Thursday, March 3, 2011

Farm Friend Friday #5-A Beginner's Mind

Hi farm friends, I am writing this week from the great city of Baltimore, MD. I came up Tuesday and will be here until Friday night for my day job. Sometimes life is surprising in that it is always teaching us lessons. I had an Aha moment this week, and wanted to share it with you for Farm Friend Friday.

We were talking about Shoshin, a Buddhist concept meaning a "beginner's mind." We are dealing with a lot of change in my work world right now and the challenge is to view things with a Shoshin perspective--a clean slate, a kindergartner's eye. I was thinking on this concept and trying to wrap my head around it when the light bulb went off, "you and farmer have entered the world of farming with Shoshin." It is so true, when we decided we were going to start a small farm we had no earthly idea what to do or how to do it, we just started, we just "did."
Our first farm critters
We started with chickens and ducks and things went pretty well, so we moved onto livestock with donkeys. Each time we added an animal, we were clueless. Yet we've learned so much and continue to learn everyday. We moved to pigs, peacocks, sheep and  all are living, and thriving and healthy. If we had considered, for one second, anything but Shoshin, we would never have bought the first chicken.

We also knew we wanted to plant a garden. We've been around vegetable gardens before, but never actually thought we could raise our own. Again, the beginner's mind took hold and we went out, bought seeds or starter plants, tilled dirt, laid out rows and just "did." What do you know, we saw little sprouts. Before too long, we saw little tomatoes, peppers and pumpkins. Shoshin worked again.

Our first duck ,Jenny

So, how many of you have just jumped into something you knew nothing about and thought "we can do it" or "we will figure it out?" If you have, you used Shoshin.

Now, on the reverse side, how many times have you let your lack of knowledge or pre-conceptions stand in your way? My Aha moment was actually realizing how many times we didn't take the leap. How many times we didn't buy the first chicken, so to speak. Spinning wool, making soap, raising bees, running a marathon even, have you let your thoughts get in the way of doing what's possible?



Our first donkey, baby Otis
Well, I now have a list of things I need to view from a Shoshin perspective. I can't tackle them all today, but in time I will. I just have to "do." Tell me something you have successfully done with a beginner's mind? Have you missed out on something because you weren't willing to view it through a child's eyes? We'd love to know, farm friends.

I hope you enjoyed my philosophical post today for Farm Friend Friday #5. It is hoped we can get to 75 party goers this week.We had 67 last week and it was a great group. Spread the word to your farm life blogging buddies. Again, you don't have to live on a farm or ranch to join, but only have to share a post that relates to farm life in some way. Us farm folk are a welcoming bunch.

So all you have to do is:
  •  Click below and follow the directions
  • Make sure you link back to our page for Farm Friend Friday with our button or a link in your post, this helps others to find the party and join in
  • Visit the other posts and comment to let them know you stopped by
  • We will leave it up through Sunday to give you plenty of time to link up and visit as many as you like
 Let the farm fun begin,

Amy and Richie

56 comments:

Laura @ Our Wee Farm said...

the way we both farm sounds very similar! We just sort of get in there - do a bit of research then just learn.:)
xx

Alla said...

I'm pretty much the same. If I really, really want to do something, I just jump in and research along the way and use a lot of common sense.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

I think you still must be a little fearless. Plunging right into your farm takes guts. What ever the reasons I am so glad you did.

Dolly said...

Hubby and I renovated an 1856 victorian farmhouse, with little to no knowledge on what we were doing! It was a labor of love and we learned along the way!

Then... we moved out of the big city into the middle of nowhere and started a farm. Raised chickens, a pig, and a goose!

Also planted a huge veggie garden and canned everything we could get our hands on!

Fun times
Smiles,
Dolly

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

I think my whole life has been guided by this concept. I'm a "muddler", jump in and muddle through as best I can:@)

Teresa said...

Like you, farming was something I jumped into one animal at a time. Now it's making soap, farming, and continuing to grow the farm. I loved your philosophical post!

Millie said...

I must say, I keep trying new forms of music to play with my horns. I never know how it's going to turn out, but I keep playing.

Sally said...

I enjoy reading all the Farm Friend Friday posts. Whole new world, blogs, new friends, adventures...Shoshin for me!

Nancy@A Rural Journal said...

Nothing like jumping in feet first -- on the job training is the best kind. :)

Country Gal said...

I did a three part post about my childhood on the farm with old photos. it brought back so many wonderful memories for me as I was puting it all together. We would like to have a hobbie farm again but it isnt in the cards for us right now but like my mum always said about the aha theory never say never, or grab the bull by the horns and go for it lol . Have a great day !

Jennifer said...

I love how you think, lol

My whole life has happened with my beginners mind, lol... seriously. Gettin pregnant & married at 18, I didnt have a clue just jumped right in and learned how to be a wife, mom, how to cook, bake, clean, family, our gardens, then when we moved to the country I had no clue about chickens but I knew I wanted them... so we got them and learned, then came the guineas, ducks, pig, lol.

dogsmom said...

