During his documentary series The Brain with David Eagleman, David mentions a Ulysses Contract:
“A Ulysses pact or Ulysses contract is a freely made decision that is designed and intended to bind oneself in the future. The term is used in medicine, especially in reference to advance directives (also known as living wills), where there is some controversy over whether a decision made by a person in one state of health should be considered binding upon that person when they are in a markedly different, usually worse, state of health.
The term refers to the pact that Ulysses (Greek name Ὀδυσσεύς, Odysseus) made with his men as they approached the Sirens. Ulysses wanted to hear the Sirens’ song although he knew that doing so would render him incapable of rational thought. He put wax in his men’s ears so that they could not hear and had them tie him to the mast so that he could not jump into the sea. He ordered them not to change course under any circumstances and to keep their swords upon him and to attack him if he should break free of his bonds.
Upon hearing the Sirens’ song, Ulysses was driven temporarily insane and struggled with all of his might to break free so that he might join the Sirens, which would have meant his death.” *
It got me interested in trying it, I tend to hesitate towards my dreams in life. For example I have wanted to have a farm, never a nursery, then I half heatedly attempted a nursery when what I really wanted was a farm. I’m not an expert in business, nor gardening, so the way forward would probably be just getting more gardening experience in general. I love gardening, but I tend to hesitate because I feel guilty leaving the kids in the house while I garden, but if I were going to martial arts or the gym or college or work, I wouldn’t feel guilty, so maybe I should consider it my work?
Last year was my husband’s first year investing, he didn’t think to himself “I am an investor” on day 1, but he did surprisingly well over a year. I hope it’s like that for me, I hope in a year I seem like a farmer.
One thing I have is the right hat. Another thing is some land. It’s part of half an acre, I think that is fine, but I noticed cheap farm land for rent nearby as well, but to rent it I would need money, so I would at least need a business plan. Right now I have no idea if I would go for something high profit like vanilla bean, macadamia nut or coffee, or something I like like lychee or avocado, or a variety of low cost items with perhaps some kind of educational grant and some sort of community teaching or outreach or something… I really don’t know.
I have dabbled with gardening as an adult, as a child I never had the opportunity, so in general I know very little about what farming would be like. Since I know I don’t know I don’t want to box myself in, but at the same time I know I want to do more gardening no matter what.
Seeds were a good price at Home Depot when my dad stopped for something else, so we got some flowers to liven up the patio and some seeds for myself and both my kids.
My daughter was interested in corn, which is sweet, because we use the corn silk to make tea when I get a mystery side pain.
In the past I saved my seeds waiting for the perfect time, the perfect soil, and often they just were wasted. Each year they germinate at a worse rate…
Also my climate is weird to most the plants, so that if my plants do survive the seeds I can save are better for my particular climate than the old seeds would be, so there is no reason to hold back saving half a bag of $2 seeds for the next few years.
Yesterday I cut open the seed bags, which were aluminum, and filled them with water to soak, this meant I would “have to” plant them all within the next day or two. It may not sound like a big commitment to you, but it was a big deal to me.
I was potty training my son the past few weeks and that temporarily bound me to his every move and expression, since he can’t talk clearly I have to watch for little signs like his feet or his gaze or tiny things, (my son kind of whines and pulls at me when he needs to go potty).
So in committing to planting, it is committing to self care and a break, and committing to be at peace if there is an accident, and committing to stepping away from the kids, which is my parental Achilles heel.
I was committing to trying to be the architect of my own life, committing to hope that things will go well, that we either will keep the property or will learn skills and have fun landscaping it or both.
I was a small commitment, but it feels very good to be hopeful.
Today I planted the seeds, not in rows in the garden, but in pots in the greenhouse, which I think is better in general. The greenhouse I have was only about $65 which is very affordable and I’ve liked it enough to re-buy it when we moved.
I planted in mostly peat moss, which I have a bag of left over to finish, I may move away from peat moss, it seems to clump together into really dense clumps which is the opposite of what I want. Then when it gets wet the clumps stay dry on the inside… I loved the Square Foot Garden book, so I went with peat moss, but I think the peat moss you buy today isn’t the same as the older one. The depth of the bog it was harvested from can make a difference. I don’t know yet, but I think this may be the last peat moss I buy.
So even though the planting media isn’t perfect it’s what I had on hand at the right time.
For me it’s worth celebrating my own mental flexibility.
I do have some room in the garden, a movable raised bed, some space in the veggie beds, two small but empty green houses, and plenty of space to start new beds, but if all the seeds sprout I will probably need more growing space.
But it’s kind of up to me, I have a lot of small pots from the last time I was gardening papaya trees and they all died, but that failure gave me the pots for today.
I have about three failed gardens and zero successful ones, but maybe four is the charm?
Last time I had papaya and tomato and bamboo, the papaya died (about 200 little trees), the tomato looked dead, but it wasn’t, it was more overgrown, I split the best plant into three plants and all three are growing well right now, I’m interested to get the seeds and start that one again (since our place gets a bit cold for tomatoes) and the bamboo does okay, but doesn’t grow fast at all, just a bit at a time.
I also had morning glories, they sprouted well and hard, but then I was too slow to pot up and give them more room…
So I learned a few lessons, that I have to nurture the small trees personally for longer, that I can’t wait too long to pot up, that I should get rid of excess if I can’t keep up rather than loose everything because I’m so overwhelmed I don’t water.
The tomato is a positive lesson, that sometimes what I do is enough, even if it seems like it wasn’t.
I don’t know in my own mind the difference between a farmer, a gardener and a normal person who gardens or farms. I guess I won’t have a farm until I understand what that means for me.
I guess it has a lot to do with sustainability, I would like to be close to self sufficient. Even though I won’t have cows, I would like to have chickens for eggs, chickens for meat, most of the produce we eat, I would love that. And if not that, I would love to have at least enough for the kids to know about many plants, vines and trees and root veggies.