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S.C.A.T.

January 8, 2012
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Coyotes hang out with our cattle.  When the calves are little, their colostrum-rich poo is a delicacy (to the Canis family anyway), in the summer the cows stir up the grass and roust out the voles for the coyotes.


Seeing coyote scat with cow manure is an everyday occurrence for me, but it is also food for thought, too.  I have had this post stuck in my head since this past summer.

August 17, 2011

Some people ponder the world when they shower, I do my ruminating when I work with the cows each day.  One day last summer while I was waiting for the water trough to fill, I was looking at the coyote scat near my feet, and I thought of our little neighbor kid who insists on calling all poop, scat.  He has stopped doing it lately but it just sounds odd to hear a kid say, “look at all the cow scat Mom, those are big ones!”  I guess it is scat, but normally scat is used to describe wild carnivore poop, not farm animal manure.  Anyway, you see how my mind wanders…when the dogs act like this we call it, “sniff a rock, chase a bird.”  I start out looking at coyote scat and come up with an idea for a blog post titled SCAT to solve gardening and farming problems.  Geesh, talk about wandering minds…this is what I came up with on that warm summer day; some ideas on how to identify the weak link in your gardening or farming.  My farming/ gardening weak link changes from time to time, lately I have realized learned that carbon is my weak link.

S&*t, poop, manure, crap, or scat if you will.
Carbon, in any form.
Attitude.  As in adjustment, if need be.
Time.  We all need more time, or maybe we just need to think of time differently.

SThe S in my SCAT acronym stands for manure.  A great fertilizer for growing your plants, whether it be vegetables or grass for grazing.  On our farm we spend as much time managing the output from our stock as we do managing their feeding.  If you’re not gathering your livestock manure through rotational grazing (grazing season) or bedding of some sort, deep or removed daily (dormant winter season) that may be your weak link.  If you think my gardens look lush, thank you, but I owe that lushness to my cattle and chickens.  Yes, I do all the other stuff required to grow a garden, plant, weed, harvest and eat, but it is the composted animal manure that makes all the difference, IMHO.

Building compost piles from winter deep bedding.

Winter is the time to be gathering your bedding for future garden/pasture use.  Cattle, horses, goats, sheep, and chickens (or exotics if that is what you have) are all candidates for winter housing and manure gathering for composting.  I’m not too thrilled with the idea of using pig manure in food garden areas, so we try to make sure pig manure goes to the fields instead of the garden.  And not to be too confusing, I think housing pigs indoors in winter with a hoop house or other types of structures are useful, I’m just not advocating using their manure for garden areas.

What came first, the chicken or the chicken manure?

If you don’t have animals and don’t want them, then growing nitrogen fixing cover crops is in order.  Legumes in conjunction with cereal cover crops will improve your soil conditions.

C is for Carbon.  That is my weak link.  It took me awhile to figure that one out.  Until I really started paying attention to Greg Judy and his writings, I wasn’t getting the carbon stockpiling thing.  I was stuck on nitrogen.  Meaning, in my situation, I thought manure was the end all for my pastures, I was grazing too short and too often, and not leaving any carbon.  I’ve come to the conclusion I can never have enough carbon.  I actively grow carbon in the form of cover crops in the garden and stockpiled pasture.

Tall grass mob stocking farmstead style.


We buy also buy carbon in the form of lots of straw for bedding and mulch, and a neighbor gives us their stable cleanings.  It’s a full-time job, that carbon.  Nature builds soil with carbon, but it takes some time.  By combining carefully orchestrated livestock manure with the carbon, you have a win-win situation.  Don’t get me wrong, not paying attention to nature is what got us in degraded soil conditions in the first place, but we aren’t trying to recreate nature on our farmsteads and in our gardens, we are trying to do some faster-paced, somewhat un-natural things.  For the most part, none of us are full-time foragers (don’ t get me started on foraging), we are agrarians, and we patronize other agrarians for our food that we can’t or don’t want to grow ourselves.  So by trying to replace what we take, and re-building our soils we are helping ourselves, of course, and everyone else, too.