I think research is wonderful but often I spend enough time researching that an opportunity can pass me by or I talk myself out of something I would have loved. Starting, and asking for help as you go along, is often the better way to go.

Something came up and I blogged a little differently tonight.

Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Oh so true - you have said it very nicely.
Staci

Pondside said...

This is a brilliant post. I'll read it again and think - of course there have been times when I've held back because of a lack of confidence/knowledge, but most of the time I just charge in, not knowing how much I don't know!

Farmchick said...

I dived into small town/farm life with shoshin. Sometimes other people's viewpoint can cloud your decisions, so often just diving in can be the best!

Dreaming said...

I love your Shoshin perspective! I think as I've aged I've become a bit more adventurous in trying new things - I kinda figure that if person X, Y or Z could do A, B, or C...then I can do it, too!
I had a fair amount of training in coaching others. One of the first tenets is 'listening with a beginner's mind', so your post brought all of that back to mind.
As one of my friends would say, 'Good stuff'!

the Goodwife said...

I believe we can learn to do ANYTHING if we want it bad enough, from raising goats to brain surgery. You gotta want it, and if you do, nothing can stop you! Thanks for inviting me to Farm Friend Friday. I used an old post from when I was a newer blogger, I hope that's ok!

luckybunny said...

Great post! I always look forward to farm friend Friday so I can look at the posts and blogs too. We do the same thing we pretty much just jump right in. Sometimes we do some research, some things we do a lot of research on, like bees for instance. But with most things we just jump right in and so far we've done really well! A lot of luck on our side I think.

Sall's Country Life said...

Amy, I think Shoshin should've been my middle name! At 46, I'm still unsure if that's good of bad? One day at a time, I say, and keep it fun! If I'm still smilin' I must be doing something right. Thanks for hosting FFFriday. Hope you hit 75 plus!!!

Leontien said...

I hope you can get to 75! And i'm still working on that button thing ;-)

Thanks!
Leontien

Beverly said...

Well, Amy, it seems that we, too, took the same approach and are learning as we go. I might have graduated from Kindergarden to at least the first grade now! LOL!

Oh,and how wonderful life would be if we always viewed it with the eyes of a child...full of wonder and possibility!!

Have a wonderful weekend.

Bev

Ohiofarmgirl said...

i LOVED this post! thanks! i think a lot of folks are afraid to just "do" it. mostly because either they, or the people around them, list all the reasons something wont work - instead of encouraging them toward success.

as for us - we girded up our loins and marched out there... and butchered our pigs ourselves this year. that was pretty good.
ps i'm also diggin' FFF! thanks for doing this!

Larkrise garden girl said...

My Shoshin moment is starting a blog and learning how to use buttons on blogs and entering Farm friend Friday!Cheri

gowestferalwoman said...

Baby, I was BORN shoshin' !!!

(I feel dance moves comin' on..)

and all this time I called myself a neophyte...

Sunny said...

Over the years I've learned that if you want to do any kind of farming, you can't be afraid to get your hands dirty!
I really enjoy reading your posts.
☼ Sunny

Home In The Hollow said...

Amy, thanks for introducing me to the term, "Shoshin"! I just never knew my approach was actually called anything!

Buttons said...

Wow what a great post. Like you we have jumped into many aspects of farming with both feet totally clueless. We have let other ideas go by the wayside. Who knows what may have happened. I like this thought. B

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Mmm, eat some crab cakes while you're up there!

Sounds like you have the magic touch :-)

Autumn said...

My first real Shoshin thing was my goats. We bought them in an auction because they were cute, and I picked up from there. Just me and my dad!

Normally, I try to read about what I want to do before I do it, for example, soapmaking. I reasearched for 2 months on M&P soapmaking before I did anything!

I think one of the next things I'm just going to jump into is chickens. I know a little already, but boy am I excited!

thecrazysheeplady said...

Years ago, when I only had one sheep - Punkin - I paid someone to spin his wool and then I taught myself to knit...and made a sweater. I didn't know that a sweater wasn't a beginner project. And I got it made and it (used to) fit ;-).

Enjoying FFF!

Ten Things Farm said...

Hubby and I built our own house with no construction experience other than holding a hammer. It was an amazing experience, and we love our home! Living with a sense of adventure and interest is the only way to do it, don't you think? :)

-Laura at TenThingsFarm

P.S. I see that on some blogs, Farm Friend Friday comes up as all the links. How do we do that?

Sharon @ Quilting the Farm said...

This is the mindset hubby and I have to get in to. We have read too many books, and the more we read, the less we seem to know. We need to just jump in and "do". Thanks for introducing me to Shoshin.

va_grown said...

Boy, even with all the reading we did, I still felt like we jumped in clueless. You're right--every new addition is a new learning curve! And we've made mistakes along the way. I still feel like a beginner.

But then someone will ask me something and I'll spout out the answer and the look on their face reminds me that we've got a lot to learn, but we've also come a LONG way. And I think we've gotten more fearLESS as we've gone along. It's empowering when you realize that you're getting it right!

ga.farmwoman said...

