Taming a tangled wilderness

We’re unusually free with sharing our successes and failures here at Innisfree on the Stillwater, a fact that is intentional and purposeful rather than naive and dramatic. You see, our desire, along with giving people access to quality, sustainably grown … Continue reading

We’re unusually free with sharing our successes and failures here at Innisfree on the Stillwater, a fact that is intentional and purposeful rather than naive and dramatic. You see, our desire, along with giving people access to quality, sustainably grown food is also to help educate the vast majority of people who don’t understand what it takes to grow their food exactly what it takes to grow their food.

In addition to some thinking we’re arrogant for having such a goal, one of the classic responses we get, especially to failures, is that we don’t know what we’re doing. The irony, to a point, is that these critics are right, but for entirely the wrong reasons.

As it turns out, we don’t know what we’re doing because the knowledge of what we’re trying to do, in many cases, has been almost entirely lost, sometimes intentionally. Over the past several decades, there has been a radical revolution in agriculture almost unheard of since the invention of agriculture itself, and often not always for the better. This revolution has happened so quickly that the knowledge got lost before it got written down.

The result has been tragic, from loss of crop diversity so severe that entire annual crops are now entirely clones to animals so closely bred for specific genetics that they die from eating food they’re supposed to be able to eat, along with a population now so far removed from the realities of what it actually takes to feed them that this all seems normal to them.

We don’t know what we’re doing because we’re on the frontier trying to create a bulwark against the threats these kinds of changes represent. We understand we’re not going to overturn or replace those realities, but we also know some level of that knowledge must be salvaged or rediscovered or the potential for disaster is real and imminent.

So yes, we admit our ignorance, not as a condemnation of ourselves, but as a bellwether of the risks we all face. We do this because we desperately want to learn before it’s too late and for others to understand the risks we all face.

Perhaps that makes us arrogant, but the fact is that explorers and discoverers have always had to be to succeed at what they’re trying to do. We accept that aspersion and the challenge it represents because the task must be done.

DLH

Five years on: Disasters, reevaluations, and the straight and narrow

There are few things like a disaster of one’s own making to cause one to reevaluate. We’ve had more than a few disasters, big and small, since we came back to Innisfree on the Stillwater. They kind of come with … Continue reading

There are few things like a disaster of one’s own making to cause one to reevaluate.

We’ve had more than a few disasters, big and small, since we came back to Innisfree on the Stillwater. They kind of come with the territory of taking over this kind of an enterprise and learning on the fly.

While disasters can sometimes be setbacks and can also be demoralizing, we also use them as a chance to evaluate what we are doing and come up with ways to do them better, not just to correct a specific mistake but also to ensure that our approach is the best one to use.

The result is a cycle of disaster, reevaluation, and recommitment. It would be easy to give up when things go wrong, but nobody ever said what we are doing was going to be easy. Instead, we figure out how to do what we are doing better and move on.

In the end, that’s the only way to succeed at farming.

DLH

There are days…

People sometimes ask me why I tell people when I fail. Frankly, it would be easy not to tell anyone when things to wrong. It would be easy to lull people into a false impression that the life I live … Continue reading

People sometimes ask me why I tell people when I fail. Frankly, it would be easy not to tell anyone when things to wrong. It would be easy to lull people into a false impression that the life I live is somehow, distant, idyllic, and trouble-free.

It would also be a lie.

In fact, that lie is at the core of a lot of things I see wrong with how we moderns live. Governments, corporations, and our own fancies have convinced us that we live in a world that should be sterile and secure from risk, want, or danger when reality could not be further from that conviction.

So, I choose to speak to reality. Like today, when a series of miscues resulted in the two bulls I was taking to the butcher escaping and vanishing. Yes, I said vanishing. No one can find them. I spent all day trying to track them down with no success. We just had $4400 worth of animals escape and disappear into thin air.

And that fact does not deter me. Yes, it is a setback. Yes, I am going to have to figure out how to replace that income. Yes, those two loose bulls still represent a liability until they are caught or killed. But none of that means I am a failure.

I believe the best measure of a person is how that person responds to adversity. Decades ago, I chose perseverance because, from my view, what is the point of life otherwise?. And that’s why I choose to share my failures, so that other people can see that it’s okay to fail and that life goes on.

Now, to find me a couple of missing by cows…

DLH

There are days…

People sometimes ask me why I tell people when I fail. Frankly, it would be easy not to tell anyone when things to wrong. It would be easy to lull people into a false impression that the life I live … Continue reading

People sometimes ask me why I tell people when I fail. Frankly, it would be easy not to tell anyone when things to wrong. It would be easy to lull people into a false impression that the life I live is somehow, distant, idyllic, and trouble-free.

It would also be a lie.

In fact, that lie is at the core of a lot of things I see wrong with how we moderns live. Governments, corporations, and our own fancies have convinced us that we live in a world that should be sterile and secure from risk, want, or danger when reality could not be further from that conviction.

So, I choose to speak to reality. Like today, when a series of miscues resulted in the two bulls I was taking to the butcher escaping and vanishing. Yes, I said vanishing. No one can find them. I spent all day trying to track them down with no success. We just had $4400 worth of animals escape and disappear into thin air.

And that fact does not deter me. Yes, it is a setback. Yes, I am going to have to figure out how to replace that income. Yes, those two loose bulls still represent a liability until they are caught or killed. But none of that means I am a failure.

I believe the best measure of a person is how that person responds to adversity. Decades ago, I chose perseverance because, from my view, what is the point of life otherwise?. And that’s why I choose to share my failures, so that other people can see that it’s okay to fail and that life goes on.

Now, to find me a couple of missing by cows…

DLH