A is for Attitude.  Ooh, that’s complicated.  We all have one that probably can use some adjusting at one time or another.  It could be that you’re fresh to farming and thought it was a breeze, and it isn’t.  Or a spouse,  partner or kids aren’t all the way on board.  And a big one I see with people new to farm or homesteading life, they see themselves in a supervisory position and not wanting to really do the dirty work.  This really goes hand in hand too with the manure conundrum.  If you see the manure on your farm as a liability, then the attitude is that you may be too busy, important, good, or above the work of handling that liability.  If you change your attitude about the output from those animals and see the manure as an asset, then maybe you would think about shepherding that manure fertility yourself.  I’ve found I’ve learned a lot from getting up close and personal with all the manure around here.  Just like you look in the diaper to see how the baby is tolerating what you ate, or when you introduce a new food, it is the same with livestock.

Another thing too is that if we hire tasks done, we reserve the right to blame someone else.  If we do it ourselves, we only have ourselves to blame if something goes wrong.  There is nothing wrong with hiring people for projects, but for day-to-day stuff sometimes it isn’t necessary.  Too many cooks in the kitchen can spoil the soup.

T is for time.  It seems like there is never enough.  That is a continual weak link in the garden or on the farm.  What you don’t get done today may not wait until tomorrow.  A cow dies, the fruit gets too ripe, the water freezes, the feed runs out because no one ordered it, the cream sours, the animals escape, the weeds grow, the deer get in the garden, eggs need sorting, the greenhouse collapses because you shoveled the barn roof off instead.  The tasks are never-ending.  Some are disasters and some are just the product of too full of plate.  Some things are inevitable, if you make hay it will get wet sometime in your haying career.

We can’t fence time, but we sure can manage it better.  Maybe seasonal farm production is the answer.  The surest way to no down time is a flock of laying hens, or dairy animals.  I like having some time for rejuvenating in the winter.  We still have chores, but they are of the light variety, and they are change from intense, summertime chores.  Maybe it is as simple as timing breeding and birthing schedules, or deciding not to garden year round.  This is the first year I haven’t really tried to have delicate lettuces and other tender greens on the table during winter.  We’ve been “making do” with root vegetable slaws and salads, and to tell the truth, they seem to offer a more toothsome and hearty meal.  And a root slaw of kohlrabi, celeriac and carrot seems more fitting in a deliberate lifestyle.  Green salads day in and day out, smack of the store-bought mentality where we can have everything we want everyday of the year, without any regard to the seasonality of the production or the costs of moving goods from point A to B.   I did the work with those root crops this summer, now I can sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Sometimes too, we need to resist getting in too deep.  The steep learning curve of gardening and animal husbandry is very real and can be disappointing if not downright heartrending.  Building a “farm set” type of farm while an attractive thought, is tough and expensive.  Better to start small with a few animals or types of animals than to go whole hog and be overwhelmed.  The picture perfect, abundant garden in seed catalogs and gardening books really acquire  a lot attention to detail at certain times or the disappointment factor can be, well, disappointing.  I get lots of questions about growing root crops for my milk cow, and my suggestion (which is sometimes not taken too well) is that if you can grow enough winter roots for your family, then expand to the milk cow feed stage after that hurdle has been made.  It works the same for growing meat animals for sale, after you go through the seasons of growing your meat, then try selling some.  That way all the husbandry and processing wrinkles get ironed out.  Just like a chef, taste your food, only when you’re farmer, you’re living your food every step of the way.  You get a taste every day, you want to make sure it is a good one.

Take it slow, think about what may be your weak link, and savor your time, with yourself, your family and your farmstead.

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30 Comments leave one →
  1. A.A. permalink
    January 8, 2012 5:21 am

    This post really struck me, because I’m at a crossroads at the moment. As a beginner, I think learning to farm the carbon and manure way has been both delightful and sensible. I think it’s been key in developing a good kind of relationship between myself, the animals and the farm. I’ve raised my own meat before selling, I’ve done most of the work myself and enjoyed it, and I’ve been able to rely on my neighbors for help when I’ve needed it. I’ve learned a lot.

    Time and attitude are definitely the weak links here. Mostly it’s time and energy. When I started out, I had read Salatin’s admonition that the number one recipe for failure is disagreement over vision between husband and wife, and I thought wife and I had that pitfall covered because in most respects we agree a lot and have a compatible outlook on life. Since then a certain tension in her character that always was there has erupted as she began to recall early childhood incest and her father’s stunning sadism and brutality. Apparently it’s common to a point of normalcy and the perps almost invariably seem like nice guys. Her recovery’s become the centerpiece on the farm so to speak, and she has made a lot of progress. What has stuck is her inability, which is not to say an unwillingness but exactly an inability, to give me the breathing room to run the farm and have a life too. It’s incredibly frustrating and difficult not to be able to do anything about it except to separate. I may be able to keep running the farm, I’d sure like to, but it’s going to be a bummer to go at it alone.

