Tag Archives: dreams

Intentional Goal Setting


Photo: Chris M. holds up his completed visual dream board. 

I met with a university student yesterday as part of an alumni-student mentorship program. Some of the things the student is hoping to get out of our meetings is advice and recommendations that will help her prepare for life after university. It was our first meeting so the conversation jumped around a bit – we talked about life and school, discovered shared opinions on pipelines and Idle No More, agreed on the awesomeness of Salt Spring Island, and discussed the power behind the act of being intentional about making goals. 

This same topic came up at last week’s CEED Centre Wednesday drop-in coffee session. The community members in attendance talked about goal-setting, list-making, understanding your own strengths and weaknesses, and being okay with saying no sometimes rather than over-committing yourself and feeling guilty when you don’t get everything done that you wanted to get done.

Intentionally thinking about and writing down goals is something I commit to regularly. I strongly believe that there’s a direct connection between this act and actually accomplishing our goals. I know for certain that I get more accomplished by doing this. I also know that doing this gives me a better perspective on the priorities in my life and helps inform my decisions before I take on new responsibilities. 

Life’s a balancing act for sure, but there are things we can do that make it easier, smoother, and more enjoyable.

To take this to a realistic, hands-on level, the group of us here on the farm spent a January evening writing down our dreams and goals for the next few years. Candles were lit, wine was drunk, and our living room floor and coffee table were strewn with magazines, scissors and glue as we pieced together visual dream boards. This was an intentional act – something that we hope will install in each of us a firmer resolve to work towards our goals. It was a fun and inspiring exercise and I encourage everyone to do it.

Meanwhile, in addition to our macro-level goals, I’ve been intentional about a related personal new years resolution which is to make a daily to-do list and, I’ve gotta say, January was MIGHTY productive because of these lists. This stuff really works. 

So, on that note, time to wrap this up and get on with the very farm-y items on my to-do list today: complete third cold frame, plant broad bean seeds in pots, clean out chicken coop, move poopy hay  to area where I’m building an extension to a garden bed and need a compostable layer of material, and, before anything else, eat oatmeal currently waiting on stove and make coffee. Okay, okay – and watch highlights from last night’s episode of The Bachelor (because even farm girls can’t help themselves sometimes ;).

One year later… now what?


Photo taken by Maria Rantanen, Maple Ridge Times.

Where do I begin with this blog post? More importantly, how could I ever sum up what the last year has meant to me in a single entry like this? I don’t think I can, but what I will do is answer a very important and relevant question:

It’s been a year. Now what?

When I sold most of my belongings, bought an old motorhome and moved out here a year ago to start this experimental farming project with Chris, Julie, Matt & Chantalle, the plan was fairly simple: to try my hand at farming for a year on the 2.5 acres owned and inhabited by my very dear friends. I set up this blog, Farm for a Year, to document our experience.

Throughout the year I was often asked, ‘What happens when the year is up?’ and more recently I’ve been getting the question, ‘So, are you going to make it Farm for Two Years?’.

The answer to the first question was always, ‘We’ll reassess when the year is up.’ and the simple and easy answer to the second question is, ‘I love it and the living arrangement is still working, so let’s keep having fun with this!’. 

What led to that simple and easy answer is of course more detailed and thoughtful – but not really complicated at all.

I love life on the farm. I am surrounded by and in constant contact with a very intentional and healthy community. I spend most of my free time outside being active and creative. I am growing my own food and helping raise a variety of animals. I am building relationships with the broader community of Maple Ridge – people who care about where they live and are actively engaged in making it a healthier and better place to be. I am living out my long-time goals of experiencing farming first-hand, living simply and pursuing the things in life that money can’t buy. And I’m able to do all of this while keeping my income-generating work at ideal part-time hours. It’s almost too good to be true….but it’s not. This kind of life IS possible. I’m incredibly blessed, count those blessings every day, and plan on hanging on to them for as long as I can.

So, as year one ends and year two begins, I’m happy to announce that activity on the farm continues to buzz. We’ve got new animals, are building more gardening beds, planting more trees, constructing more creative spaces… all of which will be blogged about soon. I’m also happy to announce that we have learned A LOT this year – about gardening and raising animals and pursuing this kind of life  – and we’re acknowledging our lessons learned and expanding our goals. We have yet to have an official ‘goal setting’ farm meeting for ‘Year 2’, but unofficial conversation tidbits include a lot of ‘farmers market & increased community involvement’ talk. I have a feeling it’s going to be (another) adventurous year.

To my family and friends for their ongoing support and encouragement, thank you so much. And to everyone at the farm, this experience and more importantly YOU, mean the world to me. Thanks for inviting me to continue on in this journey with you for awhile. xo