10ex Enough: Captaining our Soil


As some of you know, last year’s trip to Polyface Farm highlighted a need to amend a number of my consumptive habits (at least if I planned to continue standing in my own advice-giving truth). In the almost-12-month interim, I’ve done a fair share of agricultural-based reading, plucked some of the lowest hanging behavioral fruit and sewn some, what I posit to be, responsible seeds of changes. Now, I’m far from espying the pinnacle of Mount Salatin, but I choose to believe I’m slogging my way towards responsible citizenry.

A few months back, one of Trista’s coworkers, knowing my penchant for #HOAhusbandry, sent a book my way. I found its title, Ten Acres Enough, just curious enough to whet my reading appetite and peeled in. Its remarkably eloquent author, Edmund Morris, recalls his personal motivations for moving his family away from Philadelphia’s perpetual hustle to rural New Jersey in order to ‘learn to be content and happy’ on ten acres of land. Morris’ story, as you probably expect, speaks directly to both chambers within my heart of hearts – the risky business side and the pursuit of happiness side alike. From my agrarian readings, the book was remarkable. Rest assured, I don’t intend to beguile everyone into starting a garden (but, you should!). Instead, it’s my opinion that lessons from Morris’ nineteenth century pastoral practices might also shed light upon the recipe for cultivating our character…or what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature.

Awareness: No man conquers a farming difficulty until he sees it plainly.

If we fail to curate a degree of self-awareness – whether you’re after weight loss, muscle gain or improved health – it’s likely we’re pruning away the buds of success. Tired of a creaky knee or achy back? Can’t quite shake those last 10 pounds? Stuck at the same Snatch load for the last 6 months? Taking an objective and critical look at daily behavior is the key to solving such riddles. Developing awareness is a skill in itself – one that, like our gardens, requires little acts of honesty performed often.

Responsibility: If you would push a crop through, look after it yourself.

After tooling ourselves with the spade of awareness, we must learn to wield it skillfully. Clearly, the responsibility to make necessary changes lies with us alone. If you would prefer to lose those 10 pounds, solve the riddle of chronic pain or literally ‘push’ a PR through, look after it yourself. A garden won’t weed itself…and the man who refuses to take responsibility for his problems has no advantage over the man that fails to identify them.

Mastery: Let every foot of your farm show the touch of refinement.

https://10exlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/IMG_6224-e1500574812913.jpgThe well-tooled and responsibly-skilled practitioner is just now on the path to harvesting this coveted change. Only after accepting the truth, can one supplant these ideas to everyday behavior. If knee or back pain derives from a broken movement and responsibility for modifying movement is ours, we must refine this behavior. Like building a rich soil, those traveling along the path of self-mastery – a complex and profound place – can count themselves fortunate after realizing that for every mile traveled, their destination lies two miles further.

I’m wholly aware of the tired ‘reaping and sewing’ farm cliches. But the principles of husbanding small plots of the land and those of refining the corners of human character aren’t too dissimilar. Through this lens (Morris might agree), nothing about life is commonplace and nothing is the in-between. The threads that join our every act and our every thought are infinite. If we permit it, many a happy and enjoyable moment can come between the slices of everyday work in the field or on ourselves. And as such, those things giving life value, be it gardening or fertilizing the human experience, ‘can be had for nothing…[they come] as gifts from Providence, and neither air nor sky, nor beauty, genius, health or strength can be bought or sold.’ Whether these grand and humanizing quests are aimed at food production or towards personal perfection, it is our hope that with a sound approach to fitness and philosophy, you find our teachings and your daily interactions at 10 Experience enough.

Masters of our fate…captains of our soil,



Leonard, G. (1992). Mastery: the keys to success and long-term fulfillment. New York: Plume.

Morris, E. (2012). Ten acres enough: a practical experience, showing how a very small farm may be made to keep a. Place of publication not identified: Hardpress Publishing.