Don’t let PERFECT be the enemy of GOOD.
That’s some advice I was given in a firearms course I took a few years ago. I was psyching myself out because I didn't think I could do the drill to the proficiency level I wanted it done, which of course was interfering with my ability to just DO IT. Like other tips I’ve picked up over time this one strikes a chord in so many aspects of my life, not just when I’m shooting.
I tend to be a perfectionist. Not the kind that judges the work of others against a crazy high standard. The kind that judges my own performance so harshly that I often opt NOT to do something I may be able to get good at simply because I’m not already an expert at it. I “prejudge” before I even begin, because I know there is a great chance I won’t be PERFECT on the first try.
Somewhere along the way I started learning I didn’t have to have all the steps memorized before I started down a path. I realized the phrase GOOD ENOUGH isn’t an insult… it’s literally GOOD ENOUGH!
I have a confession. I don’t know how to be a farmer.
I grew up on this land, but we didn’t farm it. We had a few (OK, a lot of) critters over the years but they were pets, not livestock. I don’t know how to raise a cow. I don’t know which breed of goats to start with. I don’t know how to build a rabbit colony.
In fact along the way there have been a host of things I didn’t know how to do.
I didn’t know, that is, until I DID!
We live in a fabulous era where all the information, opinions, and resources we could want are literally at our fingertips. Don’t know where the nearest gas station is? There’s an app for that. Lonely and need a date? Several apps for that. How to train your dragon? Well, that one’s a movie, but lots of info lives on the interwebz depicting how to train everything from your puppy to your iguana to your baby brother. Yup, it’s all out there and FREE to anyone wanting to learn.
Unfortunately that means there is also a lot of pressure to get it PERFECT the first time. If you read everything there is to read about how to purchase, raise, and care for baby chicks, you will likely feel it’s an impossible task that only seasoned veterans should attempt. Afterall, what if the brooder temp falls below 90` during the first week? Who can stay up 24/7 making sure that doesn’t happen?? SURELY you shouldn’t attempt chicken rearing if you don’t have a professionally built coop with exact dimensions to suit the breed and number of chickens all completed WELL in advance of getting said chickens!
And opinions? OH the opinions! Do THIS! Don’t do THAT!! Who can keep up?? If I took nothing else away from the beekeeping class I attended, I will always remember this: If you ask 100 beekeepers how you should tend your bees, you will get 105 different answers!
Want to know how to raise chickens? Ask your grandparents. If they didn’t raise them, good chance they knew someone who did. And you know what? They didn’t have the interwebz to tell them how to get it PERFECT, so they tried some stuff and figured out how to make it GOOD ENOUGH.
If we’d waited until we knew how to make things perfect we’d probably still be waiting for our first flock of chickens. Instead I read enough to have a pretty good idea how to NOT kill a box full of chicks, got Brian some ideas about what we needed in a coop, and placed an order online with a hatchery that got some good reviews. When the post office called to tell me the chicks were there we didn’t have a coop, we’d borrowed a feeding trough for a brooder, and had food, water, and a heat lamp to get them started. Then we started DOING!
The first flock was a little daunting. We tried to make it all perfect. Food, temperature, coop dimensions. Things went well, but we probably put a lot more PERFECT in it than was necessary.
Much like a lot of parents will tell you - first child = perfect set up.
Next few kids = GOOD ENOUGH!
Our newest batch of chicks has a heat lamp. No thermometer. When they stop huddling under it I’ll raise it higher. When they start avoiding it I’ll remove it all together. When they run low on food and water I'll refill it. Find some worms in the yard? Throw them in (smallish ones) and see what the girls do.
Remember, their mama wouldn’t be feeding them medicated granulated formulated poultry starter. She’d been feeding them bugs… so…
Housing? When we moved here with our established flock I looked at our 40 year old shed and said “I think we can make that work”, and wouldn’t you know it… we did.
I’m not saying you should jump in without doing some research. I’m saying don’t wait until you’re an expert to TRY something!
Start a hobby farm.
Take a shooting class.
Remodel a house.
Start a beehive.
Paint a portrait.
Write a book.
Start a business.
Prepare a new meal.
Do some research, use common sense, but remember if you aren’t failing, you aren’t learning! You may never be PERFECT at everything, but if you don’t start you also won’t ever be GOOD at anything.
Don't let a fear of PERFECT keep you from being GOOD!
