If you find
Forces, pressures and stressors can be difficult to resolve
Because of the feeling of stress around dealing with problems galore, it can be hard to come up with a resolution to the sometimes competing forces
Solutions to some problems are difficult to see without an example showing how to resolve it
Funneling focuses and concentrates forces and other things.
We use funnel-shaped cattle yards to get animals from a large grazing area into a small opening on the back of a truck. By bringing them into the yards and then putting them into a funnel-shaped pen, we can focus them into a race and up a ramp onto the truck and off to market.
Imagine doing that without the funnel. There would be a lot more stress, noise and injury to and from cattle and humans.
Think about trying to pour sugar into a narrow-necked bottle or fuel into a narrow fuel tank opening with and without a funnel. If there is one, you will almost certainly choose to use the funnel:
- Because the funnel has a broad mouth, it is easy to “hit”
- The shape or structure of the funnel mouth directs everything towards the opening into the neck of the funnel
- In the neck, the sugar or fuel that was in a scattered state as it entered the funnel mouth is now “tamed” by the shape and
- As the material falls with gravity, the narrowness of the neck directs it all to the very place you want it.
There is no effort on your part except towards hitting a very broad target, but you get the result that you want — a narrow stream of material into the target container.
Funnels can be used to direct forces such as wind, moving water and falling grain into a more useful flow.
Grains are directed into an auger for elevating to a silo or into a truck or seeder.
Water is funneled off roofs by gutters with a long flow ending in a narrow opening at the downpipe.
Wind can be funneled by tree belts towards a gap where there is a windmill to pump water or to generate electricity.
A Farm Pattern is basically a funnel that directs the forces, stresses and pressures the farmer is facing into a desirable result that resolves all the relevant forces and leaves no loose ends.
Think of the pressures acting on many farmers at any time:
- Stress of earning enough to pay the bills
- Time pressure of dealing with farm management issues, family connection, paying bills and planning the farm’s future
- Worry about the weather
- Issues in the family around health, relationships and how the kids are getting on at school
- Government regulations and corporate impacts on the market
- and plenty more — you get the picture.
Imagine that by applying a set of suitable patterns to any particular problem, the farmer can resolve most or ideally all of those issues satisfactorily. That might look something like the following diagram.
The forces are on the left, all jockeying for attention.
On the right is the resolution of all of that into a new and more easily managed result.
This is no magic cure, just a simple approach that can resolve one problem at a time.
The trick is to start small with a single problem that can be resolved by one or a few patterns.
Once that is working, try another problem and matching patterns and when that works, on to the next problem.
If a pattern does not resolve the problem that it is supposed to, look for other patterns that might need to be used before that pattern to resolve issues that contribute to the bigger problem.
Eventually I intend to put up a FirstSteps tool that will allow you to specify a couple of forces and it will (if all goes to plan) find patterns that can resolve the problems or contribute to their resolution.
But first, I need to get all of the patterns up here to support that. As there are likely to be around 700 patterns when the set is complete enough for full use, that will take a while.
Please hang in there, from the experience of my test pilots, the patterns make it much easier to understand and manage farms and their problems and turn them into successes.