***Graphic warning- There’s some foul language in this post***

Money Makers

I find the whole topic of “change” to be fascinating, horrifying, uncomfortable, exciting and invigorating. For you. For me, it’s become one of those inevitable things that I relish at about 3/4’s of the way through the process. In the beginning of it, I reeeeeeaaalllly hate it. Maybe because, most of the time, change for me has some sort of spiritual component that requires me getting my butt kicked in numerous ways before I grudgingly accept the way in which I need to change. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to wax poetic or philosophic or even attempt to give you advice on the best way to handle “change”. What I am going to to talk about is “this change”. And by this change, I actually mean being laid-off.

So, the metaphysical aspect aside for the time being, I have literally been forced into a change that I had no desire to seek, nor had any idea was coming my way. Granted, the industry that I work in has been in the grips of a downturn of epic proportions. Me? I was actually in a position of relative security only six months ago. But, when three projects delay and you are the new kid on the block, and you also happen to be the most expensive, you end up with a pretty sizable target placed RIGHT BETWEEN YOUR EYES. Actually, I felt more like a baby seal saying hi to those curious bipedal furry-faced vodka smelling ice-walkers… ‘Hey guys! you look funny! Why do you need that sti… *Whack!*

To be fair, well actually, screw that. It wasn’t fair. But I do understand the business behind the decision and have always known that the possibility of this type of outcome could happen to me. It doesn’t make it any easier to swallow and coupled with the actual excellent job I had done prior made this one of the most difficult changes I have ever faced. I have not been unemployed in over 30 years. I have never drawn unemployment. And now… I’m not sure.

Going around a boulder on the trail… Ironic

I used to have a couple of “mentors” in the business. My Grandfather, my father, and my first coordinator. They’ve all died. And let me tell you, I miss their counsel. Even if they would not have been very gentle in delivering it! They were all steady voices and knew how to look at things in a way that gruffly exposed their enormous hearts. Berry, Eddie, and Kevin. You are truly missed.

I guess, it sort of gets to the point. The point I would want to make to my sons in the event they are faced with a similar situation. How do you handle it? What do you do? Why the hell did it happen to me? Look, truth is, I don’t know. I’m not even sure God knows. And this is where the part of change that is really important comes in… In fact, this is the most important lesson a man can learn. You are not your job.


YOU are not your job.

Sure, I mean, thats easy enough to accept when you read it. It’s even easier to accept when you have 4-6 months of operating cash in the bank and have a house that you can afford even if you are unemployed. I mean, I know this is true because this is my situation.

But when HR and your boss sit you down, two days before Christmas, and say “It’s not you. You have done an excellent job. We are being forced to reduce head count because of the delay of 3 projects. As such, here is your package detailing…” The first thing that went my highly evolved spiritual brain was *FUUUUUCK YOU you sorry Motherfucker! If we meet anywhere outside this building I am going break your damned cock-sucking JAW… So help me GOD!* What I said, was “Yeah, man, I get it.”

The fact is, most people, to some degree, are their jobs. Proof? Do you want your brain surgeon to just be sort of interested in his job or do you want him to LOVE his jay-oh-bee? Yeah, me too. And most brain surgeons to a large degree need to LOVE what they do to be able to get through all of the stuff they have to get through to be able to cut on brains. Anyway, I liked what I did. And what made me good at what I did was that I took what I did personal. It was important to me that I did a good job. In fact, the people I worked with also thought that about me as well as clients I worked with thought the same too.

And all of that is great until you become your job. You ARE NOT your job…

Coming up for air

And it’s exactly at that point where your value as a person is tied directly to your job that the whole thing becomes skewed. The point at which you fail to recognize your value in the eyes of your Creator. Or more correctly minimize that value in relation to your value to the Corporation. This is how I came to my current “Change”.

How do I order my life so that the value I bring to life is in harmony with that which my God wants. How do I bring that to fruition while also putting food on the table? Yeah, I’m still working on it and I am hoping that I can get it together quickly. I can tell you that I have spent more time with my spiritual advisor. I have been praying more. I have also been trying, to keep all of my actions centered on Today.

I am not sure that it is making a huge difference in anything other than I have really come to accept that I am not my job. I am a child of God, working at being a better man through prayer. I am trying to make sure that each day, most of my actions reflect what God would have me be. And when I fall short, I ask for forgiveness and pray for the strength to do better.

You are a child of God… Your job is to do His will.


13510912_10206940912457408_4897574312091602493_nIt’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

In The Seat
In The Seat

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.13537585_10206940912657413_4425824352618586043_n

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 13528749_10206940913377431_6179198046282797185_nbrands. 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 13495047_10206940914097449_5113100152678137142_noften, 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’ !!!13438845_10206940914937470_3342566052369082210_n