Cast against a grey spring sky, the marquee sign for our temporarily shuttered small town movie theater speaks volumes.
I call the current situation a speed bump. An unintended reminder. A call to slow down the crazy bustle we've created for ourselves, effectively moving our ambitions toward surviving our lives rather than LIVING them.
Surviving another day of work, another meeting, another temper tantrum, another recital. Surviving the lifestyle we've built so that years from now our post-retirement selves can enjoy life.
Why not enjoy life now?
Here's your chance. A trial run. A call to recognize the good things in your life even as circumstances hurl one bad thing after another directly into your path. There is still a lot of good, but sometimes we have to be forced to STOP and LOOK for it.
This isn't the end, friends. It's a detour, it's a diversion, for some of you it's a turning point. A chance to pivot, if you prefer
I wonder how many of us will make life altering choices in the coming weeks. Decisions about family and our future, contemplating options and freshly opened doors we never would have considered without a speed bump to slow us down.
No, this isn't the end. It's a thing we will get through, together, because that's what human beings do.
We pick each other up, and we move.
I Still Believe.
Happy Tucker Tuesday!
Whew! Boy is there a lot happening right now.
First of all, mama invented a new game and let me tell you it’s really something! You can see all the players in the pic below, it’s really simple. See we have this kitty named Marley and she really likes to play with me, I can tell because when she sees me she takes off running so I can chase her which is really nice of her because I LOVE to chase things! Mama and daddy yell and cheer and say my name really loud when I chase the kitty, so I know they like that part of the game, too! Sometimes Marley jumps up on that kitty tree thing so I can practice my jumping skills. I can’t quite get there yet, but I’ll keep trying!
So today mama said she got an idea from her friend “Linda” that she could put water in a squirty thingie and shoot it at me while I’m chasing Marley. I’m not sure I completely understand the objective of this particular step, but it’s really distracting when she sprays water my direction! The first time I stopped really fast because WHOA I didn’t see THAT coming and I had to stop and see what was all over the floor there in case I needed to clean up something yummy. The next time she accidentally got the water all over ME so I had to stop again and clean it off because I don’t like to be wet or dirty and stuff and mama knows that so she waited patiently while I cleaned it up. And then the NEXT time she accidentally got me right in the FACE! Now, I’m not one to complain about much because I really like playing games and the kitty uses her sharp toes sometimes which is way worse than water in the face, but I have to say I didn’t really feel like playing with the kitty for a while after that one. It made me jump and then sneeze and sneeze and I don’t think she meant for it to make me stop playing but I decided to take a break after that, all the same.
The people on the picture box sure have a lot of things to say lately, but it seems like the thing people are most excited about has to do with some kind of saint (Bernard? ) and all of his green stuff. I don’t know what “green” is, so mama tried to get some of my toys together and told me those are “green”. I don’t see it, but people seem really excited. I mean I guess I understand because apparently my favorite squeaker ball and favorite bouncy ball and my very first chewy bone are all “green” and I get pretty excited about all of those things. So, whatever your “green” stuff is today I hope it’s as cool as mine!
Oh yeh, the people on the picture box also talk a lot about some kind of “corn-teen” because of some kind of bugs (and I sorta get it because I don’t like bugs because they bug me and I run at them and they run on the air and get away from me only sometimes they don’t and then they taste gross when I lick them ) and those people seem kinda worried about it but mama and daddy don’t seem all that worried. Mama says we have plenty of puppy food and treats and we can still go for walks and play with the chickens because they aren’t worried about the bugs that are causing the “corn-teen”. All the same, it might be something worth keeping an eye out for, so hopefully all of you are safe and have plenty of puppy food, too. I climbed up here on mama’s shoulders while she’s working so I can keep an eye out for those bugs and let her know if I see them (or cars, or chickens, or birds, or aliens ) and that way she won’t be distracted by anything while she’s working and she can concentrate on her… whatever that stuff is she’s doing.
I can’t wait for next Tucker Tuesday. I don’t know why yet… but mama says it’s going to be exciting with lots of stuff to write about so – I can’t wait!
Your “corn-teen” friend,
PS – if your name is “Linda” and you have any more bright ideas… don’t call mama about them
Tucker (pomeranian) is an author of marginal famou'nicity. Catch his Tucker Tuesday farm pupdates here and on the Toby Way Farm facebook page.