This past year has been a wonderful experience for us. But we have decided that I am going back to work in the Clinical Engineering field for which I was trained, a profession my father picked for me. Unfortunately jobs are scarce in Arkansas so we are having to move. I am actually going back to work with the same company I used to work for before taking my position at Arkansas Children's Hospital.
I will be starting June 27th in Omaha Nebraska working at University of Nebraska Medical Center. The company hired me out of retirement to turn around an ailing account where they have been managing the hospital's medical technology.
It is a bittersweet departure in that our local foods business was really taking off - we double our sales this past year - and we made a lot of friends in the process. We will miss them a great deal. This is a real test for us....living in a straight line....enjoying the moment but not trying to recapture it. Life is at once amazing and tough.
Here are some of my observations from the last year that helped us make this decision. The blog will shut down for a little while as we relocate over the next few weeks but it will restart from a new perspective a little later on.
1. Though we grew all of our own food...we rarely ate at home...this seems to be the bane of most local small farmers and industrial farmers alike. Most of the week was spent preparing food for our customers. Then, tired out, or in the middle of gardening or baking, finding little time or energy to cook, we ended up eating out. Usually fast food.
2. Because of this we realized we would need to shut down the business and go into self-sufficiency mode, simply living from day to day, selling just enough to pay the electric, water, and tax bills. At the age of 43 it began to seem a little early for us to do this.
3. All three of our boys were home for the first time several weeks ago and we did not have room for them. And because we are tied to the farm, we could no go visit them where they were. We felt that, perhaps we were missing a good decade of travelling, visiting them and their families. Some of the things we thought we wouldn't miss, we did.
4. Our business was expanding a great deal in spite of rising supply costs due to the weather, and the late start our market garden had because of the weather. To build resiliency in our markets we had to expand a lot faster than we liked. We were to the point where Patt and I were essentially working two full time jobs apart from each other and then sitting a two or three different markets each week. I did not retire to be away from my wife. So we studied it out and realized that I had more time to spend with Patt by working 5 days a week than we were having the last few weeks. If I am going to go back to work to have more free time, then I am going to do what I have had success doing the last 24 years. Omaha.
5. Patt has been following me around the armpits of America for the last 25 years so I could carve out a reputation in my industry - a reputation that got me hired after a whole year off in just a matter of weeks and after sending out my resume to only one company. I am blessed. Now it is time for me to follow Patt around and let her knock some items off her bucket list. I look forward to debt free living and watching Patt do what she wants for a change.
6. I think we'll be back to farming full time again some day...just not now. When I retired from healthcare last year I really thought that this would be it. But life is taking us a new direction. Though it is stressful and scary, I am trying to rest in the moment and just enjoy the ride.
Be back to you soon...