Harvest Time

Harvest Time

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

Because only 2% of our society works the land, we’ve become disconnected from the Farmer Philosophy.

Simply stated, “Mother Nature hates a vacuum. Plant good seeds — or, weeds will grow.”

So… for 50 plus years, I’ve been preparing, planting, tending, nurturing — and, dealing with the result. The bins were stretched to the limit and I was wondering, “Why am I so tired?”

Was I tired of the goodness? Was it, simply, too much of a good thing? Was there, even, any purpose in all this business and busyness?

The answer was discovered in violence. It came in the form of a real threshing — to beat, to flail, to separate, to thrash, to examine, and to toss.

Paradoxical Commandments

Do It Anyway

You see, there’s a maximum from the Paradoxical Commandments, “If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.”

Long ago, I discovered the 50/50 Rule — Half of the world will love us and the other half will hate us.

I’ve always been amused by the true enemies. What they meant for harm has always resulted in more goodness. The weapons they formed against me silenced them. The enemies gave their best to condemn and the Master offered honor.

As an eternal optimist, with my rose-colored glasses, I’ve — now — come to realize the problem (opportunity in disguise) of my tiredness was because of my naivety and those false friends.

They knew — for a fact — they were the beneficiaries of Education and Experience freely offered. In other words, they wanted what I had. And — they expected me to listen to their whining, endure their disrespect, and do for them what they were unwilling to do for themselves.

In the simplest of farming terms, they were chaff, light-weights, shriveled, and cracked — the winnowed waste only fit for chicken feed.

Action speaks louder than words.

When People Show You Who They Are, Believe Them

Yet, for some crazy reason, I couldn’t bring myself to blow them away. What I couldn’t do was done by the One who can.

To winnow means to force air upon the good and bad — to separate. Again, we forget the process required to put quality grain in the bin. The modern combine harvesters are beautiful monsters eating their way through ripe fields of plenty. Yet, inside their bellies, the process of separating the wheat from the chaff is a violent operation of beating, flailing, shaking, thrashing — with air used as a force to blow away the final remnants of impurity.

After all of that violence, what remains is the kernel of opportunity — to be used in baking, or in planting the next crop.

So… if you feel beaten, flailed, shaken, and blown upon by the winds of fate, take cheer — there’s A Time for Everything.

A time to plant and a time to harvest.

If you have planted and enjoy a crop meriting attention, then, know a harvest is required.

As I did, you’ll discover quality at the core of your character and you’ll discover who your true Friends, really, are!

www.kimfoardcpa.com

Less is More

Less is MoreMuch more dangerous than failure is success.

With success comes loss.

There is a loss of striving to reach the goal.

After the empire is built, then what?

Last week, in the course of a three-hour conversation with an empire builder, he was most proud of one story.

It was not about the treasures of the empire; it was about the joy of doing. The story epitomizes the essence of this Universal Principle: the fun is in the doing.

As his eyes danced back to the memory of a time long ago, he spoke of a harvest. Earlier in the conversation he had briefly mentioned the juggling act of doing the seeding in and around the other duties of caring for his cows. His first love is the livestock; he farms to care for them.

He smiled as he reminisced about an accomplishment only a few can appreciate. As a member of his club, I enjoyed the verbal portrait he presented. It was one of a cowboy, a combine (without a cab and with a 14’ header), a small straight truck, 320 acres of 20 bushel wheat, and 11 days.

Just imagine hot August days, with hardly a breath of air, sitting in the open on a bouncing seat above the spinning reel of the header, as it sweeps the standing stalks into the cutting bar. The aprons catch the fallen individual stems with heads of grain and rolls them gently to the center of the combine.

This continuous river of wheat flows under the driver into the threshing cylinder at his back. More dust and more roar, as metal fingers pluck wheat kernels from heads of grain. A cowboy, a combine, and a cloud of dust creep back and forth through the field.

The field is 320 acres. That’s one mile long and half a mile wide. A mile is the equivalent of 5,280 feet. With the combine traveling at two miles per hour, two trips across the field can be made in one hour. Each swath measures 14’ across. Since the cowboy, the combine and a cloud of dust have 2,640 feet (one-half of a mile) to traverse, that’s about 200 trips back and forth across the field.

Two trips per hour, nine hours per day, for eleven days was the time required on a bouncing seat, in the heat of August, through a fog of chaff, for our cowboy to earn the right to tell his story. In addition to the time in the driver’s seat, effort was also required to grease, fuel, and repair the iron beast. That was done throughout the stops to unload each hopper of grain into the truck for transport to the bin.

Short story; long lesson: the fun is in the doing. Really?! Eleven days of slogging through the discomfort of heat, dust and itch. Fun?! Yes, because the accomplishment of a harvest is the “Ribbons and Bows” around the planning and preparation that transforms thought into action.

Actions accumulate into a manifestation of success: the treasures of an empire. The stuff will come and go; the legacy will last forever.

