Ready or not, it is 2018. For better or worse, ol’ 2017 is gone, a has-been. 2018 is going to be the best year of our lives. We’re going to slow down, spend more time with the ones we love. Eat better and slower. Fill our minds with things true, noble and reputable, authentic, compelling, and gracious. The best, the beautiful, things to praise…
And check it out, not one of those treasures cost a penny nor could be purchased for a million bucks. The best of everything is purchased with choice and yields peace, love, and joy.
We all know that’s true standing on the edge of a new year, and then along comes all the stuff. It’s tough to choose the quiet good when the loud ugly keeps jumping up and down demanding attention, service, time.
In the interest of honest transparency, January has become my least favorite month on the farm. In the day, it was filled with hope; planting new orchards, pruning, planning, getting ready for another harvest…
You’ve heard of a white Christmas; I’m in the middle of a white January. Not snow, but snowed by white paper and the dream with every check I write isn’t merry or bright. It seems each of the 53 bureaucracies that regulate our farm demand their paperwork and fees in January, and every year, they each want more of each and there are more of them and absolutely no one can possibly comprehend the compounded complexity and minutia.
The new joy this year is poultry order something or other. My grandfather grew chickens here, my dad grew chickens here, I’ve grown chickens here, did I mention we’ve been growing chickens here for over 100 years, but this year, if I want to continue growing chickens here, I need to have a plan engineered to contain run-off water…which doesn’t exist; but it could. Oh, and surprise surprise, send the state about 10% of what we make growing chickens here if we want to keep growing chickens here.
Which is cheaper than last year when Sacramento invented some new rules—even though we all were following their old rules—and made the new rules retroactive 3½ years plus penalties for not following rules that didn’t exist when we broke them. That was an $80,000 surprise. But fortunately, we just have piles of cash laying around so it’s no big deal.
So that’s 2% of my world right now. I’m really cognizant that I need to choose the quiet good but the loud ugly is right in my face screaming, demanding, spoiling and I’ll bet—since you’ve got a pulse—your list could match my list, albeit different uglies.
Simultaneously, we ARE planting and planning, pruning, and preparing. We’re all in great health and loving each other. There is just as much beauty and hope as ever, and if we let the uglies win, then ugly wins. I say no way! One thing an organic farmer understands is sustainability. California’s business climate is unsustainable and, at some point, will collapse under its own weight. We intend to be here to help put it back together.
In the meantime, we are going to continue to grow the best organic fruit and chickens in the world. Together, 2018 is going to be the best year of our lives.