Mid Project Blues

This article was originally published in the Waiheke Weekender. 

If you’ve been following along our journey, you’ll know that we’re mid project on expanding our cut flower farming business.

There is something deeply satisfying about having a vision then carrying it through to it’s conclusion. Developing a vision takes time till it feels right, but it’s a great thinking process and I enjoy those moments when something clicks and it all comes together.  The next stages which involve detailed planning suits me too. I’m happy to while away hours in the evening researching methods and ideas, and enjoy drawing up plans on paper. ‘To do’ lists with timelines make a project look straightforward and achievable. I’m a list maker from way back. I remember one of my high school teachers being amused by my comprehensive lists of what I was going to study, and rather less amused by my actual study habits

It’s the next part of the project, the actual doing part, where every single time I grossly underestimate the amount of effort and doggedness required. It is of course the part which is fundamental to bring the vision to fruition and therefore have the end satisfaction.

My small flower field, which I put in last year, continues to amaze me with it’s transformation from a kikuyu patch into an orderly productive flower filled field that brings so much pleasure. In an odd sort of way it does feel a bit like I birthed it, or at the very least willed it into being by the sheer force of my ideas and determination.

This field is proving  to be a very helpful motivation right now as I look at the new project and try not to feel despondent at all the work yet to do. The field already in existence is tangible proof that I can actually make something happen, despite the hurdles I’m currently facing.

The sheer amount of physical effort required for this project is feeling  quite daunting right about now. I know I don’t make it necessarily easy for myself, wanting to do everything properly.  I know I’m doing too much by hand and not making use of machinery which I don’t trust to do exactly right. This is partly because I know my way will pay off in the long run, but knowing when it actually makes sense to just get the job done, rather do it perfectly is not one of my strengths. I’ll go for perfection just about every time. It’s also hard for me to let go of doing things which I know will be best done by myself. My body is reminding me that this might not exactly be the wisest decisions. I’m okay about aching at the end of the day, but when I ache at the start of the day too I think I should take note. Maybe after I’ve dug that bed and planted those sweet peas which desperately need to go in.

As well as the stress of the actual jobs still to do, the money stress starts to set in as there are so many capital expenses required to set up such a project. Yes I did a budget, and have projected income and all those other business planning things of which I understand the concepts and the importance but can’t use the proper lingo. But when the return is still some months away, and all you see is the endless list of bills, it starts to stress me out. This is from someone who was brought up to view debt as something pretty close to the devil himself. I now understand that you can make debt work for you, as long as you are sensible and careful, but it still has the ability to freak me out.

We are in fact moving forward, and remarkably  still on schedule according to one of my original timelines. The endless rain has finally backed off and the new field is drying out. It should be able to be ploughed soon, and the plants which have been taking over our car park will finally be able to be moved to their new homes.

I feel like there should be a ceremony of sorts to mark every accomplishment and ‘first’. First hoeing. First rose planted, First row of roses planted. First irrigation line in. Individually all of these are small accomplishments, but psychologically I  have to hold onto them and know that the small things do add up, and the project will get there. One wheelbarrow of compost, one plant, one wire for one windbreak at a time. For now these moments are marked in a small way by taking a picture and posting on social media. ‘Likes’ and encouraging feedback, even from strangers, works wonders to motivate to the next job.

At the end of it I’ll know I’ll look back and appreciate what vision and hard work can accomplish. For I know it will be deeply satisfying. I’ll be sure to stop and take time to smell the roses. Literally.