July and early August can be unforgiving. It’s hot and maybe there’s a drought setting in (or, just as easily, a flood). The days are still long and the weeds are loving the sunshine. The harvests last until the afternoon and quickly feel redundant. With all the heavy, hot work of the midsummer, inspiration can be elusive (especially for beginning farmers), and it’s just sometimes tough to get back into the farming spirit and get that fall garden rolling.
Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case. With some concerted effort, there is still time to recover the farm and farmer. Because believe me, we’ve all been there. We’ve all been whopped by the season and exhausted by the heat. But as the saying goes, the cure for exhaustion is enthusiasm. So here are six good ways to find inspiration that leads to enthusiasm––I say choose all that apply.
1. Visit Another Farm
For some people, seeing a well-established farm in the middle of the season might be disheartening, but I have always found it to be an inspiration. Seeing another farm in action shows you that it can be done and how. You can get lots of tips and ideas to refine your vision.
2. Do or Finish a Project
Think about the projects you really love to do and haven’t had time to complete. Then, do one of those projects. The farm will be fine. Satisfy that itch so that farming won’t keep you from scratching it. Especially if it makes your farming easier, you will be happy you took the time to find inspiration and regain enthusiasm.
3. Make a List
For some farmers, the list is king. Keep a daily list of the projects you hope to accomplish and mark them off as they fall. That feeling of scratching off a completed task can be invigorating and a tangible source of accomplishment that feeds inspiration. Keep it reasonable, of course, but don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.
Honestly, mowing is my favorite psychological reset. Taking the weeds and spent crops down to the ground helps you see the garden again, making it look clean and reasonable. I mow regularly, and I keep paths mown so that the garden always looks clean, even when it’s a little weedy.
5. Throw a Work Party
If your farm has seen better days but you have a loyal group of friends and/or customers who would love to come help you out, think about throwing a work party and having a bunch of people over to help you get caught up. Or heck, do it either way. Have a barn raising, or a chicken coop raising at least. It might be refreshing to have some people over and talk about what you’ve been up to. Your farm is almost certainly more impressive than you might realize. Inspiration can come through the eyes of others.
6. Take a Break
And of course, sometimes you just need a little rest. Take a day or two and go do something not farm-related. Go see a movie. Go to a park or lake. Ride a bike. Go see a show. Reset yourself, and you will find the garden won’t seem so overwhelming through refreshed eyes and a refreshed body.