Friday, January 28, 2011

Hip To Be...

...born in a barn?

Have you noticed that it is completely socially acceptable as well as commendable to be "getting back to the basics?" While I agree that we should all eat a little more fresh, play more outside, and depend less upon technology for entertainment, shouldn't we be embracing technology a little more and realizing how good we have it?

Case in point: my house. I live where my grandma and grandpa raised four kids. The house, while they lived in it, housed six people, had one bathroom, and my aunt used to have to plug in her hair dryer upstairs, in the hallway, as it was the only outlet up there. Fast forward 30 years and six months of major renovations, three bathrooms, new heat/central air conditioning (hallelujah!), new plumbing, and now about nine thousand installed outlets later, here we are, thinking we do not have enough space to raise our four children without adding onto our house.

I know, I know, my grandma is looking at me from heaven, thinking I'm spoiled.

And, I am, as many of us are. However, I feel as if this luxury of making choices, living comfortably, even lavishly, has caused us to attack the very core of what makes living where we do and when we do great. Innovation is in our blood. Finding something better, faster, safer is good, isn't it? I'm thankful my husband does not have to thresh wheat, but, rather, sits on a tractor and watch a machine do a job that could potentially cut his arms off. The age of technology is around us. Convenience is king. And while we do our best to try to get back to the basics, could we really?

I know as a farm family that utilizes equipment that is GPS enabled, seed that has been engineered to resist certain diseases, and cell phones that are used to let me know when they're coming home for dinner, we couldn't farm the way we do without technology. And, conversely, you couldn't live the way you do, eat the way you do, and/or choose to not eat what we help produce without our technologically advanced methodology. I'm not saying that what we produce is juiced up, jacked up or in any way, shape or form engineered to do anything but make your life better, and what you eat safe. I'm just saying that if you believe for one second that all farmers could live like they did 20, 50 or even 100 years ago, and still produce food and fuel for the country and its needs would be impossible. We would starve. Worse yet, since many of us have never felt truly, truly hungry, think of it like this: your choices would be limited and (gasp) expensive.

While I believe that eating from your garden in the summer (especially if you live in Illinois, and don't can...only in the summer!), buying locally grown, great tasting beef or pork or poultry, supporting local businesses is ideal, and generally good for your local economy, friends, and waistline, is it always an option? How many of us frequent a grocery store (weekly, bi-weekly, DAILY?), and even though may acknowledge that they may have had to ride on a truck for a day, still buy California grapes for our kids' lunches, because they taste good and are a healthy snack, fully of Vitamin C and other good stuff? I realize that this may sound smarty, but I have never had less than 10 choices of bread types in the grocery store. I could choose to make my own bread, as my great-great grandmother did, but I'm certain, she's smiling at me from above when I choose my Cottage Wheat bread from Hy-Vee instead of spending an afternoon making a week's supply of bread. I am able to spend more time with my kids as well as spend more time ranting on my blog because I BUY MY BREAD!! Ha, ha!

If you're still not convinced that your life is made easier by technologically savvy farmers, please note that when you start to cast judgment on the American farmer in his big, (hopefully) green tractor, I hope you're wearing the outfit that you made from the cloth you have woven from the cotton you have grown after having taken your horse and buggy to town to buy the seed for said cotton plant. Only when we realize that modern conveniences may have made our lives more complex, however much easier, can we also realize that not all technological advances are crumbling the moral fiber of our being.


  1. I love all your posts. I don't know how you do it, but you so eloquently and matter of factly put my beliefs into writing on your blog.

    Sharing on facebook. :)

  2. Thanks, Katie! I'm finding myself excited to share what I have learned about as well as trying to share the good in the life we lead! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Awesome post! We should be thankful for all kinds of farmers. The ones who raise food conventionally, use technology, choose organic, there are lots of options and I am grateful for that.

  4. I so agree, and will share with my Kansas peeps. Very well done!

    My dad's side of the family has a hankering for working on antique tractors/combines. Every 4th of July we have an old fashion harvest. Through at least 10 years of experience we've found we have to cut a dry land field instead of an irrigated one, the equipment wasn't made to handle the bushels newer wheat varieties can produce. Even then, it takes 7+ machines (all older than 1950) to cut all day on a piece of land a shiny green combine of today would spit out in about 15 minutes!

    I know my family is spoiled and more nourished because of new technologies. I can't cook with the food I buy from the grocer's let alone have to make the staples myself as well!!!

    Thanks again for the great read!

  5. My best friend is so smart and witty and just so damn cool. I love you Em:)