Success!

“To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.”

~Mark Twain

We found an egg, success!

We found an egg, success!

I did it.

Mostly.

I made it forty days and forty nights with no very few sweet treats.  It was hard at first.  After a couple weeks, however, it was easy and felt really great!

Even though I ate a few things here and there, I was definitely not bingeing on cookies, sneaking brownies or scarfing down chocolate during stressful times.

We have been eating more fruits and veggies and dabbling in alternative “sweets” (I’ve included a recipe for butter mints at the end of this post!).  I’ve been sleeping better, feeling more energetic and saving money, to boot.

Success!

Some might say that this was, in fact, not success.  I cheated, right?  Didn’t I say I’d given up sugar?

We did go a little overboard with Easter candy at the end of our candy fast.

We found an egg from last year!  Nothing better to celebrate a sugar fast than aged-to-perfection candy.

For me, success used to be measured by grades, performance reviews, and praise from others.  It meant accomplishing something without cutting any corners. It meant making money. It meant dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s with flying colors.  I was a perfectionist, of sorts.

It turns out that perfectionism has its useful moments in agriculture, but that discussion is for another day.  After working in small scale agriculture for several years, my definition of success has evolved.  To be fair, it probably would have changed in multiple other professions, as well.  The farmers I’ve worked with start every spring with many expectations and many questions.  We expect to produce enough for a set number of consumers (30 CSA members plus 30-50 market and farm stand customers per week) over a mutually understood amount of time (June through early October).  How long should we wait between successions of crops?  What sold well last year?  What kind of weather is predicted for year? Are there any new varieties that are improved for our zone?

Spring is in the air and it's time to crop plan!

Spring is in the air and it’s time to last minute crop plan!

Now, success is measured more by the feelings associated with work.  My acknowledgement of success doesn’t just come at the end, it happens throughout an experience or task.  The weeds are taking over one bed, but the one next to it is gorgeous.  As soon as the weedy bed is cleaned up, the once gorgeous bed is, once again, infested!  While the abundance of rain has caused some carrots to split, it has made the brassicas huge.  Overall success with bumps along the way.

Especially now that I have a child, I often don’t have the luxury of completing tasks in a timely manner.  If I waited to finish duties in order to count a success, I’d be waiting quite a while in some cases.  Of course, the success feels better when something has been completed, but it cannot be the only way to feel a sense of accomplishment.

A sleeping baby: success!

A sleeping baby: success!

A few weeks into lent.  I felt it.  Success!  I no longer craved sweet things.  I didn’t even count on the alternatives I had been substituting once in a while.  The last few weeks of lent didn’t feel like much of a challenge.  Then I thought, maybe that’s what something like lent is for–supposedly habits are made after three weeks of consistent practice.  Changing an undesirable habit is a huge success, even if that wasn’t the intentional goal.  Eating a few bites of cookies or candy here and there over forty days doesn’t equal failure if a sugar addicted habit is changed!

Nearing the end of an unplanned long hike with only one wet foot among all my students: success!

Nearing the end of an unplanned long hike with only one wet foot among all my students: success!

In farming, some livestock is lost, some crops can perform poorly.  From what I’ve seen in my farming experience, however, is the impact it has on others.  As a farmgirl, I’ve seen how workers thrive in the labor they are performing; as a consumer, I’ve seen whole diets transform into something nourishing and life giving rather than empty and possibly damaging; as a community member, I’ve seen neighbors chatting and exchanging ideas.  Even if some produce is lost here and there, the impacts of small-scale farming are outstanding.  Success is measured in more than the projected outcomes.  I love when the unexpected is better than the expected.

So until next time, Farmgirl sisters, what is success to you?

Wishing you peace, love and success in all things,

Alex, The Rural Farmgirl

 

Oh!  And the butter mints recipe I promised you.  I found it at Empowered Sustenance.  They aren’t “sugar free,” exactly.  They are made with honey, and I used raw, local honey from a friend’s beehives.  I also made mine with lavender in lieu of mint, because mint isn’t recommended for nursing moms!  They were very yummy and popping one nickel sized bite at a time really helped me get over the two week hump!  Ava liked them, too. Enjoy these easy, seemingly decadent morsels:

Butter Mints for Sugar Cravings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter (pasture butter is best!)
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut oil
  • 3 Tbs. raw honey (I only used 2)
  • 10-12 drops peppermint essential oil OR 1/8 – 1/4 tsp.peppermint extract (I used lavender oil.  I think many other flavors would work, too–lemon? bergamot? almond? vanilla mint?)
  • optional: 2 Tbs. cocoa powder.
  • Taste and adjust amount as necessary.

Instructions

  1. Have the butter at room temperature. Stir together all ingredients and add more peppermint extract to taste, if desired.
  2. Scoop mixture into a pastry bag or zip-top bag. You can stick a fancy pastry tip into the end of a zip-top bag and then cut off a corner of the bag -OR- If you don’t want to use a tip, just snip of the corner of the bag.
  3. Squeeze bite-sized buttons onto a baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper. Place in the fridge until firm, about 2 hours, then transfer to a storage container and store in the fridge.

Leave a comment 9 Comments

  1. Maureen says:

    Thanks for the butter mints recipe, I’m going to give them a try. I like your theory about lent and habit changing. You may be onto something there!

  2. susana says:

    I’m curious how many Easter eggs did the little one find ? Thanks for the recipe for the butter mints.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Hi Susana, The Easter Egg hunts were crazy! The big kids found all of the eggs in about 2 minutes, but they were really nice and shared with the little kids. She actually found one egg, but she came home with a five, I think. Definitely a fun experience. The candy fueled chaos!

  3. Hi Alex,

    It’s really funny how going without sugar makes everything sweeter isn’t it? And good for you sticking with it. I’ve been back off of it for a few weeks now and am starting to totally feel the positive results. Again. The problem for me is that it slips back in somehow and I’m eating it again before I know it!

    Success for me comes in so many different ways. My husband and I ran a half marathon last weekend that we’d been training for and even though we walked a lot of it, we finished and the success was so sweet! :-)

    And a sleeping baby? That is very definitely success!!!

    Happy Spring – Dori, the Ranch Farmgirl –

    P.S. I love that green skirt you’re wearing… totally darling.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      A half marathon? That is so impressive! Congratulations on that incredible achievement. And with the sugar–I am definitely the same way. But we have to feel bad once in a while in order to feel good, yeah? Plus, sweet treats are so tasty and really fun to make. I love baking! That’s what usually gets me…wanting to bake treats.

  4. pam demarrais says:

    I am inspired by your commitment to Lent! Good for you! When is planting time in your neck of the woods?
    I bet that the one egg that your precious little girl found was like stumbling upon gold.
    Thanks for your great blog!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks, Pam! The rule of thumb is to wait until Memorial Day, but many people will push it and start early to mid May. This year has been so warm that the beginning of the season should be pretty smooth. It’s been above freezing during the day here for weeks, way fewer vernal ponds than usual. The Easter egg hunt was so fun and cute.

  5. Nancy says:

    I eat “chocolate cake” for breakfast rather often. It’s super simple but I do cook it in the microwave.
    Mash one banana in a glass bowl. ( cereal size or a bit bigger.)
    Add heaping tablespoon organic peanut butter, blend together well.
    Mix in 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of honey if desired, & 2 heaping spoons of unsweetened cocoa powder. Cook 2 min microwave. Yum! (I eat it warm. Loads of protein.)
    Adjust to taste if needed.

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