The farm I am helping run is successful and debt free because my in-laws ran it in a very particular way: they stayed out of debt as much as possible and kept their machines running for a long time instead of constantly replacing them with newer and more expensive models. Their farm is a model for success that I find very attractive and one of the things that has made me so willing to give Innisfree Farm a try to begin with.
One of the downsides of that model, however, is that everything has a certain age to it, and that age makes it statistically more prone to breaking. Today, it seemed like everything broke: the older tractor is leaking vital fluids at an alarming rate, the newer tractor had a flat tire, and just to add insult to injury, the ancient deadbolt lock on our back door locked itself, forcing us to break and enter into our own house (ironically, through the same window that was broken to unlock the door the last time that happened).
Of course, this all meant spending a few hours in the cold, banging on things with a mallet and swearing a little (not too much, lest to offend), but I’m not really complaining. Why? Because the labor was my own, which cost nothing, the tire just needed reseated because the bead got broken, and another farmer loaned us his tractor until we can get ours fixed.
We’re going to make Innisfree Farm work the way it has since the beginning: hard work, rolling with the punches, and finding as many ways as possible to keep it in the black. While other farmers might be sure that we’re going to fail because we’re not using their borrow-and-farm methods, I am sure that the way we’re approaching these things will mean that we’ll still be in business even in the years when bad crops don’t cover their operating loans and a statistical percentage of them go under.
Maybe when that happens, I might even be in a position to buy. But, I’m not going to get ahead of myself. Steady as she goes.