Platforms of Success
What are platforms upon which success is built?
What is success anyway? Isn't it the uneven, chaotic process of stumbling around and somehow falling forward? Perhaps the question is better put -- What helps us stumble in the right direction? On this farm, a number of factors seem to keep us upright, heading more or less in the right direction.
First might be a sense of beauty. The beauty of geen savannahs fills the heart and inspires tired bodies. This reflects primal recognition of the origin of our species upon the savannahs of Africa. It is not dissimilar to why we are drawn to blue water, as both are from whence we come. In rural Ohio we don't have much of the latter, but we do selectively have the former. Waking up to beautiful green pastures helps to keep us motivated.
Next would be the livestock to harvest these pastures. We are dependent on them to transform cellulose in grasses and forbs into nutrition of calories and proteins in meats. This little trick has been perfected over the millenia by Mother Nature and is at the heart of our platform.
Unfortunately, we are dependent on machinery. Some grass farmers in other parts of the country have found success controlling pastures with livestock alone. We have tried that and failed. Woody species like Ironweed, Golden Rod, Giant Ragweed, and Multiflora Rose flourish despite animal impact. We are gradually able to mow less often, which is a step in the right direction, but we are still dependent on machinery for mowing, making of hay, and feeding of hay.
What gave rise to the concept of platforms is we have just constructed a massive one, upon which to hold cattle during wet times of year. This too is something not mentioned by pundits when starting on this journey. It feels like we are transgressing in a sense, because cattle that graze are not supposed to be standing on a gravel feeding pad. But reality is changing and weather in these parts is becoming wetter. Last winter, pastures and cattle would have benefitted from having a dry location in which to hold the herd during extreme conditions. So, we stumble forward by going backwards.
Perhaps one of the most important platforms for success is books. The ones one cares about which offer wisdom, insight, and even distraction need to be close by. The era ahead, authored by climate disruption, will strain our mental health. We can find solace and guidance by turning to great thinkers of literature, philosophy, art, storytelling, and practicality. As we continue moving into our new old house, finding room for our books has been deeply reassuring. If feels like eveything will be okay if we can confer with the masters of time, so close by on our bookshelves.
The most important platform of success upon which we stand is our relationship with customers. We try not to stumble with this, but inevitably make mistakes and have fences to mend. For instance, we have received an order from a new customer for a side of beef to include 2-inch thick steaks. Steaks that thick need to be both tender and flavorful, and steaks are the hardest cut to consistently deliver on. If we do so poorly, then we lose that customer, which is a costly loss. So, the plan is to send two beeves to be processed, one week apart, each of which will hang an extra week. We will cut 2-inch steaks out of the first, and if by chance they are not tender, we will do the same with the second, and send the first set back to be ground up. I am pretty sure between the two, we will be able to meet the need. Extra effort creates connection and connection is what keeps customers, generating a platform of success upon which to stand.
Short-rib burgers are one of our favorite, and are often as good as a steak, which we are low on this weekend. We grill short-rib burgers for 2 minutes per side (or less, depending on heat) and place them on an open-face Blue Oven English Muffin, generously accented with homemade French Aioli. Organic tater tots are a perfect companion.
We are smoking chickens and pork shoulders today. Pork will become Tar-Heel Pulled Pork, which is great on a bun accompanied by cole slaw and macaroni & cheese. My favorite way to eat it, however, is straight-up, with a fork! Pulled Pork and Smoked Capons will be on hand this Sunday.
Don't forget our approaching Farm Tour, Saturday, October 12, from 11-3. This includes a light lunch and tour of animals and pastures. We will convene at our new old house. Sign up in advance here.
In gratitude for the uneven platforms and stumbling nature of success that bring us together,
Drausin & Susan