Flexibility: the most important tool in the toolkit

This last week of heavy rain and cool temperatures has thoroughly saturated the ground and let in its wake a lot of mud and…. waiting.

We were in the process of plowing, discing and (eventually) drilling pasture seed in to our south 10 acre crop field. It has been in soy/corn rotation for probably 50-60 years and we are excited to be transforming it back in to a perennial pasture.

We were only able to get it disced twice before the downpour due to tractor breakdowns and other setbacks, and so we are now in a waiting game for the sun to return and get the field “workable” again soon.

Once dry, we will disc it a final time, drill in the seed and pack it smooth. (Then walk it and remove any obscenely large rocks so that it can be cut for hay in the future if desired).

In the spirit of being behind schedule, we also have yet to plant the garden (with the exception of potatoes). And it will still be a few days before we can get out to make beds and plant seeds due to the saturation.


One of the wonderful things about a small, diversified farm is that flexibility is inherent besides being necessary.

So much is outside of your control that you must constantly be updating lists of “to-do” items with various priorities and variables figured-in.

What can I get done while its wet?

What needs to get done when its bone-dry?

What tasks are fixed and cannot be changed, rain or shine?

And so lists are a farmer’s best friend.

The more you can plan and anticipate that things won’t go as you planned and anticipated, the better you can weather the storms of the unpredictable. Gumption is destroyed easily when it is built on pillars of fragile clay, but resilient when rest on the branches of willows.


This week is supposed to clear up and dry up as it progresses and so there is a rush to get things done now that can be completed when its wet so that come Thursday, Friday and Saturday, we can aim to be on the tractor and planting the garden.

Let’s hope a a sunshower is in our future.


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