Monday, March 14, 2011

The life of an idea

I can't tell you how many different thoughts we've had over the past couple of years about what we'd like to do with our land. And in the past 3 months we've gone from full fledged farmers - buying cows, pigs, donkeys, horses, sheep and chickens - to selling the whole dang place, back to maybe getting some chickens and a dog.

I find the life cycle of and idea is something like this:
  1. We hear, read, or discuss thoughts and ideas
  2. After thinking things over we start to research. Granted Milly researches much more thoroughly than I do
  3. A lot of our ideas often end up to radical, expensive, time consuming or flat out impossible. However, research and fact finding often leads to different options
  4. Which leads to more research
  5. In researching we often get busy and forget the original idea
  6. If the idea is good we usually end up going full circle and coming back to something we've thought of along the way
  7. When we finally run out of time or want to execute this often leads me to run full throttle to get things done
The life of an idea can last anywhere from a day or so to a month. Often during this time I am quite positive we are going to act upon it. The really fun and cool ideas seem to take hold very easily such as riding our bikes across the USA or living in a Yurt for a couple of years. (Believe it or not our Yurt idea lasted about a month and is still not quite gone from my system.) I mean who wouldn't want to live in something like this for a while.

Yurt in Summers, MT right on Flathead Lake

View from Yurt door

Inside of 18 ft. Yurt
Milly has convinced me if we want to live in a Yurt we can rent out the above rent for $75 a day during the summer in Summers.

Some ideas are actually acted upon and its not till later that we decide to let the idea go. Our friends the Green's often act upon ideas but rarely do they invest a lot of money in the idea. This allows them to stay quite flexible and back out of an idea when needed. I think this is key when trying to have a simple farm.

Let me highlight that thought.

Invest as little money as possible when trying to run a simple farm.

Here's some thoughts on how to do the above:
  • Rent equipment such as a post hole pounder, swather, combine, roller, planter, cultivator, etc.
  • Find used equipment and items whenever possible
  • Help others and ask others to help you
  • Don't go into debt. Debt increases risk and limits flexibilities and options
  • Don't buy anything new unless budgeted for. For us this means we are trying to plan a month ahead before outlaying any cash. If we still need the item after a month we probably need the item but we are finding the decision to buy often changes
  • Make it yourself. Don't buy pre-built chicken coops. Build the coop yourself
  • Use custom farmers for things such as cutting and baling
  • Don't go overboard. Buy or build things just good enough for the need. Why buy a swather when a lawn mower will do
  • Start small and grow if you like it. Starting small is less investment in time and money and will allow for time to develop ideas and abilities.
  • Do things for your own personal use instead of with the intention to sell to others. Focus on the things you like to do. If you end up selling to others it will be products that are enjoyable to produce
Any other thoughts on the above? I'd be really interested to hear any of your ideas.

In conclusion, I think there is great value in the life cycle of an idea. I love to think of and learn new things but I'm often quite glad when the idea dies.


  1. I would like to take minor exception to the 3rd item from the bottom...sometimes having the RIGHT tool for the job may cost more up front; but in the end will save money, time, headache, backache, etc.

  2. Totally agree. I'm not one to skimp on things in general and will often go buy things I think I need. I'm really itching for a chain saw right now but am holding off in the hopes of finding what I need at a good deal.

    However, I have a tendency to buy the best most expensive thing when a cheaper thing might do. For example, I bought a 3/4 hp sump pump to put into a rental place that had water issues. It was the most expensive one Home Depot sold. I could have spent half as much and it would have been sufficient.