you have lived on it for at least 2 weeks.
This includes where you’re going to put anything, what you’re going to need, who you’re going to have on your property and what you’re going to focus on. In our case this has been the single biggest stress generator since we have purchased Fernweh. Unfortunately/Fortunately, ‘waiting’ wasn’t possible for us. But, given our circumstances, this is for the best.
Since we have already established that “advice #1” is going to be completely ignored, that I am dodging writing a “blog”, and that I think that term is stupid, we are now to the point in time of mid-April… And my father in-law!
So, thinking that I got to like June 2017 before I have to begin writing this thing, and arrived at a place where the major decisions are postponed to July 2016, we are just clicking along. Doing what we do in Jakarta- Trying not to get Dengue or Typhoid or Amoebic Dysentery- living life. When PawPaw calls…
“Hey Berry, John Deere is running a special…”
Well great!?! I think… So we talk about about the tractor, we discuss about other brands. Funny thing about other brands, ask your kid what tractor they want. And the answer? Probably John Deere. I’m not sure how that company has been able to have their brand be identified by 4-5 year olds, but it is truly remarkable. And also sort of locked us into the Deere brand by temper tantrum fiat.
Which brings me to my 2nd piece of advice:
2) When beginning anything, it is best to have a Forrest Gump mentality
I say this because, in most cases you are not going to know what you are doing. This leads, inevitably, to questioning your reasoning, the soundness of the decision or even if any of it is worth it. It’s at this point where you have to just know that at your very basest level you are trying to do the right thing and that somehow it’ll work out. Sometimes, life will dictate the choices we make and that often, the best inner response can be “Whatever you tell me too, Drill Sergeant”. And the even better way is to respond with unconditional acceptance of ‘now’, which is what I always found so powerful about that particular movie.
Now, I did happened to do some research and I was also fortunate to be able to talk to a real cattle farmer from Canada. His input was really invaluable. Mainly because he said, “Look, you’re going to need a tractor. And with John Deere, you can’t go wrong”. Good point! “And plus, your kids will always remember climbing up on their first Deere!”
Point made, a good deal with the opportunity to drive a legend.
And thats how you get a tractor… And start a world wide web informational/instructional page. Ehhhh, FINE! ‘BLOG’ !!!