7 Tips for the Final Push in Your Peak Growing Season
Heat, drought, disease, and pests have bared down on the farmer for weeks. Sometimes it almost feels like you might not get through it. Tempers rise and attitudes shift around the farm. Short snippy responses sometimes lead to large squabbles. August tends to be the most difficult part of the season for many farmers mid-August is a crashing point.
When I am farming it helps me to use analogies to explain to my brain the challenges I am facing. I use the stages that I have read about climbing Mount Everest to help explain why I react the way I do with my family when I am pushing through the different seasons of farming. August is like the final push to the summit. It is in the “death zone” above camp IV where oxygen levels leave the body screaming for air. The only encouragement is how close the climber is to reaching the ultimate goal of summiting. I feel like this is August on the farm. So hot that you can barely breathe. You know that a majority of the work is behind you and soon it will be downhill traveling. However, reaching the summit is only the halfway point of survival. Climbers still have to get off the Mountain. But the good news is that it is all downhill from here. The same is true for the Farmer. Fall is right around the corner and growth rates will slow down allowing for a new cadence of rest leading into winter.
Everyone’s summit looks a little different. Sales might be in full swing during the month of August and spirits are high. A look around on market day reveals the happy faces of customers excited and enjoying the fruits of your labor. But you are exhausted from trying to keep up. Or depending on the context, the bank account might be at its absolute low point of the year before harvest. Either way farm life in August has always been the turning point toward a little bit of hope. After all, September and October are just around the corner.
So how do you stay encouraged? How do you keep that passion and spark through the adversities of farming? Some farmers and ranchers are able to knuckle down and the heat and stress seem to invigorate them. They simply thrive in adverse conditions. Many complain, some quit, and some turn to anything that distracts them from the most important tasks. Where do you turn?
Here are 7 Tips for the final push in your peak growing season.
- Stay hydrated- We are basically 70% water, live like it.
- Eat well! Don’t be afraid to eat the best of your harvest for yourself. So many farmers only eat the last picks, sometimes it is great to spoil yourself with your first picks.
- Sleep – Figure out a way to unwind and get a solid 7-8 hours of sleep a night
- Make sure you only work 6 days a week- Excluding feeding and checking animals, practice taking 1 day a week off as an intentional downtime. (Don’t fill this time with house projects or other catch-up work. Rest! Invest in a hammock).
- Surround yourself with people that are encouraging.
- Maybe it’s other passionate farmers, maybe it is an encouraging friend that speaks life into you.
- Don’t surround yourself with people who are toxic and tear you down.
- Listen to uplifting music that you love or podcasts that inspire you in your work.
- Plan something that you enjoy in the near future. Sometimes having something to look forward to helps motivate finishing well.
Farmer Luke Hammond