Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Tales of a Google Farmer

Unearthing Internet wisdom



I wish circumstances were otherwise, but the food I grow and the animals I raise are the result of knowledge gleaned almost entirely by means of blinkered queries plugged into an Internet search engine.

I am a Google farmer. I’m sure there are many of us out there by now—we who haven’t the time, ancestry, or formal education to have it any other way but to hack into the ancient agrarian code. There are drawbacks. There are benefits.

My father was a salesman of molded plastics, not a farmer. His suitcase of wares couldn’t have been any less inspired by the open country. No boyhood hay-baling for me. No late nights around the potbelly stove listening to solemn discussions about fence lines and soil profiles. No leaning against the buckboard soaking in the yarns of old farmers sharing curative uses of turpentine or saying things like: “Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.” (I found that saying through Google after looking up “farmer wisdom.” How lame is that?)

But when I was seven or thereabouts, my mother presented me with a pack of tomato seeds. I dug into the earth, turned it over, set the seeds into it, and food grew. I was hooked, which is how I eventually got to today, the midwife of several acres that, over the course of the last seven years, I have prodded and emended into increasingly nutrient-rich soil, thanks to wisdom liberally doled out by means of Google.

More or less, I look like I know what I’m doing. But to be a Google farmer is to stand on the shoulders of giants—real farmers, the ones worthier of the name than I, their faces furrowed by the learning curve of time, their laugh lines and lamentation lines merging far afield at the vanishing point of an eternally vulnerable crop. 

I’m certain that real queries put to real, local farmers would bear far more rewarding fruit, questions such as: “Is it just me, or is nature utterly ambivalent?” “Is it a local thing that soil conditions radically change every ten feet?”

But time won’t allow. I have a day job. What I learn about farming is on a need-to-know basis. 

If I encounter heavy clay, I hustle inside, take off my boots, type in “clay soil, what the hell?” (or something like that), and bingo! Twenty minutes later, I can speak with the authority of the ages about clay and soil and what the hell. 

More conventionally knowledgeable farmers probably make use of the Internet, particularly with regard to weather, but I doubt they, like me, bookmark YouTube videos on leaf shredding with a weed whacker. I doubt they need to keep web-page cheat sheets on companion planting.

I’d like to think the non-Google farmer’s vocational soundtrack is the put-put of a tractor not the click-click of a keyboard. And yet, the keyboard is my friend. I know about crop rotation because of Google. I know the signs of an unhealthy goat because of Google. If its stool doesn’t look like loose pebbles, for instance, that’s a problem, in which case I would have to bushwhack my way through Google to find reputable advice of what to do about it. 

I have a lot riding on my goats’ happiness. They eat the nasty, invasive multiflora rose. I know it’s multiflora rose because I looked it up. Otherwise, I might have gazed upon all that multi-flora rose and remarked, “My, look at the pretty rose bushes covering the field. How lucky are we?” 

Each year, the goats clear the way for more of this land to farm. They are highly sociable animals. I can tell them my troubles. Each morning, they lean into me as if to say, “Come on, old pal, you’re doing just fine. Now how’s about you feed us some more grain, and then feed us some more grain. And after that, maybe bring us some chips and salsa.” 

They play me for a fool. Look it up: “sure signs goats are playing you for a fool.” 

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

            

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Worth the Weight

John Frey’s life-changing experience

Showtime

Performing artists glam up locally to take on the town

Play House

A Putnam County Couple finds home

How We Met: It’s a Small Web

Finding love with online dating

Double H Time

A book recounts Hunter Harrison’s remarkable life

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

September 2018

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

The Ridgefield Historical Society is pleased to present a series of pop-up exhibits featuring WWI: Ridgefield Answers the Call at different locations in town through November 2018. This exhibit of...

Cost: Free

Where:
, CT


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

The Ridgefield Historical Society is pleased to present a series of pop-up exhibits featuring WWI: Ridgefield Answers the Call at different locations in town through November 2018. This exhibit of...

Cost: Free

Where:
, CT


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Gunn Memorial Library in Washington, CT is pleased to welcome back literary scholar Mark Scarbrough as he leads a five week course The Soul Ajar: An Emily Dickinson Literature Course.  The classes...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Don’t miss this chance to see one of the last living Blues legends when he returns to The Playhouse stage! 2015 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Buddy Guy’s incredible career...

Cost: $125

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Pepsi Rock Series powered by Xfinity
Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

The Ridgefield Historical Society is pleased to present a series of pop-up exhibits featuring WWI: Ridgefield Answers the Call at different locations in town through November 2018. This exhibit of...

