I own a thoroughbred. Well, now 2, but that’s a detail for later. You see, When a thoroughbred is young they take lots of preparation to make things go right. Or right…ish or at least right adjacent. As we planted almost 5,000 pepper plants this week I started to think about the similarities between pepper farming and horse training.
The whole thing is a gamble. You look at the upcoming year with anticipation of what might be. You see the work ahead, the potential problems and you make the best decision you can based on the knowledge you have at the moment. With horses this can be a lot of fun. Well, fun is a loose term, but it can definitely be an adventure. My first thoroughbred was 3 when I bought him. He was big, unpredictable and occasionally just down right stupid. When he gets it right though, he is majestic. A real looker…He knows how to shine and, when he does, he is a winner. Many hours of training and preparation go into hoping that at the right moment he will produce. We have great moments of triumph and moments where I lay on the ground asking God, why was it again I bought a wild beast that disguised itself as a big red horse?
Now this is my first year as a farmer but I have experienced many of the same emotions pepper farming as I have watching that big red horse. The fields are prepped and ready. The plants are babies. We carefully place them in the soil and we wait. It’s difficult work. It’s hot, it’s dirty, seems never ending when you are staring at 5,000 plants.
Somehow though in the midst of all the dirt and work and sore muscles there is hope. You look at the field as you plant row by row and you hope. I hope you grow big and beautiful and produce. Grow peppers grow! I remember my statement to a lifelong farmer last year as I looked out on my first crop. “What if they all die?!!?” I am pretty sure I have fear of failure issues but that’s another BLOG. “Oh, they won’t all die”, he replied. “You did what you were supposed to now you got to let them do what they are supposed to.” Profound…… So, it is with many things in life. You do what you are supposed to and you wait.
Last summer we had the best pepper crop according to experienced farmers that anyone had seen in years! Now the time has rolled around to plant and start anew. As I ordered plants I thought about how scary the whole process was last year and smiled a little as I waited on delivery of our little fields of hope this year.
Now you may be wondering where that 2nd thoroughbred I mentioned comes into play. Well, a few months back we started to horse shop with my youngest daughter. She has sadly outgrown her beloved pony. Best pony that has ever or will ever live! As we started looking I vividly remember the conversation with her trainer. “We don’t mind something young, a project. She’s up for the challenge but hey, one thing, NO THOROUGHBREDS.” Even though I love our big red boy, who is now 10, I have been down that road. I know better. I have matured.
So when I got the picture one night of a cute bay baby OTTB (that’s an off the track thoroughbred for those that want to know my exact level of insanity) I would be lying if I didn’t admit to screaming, “WHY?!?!” out loud before saying, “Ok, yep. Let’s look at him.” He is fabulous. A baby, fresh and full of potential. Hope on four legs. As I agreed to purchase him I laughed at myself. I am crazy, it’s a gamble. Just like those pepper plants we are going to do what we are supposed to do and let him do what he’s supposed to do.
As we approach a brand new freshly set out field of hope this year I am a little less scared and a little more excited. So, do whatever it is that scares you. Take a gamble, set out that field in your own life you never know what it’s going to grow into. Heck, buy a horse! If it’s a thoroughbred though, call me first, I got LOTS of stories about that!