Thursday, February 19, 2015

Winter Vacation

Okay, I say this every time but I am serious.  I even set a phone alarm.  MUST START BLOGGING MORE OFTEN!

The Farm in Dormancy, except The Kiddos & Lily
I have a couple of ideas for blogs but they were all serious, so instead I figured I'd just talk about what's going on on the farm right now.  I know it looks like a big fat nothing, but in reality it's pretty busy.  At least that's what I've felt like lately.  Here's a breakdown (I did a Myers-Briggs test a couple of weeks ago for a program I'll talk about later and it said I'm an INTJ, and the J part means I like lists, so here's further proof it was right):

1- Conferences.  Yep.  It's that time of year where every organization we're involved in has some get together somewhere where we all sit through sessions that deal with everything from financing to weather to social media to legislative issues.  Yep.  They're all about that boring too.  I think I yawned writing that.  Okay maybe I'm being too harsh.  I do like hearing about other farms and what they do (we all know from previous posts I like to spy ;)) and I do get some good ideas.  This whole blog came out of the first NC Strawberry Association conference we went too.  But in the end the sessions tend to run together and everything after lunch pretty much goes downhill (usually I don't take the kids because none of us would enjoy it; not me, certainly not them, and definitely not the folks who have to listen to them whine about not enjoying it, so I'm always thinking when can I go to the room and take a nap!).  Why do we go if they're so boring?  To meet and talk to other farmers.  How many other times of the year do I get to meet other people who are working in agriculture, who understand what that means, and who are just as passionate about it as I am?  I love bouncing ideas off them and giving them whatever advice I can.  We just got back from the American Farm Bureau FUSION Conference in Nashville TN (lots of firsts here, first time to TN for The Husband and I, first time flying for him [he now claims he wants a jet, smh], first time being away from The Girl for longer than 1 night [she did fine and when I got home so did I], first time in a hotel that measured their sq footage in acres [57 under the roof to be exact]).  It was awesome, except for the whole snow/ice storm that crippled Nashville (God and Luck were on our side and we managed to get one of the only flights out of there Tuesday morning, we had many friends not so lucky!).  We met people from all over the country and heard from great speakers (first time I ever went to a conference and wanted the motivational speaker to speak longer).  We came back excited, and that's the whole point right?

The Casey's, Us, & Mrs Overman at the AFBF FUSION Conference
Nashville Airport AKA The Skating Rink
Adding this just because I think it's beautiful - Glass sculpture in the hotel lobby
2- Planning.  I'll be completely honest, last year, that whole entire adrenaline fueled disaster, last year almost broke me in the best way.  We really saw the word of mouth thing start to pay off and we were really busy (which we are so, so, so grateful for), and it took us completely by surprise (I never want to get my hopes up too high and be disappointed, so I tend to be cynical, but this year I was blown out of the water).  I felt like we were running behind the entire year and by the time November rolled around I was exhausted and burned out.  It didn't help that I had a 1 1/2 - 2 year old trailing in my wake needing TONS more attention than The Boy did at that age (I was seriously not prepared for the differences between a girl and a boy).  I felt like I couldn't give either The Girl nor The Farm the attention they needed and I played catch up all year with all of it (lesson learned, this spring she's going to daycare!).  I needed a break from The Farm for a bit.  When you own your own business it can consume your life, and I think it's worse with farming /since it's not just a business it's a way of life.  Today with the ability to always be reached and always be available it's even harder.  So when we ended the Corn Maze I think we took a good two months to breathe before we started talking about 2015.  Now it's almost March (already!) and the CSA signups are in full swing (biggest turn out ever!  I refuse to be cynical this year.  I am ready for the challenge!  Keep them coming!) and we're planning strawberry season now and already thinking about what we're going to add new this fall (I'm pulling for real bathrooms!).

These things don't just create themselves you know
3- Meetings.  There are two things I've learned in this farm life I've chosen, and they really apply to everyone not just farmers.  One - no one will promote you if you don't promote yourself.  That's true for our farm as much as it is for agriculture.  No one is going to promote Odom Farming Co for me.  No one is going to try and combat all the negative press Ag gets but farmers.  Whenever someone asks me to do something, I find a way to do it.  Whether it means we take our propaganda to an event to get the word out about our farm or we get asked to be a part of a leadership program to help get ag issues considered in our community.  This winter I am taking part in the Karl Best Ag Leadership Program through the Wayne Community College Foundation and Cooperative Extension and it's been wonderful.  It's making an ag-vocate of me (he, he!) Two - You get out of things what you put into them.  If you join a group your heart isn't in, if you blow it off or show up with no enthusiasm you might as well stay home and not bother because it's not going to do anything for you.  Another program we're involved in, the Wayne County Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers, is busy coordinating the 2nd Annual We Dig It Ag Day.  The Husband and I chair this group, and since we have the most available time and since it's kind of our baby (and The Husband will literally talk to anyone about it, seriously don't stand around him too long or he'll give you the pitch!) we take on a lot of this.  I love it, because I love organizing events and coordinating people (who'd a thunk it'd take me 30 years to figure out what I want to be when I grow up!).  It's one thing I like about the CSA (it can also be the thing I hate most about the CSA!).  Ag Day is great because it's amazing to see what a group of people can get done when they are determined.  Last year everyone looked at us like we were crazy.  We had to pull teeth to get sponsorship and jump through tons of hoops with the school system.  This year it's been smooth sailing (my cynical insides are keeping their fingers crossed!).  We have an awesome group that is just getting bigger and better and makes what seems like a job to other people a pleasure to us and because we all care so much it's a group I'm proud to be a part of.

I think it needs a border
So thanks for bearing through my long blog absence and this windy post.  Maybe you didn't fall asleep half way through.  Hopefully I will start paying attention to that alarm.  Like I said I have ideas, I just have to get them out, and if there's ever something you'd like to hear me talk about (or read me write about) then pass that idea along!