    • January 8, 2012 10:35 pm

      AA, oh my gosh, that’s awful, and a tough one. So much more serious than squabbling over who will sort eggs, and back seat driving. Tough choices, those. I don’t envy your road ahead. Best wishes to you two – MOH

    • January 16, 2012 4:07 am

      I don’t know you AA, but I was following your story and felt sorry for both of you, but then I also had to consider what your wife must have gone through just to get to the point she has. What a shame to now reduce it down to something as neglible as space. You can have all the space in the world, and still feel like the world is weighing upon your shoulders.

      Maybe it’s a guy thing? My husband use to think it was about space too, until he couldn’t distance himself any further from his responsibilities, to believe “space” was the magical ingredient he could conjure-up, to remedy all feelings of inadequacy.

      You can have space and still feel trapped by your own vision, if that’s what you’re use to doling out to yourself. He felt inadequate to start with for reasons I won’t go into. He was a great guy in every other capacity but one, if he felt people dependent on him too much, he had an innate sense to flee from the responsibility. That left gaps in his life, stories with no endings, things unfinished that haunted him. It made him more determined to fullfill the next quota of responsibilities, which made him more stubborn than able.

      The kind of behaviour that leads to packing up your cricket set because no-one will play by your rules, ultimately leads to bad sportsmanship – not a better game being played just because you decide to set up elsewhere. Ultimately my husband was a good sportsman and once he got used to dealing other people in (and all their unavoidable issues) it became about achieving more than a “win” for himself.

      He really had to get over himself though. Which is really hard (and I mean hard) to do, when everyone else seems so consumed by themselves. You’re not alone AA, everyone does it. I stepped up to the plate and offered my husband his space, when I actually needed support myself. Didn’t he feel like a heel when no matter how much space he could have, it didn’t make those feelings of inadequacy go away. What sweetheart, you mean it wasn’t all the years I spent working through my childhood issues, after all, LOL? 😉

      Look, wer’e all human. The only way to become a better farmer (or anything you want to be) is to become a better human first. Those little things, those things that frustrate us about others, doesn’t necessarily make it “their” fault. It’s just another thing to contend with in life, like so many other things. The more we learn to adapt the better we get at realising, some things are bigger than what we can immediately see. 🙂

      By the way matron, a very good post for me to read too. We’ve been feeling a little bogged down by the work – overwhelmmed is a good way to describe it. One of the clues we have stumbled upon is that time is an asset, if we don’t become too impatient. Not always easy to remember though, when you’re busy concentrating on what you haven’t acheived yet. Hello! 😉

    • A.A. permalink
      January 16, 2012 1:08 pm

      Thanks for writing at length Chris! Here’s my reply. I may not have fully understood what you were trying to say all the way, so I apologize if I’ve missed your point.

      I like to do the work to help my wife recover, but it has seemed it’s more than I can handle. Because of her childhood, my wife’s got difficulty setting healthy boundaries. (I know, I know, I’m not setting the best example posting this here, but I don’t think I’m risking anything either and there are no graphic details to bother anyone.) Her boundaries weren’t respected back then, so she didn’t learn to respect hers and others’ boundaries and has to learn that now. That’s what I meant when I talked mentioned breathing room. You have to understand, we’re fighting her childhood-learned expectations of what healthy relationships are like and how people should treat each other. For a part of her, the way she expects people to behave is anything but healthy, because it’s her childhood model. The values and expectations of the other part of her I couldn’t agree more with. In her home she had no space whatsoever, so there’s a big part of her that expects to have no space at all. Space is not at all negligible then, because it intimately relates to so much more and it all adds up to either a more or less healthy relationship or a seriously dysfunctional relationship.

