After my illness last fall, I had nearly lost hope of ever launching the farm. With my left hand nearly useless and my balance all but gone, I knew that I couldn’t do the physical labor necessary to get it off the ground. Not knowing if I would ever feel normal again or if I would continue deteriorating compounded the problem because I didn’t want to pour a bunch of time and money into a project that I physically might not be able to sustain. Those feelings only added to my sense of helplessness and despair as I contemplated my future. At that point, I had no answers as to what was wrong with me; all I knew was that I felt terrible and seemed to be losing control of my body.
Today, I feel much better. Removing gluten from my diet has all but eliminated the vast majority of my symptoms. I still have some trembling and twitching in my left hand, and my balance is still a little suspect, but overall, I can do virtually everything I could before the onset of the illness. When I read the journal entries I wrote back in October and November, I’m astonished by how much healthier I feel today. Then, I wouldn’t have given you a nickel for my future because I was deteriorating so rapidly. Today, I honestly feel as if I could live a healthy, productive life for another 40-50 years. It’s an amazing turnaround.
So with that in mind, my attention again returns to the farm. I still believe in its potential to provide a long-term, sustainable method of not only providing food and revenue for my family but also for providing a blueprint for others in this region. Because of the efficiency of energy use and inherent purity of the produce, long-term hydroponic farming has many distinct economic advantages over traditional farming. Instead of being dependent upon the conditions of nature for sustenance, the plants receive consistent levels of full-spectrum light, water, and nutrients, therefore allowing for multiple crop cycles in a given year. Instead of losing 90% of their water to soil absorption, their roots are immersed in water and thus require much less total resources. Because of the use of liquid based nutritional supplements for each stage of growth, there’s no need for harsh fertilizers, and because of the indoor growth, there’s no need for dangerous pesticides and herbicides.
So again, I’m turning my attention and energy towards the farm. The wonderful thing I found the last couple of years, before the illness, is that working on the farm actually boosts my creative energy and allows me to write more than teaching does. After a full day of lecturing and grading, my brain is spent. After a day of hard labor, my mind is fresh and teeming with ideas, so long-term, if I can get the farm off the ground and operational, I believe it will improve my productivity as a writer. It’s a good feeling to once again have hope for a brighter, healthier future, and I plan on taking full advantage of my rebounding health to create not only entertaining books but also a viable, sustainable farm.