Morning Duties

by Scott Smith

My present job, IT Director (please snicker), I no longer have much in the way of a morning routine. I check computer log files and make sure a couple of processes worked. I miss the morning processes that have been automated over the years. I think of this because I have set duties on the farm: feed and water the chickens, dogs and cats. I make the coffee and more often than not breakfast. I have a purpose. There is no ‘What’s next?’ until Meg gets her post breakfast walk around the pasture.
No doubt others may see these jobs as annoying or confining, confining in the sense they must be done. The restrictive nature of these jobs makes them pleasant and welcomed (also, George, the black and white cat, will gnaw off my right big toe if I don’t feed him wet food by 6am). Restrictions or rules allow for more creativity — see Shakespare and Keats.
Some times limitations allows for more freedom and joy. www.37signals.com has a blog targeting web designers and developers — they produce web applications. They preach the less is more approach to development. They are not only speaking of design but in business approaches as well. Do more with less money. Do more with fewer people. Unlimited amounts of money and people does not guarantee success. The White Sox won the 2005 World Series with a payroll much smaller than the Yankee’s. Microsoft hasn’t shipped the update to XP but Linux and the BSD operating systems (Open Source; i.e., free) have had numerous upgrades in the five or six years since XP debuted.

So I sit on the firm’s back stoop pondering what’s next and wishing I was leading Meg around the pasture. And as I walk her, I’ll watch the chickens peck around the barn and watch with amazement how much they’ve grown in a couple of months. And as I walk her, I will take note of the length of the grass, and decide whether or not to start mowing (that’s mowing almost four acres with a garden tractor with a 42″ deck — talk about your limitations). And as I walk her, I will imagine our first pasture fenced and holding goats and a couple of horses.

New animals, new duties.

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