Greetings, Friends –
Last week I got to attend my first flower grower workshop through the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. It was awesome, extremely informative, and also overwhelming. I began the workshop feeling inspired with new ideas (for example, flower jewelry and wearable flowers / ‘flower tattoos’!) and left feeling like I needed a pep talk. It became increasingly challenging to absorb back-to-back presentations of folks that have much of their systems dialed in, breezing over topics that I am presently trying to navigate. It was a humbling reminder that I’m in the steep beginning of the learning curve plunge.
In addition to learning how to grow flowers in Illinois and at a scale beyond my own personal use, I am diving into a world that I have previously never entered: business. Here is where the leap of faith into the unknown is tremendously supported by the genuine excitement of spending more time with flowers and sharing them with others.
Most of you can relate to the discomfort that accompanies doing something new. There is trust that at some point it will get easier and there is an acceptance (on some level) to embrace the awkwardness.
Just a couple days ago I was redoing 82% of my drip irrigation order. It hurt my brain and my sense of humor. I initially purchased a system that one might confuse with the needs of a fire station. We’ll just say it was ‘robust’. I’ll have to eat the cost of shipping on a heavy box of parts, but thankfully no additional harm done except a little embarrassment. One of my flower farmer authors describes drip irrigation as ‘like tinker toys’ and dedicates a short paragraph about watering. Well… let’s hope irrigation systems are like tinker toys once you have the parts in hand. Navigating the purchasing side of things, however, is decidedly not so simple. It’s not just mainline tubing attached to your spigot with drip tape attached down your beds. Oh, no, there is more. Options for the beginning of your line include a pressure relief valve, check valve, screen filter, pressure gauges, timer, and how ’bout a fertilizer injector while you’re at it?! You need to determine your water pressure and flow rates and weed through ridiculous numbers of purchasing choices. Steve did me a huge favor and took the wheel on this one. After a few conversations with Rose, the extremely helpful DripWorks customer service agent, a more appropriate drip system is now on its way to our home.
One of the nuggets of wisdom that I’ve heard a few times on this new journey is to identify the things you’re good at and identify the things you’re bad at (so you know when to ask for help)… think I’ll add ‘figuring out proper irrigation systems’ to the latter. Navigating taxes, insurance, and legal structures are also going on this list.
A fellow science-careered-turned-artist-careered colleague and friend, Mandy Bernard, recently posted a video on instagram (@homesteadingroasters) that pretty much sums up my recent thoughts. The words resonated and the video continues to help me lighten up. I’ve watched it over & over again. With her permission, I’ve included screenshots as the featured image & the video here: Be the Mouse / Leap of Faith.
Cheers to stretching, following your joy, navigating the unknown, and taking the plunge –
P.S. This song helped me loosen up on my return drive from the ASCFG workshop in Oberlin. Listened to it on repeat, I did. For a good half hour or so.