2019 has been a year of humility. My wild idea of adding horse power to the farm has been one setback after another. Big Blue the truck proved unreliable, leaving us stranded out in a rainy field. My volunteer on that day never came back. My regular stalwart volunteer left at the cusp of the growing season--she had to go home to Italy, get married, and start her own farm, so I can hardly blame her. One of my horses turned out to be a decade older than advertised. The other one had chronic lameness that meant she couldn't comfortably pull farm equipment at all. My rented land exploded with weeds, the potatoes squirmed with wireworms, and I never saw a squash bigger than an egg. This happened on land where I harvested over 2 tons of squash last year, mind you.
My youth was characterized by wanting to be the best at everything. If I couldn't be the best, I wouldn't even try. But that's hardly a way to live my entire life. Rather than "Don't let anyone see you fail," my motto for this summer became, "I can't fail if I don't give up." Now fall is providing a moment's rest. The horses are sound, I have better ideas for equipment, and I'm ready to plan more realistically for next growing season. I'll lower my expectations and simply use my farm land with an eye to exercise the horses and improve the soil rather than try to harvest a crop. Make haste slowly. Farming is a long-term commitment, and if I shift my focus from pounds produced to lessons learned, this harvest was a rich one.