Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Death by Paperwork

I have a dream. I live on a farm with my mate. We grow things, some animals, some vegetables, some fruits. We harvest and freeze or can them. We eat them. We write none of it down except maybe some info WE want like which breeds grew best and which carrots tasted most like carrots. We keep one little book each year and it is a beautiful book with a hand painted cover and paper made by fairies. We fax, copy, scan, file, attach...nothing.

But I am sure I would still blog.

The simple life. I yearn for it but yet I continue to make our life more complicated by adding new projects, products and procedures. There is this paper monster inside of me who loves to make posters, newsletters, signage. A monster who loves to play around with blog settings and designs, word perfect documents and organic files. But beneath all that is this smaller creature who is gaining strength who wants LESS. Less stuff, less paperwork, less documentation, less filing, less computer, less phone.

Take for example the sale of our meat. Ideally you would come to my store, pick out a steak you liked. I'd say, "That will be $7.  You pay me. Or you trade me a pasture raised chicken for it. I say THANK YOU

The reality is, you come to my store, you pick out a steak. I weigh it and charge you according to my price list. Then I write it all down on a sales slip. You get a copy and I keep the original. After you leave I carry the sales slip and the $ into the house. I pull up Quicken and log in the sales (date, type of product sold, amount paid and type of payment) as well as the number of the check you paid with. The sales slip then goes into a large 3 ring binder in alphabetical order. Double documentation because I do not trust computers. After one year I take all those slips put of the binder and file them because one day someone might complain about the meat and I feel the need for a strong and long paper trail. I blame heath care. I was in that system so long and risk and liability are two words I grew up with.

I really do hate those two words. I would rather structure my life around these two words, Trust and Dependability.

Piglet on outside of sled. "This hay had better be good"
Piglet inside the sled " Oh it is, these farmers are the most dependable and trustworthy ones I have ever worked with . By the way have you seen Baconnella lately ? She's been missing a few days." 

So farm planning day 11. Must simplify farm processes and develop customer trust through a dependable farm practices. Sounds like a mission statement to me. See ? I can't quit.


  1. Trust and dependability are two words that unfortunately most folks don't understand. Shame, isn't it?

  2. I hear you sister. Now that we're leaving the farm for acedemia for a few years I am rethinking everything I know and starting with making a list of my heart's desires. Ahhhhhh....sigh...