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I have become a pecan farmer

By Rick Kraft
[email protected]

“Farmer Rick.” That is what my wife is calling me these days. It is a very recent development. After over 40 years of working indoor jobs, I have become a weekend pecan farmer.
My wife and I live just outside our city limits in the country. We bought several acres of land 21 years ago and built a home in an area called the “pecan orchard.” There are pecan trees every direction we look. On our property we have about 115 pecan trees, most of them in an orchard behind our back fence.
A local pecan business had taken care of the trees for 20 years, but stopped last year. This left us to figure out how to take care of the trees we have enjoyed for two decades ourselves. I had no idea where to begin. Obviously the first issue was to figure out how to water the trees properly.
Getting my water rights moved to my well through the State of New Mexico took three months as my thirsty trees sat through hot weather waiting for relief.
Then I had to get water from my existing well to my trees. I installed a water line and a meter was added to measure my water use. Finally in late July everything was ready to go.
I can’t tell you the joy I felt when, four months after I began my journey, I turned the water valve on for the first time and water rushed out the riser at 55 gallons per minute. I felt like I had struck oil! With trees that not been watered since October, turning the water on in July now brought to life new issues.
Now it was up to the laws of nature and me to finish the task of getting water to each tree.
My wife got me a pair of water proof boots. She sat out in a lawn chair and observed Farmer Rick getting to work. Our eight year old house dog, a Boston Terrier, suddenly became a country dog. He loved the freedom of running up and down the row of trees and into and out of the water and the mud. As his coat turned from black to muddy brown, he became my farming sidekick.
The first time the water came rushing out of the pipe I wasn’t sure exactly where it would go. I learned the first basic lesson of nature…water will always flow downhill. My orchard, which appears flat to the naked eye, actually slopes down to the back of the lot and towards the street along my property. Gravity, which affects every minute of every day for each of us, partnered with the heavy flow of water to cause it to move in that direction.
As the water pooled, it looked for the lowest spot to move to. My job was to make sure the lowest spot was the direction I wanted it to flow. So, with my hoe in hand, I moved dirt and built ridges to open up paths to cause water to move across my property.
Because the trees had not been watered in about nine months, the first water was absorbed into the soil by the first trees. Until that land became saturated, it could not flow to the rest of the trees. Little by little, the water would saturate and then move down to the next dry land.
The water pooled, broke through from the pool, was absorbed by the land, and then continued to seek new land, I watched and then helped coach the water to accomplish its purpose.
As I worked the land I got philosophical thinking about how farming pecan trees reflects life itself.
I realized that when water hits a barrier, it stops and builds up until it can find a place to go. If the barrier is not removed, the water may move in a direction I don’t want it to move. With my hoe and my boots, it was my job to try to remove the barriers to allow a free flow of water down a trench to the waiting trees.
Just as life deals us, it would seem that no sooner would I remove one barrier than another was created. I soon felt like my job became simply one of removing barriers.
I then learned that if I went to the end of where the water had flowed there wasn’t much to do unless the stream was continuously being filled upstream by the water pump. In other words, I could stand at the end of the stream, but nothing was happening if no water was making it from the water source.
I realized that what happened upstream impacts what happens downstream. I learned that actions bring consequences. Without actions upstream, it didn’t really matter what was going on downstream. When the water ended downstream I had to walk upstream to create a better flow of water to the front line.
What I was trying to do as Farmer Rick was to bring nourishment to lives that needed nourishment. Water is a necessary element for trees to thrive. My column is one of my efforts to help people thrive.
Getting nourishment to all the trees took time and effort. It took paying attention and responding to the direction life took the water. Trees don’t grow just by sitting there. At least they won’t grow to be the best trees they can be without intentional attention.
The trees closer to the source receive much more water than the trees at the far end of the row. In my life I want to be close to the source of what causes the growth.
In our lives, like pecan trees, we need to be healthy and grow tall and strong. We need to get sufficient nourishment not for selfish reasons, but to be able to bear fruit for the benefit of others.
My challenge to you today is to grow tall. Put yourself in positions where you can be the best version of you you can be. Intentionally seek nourishment so you can nurture others. In the process of growing yourself, make sure your equipping yourself is not about you, but about producing fruit for the benefit of others.
Pecan trees naturally grow as big as they can based upon the resources available to them. You don’t grow naturally, for you to grow you have to make a choice to do so.
Water will always take the easiest path available to it. How about you? Maybe the barriers of your life are telling you to move a different direction. Or maybe you need to try to remove a barrier to continue on with your purpose.
Life is learning how to overcome obstacles, you will never have an easy path downstream all day every day, but hopefully you can make it to where you need to be able to add value to others ahead of you.
Sometimes water gets off the main stream and spins on the side. If you are there, get back into the flow. You were not created to sit on the sideline.
Accept the laws of nature. They exist and they are unchangeable. By default, whether it is water or life, left unattended chaos occurs. Order comes from action. Be sure your actions bring you the order you need in your life.
Bear fruit for the benefit of others. Provide shade for those near you now and at the same time plant seeds for shade trees that will live on after you are gone.
Enough of this writing. I need to get back outside and take care of my trees.
Just some stress lowering thoughts…
Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to [email protected]:[email protected]

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