|Posted on December 28, 2012 at 9:50 PM|
After almost five years of keeping this website and blog, it seems that I have hit a point where I have lost my way, and as a result some of my enthusiasm for it. My intention all along has been to share my own experiences incorporating a food production garden into a modern life, in the hopes that it might provide useful information or perhaps inspiration to others to do likewise - to whatever extent they can within their own lives and personal circumstances. However, along the way I have found that the need to actively feed this site with information has become a bit of a slave driver in and of itself, and increasingly I find myself feeling obligated to keep doing certain things that in retrospect have taken a lot of the joy and pleasure out of the experience.
It’s my own fault of course. I am good at what I do in my professional life because I am extremely focused, organized, excellent at problem solving and persistent in that I see things through to completion. These same skills and attributes spill over into my personal life and if left unchecked tend to crowd out spontaneity and turn things that should be pleasurable pursuits into “jobs”. The garden is part of our everyday life and kept properly in perspective is just another one of many things that I do day to day, week to week, and year to year. Unfortunately, when you add the various layers of documentation and information sharing that has evolved over the years on this site, the work has been elevated to a level that is beyond what it should be and drives me to do things I would probably otherwise choose to ignore or not pursue.
This blog and site is a good thing though and I don’t think it has to be all or nothing. I think it is just time to reassess and take back what is working for me and release that which is not. Here’s what is not working for me and why:
• Maintaining the daily calendar entries. This has been a valuable reference tool for me on the planting dates etc, but the harvesting and cooking entries are just work and have little value. I intend to maintain the calendar with planting information, but the rest of the updates need to go. In fact, I quit maintaining it a few months ago and I don’t think anyone has much noticed. So this feature will be greatly scaled back from here on out.
• Favorite Recipes Page. This is a project that was started and has since hung over my head as one that needed to be properly completed. The web hosting service I use does not have a good template for recipes so what has been done to date is of limited use to people – as they have to navigate through multiple recipes on a page, and cannot print just one item. There are countless other online resources available for cooking inspiration so I really am not adding much value to keep pursuing this. I can blog about recipes just as easily when the mood should strike and leave the rest to someone else’s more capable hands. These pages will be removed.
• Harvest Tally Recaps. Having the weights and production information has been quite interesting data to have, but truthfully it has only been the past several years in my lifetime of gardening that I have disciplined myself to keeping these records. It adds time and work to first remember to weigh and record everything, but then to also update spreadsheets and the website tally pages. This is one of those items that have value but not enough to offset the work it is creating. I intend to quit weighing and tracking my harvests from here on out. I will continue to photograph my harvests and participate in Daphne’s Harvest Monday blog hop, but the record keeping and recaps are going to become history. I have several years of data collected which will be useful going forward, but the cost outweighs the benefits to keep this practice up.
• Seed Starting Schedule. This one is going to make several people sad as they use it regularly, but honestly this has been something I am doing for everyone else’s benefit and really provides no value to myself. I know my yearly garden schedule very well and never refer to this documented recap and yet I am spending a lot of time to prepare and update it each year. This is another page that will be removed from here on out.
Removing these things clears the deck for me to focus more time and energy on blogging about how my garden works into the rest of my life. That, after all, was the whole purpose for creating this site in the first place. I realize now, that I have tended to write only about the garden, with very little discussion about the rest of what is going on in my life, which may have led some to believe that my life revolves around the garden. While it is certainly important to me and I do spend time there regularly, it is not all that I am or what I do - far from it. By being so focused in my writing however, I may have unintentionally discouraged some people from making a kitchen garden a part of their lives because it appears it has to be all consuming, rather than what it should be, a rich addition to a life that is complex and full of a variety of pursuits, challenges, and interests. I have to admit to you though that writing about the rest of my life has proven difficult when attempted in the past, as I am by nature actually very private (go figure!). In addition, some aspects of my life involve other people whom I care about and whom may be uncomfortable having me talk freely about them in a forum that is by definition – very public. I am going to have to sort through this somehow, but I think the blog will become more useful and probably a whole lot more interesting if I can figure out how to do that successfully.
I am making these changes with the hope that it infuses fresh energy and greater overall value for the time I devote to it. I feel better already just having made the decision to take back what I love about this endeavor and freeing myself of what had become burdens. It’s quite liberating actually. Are there things you are doing that upon reflection you might choose not to do?
Categories: Garden Thoughts