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Monday, April 19 2010

I am a child of the Starbucks generation. I am that woman standing in front of the microwave, wishing it would "hurry up!" But over the years, I've come to realize that faster and cheaper isn't always better.  It's easy to be seduced by Fast & Cheap. Millions of dollars are spent trying to convince me that I simply MUST HAVE the latest and greatest widget that will undoubtedly make my life easier. I've spent years working to pay for widgets that I had to have because they would make my world a happier place, and ya know what?  They didn't. And what did I do with the time the widget supposedly saved me?  I worked, so I could buy more widgets!

Farms and ranches change that kind of thinking. They force you to slow down. Nature works in its own time. No matter how long I watch a pregnant goat, she won't have that baby until she's damned good and ready. And no manner of widgets will make it rain, or stop it from raining. It is what it is. There's a lot of wisdom to be gained on a farm.

I have a co-worker who once made a most bizarre statement, one which I shall never forget. Ours is a high-stress job and I was urging him to take more time off. He told me, and I quote, "I wouldn't have anything to do."

"Excuse me???"  (My mind struggled with this idea.)

"I live in a subdivision.  My wife and kids aren't home during the day, so I wouldn't really have anything to do."

I was still in a hazy fog somewhere. The very concept boggled my mind. I tried to hire him to work on my fences but alas, he had no repressed rancher-type tendencies lurking under the surface, desperate to be released by the feel of unrolling heavy bundles of wire. More's the pity.

But my point is . . . when did Americans run out of things to do?  Is technology so much better that we can now just "Live to Work?"  And can we trust it? That job that pays for all your widgets can disappear tomorrow. Then where will you be? Call me crazy, but the older I get, the less trusting I become.  One good hurricane can show you just exactly how puny your techonology is. Want to know who does just fine in the wake of a hurricane? A redneck!

After the last big hurricane, Son made the comment that "Everyone makes fun of the Redneck until you need him."

He said this as he was driving around in his 4wheeler with his chain-saw, helping out his neighbors. Our community did just fine.  We were a community of farmers, ranchers, and rednecks.

While many people in the Big City stood by and waited for the government to help them, the rednecks cleaned their own roads. They took down their own trees and made it easier for the power crews to come into their community. They fed each other. They took care of each other. Now you can argue that they still used gasoline, and they did all this so electricity could be restored, but the point is, they had the SKILLS to survive.  It wasn't always comfortable, but it sure beat the heck out of waiting for the government to do it for us.

When Other Half and I went to a historical reenactment last weekend, it got me to thinking about technology. We watched a blacksmith at work. He had dozens of school children fascinated, (and Other Half). While he puttered, he talked about how valuable the village blacksmith used to be. The blacksmith made the tools for every other craftsman in town.  As I watched the old man work, I realized he was one of a dying breed, a true craftsman.

If you look up the word "technology" in a thesaurus, along with the words, "science," "mechanics," and "automation," you will also see words like, "craft" and "skill." When did we lose the craft and skill in our world?  When did blacksmiths become an endangered species? 

At the same reenactment, we found a Dutch Oven Society that showed us how to cook darned near everything you'd ever want in cast iron.  No electricity.  I was captivated. These people made better food than I could make in an oven. (That isn't saying much. I have the attention span of a butterfly when I cook!) I understand cooking over coals is much more demanding than flipping on the gas and burning your food, but I'm tired of being a slave to technology and am more than willing to learn.

Some friends of ours down the street have draft horses. It never fails to make my heart smile when I see that big team of percherons walking down the highway.  I know another old man who drives his mule team to the feed store. It's certainly not faster than using a pick-up, but it always starts on a cold morning.

Faster and cheaper isn't always better, but it certainly builds a better cage. A friend of mine sent me an e-mail about "catching pigs" that really stuck with me.  It talked about how the way to catch wild hogs is to start feeding them in the forest.  Then you can build part of a fence around the feed.  They are suspicious at first, but are soon seduced by the fast and easy meal, so in time, they ignore the partial fence.  Then you can add another section of fence. The hogs are suspicious, but still come to the food.  After a while, you can close the fence and have captured the pigs. Friends & Neighbors, that fence is closing in on us.


Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 02:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Comments: The link to make a comment on your Technology entry is missing so I am sending this comment to you. Maybe you can post it to the blog. I was talking to a computer geek and he was bragging about how "smart" kids are today when in came to computers. I agreed with him but pointed out that much of the OLD knowledge is lost and they know very little about the natural world or how to fix anything that is NOT a computer. My comment on Widgets. We don't own anything, everything we have owns us. I am constantly trying to get rid of more things. Jan
Posted by jan on 04/20/2010 - 01:13 PM
Egaads! Sorry! I added the comment section now!
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 04/20/2010 - 01:15 PM

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