      To illustrate, a part of her has learned to have a feeling of safety in a dangerous situation and to expect tension at the dinner table, her home’s atmosphere if you will. To survive as a child she had to have some mental image of safety in her mind and some idea of comfort and something to trust, but there was nothing safe about her home, there was no lasting comfort and there were no people there to trust. To this day she still finds a certain comfort and safety in danger. If we have any conflict, and that’s often something really mild that doesn’t even a constitute a conflict between two more healthy people, her automatic–and I do mean automatic–reaction is to increase tension, to escalate, and to glue herself to my back to see what I do next. You see, with her father that was the safest thing to do. Any slight conflict could mean horror. She’d be constantly on the lookout for a conflict, on the lookout for “the look”, which would produce a frantic attempt to placate her father, divert attention from herself while very much present, and disappear in plain sight. That still happens even though I’m a reasonable man and not sadistic nor evil. Nonetheless I’m a male and someone she’s living in a close relationship with, so I can evoke the same response. Back in her childhood she couldn’t get away or resolve things in any meaningful way, so she’d press on to have some semblance of control of a situation that was completely beyond her, or just to turn one form of torture into another. She may still react that way even if I encourage her to take a day off and go see a friend or do whatever she wishes to do. And of course in her childhood she was always made to believe it was all her fault and the breaking of her will was one of her father’s goals, so she tends to expect that I see things that way too. She knows I don’t, but in real-life situations she often expects something else.

      It’s not that I can’t as such support my wife when memories emerge or when she’s feeling desperate and anxious, but I’ve felt in over my head a lot. Sometimes she has physical symptoms that emerge and then let go when she tells a memory related to them. The good cry brings relief and I look forward to it. What is difficult is when for several days she’s restless and tense, unable to yet remember or graps what she’s tense about, but just as much unable to shake it. Those times she’s constantly looking for ways to offload something onto me even though we both know that doesn’t help her and it hurts me. It’s horrible when someone won’t leave you alone, constantly tries to offload a feeling of dying any moment now if I don’t help her, and can’t be helped for some time. By that I don’t mean I’m busy with something else or necessarily want to do something else than help. I mean that no matter how I try I can’t help her until she’s ready to let go and tell her story and be helped.

      The memories are incredibly frightening. Often connecting memories and related feelings together is too frightening to do at first telling, so there’s a story but the tension may remain. The memories don’t arise often with other people and never with strangers, so to most people she simply seems reserved or something like that. When she’s with me she feels safe enough to let them come up, at least that’s what I think. It”s happened a lot lately and we’re really trying to get a handle on how much of it can happen and things still work. Now that she works four days a week, too often it’s normal workday–break down immediately once she gets home. Do a chore–break down after. I’ll do a chore–she breaks down when I get back home to eat. On a bad week, the weekends home are what frighten me. It’s not healthy and it doesn’t help either of us. Were I her therapist, time would be up after a while, she’d go home, act fairly normally and have to cope with it for a while, accept that boundary as a given and healthy, and then return in a week to continue the process. As for us, we’ve tried scheduling “therapy” three times a week and so far she’s always started offloading before. Living with her instead of having a more formal relationship makes it challenging. As she lives with me, she acts as if I’m always available, and that’s what we’ve both been trying to convince her against deep down inside. She knows it, but the knowledge usually doesn’t stop her from acting otherwise. I have to say the last week or so has been a good one and we have had good times too. Today was a scheduled therapy time and she made it. However, if we are to continue, she has to learn to respect my boundaries a lot quicker than a lot of people who go to therapy for something like this do. Of course it’s also about her boundaries. We still have to see about professional therapy, because it’s a ten hour trip to go to a recommended therapist and so far the ones closer to us have let us down entirely.

      I’m very glad to say the above isn’t what she’s always like, There’s a strong, determined and capable side of her too, someone truly admirable who has a great will to live and who’s no one to be pitied. That’s who I fell in love with. I understand that healing the other part of her comes with the package and that she needs to build her new self somewhere in between the two, or however she wishes. But it’s a load of work! Her strong side can also mistake me for her father sometimes, so I may get a load of pretty strong spite and a release of anger just like that, but that’s the kind of thing that’s usually fairly easy to laugh and cry off and redirect where it belongs.

      That’s enough for me about this. Sorry for stealing your blog, Nita! I promise to stay on topic in the future!

      • January 16, 2012 2:21 pm

        AA, not a problem.

      • January 16, 2012 8:18 pm

        Healthy boundaries are a good thing. 🙂 You wouldn’t believe how many people actually need help learning what *is* healthy. You don’t need an abusive childhood either – just one that prevents emotional development.

