What's the most useful tool on the farm? In this day and age, most of us don't spend too much time with a hoe as useful as they are. Vegetable farmers might argue for a hand held implement of some sort, but most of you might bet a loader tractor or some sort of utility work vehicle like a Tool Cat are pretty durned handy on a large-scale farm. Tools are good, but today I've got another idea about the most important thing for a modern day farmer.
In thinking about this idea of important tools on a farm, here's a funny farmer video joke I stumbled across if you're interested. And here's one from my own personal funny man. After bringing home new baby chicks last week, William's joke of the day went like this: "You're such a cool wife....you don't even mind when I bring home cute chicks!" Batta boom. Funny man.
Okay, seriously, here's what's on my mind these days. While the Bobcat Toolcat is an impressive machine, I am here to tell you that the most important tool on the farm in this day and age is the cell phone and its ability to send text messages. Texting is the main way I stay in touch with my farmer husband during the workday and is a welcome way to quickly connect with friends and family.
For William, the cell phone helps him manage the business. He gets word that somebody wants to come for hay or to drop off seed. It's how he stays in touch with workers who may be miles away, and it's how he staves off tractor boredom by staying in contact with people all day long despite the work. And lucky for me (or is it him?), he didn't even need to learn my rules about texting when I met him. He was already a texting pro! It's the little things, I always say.
If you are one of those who say, "My fingers hate texting!" Let me tell you, you're missing out. Texting is a great way to stay in touch and avoid a lot of stress and pain. I'm sure you understand the stress of painful silent gaps in a phone convo, or the opposite - excessive jibber jabber employed to avoid such lulls? I'm sure you've been irritated with phone call small talk or the long goodbyes of a typical midwestern conversation? And how often have you hung up a phone thinking, "Why did I say that? I should have said..." Texting frees us to think before we speak. Perhaps most important of all, when texting, one doesn't have to use body energy to portray interest, excitement, or happiness. Don't you think exuding a poised, excited, interested or awake phone voice is exhausting? Texting may take two hands and tie you up momentarily, but the inconvenience is brief allowing one to carry on while the ball is in the other's court, so to speak. Ultimately, texting eliminates the stress of being able to do absolutely nothing else when a phone is plastered to your ear. Texting much more readily allows for multitasking. It also allows enough time to come up with a good joke or two! I like to throw the love around, but can't seem to make that happen on the phone. Snarky and very biased. True.
What are the rules, you ask? They're very simple, actually.
When someone texts you, answer within a few minutes. I say this even though I know much of the world is not supposed to text while working...or driving. If you absolutely cannot text within a few minutes, text as soon as you can and say, "Couldn't respond earlier."
Once you've made contact with someone, keep the conversation going until all information is resolved. In other words, if someone asks you a question, don't wait two days or two weeks to answer. If you are answering any sort of request for information, answer quickly. I sometimes get text messages from people days after an inquiry and when they finally respond, I have no idea what they are talking about! I have to go back to the thread of conversation to find out what we had been discussing, and by the time I see their response, it's no longer relevant to restart the conversation.
Respond to all information received. You can use one of those cutesy thumbs up emojis, say "OK" or something similar. Some people need confirmation that you are on board and understand. If you just take the information and don't respond, they may be wondering if you got it, understand it, accept it, etc.
Get to know your audience! Some texters will go on and on and on and on with information. Some texters are brief, to the point and out the door. Some texters leave conversations for days on end only to return to cause confusion. You gotta know how to handle each type of communication to get what you need from it. You gotta know when a quick one-liner will lure them in, or if you need to end with a thumbs up emoji even though you think those are stupid. True. Emojis aren't a great flirt tool for me! I like creative and clever word play better. Make me laugh!
Keep the "dialogue" to no more than three or four exchanges that are on topic. Most of us who are texting are also doing something else at the same time. Gotta keep working. That doesn't mean you can't start up a convo thread a little later...especially if you start with something that will make the other person laugh.
Don't be too brief with your texts. Some people come across as downright curt or even worse, cryptic. Nothing gets a person riled more when they have to ask, "What the heck does he/she mean by this?" You're not going to get any good one-liners or jokes if you're a cryptic texter. Folks will just not respond.
And last, keep your durned cell phone nearby. It should be easily accessible, in a pocket or on your lap AT ALL TIMES! Here's Decadance, my aunt's sweet fashion goddess of the bathroom whose new summer smock includes a cell phone pocket! Smart!!!
I communicate with lots of people, but usually refuse to talk on the phone. If you call me, you'll get my voicemail and I may not call you back for YEARS. Text me or send me an email, and I'm yours. I LOVE email or texting because I can deal with it when I have the head space for it. I want to stay connected, but the phone has never worked for me. Since the advent of email then later the text message, I am much more available. The proof is in the pudding...when I was in junior high, (the age that girls used to notoriously talk on the phone for hours each night) if the phone would ring, I'd tell my mom, "Take a message." Truth be told, I never was one for the phone.
WHAT'S IN THE STORE?
My timing is way off, but in the evenings lately, I haven't been able to stop crocheting hats! Some of you may remember seeing me this winter in my very warm felted gray hat? Or you may recall seeing my felted bowls for sale in the store (they make great containers for jewelry, cosmetics or a bedside catch-alls)? If you stop out, you'll find a new display of fabulous WINTER hats for sale! I'll argue you should think gifts for someone special, or just get yourself excited for all those cold winter walks you'll be able to take when wearing one of my hats! They're warm.
William has been crafting also. He got busy with his chainsaw and fashioned a variety of wooden chargers much larger than the coasters he typically makes. These large wooden discs would be great for charcuterie boards, pie or cake stands or bases for a natural way to gain elevation and design in a plant arrangement. More loveliness for the natural home designers out there!
In the food department we have eggs, sweet treats, and a new lemon dressing for spring salads. Hope to see you on the farm!
Sending love to you all (with my written words!),