So far the biggest difference I feel as a farmer this year vs. last is all personal. I'm just not as terrified as I was last year.
I don't feel that I am a much better farmer. In fact, we have had plenty of early disasters (both man-made and natural—from dead cucumbers and burnt tomatoes to spider infested seeders etc..) and they have definitely stressed me out. But my biggest learnings from last year are keeping me buoyant:
- the season is long
- plants want to grow
- not everything will fail
It doesn't sound like much, but living through the truth of these lessons one year makes them much easier to believe the second. This small shift makes for a better nights' sleep.
For instance, I'm currently quite worried that all of the produce ready now in the hoop house will not hold until the new crops are ready in the field. If it's too sunny and too warm then the hoop house crops will grow too fast and bolt before the outdoor crops are ready. However, if it's not sunny and warm enough then the outdoor crops won't grow fast enough. Hmmm.. stressful conundrum. There is nothing I can do about it. I have already made the planting choices I made (good, bad or otherwise) and now I have no choice but to live it out. This happened lsat year too. The difference? I just think it's going to work out. Somehow last year it worked and I'm in a better position this year. So, it stands to reason that everything should be fine, right? Well, last year I would have said no, it was bound to fail. But this year, I actually believe that it will work (at least most of the time :).
I do have a nagging worry that I may be getting too cozy, too confident. I can't rest on my laurels—there are still a million things to do and a million things that could (will!) go wrong. BUT, should I deny myself the slight comfort and confidence that comes from a second year on the job? No. I think I'll hold on to it as long as possible!