Friday, August 22, 2014

Little Signs of Progress

Happy pigs.  Eating = Happy.
When you have a lot going on at once it can be easy to lose sight of where you are making progress.  Days where your best intentions become an extended example of "putting out fires" being behind schedule and scrambling just to keep up with needs to be done never mind the items on the agenda that you were hoping to address.

A day like that is stressful for me, as it would be for anyone, and while I may not call it a "good day" it is still often better than the alternative.  Dealing with those problems and having that rough day becomes a down payment on a (hopefully) smooth-sailing day tomorrow, or next week, or next month.  At the very least it is educational. Probably. I hope. 
They don't stay still, really. Not with food there.
Experience is a great teacher.  Even the busy days contribute to that.  I think they probably even pay double compared to a could day.  But when you are there in that moment, turning a corner and running head long into something else falling down, needing repair, or that you forgot you needed to do... it pays to remember even the little victories. Today is about sharing a few of those little signs of progress.

The pigs are doing great.  I've mentioned before that this is new, an experiment for us this year.  It is going very very well.  The pigs are happiest when they are being fed, which really is no surprise, and still happy left to their own devices.  This makes them about the same amount of work as the laying hens, without spending time looking for hidden eggs.  In fact, after changing the fencing back in July, the pigs are probably my favorite thing to raise around here.  A little feed, a little water, a bit of ear scratch (they are always happy to see me) and then we're done for 12 hours.  They're happy, I'm happy, and they are making bacon and I'm back to work.  Little victory:  pastured pig experiment proceeds apace with positive prospects.  Which probably means even more pigs next year, which would make me happy.
Potting Challenge

After talking about the challenge 2 weeks ago I have located the pots, gathered them up, and even made a wheelbarrow load of potting mix.  Our mix is actually about 50% chunky compost mixed in with 50% of our on site sand.  Turns out I'll probably need another wheelbarrow full to really fill the pots, which in itself means a bit more sand-harvesting and a bit more compost mixing, and a few trips across the property with the materials to get them from where they are to where I'm working to where I need them.  That's about 50% reason, and 50% excuse for not being finished with the challenge and celebrating big progress and pictures of the finished product.  I thought I had a picture too of the pots half filled, apparently not.  100% "oops".  Little victory: Making propagation challenge progress by prepping pots and producing potting soil.  Pretty sure I saw some flowers (read: pre-berries) on one of the mulberry trees too.  For a year 2 baby tree that's a big deal.  Making a bunch of babies to spread them all over the property will certainly result in more production, which will make me happy.
Comfrey cutting.
A major goal of the comfrey tractor is of course to make more comfrey plants in more places.  When I first repotted the comfrey into the tractor I wasn't sure what to expect.  Having the main crown rebound as robustly as it did was excellent, but I had been hoping to see something from the root cuttings which I had planted about the top as well.  Perhaps because of the shade under the main plant, perhaps because I just underestimated how much time would be needed, I had pretty much given up on the root cuttings after weeks without any sign they had survived.  The main plant was doing admirably, but something must have happened to the cuttings I thought.  Not so.  In the future I don't think I'll pot the cuttings in the tractor (under the main plant) directly, some time in their own pots will probably accelerate progress but even within the tractor the roots will create new plants.  Checking it on a lark, and FINDING the baby comfrey I had hoped for but given up on was really awesome.  It was pure bonus that the timing was right to send it along with a package of plants and seeds we were sending to a friend.  That baby comfrey will be causing trouble and mining nutrients out in Indiana very soon.  Not bad, for a little guy.   Little victory: being able to share successes and spread the wealth.  Especially as a success that I thought was a failure, this one felt really goo.

None of these things is a project finished, and all these little bits of progress make so little difference in the big scheme of things it almost feels disingenuous to try and attach even this much import to them.  Of course, as I mop up more spilled apple juice, remember to let the hens out for the morning (in the afternoon) and run back to the kitchen to save the garlic in the oven (previously roasting, suddenly burning) perhaps such simple little things are more important than they appear at first glance.

Thanks for stopping by.


  1. "while I may not call it a "good day" it is still often better than the alternative. Dealing with those problems and having that rough day becomes a down payment on a (hopefully) smooth-sailing day tomorrow, or next week, or next month. "
    ---I LOVE that attitude! Thanks for the inspiration. Great post.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your enjoyment. It really means a lot to me