Everyday of our life! We jump right in.Head first. Wouldn't trade a single day(well alright there was a couple days). From building our own homes(ourselves) to now the nest boxes, and soap. I still can't wait for the next day, the next adventure even after all these years.

I love baby Otis's picture. He is a real cutie pie.

Have a great weekend.
Pam

Susy said...

Hello dear,
I just got what you wrote,
and that's good to have a farm.
You always hope that everything goes well for you and
your pets.
A hug
SUSY

Feral Female said...

We do the same, just get in there and learn as we go!

Farmer's Wyfe said...

Thanks so much for this encouragement! I think I'll push to get chickens this spring! :) New Beginnings! :)

Phyllis said...

If I want to do something bad enough, I tend to jump right in or figure it out as I go.

I bought my land and had my modular home built using the same method. There's always a way to get something done...you just have to figure it out.

Mimi Foxmorton said...

It's always best to not over think.
;)

(I have to say that Linky-thing has changed and won't take my post no matter how many times I've tried. Sorry. I felt guilty I missed last week but I was on top of it today. I'll post the link here. I really want you to reach 100!)

Have a sunny weekend....
~Mimi

http://thegoatborrower.blogspot.com/2011/03/get-along-lil-goatie.html

Toni aka irishlas said...

I think I've done most things in my life this way with the exception of buying a house. I did research and hem and haul over that. The price tag probably had something to do with that, though ;-)

B'more is my hometown and where I grew up. Yup, I was a city girl.

Comeca Jones said...

Otis is by far the cutest lil horse Ive seen in a while lol He is toooo cute!!

Missouri Gal said...

I moved my city slicker hubby to the sticks 5 years ago. Yep, from a postage stamp yard we push mowed to almost 20 acres he now brush hogs with old Alice. And so far, I'm proud to say, we haven't gotten a divorce! :)

Judy said...

I'm late in joining FFF. I had to wait to get my pictures taken yesterday. I really enjoyed this post Amy and can totally relate.

mountain mama said...

great post for a newbie like me...i guess i'll just jump right in and hope there's no manure around :)

Chai Chai said...

Verde I have a few questions for you about your KuneKune's.

Do you have to pull their tusks (teeth)?

What do you feed them in the Winter? Hay? Anything else?

Thanks

Kimberly said...

Oh good. I am glad it works out!!! We are just working away and learning as we go.

Sharon said...

I used to be a jump right in person, now I have to check if I am physically capable of doing something. Old age, I guess. ;-)

Good post!

Donna said...

I like to jump right in and do things and figure it out as I go along. We've redone a lot of old houses in the past and I loved every minute of it.
Interesting term "shoshin" ~ never heard of it!

Enjoy yourself in Baltimore! (yes, and eat some crab cakes)

Hugs,
Donna

Kritter Keeper at Farm Tails said...

i jump in but not without reading and asking others first. loved the shoshin concept. very interesting...and how stimulating that the corp world is discussing that topic. love that! btw, congrats, you got your 75!

kenleighacres.com said...

So many opportunities can be missed when you don't think with a beginner's mind! I like to jump in feet first and learn as you go. My life would be so different if I hadn't done that when I saw my first pair of Jacob Sheep! Congrats on the 75 entries for Farm Friend Friday!

Jim said...

Great concept Shoshin is! I built my 'deck' with wide stairs leading down to the back garden. I had no idea how to do it but just 'figured it out'! And it has been a good serviceable deck.
Great post.

LindaG said...

We're going to be doing just that in a year or two when we retire. With homesteading.

I have a black thumb, and I'm afraid of lots of things, but hopefully we can do it. :)

Teresa said...

Awww....cute little baby Otis! How could you ever resist adding sweet baby anythings to your wonderful farm! I'm glad you didn't resist!
We didn't know what we were doing with our farm either, but my Farmer is a researcher and before long he knew enough to grow our hay and take good care of our cattle. While he was learning to be a farmer, I was still mourning the loss of having Starbucks and the mall at my fingertips! I've come a long way on my farm living path since then and wouldn't trade it for the world.
(As long as he feeds the cows and moves the irrigation lines, that is.)

Country Whispers said...

Great post!
Many times we think too much into something and then scare ourselves away from actually doing it.
Homeschooling is something I never would have imagined doing in a million years. Many disapproved of my decision and if I would have listened to them I would still be unhappy with our school system and complaining all the time.
Instead I jumped in with both feet and figured I'd learn along the way.
You just have to be determined and willing to learn as you go. It's well worth the bumpy ride that you may have to travel to get to what makes you happy.

Windy Meadows Farm said...

It's the fun of this Farm Friend Friday that makes your blog stand out...thanks for starting it! It's been terrific to visit your farm and home each week...we come away inspired. Because of that, I'm sharing the Stylish Blogger Award with you! I was given it last week, and it's certainly something that needs passed along to you. If you visit our farm, you'll find my link to yours. Congrats! -Mary

Rebecca said...

Sometimes our best comes from just flying by the seat of our pants-I can name several times it's been that way for me! Very interesting post and concept!