Old books are wiser than new technology


I could hardly put the book down. