I am a list person. There is something cathartic about creating a list and then crossing items off. Done – Accomplished. I never add items to a once written list. That defeats the sense of completion. I just create a new list. Looking out my window this cold March morning you would think a list this time of year would be feeble. Not true. Living on a farm certainly feeds my craving for listing. Jeanna and I use lists in the bakery all the time. Shopping lists, production schedules, and to do lists. Come to think of it, recipes are really lists as well.
1. Bake bread
2. Start pepper seeds
3. Order tomato seeds
4. Check maple tapping supplies
5. Order revised business cards
6. Create another list of needs for the upcoming market season
See, one list leads to another.
When I went back to college for my business degree, creating a written business plan was strongly recommended. I admit our business plan is still half written but I excuse my neglect by thinking that lists are a daily business plan and much more effective. If we had completed the business plan it wouldn’t reflect anything we are doing today anyway. To borrow from Chef Vivian Howard from “A Chef’s Life”, we’ve made a career of doing things we said we would never do. If we were paid for every time a “never” turned into a “yes”, we wouldn’t need lists because we wouldn’t need to work anymore.
Lists are essential on our farm. There is sooo much to do. Without a list I may stand trancelike, mouth open, overwhelmed by the enormity of what needs to be cleaned, fixed, moved, built, knocked down, mowed, planted, weeded….you get my point. I am positive farmers invented lists. I have a dark blue three ring binder. I call it my dream book. It is filled with plans and imaginations primarily in the form of lists. If we ever have a house fire I am sure it will be the first thing I grab. I use technology for many things but not my lists. Something about pen to paper makes them indelible in my mind. As I look back through my dream book over lists, some completed, some in progress and some probably never fulfilled, I recall the “me” of that period of my life. If you haven’t slowed down in a while to write something by hand, try it. You may find it enjoyable. This blog was easy for me to write this morning. It came like a flood, the kind you have to write furiously to keep up with. Spontaneous, wonderful and not on my “to do” list today, but pure pleasure.