in case you missed this so far.
We have really big plans and even bigger dreams for the barry farm. What started simply as a quest to be more honest, cohesive and connected family had yielded a real passion and desire to make farming our vocation. Renee and I a few short months ago, while planning the next steps in our Holistigoal, concluded that we need to be concrete about what we want to see this farm become. No more willy nilly blind growth but strategic steps to meet a planned goal. H.M.I. has taught us to plan, budget, replan, execute and evaluate. For those of you that don’t know we currently lease where we farm (in Sugarland) which is 30 minutes away from our home (I-10 and Barker Cypress) and drive there every day to care for the animals. Most days I go there on my way to work at 10:30-11:00 am before my 12 hour shift at the Emergency Room and shower when I get there. On my days off we plan to do bigger chores like pasture rotations, feed runs, and deliveries. The farm has grown quickly and we turn away good opportunities regularly simply because we cannot produce much more where we are at. A tough decision was in order if we were to change that and meet our goals as a family and as a farm.
My dad has used a saying for a while now that I always credited to him. He often would tell me “We are the kind of me who work best when we cross the bridge then set fire to it”. When I attempted to use my dads thoughts in another conversation the person I said that to they look at me like I had 3 heads. However when I looked into it more this is actually a part of a concept that won a nobel prize. Pre commitment in short is the planned elimination of alternatives to encourage desired responses by others. For example: when applied to military strategy an army that purposefully eliminates its escape route conveys a clear intention to its enemy that it is prepared to fight and can actually deescalate conflicts. In literature Homer writes in the Odyssey that Odysseus, being warned about the lure of the sirens , ordered his men to stuff their ears with beeswax and to tie him to the mast. Odysseus precommited to an action by tying himself to the mast to eliminate the option of sailing toward the sirens and the awaiting rocks. Thomas Schelling was credited in his 1960 book The Strategy of Conflict with providing the algorithm to prove the prcommitment point in relation to economics and behavior of nations. What does this have to do with farming here in Houston and The Barry Farm’s plans?
Burning our Bridge:
During our planning meeting we decide that some hard choices need to be made. Here is a short list of the goals/dreams we have for the farm.
1. Be vocational farmers 2. Become better land managers / grazers 3. Stop turning away customers 4. Live where we farm and farm where we live. 5. Invest in our community
6. Increase the size of our flock and herd. 7. Encourage the start-up of other local producers and artisans.
Seems like a lot for a husband and wife team to pull off this year huh? Have you meet my wife…..with her and a plan nothing is impossible. So this is what we are going to do. We are going to cross some bridges and burn them behind us. We listed our west Houston home on the market for sale and as the current writing of this post it is under contract in only 5 days on the market. Where are we moving to? Did we buy a farm yet? Nope one bridge at a time but now we are very committed. Increase our flock : We have been working with the NRCS to assess our grazing and holding capacity. The results so far have shown that good news and bad news. the good news it that we have been doing a great job being responsible grazers and are off the chart for forage generating capacity. The bad news: we don’t have the sheep to continue to graze what we currently have properly. So the farmers are throwing a fund-raising party to increase our flock to meet our opportunity and work toward a real goal.
So we are off to the races selling our home, moving to a more permanent farm, increasing our stock and capacity and living this life one burned bridge at a time. Precommitting to being a family of grace and purpose. Precommitting to being a family that is motivated to be limitless and to follow with grace and hope into a farm dream. Won’t you precommit with us? Choose for you and your family to give up on a path of retreat from you calling and set a roaring fire to that bridge. This saturday is a fundraiser at the farm with a goal of 4000.00 to increase our ability to provide pastured lamb. If you cannot make it to the farm for dinner please consider donating to our dream. Precommit to funding the barry farm out of your generosity. If you are willing and able to contribute financially we would graciously accept and push that much harder to make this little farm go.
thanks for listening