A Dream Worth Waiting For

 
 
 

David Hieatt is an old friend and a serial ideas man. With his wife, Clare, he founded hiut Denim and the DO Lectures which takes place every year in UK, USA and Australia. David and Clare have been described as some of the UK’s most interesting creative entrepreneurs. They live on the “far edge of West Wales” in a small town called Cardigan where the hiut factory is reviving the once thriving jeans -making scene there.  It’s a unique story with an inspiring purpose. On a recent trip to New York David took the train ride up the Hudson Valley to Little Ghent Farm for the weekend. We asked him to provide some thoughts on what he saw. Here is our story through David’s eyes….

Some dreams have to wait to find the right time before they can happen.

Ever since I met Rich at College, I remember him taking photographs, always with a camera, always going off to take more pictures. His Dad’s love of journalism had made a huge impression on him.

And ever since meeting Mimi, her love of food was obvious to everyone sitting around the dining table. The conversation would always turn to her opening a restaurant as her Dad had done. But by then Rich and Mimi had started a family. And those dreams would have to wait while they put raising a young family first.

That was some time ago now. And as people always tell you ‘They grow up fast’. And indeed, they do. One minute you are working out which nappies to buy and the next minute it’s which college they should go to. And so naturally with thoughts of their kids leaving home in the next few years, it was time for Rich and Mimi to sit down with their dreams and make plans. And that was what they did.

So last October, I found myself in New York to do a talk at Brooklyn Beta, and afterwards I headed out to Hudson on the Amtrak train to visit the little Ghent farm. Their dream.

The Little Ghent farm sits in 75 acres of land, 35 acres of it pasture land. All flanked by the snow capped Catskill Mountains. I walked around with them, and they were telling me just how much work they had to do before it was ready to start. They had cleared years of unloved pasture land. Along the way they had found apple trees, forgotten streams, built a kitchen for workshops, and had taken down the old farmhouse, as it was too far-gone. And built a new one. I was amazed, but not surprised.

The attention to detail was incredible and everywhere. The sourdough bread was made using the Tartine’s method. It requires lots of kneading and turning every couple of hours. Then you leave it over night to rise. Then you bake it in a cast iron pot. And it tastes amazing. Even the portable chicken shed has had every detail considered. The wire mesh floor allows the chicken’s droppings to fertilize the ground below. Each day they move it by a few metres, so each patch of grass gets some nutrients. Simple. Brilliant. But very much thought through.

The kitchen workshop had a window that opened up with some clever revolving wind up system. So you could just look out on to the field as the window had disappeared. The kitchen itself had everything you would expect to find in a professional kitchen. But then, Mimi had grown up seeing how a professional restaurant was run. And that was how she would run her kitchen workshop.

On the train back home, I was blown away by how amazing it all was. And I reflected on how they had been working on their dream all along. Every course Mimi had taken, every new book she had read, every time she volunteered on local farms, they were small steps towards the dream. And ditto for Rich. Every time he had gone to another exhibition or taken another class, or taken another set of photographs, that was just learning to make the dream happen one day.

As the train meandered back to New York, with the Hudson River on my right it got me thinking about how important our hobbies are. Our hobbies are the things we do in our spare time, so they are purest expression of what we love doing. They are the biggest clues, if we dare to listen them, that this is what we love doing.

It also made me think about the importance of waiting for what you want. Because Rich and Mimi had to wait, the excitement of actually doing it was heightened, and because they had to wait, they had time to think it through, and because they had to wait, they knew this was really what they wanted to do. And because they had to wait, they used that time to learn the skills they would need so they could give their dream the best shot they possibly could.

Yes, good things come from waiting. I learnt that as I walked around the little Ghent farm. Rich is now a photographer. And works at making a living from the photographs he takes. And Mimi is a farmer. And makes a living from what she grows and cooks. How great is that?

 

 

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