Today I was tagged by my friend Lindsie at This Abode to write 6 random things about myself. I encourage everyone to check out her blog - it's a great one!
So here are my 6 random things. I will preface it by saying that these are actually things that have been popping into my head as we have started up on this farming journey. They didn't directly lead to us farming, but when I look back at them I can see how they fed into what we are doing. So here I go. This may make me look like a nerd! :)
1) For some random reason in high school, I decided to keep a record of every penny I spent and earned. I would write down my transactions on a little 2x3 notebook I kept in my purse. Then I would take it home and enter it into a spreadsheet I put together on our old Macintosh Performa. I could then see where my money was coming from and going to.
2) Ever since I was young I have had aquarium fish. When I was in junior high and high school, my interest in aquarium fish really took off, and I decided to start raising guppies. Maybe it was because they were relaxing, maybe because I love to go fishing, maybe because I wanted to make money, maybe it was because I enjoyed the record keeping and management of it all . . . but I had at least 5-6 tanks of them upstairs and in our basement at one time. They were really pretty - I remember they were Blue Delta Tails and Pink Flamingos. I kept careful records of how many were born, how much I spent on them, how many I sold, and what I earned from them. It was either those records or the ones from my Buff Cochin raising project that went to the Iowa State Fair. Although I knew it was a strange hobby, I enjoyed it.
When I met Ethan at UNI, I told him about what I had done. He set up 3 tanks and tried it himself. I don't think any of his made it to the pet store though. :) We still have a 55 gal aquarium of fish that we have kept multiple types of fish in, but I'm afraid to say that our fish days are probably over once we move to the farm with no central air and just a wood burning stove.
3) This is somewhat related to above, but my relatives (that's you Tim) had a computer that you could do a career assessment on. You answered questions about your interests and skills, and it gave you a printout of what careers you would be well suited for. I did this my junior or senior year of high school. Everyone laughed at me when my top career was "Animal Breeder". I laughed too and thought that even though I enjoyed working with animals I would never be an animal breeder for my career. What a random career.
4) I also love working with plants. My bedroom looked like a rain forest in Junior High and High School. I had all kinds of indoor plants (and a cockatiel and parakeets) in my room. I enjoyed working with the plants - seeing how I could propagate them and under what conditions they would grow well in. I took care of our family garden in the summer too. meaning I planted it, weeded it, and ate what grew in it. (I don't know if I did it more for the food or the great tan!) Also, I was the one who pruned and trimmed all of the bushes, fruit trees, and shade trees on our 4 acres. It was a type of art to get them to look nice, and it was interesting to see how the trimming affected them.
5) My mom was the Home Ec teacher at my high school. I was the bad daughter and never took any of her classes, even though both of my brothers did. I filled my schedule with as much math and science as I could fit in, and then I used my left over time slot to take the agriculture class every year - aquaculture, farm business management, and two other things. I was also in FFA. I didn't really know what I wanted to do with them. We lived in the country but just with 4 acres and a variety of small country pets. I just knew I enjoyed that kind of stuff.
6) At the end of my Junior year of college I decided that I was going to Iowa State and was going to do something with horticulture. I went with my parents and my cousin Tim. We signed up to meet with advisers and get the full tour. When we got there, the only thing they showed me was their turf grass management program. I was so bored. I didn't want to spend my life working on a golf course taking care of their grass.
Around Christmas of my senior year, I decided to open one of the multiple college mailings that I usually threw away. It was from a Christian college, as were many of the other letters that got tossed in the trash. After I opened it, my eyes immediately fell on the words "Christian Education". It was like they were in bold print. At that moment I wrote off Iowa State and decided to go to UNI to major in Education. I graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education. I spent quite a bit of time reading in the small campus greenhouse though.
Just a few years ago I was quite upset to find out that Iowa State has scores of green houses that I never had heard about, as well as multiple horticulture programs besides turf grass management. It all worked out though. I met my wonderful husband my freshman year at UNI, worked 2 years at a Cono Christian School as the 4-6 grade teacher after graduation (we also had 6-8 high school boys living in our basement in our care), and then I became a stay at home wife and mom - and I absolutely love teaching our kids.
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So there you go. The budgeting that I did has helped me with managing our money up until now where we felt able to make the move to the country, and I believe it will help me with keeping our financial records with the farm. The fish (and chicken) projects were a great learning experience and I'm sure will be a help with our registered Dexter herd, other animals, and finding which divisions of the farm are most profitable. Little did I know, but the career assessment may have been more accurate than I thought it was. What I learned about plants has definitely helped me get going with our gardening and food preservation (although you wouldn't be able to tell from this year!) Although I was the bad daughter in my class choices in high school, I believe they have benefited me with what we are starting up. And lastly, although my college choice may have been a more beneficial career choice if I went to Iowa State (although I do LOVE teaching!), UNI was definitely the better family choice - which holds far more importance than any career!
All of this makes me think of these verses, God's plan for my life, and the way he created me. No point in fighting it. :)
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. ~Psalm 139:13-14
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. ~Proverbs 9:16
Thanks, Lindsie, for the opportunity for reflection. (Make sure to check out This Abode!)