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We'll Get By with a Little Help from Our Friends

A little while ago, I read the book “Outliers” by Malcom Gladwell.  For those of you who haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it.  In the book, Gladwell makes a compelling point, through various stories about individuals and groups of people, about how much of a group project success is.  An individual’s success is not just about her/his own efforts but it’s because of the contributions of lots of different people and lots of different circumstances.

It is with these thoughts about success and how we as individuals achieve success that I write this post.  As we begin our farming venture, the outpouring of generosity, support, kindness, and care overwhelms me.  My cousin, Kristin, volunteers on the farm every Friday...for free.  I have to threaten her for her to even accept gas money. Our friend, Dane, who lives in Richmond, has come down many weekends to help with various farm tasks.  His farming know-how, endless energy, amazing dog, King Ghidorah, and great sense of humor always arrive at just the right moment.   Michael’s family traveled from PA and while they were here, they helped to build shelves in our barn, weed, and work on the tractor. 

To aid in our fence-raising we have had many much-needed helpers join us including a co-worker’s husband, Mike; Kristin’s boyfriend, Adam; and my brother, Christopher.  Would you believe it that even the Priest at our church offered to strap on some boots and come help drill some holes!  (Jim, if you are reading this, don’t be surprised if we take you up on your offer!)

There are some folks who cannot help on the farm in person have helped monetarily.   There is no way that we would be able to be where we are today without the investment from our family.  We have not had to ask for any money; it was offered to us.  To those folks, THANK YOU so much!

In addition to our friends and family, the generosity from our neighbors has been unbelievable.  The gentleman who farms all the land around us, Mr. Weaver, has disked our entire acreage…twice...and accepted no payment.  Mr. Weaver and his daughter, Susan, have been there for us every step along the way.  Even though I imagine they are thinking to themselves “Those crazy hippy kids,” they have been an invaluable source of support, help, and advice.  Another valuable asset and friend to us has been a long-time family friend, Danny Hinnant.  His father and my grandfather were dear friends.  Danny has been so generous with lending us anything he has that we need.  One night Michael came home to find Danny weed-eating our the pouring rain!  There have been many other neighbors that have assisted in one way or the other.  Their company, time, and generosity are so incredibly touching.  While there are perks of city life that we miss from time to time, the generous and welcoming spirit of our friends and neighbors here is beyond anything either of us has experienced in any place we’ve lived before.

Over the last several weeks, we've been greatly encouraged by all of the support and patronage we've received from the customers and fellow vendors at the Clayton Farm & Community Market as well as our colleagues at Johnston County Schools.  While we have our own personal motivations to follow this path, it helps to know that there are people out there who appreciate it!

So that’s how we are building our farm…with help from our family and friends, one seed, one row, one post, one hoed weed at a time.  There are days when we are so tired we can’t think and when the steps between where we are and where we hope to be seem innumerable.  However, the support of our family, friends, and neighbors seems to make the load lighter and put the wind at our backs.  My emotions overcome me when I think about all the help family, friends, and neighbors have given us.  There are times when I feel I am imposing on others lives (or bank accounts), but then I think that this is how we have become who we are.  No one has gotten to the place they are in life without help.  So, we are happy to accept the help that people offer us and hope that one day we will be able to help return the favor in some way.

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Reader Comments (3)

Great post guys! The help, support, and just plain neighborliness you describe was kind of a given for those of us who grew up on small farms. Everyone came to get the hay in before a rain. If a farmer got sick or injrued, someone would show up to get the work done. Canning days went faster with help from the neighbors. It was a wonderful life that we sometimes take for granted. You have chosen to create this life for yourselves while still keeping the "day job" of helping children with life challenges. Maybe that's why so many people want to help you too! Or...maybe they just want to ensure a steady source of organic veggies for themselves ;-)

August 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Driscoll

Thanks for the comment Nancy. One of the greatest aspects of living in the country is the sense of community and support from our neighbors. Even though we are newcomers to the area, we have felt completely welcomed. I think that there is great character built from helping others and accepting help from others. Enjoy your last week off work before the school year starts back up. Summer has flown by, but we will welcome fall gladly.

August 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

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May 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTaylor Spruill

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