        When I was talking about space being negligible though, I was actually suggesting the space you desire from your wife as a solution, may not be the answer you’re hoping for. Bear in mind, I’m not a therapist (if you need space, please use it) I’m only suggesting that you’ll probably be surprised how ineffective it is.

        If you value the work you do on the land though, then you *also* value the work you acheive with your wife – no matter what’s going on in her world. You two have already acheived so much together, and maybe because the focus has been solely on her, you feel there is no room for you. I’m tempted to say you probably want her validation, but that only singles you out when it’s something we ALL share. The need for validation in our work and our loved ones is a universal trait. Who doesn’t want to hear, what we do on a daily basis is of value to someone else?

        That is often the challenge when you work on the land too, and why I love reading matron’s property tales. Sometimes you won’t find validation, only another challenge to fix. It’s those moments when the reward isn’t coming but the work continues to bark at your heels like a rabbid dog, that we find what we’re made of. We find ourselves in what we do, rather than reacting to the circumstances.

        My husband and I approach our marriage now the way we approach our relationship to the land – against all odds, we achieve something. Not everything, but we still acheive something of great value. When we undermine that or throw it away, it’s much easier to believe the rest should go when the challenges get harder. And they DO get harder. But the rewards are that much sweeter, because you had the capacity to work for something bigger than yourself at the time. 😉

        I often admire people like matron and family, how they work so hard on the land for a living. I’m tempted to feel like I haven’t got the ability to do the same, even though I’d like to. But then I remember to hold on, what I’m doing is enough for today. Once I’ve practiced it long enough, maybe I’ll have the skills to earn a living from it too? If I stopped trying, I’d fail in that moment to believe bigger things aren’t out of my reach.

        • A.A. permalink
          January 17, 2012 3:14 am

          Thank you for the encouragement, Chris. I really appreciate it!

          And thanks Nita 🙂

  2. epeavey1 permalink
    January 8, 2012 6:09 am

    Really like your pictures! I have compost piles also just on a smaller scale no back hoe only pitch fork and shovel. Buford my donkey and the two goats help out in making the compost pile a very rich place for worms to live. Along with the chickens and the rabbits and of course let’s not forget the billion and billions of leaves this will really help my raised beds this year. Ellen from Georgia

    • January 8, 2012 10:36 pm

      Ellen, yeah I get the handwork, and hubby does the big stuff. I’m jealous of your leaves…we don’t have too many deciduous trees here.

  3. January 8, 2012 7:23 am

    Looks like you cut twine with the same knife I do! (which was my dad’s and it came to Oregon with me from Georgia, Ellen …

    • January 8, 2012 10:38 pm

      Risa, I wish mine had that much history, but I have lost more knives than I care to admit 😦 Haven’t found the knives but I have found several of my earrings that have made it from milking, through the compost piles and into the garden! Treasures 🙂

  4. localnourishment permalink
    January 8, 2012 7:29 am

    I, too, treasure my winter respite. In all the place I’ve lived there is a time for making hay and a time for contemplating last year and planning the next. I disliked living in California so much because there was no cycle to the year, no beginning or end, just constant sameness. My tendency there was to go-go-go all the time and never take the introspection time I needed. New Year’s Eve was not a day of looking back and planning, it was Party Time. I love the quiet reflection a winter’s day provides.

    • January 8, 2012 10:39 pm

      LN, I too like the slower pace of winter chores. We still work 7 days a week, but with short days we are forced to rest 🙂 And we are getting a heck of a nice winter so far this year. 🙂

  5. Chris permalink
    January 8, 2012 8:43 am

    Great post as always but why do you not recommend using pig scat..er I mean manure, on the garden. Not that I have pigs…or cows or chickens for that matter…just curious!

    • January 8, 2012 9:05 am

      I’m sure others will chime in with different opinions but some say there could be parasites in pig manure that could possibly infect humans. But of course, too, there is humanure. I just choose not to, others may be fine with it.

  6. January 8, 2012 8:52 am

    Not that I farm, but I definitely learned that carbon is key for compost. Even though Jon Jeavons basically says that’s so, I still had to learn it for myself. When I finally got enough carbon into my compost pile, it actually heated up, and I was thrilled enough to jump up and down on these decrepit knees in elation. (It’s the small stuff….)

