Practicing Gratitude on the Farm Even When It’s Hard

Through the Door

There is more to running a successful small farm business than harvesting lettuce or baking scones. Success is also a state of mind.

One night over a meal of green beans and new potatoes we talked about how grateful we are for Five Feline Farm. The country home and business we have established here. Most of the food for that meal was grown steps from the back door. Planted, tended, harvested, and cooked within a 100-yard radius of the table. To have such a level of relationship with the food we eat is a gift. At the same time, we have the distinct impression we have been entrusted with something that not only nurtures us but also the people who visit. 

But sometimes it is hard to remember to be grateful.

Like when things go wrong.

Did you ever have one of those days that nothing quite works out the way you hoped? 

It’s the little things that drive me nuts. 

The toilet paper holder falls apart when I’m in a hurry to get somewhere.

The coffee grinder is not on the shelf where I swore I left it. 

It’s cold outside on the day I scheduled to work outside.

A planting of new seeds did not germinate as advertised. 

In those moments, I have to work harder to be grateful. Experience has taught me that if I adjust my attitude and look for things to be grateful for, the little aggravations are easier to manage. 

I remind myself to be grateful for my life and the things I have acquired to make my life easier. Or that make life better. 

I am grateful for the toilet paper that I can put on that holder that fell apart. I can savor the fresh ground coffee that fills my cup. Property that provides a place to exercise creativity. The abundance of seeds that did germinate and produce fresh, tasty produce. 

As I often do when thinking about a concept, I turn to the dictionary for a new perspective. What does the definition of gratitude teach me? What does it mean to be grateful, full of graciousness? 

Merriam Webster lists the essential meaning of “gratitude” as “a feeling of appreciation or thanks” with the full definition being “a state of being grateful: thankfulness”. 

According to the thesaurus, gratitude is the opposite of censure. “Censure” is condemnation, judgment, blameworthy. 

Gratitude is not just what you do, but a state of being. A chosen attitude to combat feelings of condemnation and judgment. 

I can offer gratitude to others. I can be grateful for things. I can practice appreciation for all that surrounds me. I can accept gratitude from others.

It is a state of being that I can choose each day.

For today, whether the biscotti works out or not, I choose to be grateful for the opportunity to bake. 

I choose gratitude for Five Feline Farm and the fullness it offers my life. Even when the days are long and the work is hard. Even on the days that things don’t quite work out as planned. 

What would happen if we all practiced a little more gratitude?