If you look at a productive peach tree in the orchard of a responsible farmer, or a cow on the dairy of a responsible dairyman, or cattle and sheep in the pasture of a good rancher most any season of the year, you’ll see incredible productivity. You’ll see sunlight, water and nutrients changed into food and fiber effortlessly, but there’s one thing you will NEVER see and that’s stress.
In fact, the number one thing a farmer is looking for as he walks his fields (and a cattleman is just a grass farmer who uses livestock to harvest his crop) is stress. We can see it, smell it and hear it much the way a good mom can with her children. In fact, we’re so stress averse, our senses are really telling us how long we have until there will be a stressful situation so we can alleviate it first.
We have paid enough tuition to the School of Hard Knocks to know that only happy, stress free flocks and orchards yield acceptably.
Here’s the simple secret; margins. You just have to stay ahead of your crop or flock. They have to have just a wee bit more than they need of everything all the time from planting til harvest. That means moisture, nutrition, space, sun light… You’re way better off to be 2% over than 1% short, but if you’re 4% over you’ve wasted expensive water, fertilizer and productivity; you learn fast when the tuition’s high.
Small margins make huge differences not only in my yield but in my own personal stress level. For instance, I know from experience what size peaches are most in demand and how many I can hang on a tree and still get that size. I’m way better off with 2% less than maximum and the peaches are a little bigger than 1% over and weather doesn’t cooperate and end-up with undesirable sizing. Or I could wait another day for that irrigation, or that cultivation; but if anything doesn’t go perfect, and there’s no margin, I don’t sleep so well.
I think this margin thing has implication outside agriculture. As I go through the week, I run into a whole lotta stressed-out, frustrated irritable, marginless people and often I’m one of em. I booked every 15 minute slot in my day and to quote Gomer Pyle: “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise. It didn’t all go perfect…”
You get the idea, it’s not just peaches, its relationships and finances; small margins = big relief.
Margins are part of my simplify goal this year; easier to say in January than do in May. Priorities are what you do, everything else is just talk.
One thing we all have in common with this box of fresh organic is good health. We know that nothing contributes more to our well being than sitting down to a homemade dinner from fresh organic ingredients with the people we love; sharing the day and the butternut.
What happens though when we have a marginless day? Ruh Roh. Honey, I’m just swamped, could you pick-up some pizza or Chinese on your way home please?
That situation was our motivation for adding the AH Kitchen to this service. If you’ve got a pan of homemade organic lasagna or a container of organic chicken and rice soup in the freezer, make a salad and get on with the healthy love and sharing. Not as the everyday, but the over-booked surprising day.
Also, singles young and old, a time of a loved one’s convalescence or just a world class apple crisp or flourless chocolate cake for a special occasion.
Healthy margins = a healthy life.