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

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Worldview: Random thoughts from a wandering mind: The scale of talent to skill

Most of us find ourselves in awe of those videos of a little kid, maybe just five years old, who can sit down at a piano and pound out a Mozart sonata like he was born with the instrument in his hands. We marvel at such raw talent, and some of us might even feel a little jealous we don’t have it.

And sure, while most of us weren’t playing Mozart when we were five, the fact remains that most of us, given enough desire, determination, and practice, could learn to play that sonata at some point. While we may not have the talent, we do have the capacity to learn the skill.

I pick the musical example on purpose because it represents a category of endeavor where so many of us marvel at the notion of natural talent while ignoring the possibility of finely crafted skill. We tend to see undertakings like music and art and many skilled crafts as the purview of talented artisans even when we are otherwise interested in them.

While talent can give someone a head start in such endeavors, I posit that it is the development of skill that gives anyone, talented or otherwise, the tools to succeed. To me, talent is a starting point on a line defined by skill. Talented people start with natural skill.

Why is that important? Because, I believe, anything can be learned by anyone, as I mentioned earlier, given enough desire, determination, and practice. Yes, those three things may be lacking, and as a result, a skill may not be successfully honed, but that does not mean it cannot be.

So, the next time you marvel and someone else’s talent and wonder if you could ever do that, try. Find out. If you really want to, you might surprise yourself.

DLH

Read more at my Random thoughts from a wandering mind weblog...

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