Every time I attend an agricultural or writer’s meeting, I leave re-energized. I am surrounded by positive people who are interested in similar topics and who share ideas that I can implement in my own work.
It’s important to be part of these associations, whether it’s a group that meets to play tennis once a month or amateur geologists who meet at state parks to discuss the features along a creek.
Working as a farmer and writer, I am involved in two occupations that are currently known for the isolation that is seemingly written into the job description.
But it wasn’t always this way. Large crews used to gather hay by hand, and writers would congregate in the same cities or universities and bounce ideas off of each other.
With the advent of the Internet, it’s become easier to gain access to farming and writing resources and find a group of like-minded people with whom I can talk. I spend time each day online, gathering ideas from across the world to implement on my own farm and in my communications projects.
But what I really need, I’ve discovered over the last two months, is face-to-face connection.
During January and February, I dug deep into my projects, finishing up some writing and video projects I started last fall, and medical information. Last week, I popped my head out of my burrow to discover I hadn’t visited friends in more than a month. I was feeling the effects of that: I was worn out, easily distressed, and small concerns had grown to behemoths in my mind.
So, after chores, I hopped down the road to a neighbor’s house, ate supper with her family, and talked about everything that was going on.
When I returned home, my head was clearer, I was smiling again, and I could sleep better than I had in a while.
Last night, Jeff and I attended the local Soil and Water Conservation District annual meeting. One of my former colleagues from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service spoke on the history of Indiana barns, and I was able to visit with a past supervisor. I was revitalized by the conversations and opportunity to visit with some wonderful people.
Tomorrow, Dad and I will visit with the state’s forage producers at the Indiana Forage Council annual meeting. I work with the council on various projects, such as its website and newsletter articles. Every time I meet with its members, my batteries are recharged, and I come home excited all over again about farming.
Winter agriculture meetings are really good for that, giving me extra motivation to keep going through the mud and cold weather.
In any occupation, associations are extremely important–not just organizations that someone can join, but also relationships with like-minded people with whom to share ideas. These associations can serve us well in so many ways, emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.
We were made for community.
Since February is coming to a close, this is the last time I’ll end with this full pitch.
January was a month of planning–thinking up new blog posts and preparing for the wedding–and wrapping up a project for one of my clients. February has brought me back into the swing of writing for this blog and has started with a cascade of new ideas.
I want to focus more on creating, and to do that, I need your support.
In November, I was accepted into the local art association for my photography. As part of the association, I can display and sell large and small prints, cards, and more in the gallery. I am currently sorting through my photos and analyzing publishing options to make sure I choose the printer that will bring out the best in my images.
I also want to focus on writing and sharing with you what is happening on the farm.
My goal is two-fold:
- Purchase canvases for display at the local art gallery (in time, I may even be able to expand into online sales).
- Finish, edit, and publish a book (or two!) about my travels. I have 19 chapters (one more than the last blog post!) written, and I’m participating in the 85k90 Challenge, in which we write 85,000 words in 90 days.
To help achieve these goals, I have set up a Ko-fi page that will enable you to support my work. This way, I can focus on my photography and writing work, alongside with working on the farm.
Thank you so much for your support in reading this blog and supporting this project of chronicling life on the farm and thinking about rural areas and travel. Without you, the readers, this could not happen.
If you’d like to support me further, consider “buying me a coffee” (I’ll actually have a tea…) at my Ko-fi page. It means a lot, and it will help me accomplish those goals I set forth above, and it’ll help me continue to provide quality writing for you to enjoy.
And in thanks for reading all the way to the end, here’s a picture of me all dressed up with the horses. As part of a new hashtag on Instagram (#alldolleduptofarm), I posed for some photos before Jeff and I left home for our engagement photo session. It was a lot of fun, and I was so happy we had snow for it!
Thanks again for your support, and I’m looking forward to seeing where we venture this year!