In 3 short years, I’ve done some dumb things for hops. I’ve hand-spaded 600 feet of row edge because I couldn’t get the 1950 Farmall H to start, and the rhizomes were On Their Way. I’ve perched precariously atop a ladder…which was itself perched atop a tractor bucket and fastened to a utility pole 20 feet up...and fastened myself with the anal retention of someone who hates heights and picked a day with a strong wind…so I could drill a hole, install an eye screw, attach a carabineer and hook in a 3/8” airline cable so that one day a new row of bines could, climb, climb. I’ve spent time and money. I’ve built a website and written posts no one reads. And why?
Think over the spectrum of your life experiences and consider: what have you felt most motivated to do?
I don’t mean:
- What have you worked hardest for?
- What have you spent the most time on?
- What has made you the most recognition, affirmation or money?
- What do you think would intellectually be the greatest achievement you could make?
I don’t mean any of those.
- When you listen to nothing but the small voice of truth in your heart, what do you want to do? For what are you intrinsically motivated…to get’r done, to do and do again, and to do well…for no other reason than because doing it is so clearly an act of adding value to what you think matters?
For me, that’s the hops. Though it’s not even about the hops, to be honest. It could’ve been pick-your-own raspberries, if I would have thought that could work. It could’ve been a farmer’s market stand, if that wasn’t so time and labor intensive. I’m not a brewer and don’t aspire to be a beer aficionado (though admittedly, I only drink craft beer). I like beer, but I like the people who brew it and drink it more. I like the fact that a small community in central Nebraska creates the context for great brewing, collective innovation, and a deep sense that one’s efforts and future are intimately tied up with one’s neighbors: the Makers and C.A.V.E people both. I think the hops are my way to reach for a little of that immediate “mattering” in my day to day.
And most of all, I like growing. I like having a relationship with land. I like caring for the physical location that helped shape me into who I am. I like dirt in my hands and the smell of grease. I like not knowing what I’m doing and getting it done anyway.
Hops give me access to all these and more.
Ergo…..well, there’s no ergo. These are just some observations.