My View from the Ramparts: Farming in the age of COVID-19

The past couple of months has been a strange time here at Innisfree, as I know it has been for everyone during this time of social isolation and pandemic outbreak.

What’s been strangest for us is how relatively little our day-to-day lives have changed in the face of these challenges even as we see the world struggling around us. That’s not to say we don’t face challenges, but years ago, my wife and I decided to follow the path of making our farm a smallhold homestead and making that decision has changed our relationship with the greater world.

I am a hermit by nature, so I have been long content not to go out much, and my full-time jobs have been here on the farm since 2008. Since last fall, my wife has been employed full-time by the farm as well, and we have had a long-standing dedication to readiness owing to our relatively rural location and personal experience.

So, when the social distancing came, what ended was the incidental trips we tended to make because we could. Otherwise, the farm carries on as normal. I know one of the challenges so many people face right now is being out of work, but since our money comes in clumps at predictable times of the year, we’re no better or worse off than we might otherwise be.

I’m not saying any of this to boast but rather to observe that we’re realizing that our farm-life choices have proved to be even more robust than we imagined them to be when we made them. It’s not an easy life, and it has required some difficult choices and sacrifices to make happen, but we’re realizing it now more than ever they were actions worth taking.

If anything, I want to put this out there for others to consider. This is a viable life choice if you’re willing to do what it takes to make it happen.

DLH

Read more at my My View from the Ramparts site...

The Roastery at Innisfree: 2019 in review

Well, 2019 at the Roastery at Innisfree has come to a close. It wasn’t a huge year, but it wasn’t a small one either. I roasted 161 pounds of green coffee, 27 of which I drank myself. My primary outlet was the Miami County Locally Grown Virtual Market followed by direct sales. My top four varieties this year were Brazilian, Tanzanian, Guatemalan, and Peruvian. All in all, a good year.

DLH

Read more at my The Roastery at Innisfree site...

Worldview: The Rambling Road: Plant-based

Over the past several months, I’ve made a significant pivot in my diet toward eating more plants. This isn’t to suggest I’ve become a vegetarian because I still eat meat, but I do so less frequently and in less quantity when I do.

Making this pivot has been a mixed bag. On the positive side, I find I feel better most of the time, I am having an easier time maintaining my weight, my sleep is better, and I have more energy. On the negative side, I find I have a much harder time maintaining my glucose levels on any given day owing to the fact that plants are, by their nature, higher in carbohydrates.

Even with the glucose struggle, I think the benefits outweigh the downsides. Coupled with intermittent fasting and adequate exercise, I think the long term effect will be more weight loss and improved health. To that end, pursuing this course more aggressively is one of my singular goals for the coming year.

I will report back on how it is going.

DLH

Read more at my The Rambling Road weblog...

Read more at my Worldview site...

Wordcraft by Dennis L Hitzeman: 2020 Incoming

I have high hopes for 2020. I have several projects in various states of progress I plan to work on this year, and my hope is that you will see some of that effort here in the coming months.

If you’re interested in following my progress more closely than it might otherwise be updated here, you are welcome to follow me several other places:

First, there is my Patreon site. If you join as a $1 a month member, you get access to far more content than you will anywhere else, and higher levels of membership promise even more benefits.

Second, there is my Twitter feed, where I mostly participate in the #vss365 daily very short story writing prompt. You will also find links to much of the content I create in other places.

Third, there is me Wordcraft Facebook page. I update this page with all sorts of different things on a fairly regular basis.

Finally, there is my Instagram account. While it is not exclusively writing related, I do post writing there, especially poetry, on occasion.

I look forward to sharing my progress with you in the coming year.

DLH

Read more at my Wordcraft by Dennis L Hitzeman site...

My View from the Ramparts: Heading in to 2020

The past few years have been tumultuous ones for me here at Innisfree for a variety of reasons. I got really sick and am just now at the point where I am recovering. In the meantime, we ended our Angus cattle operation, invested in wool sheep and meat goats, got our crop ground certified organic, and took on a new crop farmer.

All of that said, 2020 looks to be the first year in quite a while where things have reached something of a steady state. Most of our big input projects are done, and now we can focus on making the things we’re doing better. Our hope is that effort will be less expensive and less time and labor intensive than the past few years.

Not to worry, though, because I’m sure I will dream up some new, wild scheme. Stay tuned. More will come.

DLH

Read more at my My View from the Ramparts site...

Difficult Things: Easy

One of the things I struggle with as a creator is the notion of wanting it to be easy. I know creating is work, but as a creator, I long for those moments of sheer inspiration when everything just flows. I also know that, the vast majority of the time, it’s just work and the inspiration is hard to come by. This feeling is not unique, but it is an impediment to getting things done and far too often functions as a foil to doing the work.

I am discovering the method to overcoming this obstacle is force. The more I force myself to work, the easier the work becomes, in a way end running the problem and creating the circumstance I long for.

Then again, force comes with its own set of problems. It can be violent, even if just mentally and emotionally, and can breed resentment. To overcome those obstacles, I find it is important to focus on the goals rather than the process. When I can remember why I am forcing myself, the process begins to flow.

I tend not to make resolutions because I’m notorious for not following through on them, but this time of year can’t help but elicit reflection, and reflection can’t help but make me think about how to go about fixing things I see wrong, especially with myself.

My ongoing goal is to continue to force myself and to embrace the flow it creates. I’m a long way from easy, if such a thing even exists, but I know I can build up the endurance and the ethic necessary to get what I am trying to do done.

DLH

Read more at my Difficult Things site...

Difficult Things: Perfection

I’ve been struggling for quite a while about what to write to reintroduce this blog. I want whatever I post to be the perfect statement of what I want this blog to be.

That’s the problem.

Like many Americans, I am addicted to the notion of perfection, especially with what I create. I want it to be right to my eyes the first time without fail, and as anyone who is honest with themselves knows, it’s just not possible.

Many of my creative undertakings suffer from this malaise. I think about them often and agonize over how I can somehow belt them out perfect in one go. That’s just not possible.

Instead, writing, and all other forms of creative acts, are a process in motion. They take time and most often miss the imagined mark. Yet, that does not mean we should not attempt them or even take the time to expose them to public scrutiny. Criticism is how we grow, and when it comes to philosophy, it is how we craft our thoughts into a better, more cohesive whole.

So, here it is, my first post reintroducing my philosophy blog, Difficult Things, with a post indicating the reason it has been silent for so long. This post is not perfect. My thoughts are not perfect. The blog itself isn’t even perfect. But I have returned to the road of writing about what I think, perfect or not.

My goal here is to present topics that I think about, struggle about, and that I want to develop further as part of honing my own thinking on myself and the world around me. I hope you will join me on that journey and that, along the way, we can grow into something more than we now are.

DLH

Read more at my Difficult Things site...