Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
Have you ever sat down and asked yourself “what’s my unfair advantage?”
If you haven’t, stop reading this and think about it. It is potentially life changing.
Realizing what your unfair advantage is can set you on a course to success, but being blind to your advantage might leave you wrestling with unnecessary frustrations or struggles. The beauty of Unfair Advantages is that everyone has one. It might be hiding within your personal talents and gifts. Perhaps you are a salesman with the natural “gift of the gab.”
Maybe your advantage has something to do with the land that you are homesteading/farming. Do you have especially fertile fields that will grow more grass (or a variety of grasses) than someone else? Are there creeks or maybe rivers that feed onto your land? Are you close in proximity to a population-dense area that could potentially host a mass of customers?
Maybe your advantage hides within a skill set that belongs to one of your employees, or one of your children, or one of your friends. Someone that you could recruit to help you out while YOU focus on your strengths. Now you enable them to hone their gifts and further your efforts along the way. That’s a win-win situation, my friend.
Working at Polyface Farm has opened my eyes to the many Unfair Advantages that Polyface benefits from. Joel Salatin, Polyface's founder, was quick to recognize the advantages that his farm possessed, and we should all take that same action and swiftness to strive and do the same. I mean, really, once you have the know-how and understand the implications of a gravity-fed system, harnessing that potential and having it work to your advantage is huge. Polyface has many ponds, all stair stepped up the mountain, which gives the water system on the farm 75 PSI — exclusively from gravity. If Polyface was located somewhere that was flat as a pancake, than we start talking pumps and power drops and so on. Buuuuuut if it's flat, we don’t need a lot of power or pressure to move water.
You see what I’m getting at? It's perspective and knowledge and how we apply each to our own lives.
One of Polyface Farm's advantages is the standing timber that grows on the farm. Through hard work and management, standing timber becomes rough cut lumber via the on farm sawmill. Talk about freedom! Not having to be leashed to Home Depot or Lowes or a local lumber yard. Need a 2x4? Use the tractor to grab a log off of the pile, pop it on the mill and ten minutes later you have your 2x4.
Need to build a shop? A pole barn? A sugar shack for your winter maple sugar making? Spend a week cutting logs, transporting them to the mill, cutting them to the needed dimensions, and there ya go. It is lots of work, but I have seen Polyface save thousand upon thousands of dollars by milling lumber instead of purchasing it.
So do you have standing timber waiting to be milled, but don’t have a tractor? Maybe pay someone to come in, do some clearing, mill it up, and now you have lumber for potentially a fraction of the cost that you would have paid elsewhere. On top of that, you have also opened up additional pasture area or a spot for that pig pasture that you have been wanting. Or maybe build a guest cabin in that new clearing with your new lumber and charge people to come stay in it while they check out your farm.
Sure there are lots of ins and outs to it that I’m not even hitting on, but are you getting it? Are you following what I’m saying? (Or, as my brother says, “you smelling what I’m stepping in?”)
I ask you to do some self-searching. Figure out what you have, I don’t care if you are farming, mowing lawns, homesteading, canning, baking, or working aquaponics. You have an Unfair Advantage and I encourage you to take that and run with it. You can do it. Life isn’t fair. We don’t all have the same thing. We don’t all have the speaking prowess of Joel Salatin or the gravity fed potential and standing timber of Polyface Farm — but that’s the best part. You have something all your own. And that’s what makes your life so valuable.
Cheers to Unfair Advantages.
Interested in seeing more of what Tim does? Follow along through the lens of his camera on Instagram, username MyPolyfacePerspective.
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