20 Tips for Getting Ahead While Waiting
Once you’ve purchased a piece of property or farm, you may be ready to zoom ahead and get that farm going.
But in reality, it seems like many of us find ourselves waiting for something.
Waiting for the right season for building or planting or buying starter livestock.
Waiting for the money to buy what we need.
Waiting for the time to get a big project done…or even just to start it.
The good news is, there are lots of things you can do while waiting. What’s more, many of them can be accomplished while you still live in an urban or suburban home.
Here are some great ideas and suggestions in a guest post from RLT reader Mary.
What to Do While You’re Waiting
It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a year since we moved onto our little farm-ette.
We arrived with great expectations for our new adventure.
What we found was that life didn’t slow down just because we moved.
If anything, it seems that it sped up, adding more and more to our plate. In addition, we discovered the financial reality of moving to a farm. The cost of moving, putting up fences, securing animals, etc…. communicated to us that some things would just have to wait.
We found ourselves asking, “Now what?” We felt like we were wasting opportunities; we were so eager to be operating full speed ahead, but the timing just wasn’t right.
So, we learned to wait.
We tested soil across the property. We planned how we would use each area, based on soil type, proximity to our home, etc. We started building lasagna gardens and hugelkeets. We researched rain water collection and irrigation.
We started learning how to build a website for our farm, and started seriously researching what we could market from home and from the internet.
We solidified our ministry goals for the farm, and began talking to people about our ideas.We spent time connecting as a family, making some homemade outdoor playthings for the children, and strengthening basic skills.
We spent a great deal of time learning and doing as much as we could, within the time and budget constraints we faced.
We learned that even a season of waiting has a purpose, and is truly a blessing.
Here are some things to try while you are waiting for planting seasons, for finances, for time:
- Test the soil across your property. We discovered that certain areas of the property were better suited for different purposes.
- Secure fences…perimeter and cross fencing.
- Collect recyclable products. (We made fences, pens, stalls, forts, storage sheds, and swings out of pallets; stilts out of vegetable cans. We filled hugelkeets with old carpet, tree stumps, branches, etc. We fed tree branches to our goats, then cut the limbs for future firewood. Wood that wasn’t very usable, we put in the hugelkeets.)
- Barter or borrow equipment to help you get started. We were blessed to have a friend who loaned us a tractor to take care of some basic farm chores until we could get ours up and running.
- Look for old equipment to fix for future seasons. We were able to find an old trailer that had been sitting for a long time. It needed tires and some other repairs, but was still less expensive than buying a used one, or building a new one.
- Repair and/or sharpen tools and equipment.
- Look for natural, less expensive ways to prepare your farm. We built lasagna gardens across our future orchard. It worked well for a winter garden, and began to prepare the soil for future trees. We collected leaves, manure, and old hay from the pasture and pens. We also collected from families in town, from a tree trimming service, and from a horse ranch. We spread as much as we could across the entire property. The land looks barren right now, but we’re hoping in the spring when we can plant seed that it will have a better foundation for growing.
- Spend time with the animals you have, so they are easier to work with, and so that you know when they are healthy and when they are not. Make spreadsheets; build your medical supply kit, your first aid kit, etc.… Get to know your veterinarian.
- Research and plan. Research your market, your potential products, and any information you need for growing crops, raising animals, etc.… Research water options, rain patterns, feed options. Build contingencies for “off” years, and budget for extra expenses/less income during those years.
- Learn. Learn how to plow, how to can, how to milk…whatever you plan to do, test it out. Learn how to master your craft, how to increase efficiency and decrease costs.
- Teach the little ones. It’s easier to teach skills when your time isn’t crunched. You’ll find you have more patience, too, if there aren’t deadlines looming.
- Help your children (and your whole family) develop hobbies that can keep them meaningfully busy when you’re working, or better yet that contribute to the family. Some of my children enjoy testing soil, charting weather patterns, keeping an eye on insects in the garden, etc…. It’s a blessing to me on busy days to know that I have eyes and ears around the property.
- Cook, and can or freeze. When life gets crazy busy, you’ll be glad you have meals prepared and set aside.
- Jump ahead in school work. Children can work alongside parents and learn during busy seasons, and mom and dad have the secure knowledge of knowing academics are being supplemented instead of neglected during these times. Prior to your busy season, choose books and assignments that will prepare them for helping/understanding the purpose of what you are all doing. Encourage and commend independent and discovery-based learning which will help your children learn on their own when you are working.
- Spend time with friends and extended family. Rejuvenate your family with these times; making memories that you can talk about as you work together. You won’t feel so bad when you don’t have time for visits during your busy seasons, if you know you have given them the best of your time during your slow season.
- Catch up on photos and correspondence (written or electronic).
- Deep clean your home and property. Set up a cleaning and maintenance plan. Discuss dangerous pests and predators, teaching your children what to do if these are spotted.
- Host drills. Fire, weather, injured animal, and other emergencies will go smoother if you have practiced and acted out what to do when they happen. They will also show your family where weaknesses are…i.e. do you need a veterinary handbook, do you need to recharge your fire extinguisher, etc….
- Enjoy each other. Again, when the busy season hits, little ones will fare better if they’ve had your time going into that season. So will husbands and wives. The whole family will be tighter if they’ve taken the time to read together, play together, just be together.
- Here’s where we add your ideas!
We hope your season of “waiting” is a blessing to your family.
Please share other ways in which you have used your “down time,” to bless your family and benefit your farm!
Mary lives with her husband, their home-educated children, and their menagerie of animals on a small farm near the Gulf Coast. A contributor to the Center for Biblical Parenting blog, Mary has a passion for seeking and sharing the heart of God and His creation with her children, and with those who seek encouragement to live out His amazing adventure.
Read more about this family’s transition from their previous homes to their farm dream in these previous Rural Living Today posts written by Mary:
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