A while back, I read a book by author and farmer Joel Salatin.  I have read almost every book he’s written, though, so unfortunately, I can’t tell you which one it was.  In any case, I read this book about a year and a half ago, and one statement really stuck with me.  He basically asked what I was doing RIGHT NOW to help me reach my goals.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much meaning could be found in that statement–for anyone.  It is so easy for us humans to dream up goals in our heads, then look at our current circumstances, and come up with a litany of reasons why we CAN’T reach those goals.  He made the point that when he talks to people, he can pretty accurately predict within a few minutes of conversing whether or not that person will EVER meet their goal.  It’s all dependent on how motivated they are to make the best of their current situation, and do what they can right now, under their current conditions. 

It really hit home for me, as I realized at the time how much I was anticipating moving to our farm.  The problem was, at the time, that move was almost 5 years away.  I had already developed a plan to try to learn a few things (like making our bread and learning to cook).  However, as I pondered this concept, I realized how often I was looking at our current situation and saying “I can’t.” We moved roughly every 2 years, so I couldn’t have a farm.  I lived in Las Vegas and couldn’t invest in gardening equipmet, so I couldn’t grow my food.  I had young children, so I didn’t have time to learn.  Every time I read a farming or homesteading book, I got depressed that I couldn’t be at the farm, so I stopped reading those books.  Etcetera….. I’d be willing to bet many of you have been or are in that very place regarding some aspect of your life. 

As I pondered his question, “What CAN you do, right now?” I began to realize how foolish I was being with that thought pattern.  I had a dozen plant pots stacked up and just sitting in my back yard.  Why not try a container garden?  (Ok, so it failed miserably, but I learned TONS from the experience!)  If we had a garden at the farm, I would have to have a way to preserve the bounty for winter.  Why not learn to preserve foods?  I bought a pressure cooker, some jars and canning supplies, and just tried to find bargains on organic produce to preserve.  We had a septic system at the farm and wanted to not use cleaning chemicals that might damage it.  Since I used a lot of bleach and other harsh cleaners, I decided to learn new, natural, and less harmful ways to clean.  I had half-a-dozen books sitting on my shelf that I could learn things from while waiting.  After a while, I basically had a short-term goal to learn SOMETHING new every month.  At times, I would actually make written lists of things I wanted to learn, and pick something (or two) each month.  I soon realized, if nothing else, we were helping reduce that steep learning curve experienced homesteaders warn you about. 

Then, the housing issue arose this past spring, when we moved to CO.  There were times I was very frustrated and discouraged.  I had made goals to learn to garden, milk goats, raise chickens, and compost.  With the necessity of moving into base housing, those goals just flew right out the window.  We weren’t allowed to do any of the stuff we wanted!  I found myself slipping back into the “I can’t” frame of mind.  I’m not sure what snapped me out of it, but I remembered Joel’s question once again.  I started remembering things I had heard of in the past, like indoor citrus trees, vermicomposters, and CSA’s.  I started researching and decided to do what I COULD.  Within 2 months, we had a worm bin in my dining room for composting my kitchen scraps, 4 citrus trees in my window, a family closet in the basement, we had visited dairies and signed up for raw milk shares (and asked LOTS of questions of the dairymen!), found and purchased a whole cow for the freezer, signed up for a CSA to learn to eat seasonally and preserve what we couldn’t use, purchased rabbits to breed for meat in our garage, and learned a lot more about baking, canning, and food preservation.

It is so much fun, now, to look back over the last 5 months and realize that I had a choice to completely waste it, waiting for better circumstance, or to do what I could.  Thank the Lord for pushing me to do what I could.  We have tremendously reduced our learning curve once we get to the farm, we have hopefully set a good example for our children, and we have allowed room for new goals to be created. 

So now, I ask you, “What goal do you have, and what CAN you do RIGHT NOW to work towards achieving it?”  Think about it.  You might just be amazed with what you come up with.