The legacy is, simply, to say little and do much. A little bit of verbiage can be powerful, by speaking only the truth. Actions speak so much louder than words.

By giving our best, each and every day, we honor those pioneers of long ago and encourage the beneficiaries of tomorrow, to discover their own path to destiny.

www.kimfoard.com

A Penny Doubled

A Penny DoubledIf you were offered 1 Million Dollars, today; or, 1 Penny, with the opportunity to double it for 31 days; which would you choose? We all do it; we go for the immediate gratification and forfeit 9 Million Dollars!

Granted, instant wealth is a secret fantasy of us, all. The next best dream entertained is to receive compound interest on a passive investment. Least favorite is to, actually and actively, earn our way to wealth.

Since the odds of winning a lottery are slim to none and interest rates are little better, let’s take a look at the return on smart thinking and hard work. Passive investments hope to earn a percentage on what already is. Active efforts yield bountiful harvests from the whole seed, planted for the benefit of future growth.

Real treasure has nothing to do with money and everything to do with the lessons learned on the journey of Life.

Speaking of which, a rich Fellow had business obligations in a far away country. Before leaving, He entrusted money to three of his servants in proportion to their abilities. Two of them went to work and earned double what they were given. The third one dug a hole and hid the gift.

Upon the rich fellow arriving home, the servants were asked, individually and separately, to give an account of how they had used the money. Two of them replied, “Master, you gave me wealth to invest and I have earned double the amount.”

Their master was full of praise and to each of them said, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.You have been faithful in handling this small amount; so, now, I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!”

The third one recognized the Farmer Philosophy inherent in the principle of the matter; yet, did nothing to increase the principal of that within his sphere of influence. His response, “I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.”

No percentage. No harvest. No celebration.

After the judgmental and tepid tirade, the fearful one was quizzed by the benefactor, “Why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.”

It’s not about the money. It is, all, about the lessons learned on this journey of Life.

You see, the rich fellow didn’t really care about the money, or the percentage of its increase. He was more interested in providing opportunities for growth. That only happens by smart thinking and hard work.

Then, he ordered, “Take the money from the lazy one and give it to the one who harvested the most. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given; and, they will have an abundance. But, from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.”

All, we do, begins with a thought and the fun is in the doing!

www.kimfoard.com

Two Farmers

Harvest

In the fertile valleys of Montana, harvest is almost complete. Malt barley is headed for the breweries, hard winter wheat is destined for the flourmills, soggy steer calves are trucked from the Red Lodge mountains to feedlots on the plains, sugar beets provide a poignant aroma to the air of Billings as they are processed into sweets for treats, and ear corn waits on the stalk to be picked.

The secrets to life can be found in the sixty miles from Red Lodge to Billings, Montana. This is a story of two farmers, Tom and Fred.

Their farms sit side-by-side, with a fence between them. Fred is a man of few words, while Tom likes to talk. Early morning, finds Fred at the kitchen table with a cup of dark, rich, coffee, as he plans his day. As dawn gives way to the first light, Fred is preparing his tractors for the circles they will make. Here comes Tom, with a little hair of the dog that bit him from the night before, to lean on the fence and begin his stories of high adventure.

Fred understands the benefit of crop rotation. If he wants to grow corn in one of his fields, he plants corn seed. For the sugar beet fields, he plants those little sugar beet seeds. In his wheat fields, he plants kernels of wheat.

As the spring rains stop, Fred is ready to start his irrigation to provide water for the crops. In early summer, the weeds are in competition with his crops; so, he cultivates. When the calves sneak through a hole in the pasture fence, he cowboys them back home and fixes the fence.

Tom watches Fred work. While continuing to lean on the fence day after day, Tom has all kinds of advice for how Fred should do his work. Fred just nods. In fact, Fred nods and waves as he puts his grain in the bin, steers on the truck, beets in the pile, and corn in the crib.

Then, one fall day while surveying his barren fields, Tom is in, especially, fine form. He walks up to his favorite leaning post and waves Fred over to the edge of the field. As Fred idles his new tractor down to a gentle purr and steps from the cab to learn what is on his neighbor’s mind, Tom says, “You’re sure lucky!” Fred just nods and says, “Yep.”

We harvest what we plant.

The shorter version of the story is the proverb: “Some sow their wild oats and then hope for a crop failure.” Those are the lucky ones. Lucky in the sense that less bad seed is blowing in the wind to cause harm for the neighbors. Un-lucky, since the real joys of life are discovered by doing, learning, and growing.

In this era of fantasy, when: work is spelled l-u-c-k; wrong is thought to be right; and, black and white are old-fashioned; how can we know good people from the bad ones?

Again, from agrarian principles, comes the answer.

You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.

… He taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers…

In returning to the story of our two neighbors, Tom is a Talker and Fred is the Farmer. Talk is easy. Work is hard. Or, is it?

Maybe, the moral of the story is: Easy is hard — and, Hard is easy.

As for me, I enjoy full bins!

www.kimfoardcpa.com