    • January 8, 2012 10:41 pm

      Paula, I know me too, I was pretty well versed on carbon for the garden, but the pasture was a slow realization, and being open to some different information instead of the same old, same old really helped. Attitude adjustment!

  7. Bee permalink
    January 8, 2012 9:46 am

    The Chinese have been using pig manure for centuries. As long as it’s well composted first it shouldn’t be a problem, and actually that’s true of any manure, if only so you don’t burn the growing plants. One of our best sources of carbon is the wood chips and sawdust that result from our firewood/milling operations. The second is the leftover straw from grain hay, which we usually feed the cattle during the winter. We don’t have a barn feeding set-up like yours (yet) for winter feeding, so take the route of feeding in different areas and allowing the cattle to spread both straw and manure as they eat. I admit that living in California (the far north, in my case) can tempt you to just keep working. I try to remind myself that there is a time to every season and there’s a reason critter hibernate in winter… Nice post, MOH! Very thought-provoking.

    • January 8, 2012 10:55 pm

      Bee, I think my concern is more that when people use pigs to “work up” their garden areas the manure does not get composted.

      Wood chips, sawdust and shavings are very expensive here, and not an economical choice like it used to be. The logging industry is virtually dead here now. Any logs I see going by are sadly being exported to China 😦

      I’m cheating, my cows are still out and we just started to feed hay. It’s a lot less work than building the deep bedding. Soon enough though…

  8. January 8, 2012 3:34 pm

    My first thought was “excellent, thought-provoking post” but then I notice Bee has beat me to it. Still, one to read and re-read to gather the most from your information.
    Many thanks for visiting Thistle Cove Farm and for your condolences; it has been a sore time of trials and testing so kind comments are always welcome. Please come back soon.

  9. January 8, 2012 8:16 pm

    Curse you! I read your post this morning thinking I was to spend the day just piddling. I ended up forking out a foot of chicken manure and straw on the low end of the run. I filled the loader bucket eight times and added them to the old round bales in my pile. Our compost pile will appreciate the hot shot. Now I need a full body massage and a trip to the bone cracker.

    • January 8, 2012 10:57 pm

      Woody, oh yeah, blame me 😉 The massage idea sounds pretty good! I split lots of wood today if that makes you feel any better 😉

  10. January 8, 2012 10:13 pm

    That’s funny I’ve been worried I have too much carbon vs manure in my piles with all the goat bedding. I went and got a truckload of cow S&!t from a local dairy and wow would I rather not do that again. I’ll take goat poop any day over grain fed cow scat.
    Laying hens and dairy animals year round – guilty. Also add meat rabbits, ducks and turkeys. It’s tempting to jump in whole hog if you have the stamina for it. We’ll see how I feel after planting the orchard, putting in the garden, and delivering goats from 5 does. Every day is a joy for me though!

    • January 8, 2012 10:59 pm

      Annette, it’s heavy isn’t it? I’m guilty too, my hens are laying, and I have a dairy cow, although I plan the calves for spring, so winter is a slow time for cow chores, milking or otherwise. You’re young, you’ll do fine 🙂

      • January 8, 2012 11:03 pm

        My 45 year old back is just young enough to get away with it. ;p

        • January 9, 2012 6:17 am

          I can attest your back will probably still be up to it at 54 too!

        • January 9, 2012 7:44 am

          MOH you are my hero. I also have a favorite permaculture farmer, Michael Pilarski who is in his seventies and wow can that man work. I think the trick is not starting to use your back like this at 45!

  11. Racquel permalink
    January 10, 2012 4:14 am

    Another great post. I love reading them. A great reminder for us as we have really let the compost pile, which was a point of pride in years past, go to the crapper so to speak. We have an abundance of leaves which we used to collect through the tractors mower. Our time factor has shifted since hubby went back to school full time and I just don’t get to it. We need to reevaluate what is important and adjust all of our SCAT,
    Thanks again.

  12. January 10, 2012 7:58 am

    Chiming in on the chorus here; Great Post! I really enjoy your ruminations. Your discussion of the resource of time and attitude brought to mind Carol Deppe’s “The Resilient Gardener” which I recently read. These resources are finite, and a good life is both a lot of work and a little unpredictable, so we need to maintain balance in everything we set ourselves up to do. Type-A folks like me can easily forget this bit of wisdom. Thanks for voicing all this so very well.

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