Dispatch from Neverland

Oak Fire, August 2022

The heat has finally broken here in Mariposa County. I’ll be the first to admit that I had no understanding just how hot it was going to get here from early July until late August. It was the kind of heat where you wake up thinking it won’t be too bad but by 2 o’clock you just want to hide in the house.

The last week of August the misery crescendoed with multiple days nearing 110° F before the skies opened like a fire extinguisher and brought us back to reality.

With the winds and rain of Fall mercifully arriving there’s now a little time to reflect on where we are and where we’re headed. At least from where I see things right now.

A Big Move, Indeed

I’ll be the first to admit this move has been more of a demarkation point for Kristen and I than I think we anticipated. Lots of things have changed.

We didn’t and still don’t fully understand the “why” of this move other than we feel very strongly drawn here and we’re confident that as we live out our values the best we can that the One who takes pleasure in Creating will reveal the depths of that to us in good time.

Time has revealed that for some of the people in our lives this move was a big middle finger. We loved Rolando deeply and were well engrained– in some ways, but honestly not as deeply as I think many assumed– And I think I had a group of people in my life who didn’t even live in SoCal who liked the fact that I was “their San Diego guy”.

I don’t know how to explain this as it’s nonsensical. But I suppose I was their friend they told others in their life who lived near the ocean and Mexico and whatever and, for them, uprooting that was just too much to comprehend.

To them, I was “San Diego”. So leaving it for somewhere else was just a bridge too far for them. (I guess that’s a theory? Sounds kind of shallow.) How we lost friends simply because we moved I’ll never know. But it’s the truth and, for us, is merely the price we pay for chasing this dream.

Fortunately, for most, our moving here has been a curiosity and nothing more. We live in a digital age where it truly doesn’t matter where you live.

Ch-cha-change, will do you good

As we moved through summer we realized more and more that this move predicates new stuff. Basically, all the “stuff” about our San Diego life just doesn’t work here. A terrible bout with poison oak taught me that my shorts, t-shirts, and sandals attire doesn’t work here. I need a decent set of work shoes, long pants, and long shirts… even in the heat of summer. We’ve traded our Honda Civic and old minivan for an old truck and Subaru Forester. Electric tools made sense for the small projects I did in San Diego. Here I need big, sturdy (expensive) professional quality tools.

On and on down the list we’ve had to change or adapt everything we do in order to get on the pathway towards thriving here.

Core Values Don’t Change

While we’ve adapted the stuff in our lives… this move has merely revealed our family values.

Recently, someone said something online like “the stuff you’re doing revealed that relocating was perfect for you.” For me, it felt like the assumption was that the stuff we’re doing was just kind of here and we fit into it almost by accident. I don’t believe that. At all. I feel like the stuff that we’re currently doing is just an expression of our core values. Those values merely express themselves differently in urban San Diego County than they do in rural Mariposa County.

Adam and Kristen are doing what we’ve always done.

Bootstrap Farmer DIY Kit
Hoop House with Hoops, Baseboard, and Ridge pole installed

So What’s Next?

In early June I wrote:

Kristen and I look at the success in our lives we’ve built over the past 25 years and, while certainly tempting to ride out our next 20 years before we think about retiring, we’re thinking about getting after the next big dream for our family: Whatever it is that McLandia Farms can become.

Dreams are Worth Pursuing – June 9th, 2022

And that’s the path we’re on.

When we moved here we knew we wanted to get to know Mariposa County, the pioneer history that flavors everything, the recent past, the struggles, the way things truly work. Starting in August I was given the opportunity to do just that by taking on a (temporary) role with the Alliance for Community Transformations, a local non-profit who wears a lot of different hats in Mariposa… kind of like the United Way does in urban places. I’m in my 6th week of working with victims of the Oak Fire, people who lost their homes, businesses, and vacation properties. And along the way I’ve been learning lots about the culture here, why others move here, why people stay, and how the wheels of government turn or don’t turn.

Just like everywhere else we’ve lived. Thriving isn’t the result of luck. It’s the result of taking our time to learn the culture really well and then build from there.

While the work role I’m doing right now is temporary I am really enjoying both the work itself, helping people is my jam, and the people I’m working with. It’s my first paid work outside of “church world” in a really long time.

And it’s been nourishing for my soul on many fronts. Secular employment is so much more honoring than religious employment. I wish that statement weren’t true but it absolutely is.

What does long-term work look like for Adam McLane?

Honestly, I don’t know yet. But I know I’m on the right path.

To stick a waypoint in it I think it may look like this in 2023:

  1. Freelance work for orgs/companies I’m passionate about. Probably marketing related.
  2. Building out our hobby farm to generate some income. We’ve registered our business name as The Farm at Worman Mill and I’m currently building out our first greenhouse, which will be used for propagation.
  3. I’ve got two “big ideas” I’m flirting with. I mean, I’m entrepreneurial by nature so you know I’ve got ideas. I am doing a lot of research right now but hope to pick a solid direction this winter on one of those.

So that’s where we’re at. We’re here pursuing our dream.

It’s hard. Harder than we thought. Sometimes we feel crazy. But that’s just how it goes when you’re chasing after something others don’t quite see.

To achieve different, exponential results, you have to think different than others.

We’ve been here before so we know that this is how you succeed.

Success is the result of doing the right things for a long time.

10,000 right choices.

And that’s what we’re doing.

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in Ahwahnee, California.

2 comments

  1. It’s inspirational that your family took a leap of faith to follow a dream and are now working hard to make this dream a reality. I enjoy following your journey online!

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