I had the dream again. My teeth were falling off. They ache and shake then they fall off. In the dream, I have no emotion. No anger, frustration or sadness about the loss of my teeth. Nothing! Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung had a thing or two to say about dreams involving teeth falling off. I’ll let you check that one out for yourself! Freud and Jung aside, I believe this is what high levels of stress do. The stress seeps into your dreams and becomes an insidious bundle of nerves that translates itself into dreams of teeth falling off. This is stress about my farm and its low levels of water, stress about my farm and it’s lack of profitability, stress about pests on the farm and at some point, stress caused by my self-doubt that creeps up on me once in a while. Do I even know what I am doing?
The rains finally arrived. At first, insipid drops that could not quench the thirst of the land, but nonetheless, rain. Every time it rains, even a slight drizzle, my borehole suddenly rallies and starts producing large quantities of water. As you may have guessed by now, my relationship with my single source of permanent water is rocky at best. A week ago, I was ready to shoot the borehole, and now I almost want to make it a cup of tea and thank it for finally producing reasonable amounts of water.
Planting season is here with us. I enjoy this part of farming. It is a time that holds such promise and hope. Hope for a new harvest. Promise of crops sprouting and new life forming. It is a time of such abundance. Green foliage, blue morning skies that darken in the afternoon and turn to thunderous rain. The sound of the pouring rain and the smell of rain. That distinct smell that I always thought was the rain, until I discovered it was the bacteria in the soil reacting to the rain. Petrichor, they call it! Has anyone bottled that scent and sold it as a perfume? Or a candle? I don’t know. I love that smell though.
This season, we are planting the usual crops. Maize, lentils, beans and sunflowers. Those are our standard rain fed crops. Two seasons every year. The crops guarantee food for the farm workers, food for the chicken and excess to sell. Once harvested, the dried maize and sunflower stalks are cow feed. The rest is left in the field to rot and return nutrients to the soil. The termites make short work of this.
The one big lesson I have learnt with my water mishaps is this. Singular focus! What is the one crop I want to concentrate on and how do I make a success of it? What I realized is that I am chock full of ideas, but I have a finite number of years on this earth to execute all these ideas. Unless I have a singular focus, it will be difficult to achieve what I want. This has forced me to take a moment, and have a board meeting with myself, to decide what I want to do. The decision was not all that hard. Have a maximum of three cash crops grown commercially on rotational basis, and have a little lot where we grow vegetables for our own consumption. In addition, commercially raise chicken, goats, cattle and have an apiary. That’s it! The animals are a lot easier to manage than the crops. Another lesson learnt.
As I sit here and count my lessons, I continue my journey of discovering Rumi. Here’s another one from him
“Respond to every call
that excites your spirit.
Ignore those that make you fearful
and sad, that degrade you
back toward disease and death.”
I have chosen to focus on the first part of this saying! Farming is the call that excites my spirit!