PURSUING EXCELLENCE: PURSUING EXCELLENCE IS ALMOST A PUNISHING VENTURE.
PURSUING EXCELLENCE IS ALMOST A PUNISHING VENTURE.
Excellence is always difficult to achieve, but perhaps nowhere more so than in human relations: raising children, nurturing long-term partnerships, caring for elders, working through conflict, and having difficult conversations... No simple formula presents the pathway forward, which is discovered one increment at a time, like navigating in fog. The process can be unnerving, for reefs are usually hidden. But having a strategy or philosophy by which to navigate, and trying to stay consistent to it, despite fog, does yield results over time, sometimes long periods of time. Those results, patiently awaited, generate a glow of satisfaction, the reward of work well-done, a sense of approaching some sort of excellence.
We seek punishment at our farm, as we always strive to do better. The most demanding arena is proving to be the kitchen. Preparing food so it delivers the same result every time is a very challenging process. Ingredients need to be consistent. The recipe has to be clear, so it can be followed exactly. "A pinch of this and a pinch of that" doesn't translate well. Protocols for cleaning and preserving are essential to final results. It is an unforgiving process, designed to earn trust of customers. If conceived and executed properly, excellence is approached. Our Bolognese Sauce, as pictured above, is an example. This excellence is a testimony to intricate teamwork between Susan, the creator, and Beth, the implementer.
As our "calving-window" concludes within 45 days, we feel good about the process and results. All calves, but one, have been eartagged, identifying the mother, year of birth, and sex of calf. The cows are receiving two "breaks" of highly nutritious grass per day, along with plentiful fresh water and minerals-from-the-sea. Precious pasture is not being wasted, calves are romping, and cows are in good body condition, in preparation for breeding in December and a long winter ahead. We feel a glow of satisfaction at these outcomes thus far.
An important part of excellence is making mistakes. If we aren't making mistakes, we aren't testing ourselves and moving forward. Excellence comes, in part, from figuring out how to recover and benefit from setbacks, without undue cost. We have had two pieces of equipment stuck in ditches and mud, of recent, in the course of important work. We were able to extract them and complete the task, at minimal cost, with lessons learned to make us better.
Pigs in the woods, sheep on the hillside, dogs on the porch, and dairy cows in pasture each deliver glow of satisfaction, implying degrees of excellence.
Perhaps the ultimate excellence is being humble to one's station, whatever that may be, for as soon as arrogance sets in, Mother Nature, competition, and customers will readily conspire to bring one down. The eco-system is remorseless and is always looking for subjects to be "balanced".
Shoulder of lamb, creamed kale, cranberry beans with lamb bacon, baked apples, and polenta welcome the fall season. Now, that is excellence!
This weekend is our last at the outdoor Hyde Park on Sunday, before moving to Clark Montessori for the winter. We will be grilling Vietnamese sliders and offering tastes of Susan's new product, Pork Ragout. Bob will be at Findlay Market on Saturday.
Humbly striving for excellence, with your help,
Drausin & Susan