Cost: Free

Where:
, CT


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

This presentation, led by Martin House member Bryan Stern, will help small business owners understand key tax law changes that may affect their 2018 business tax returns so that they can plan ahead...

Cost: Free

Where:
Martin House Workspace
69 Westchester Ave.
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Martin House Workspace
Telephone: 914-764-3128
Contact Name: Erin Trostle
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Wednesdays, September 26 – November 7, 2018  (no class on Halloween) 6:30-8:30pm Adam Broderick Whole New You Series Partially underwritten by Reliance Merchant Services This...

Cost: 425

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
80 E Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

Cohen and Wolf,  P.C. Movie Series In one of moviedom’s most influential roles, James Dean is Jim, the new kid in town whose loneliness, frustration and anger mirrored those of...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Contact Name: Ridgefield Playhouse
Website »

More information

In her new book, HATE: Why We Should Resist it With Free Speech Not Censorship, Nadine Strossen argues that expanding free speech, not limiting it, is the solution for changing the hearts and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ridgefield Library
472 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Tavern Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-438-2282
Contact Name: Lesley Lambton
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

The Ridgefield Historical Society is pleased to present a series of pop-up exhibits featuring WWI: Ridgefield Answers the Call at different locations in town through November 2018. This exhibit of...

Cost: Free

Where:
, CT


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Facilitated by Nina Bertolino This program will meet every other Wednesday from 10:30 - 12:30 on the following dates: September 12th & 26th, October 10th & 24th, November 7th & 21st, December 5th...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

with Antonio Sanchez, Linda May Han Oh & Gwilym Simcock Moffly Media Evening of Art, Wine & Jazz Series Join us in the lobby at 7:15pm for an Italian wine tasting by Pera Wines and an...

Cost: $87.50

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Contact Name: Ridgefield Playhouse
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

The Ridgefield Historical Society is pleased to present a series of pop-up exhibits featuring WWI: Ridgefield Answers the Call at different locations in town through November 2018. This exhibit of...

Cost: Free

Where:
, CT


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

On Thursday, September 27, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich will host its first-ever Oktoberfest celebration. Featuring German beer from Paulaner USA, Oktoberfest at the Bruce...

Cost: $30 for Bruce Museum members, $40 non-members

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

EVERY THURSDAY | 7:30 PM - 10:00 pm Music | Spoken Word | Comedy | More Hosted by Don Lowe Hunt Hill Farm is excited to announce OpenMic night every Thursday night.  Please stop by to...

Cost: donation

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Friday mornings from 10:30 to 12:30. Free, no registration. Open to adults and older teens. Participants are asked to bring their own supplies in, but some basic supplies will be provided by the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Opening Act: Rock Academy Band Friday, September 28, 2018 – Gala & Show Only tickets available Gala at 5:30pm (includes open bar, dinner, silent auction) Live Auction &...

Cost: Gala Tickets: $250 Orchestra Seating & Gala Show Only Tickets: $125 Mezzanine &

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Contact Name: Ridgefield Playhouse
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

The Ridgefield Historical Society is pleased to present a series of pop-up exhibits featuring WWI: Ridgefield Answers the Call at different locations in town through November 2018. This exhibit of...

Cost: Free

Where:
, CT


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Aldrich Undercover, a “secret” art exhibition and sale, returns for one night only to the Museum’s Leir Gallery after a six-year hiatus. Hundreds of original artworks will be on...

Cost: $150 - $500

Where:
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Saturday, September 29, 2018 at 8pm Pepsi Rock Series powered by Xfinity Partially underwritten by Lisa & Michael Shinall This September, Beth Hart returns to the United States for...

Cost: $65

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Contact Name: Ridgefield Playhouse
Website »

More information

The Ridgefield Historical Society is pleased to present a series of pop-up exhibits featuring WWI: Ridgefield Answers the Call at different locations in town through November 2018. This exhibit of...

Cost: Free

Where:
, CT


Website »

More information

Laura from Olive My Skin will be joining us to talk about her lovely natural soaps, wood wick soy candles and skin care line, all proudly made in Connecticut. All Fair Trade, paraben free,...

Cost: free

Where:
The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: susan
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Evocation of light is ever present in the romantic and experiential landscapes of Ira Barkoff. His recent works convey the spontaneity and the maturity of the artist’s hand and dedication to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: 1953
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags