Old MacDonald Taught an Important Lesson

Having the name “MacDonald” almost precludes that I’m from a farming family. In fact I grew up thinking that the familiar children’s tune was about my grandfather. In my mind, he embodied “Old MacDonald”. He had a farm. And animals. And amazing tomatoes, strawberries and apples.

My Dad got a piece of land from the farm and we built a small cottage on it (to vacation near our relatives). It was right next to one of the large crop fields. I remember having my Dad explain that you couldn’t plant the same crop on the same field year after year. Some years you let it rest.

To be honest, I don’t remember all the details. But the huge lesson has always stuck with me. The wonderful fields of grain deplete the ground of needed nourishment and eventually you can’t grow the same products on it. The intelligent farmer knew it was better to give up a year of yields for the sake of the long-term product.

Did you hear that?

If you do something really well in the same location; you have to give it a rest. It’s that important.

It’s why we should take a vacation, a sabbatical, a break. And it needs to be preemptive rather than a reaction. Don’t wait for your output to falter before you take a rest.

Sometimes, my Grampie would plant a totally different plant (like peas) and then till the stocks into the ground to add to the productivity of the following year. Perhaps you need to do something totally fun. Totally useless. Totally needed. Then walk away after enjoying it. Knowing your time will be more productive on the replenished soil.

Perhaps I’m preaching at myself. Join me.


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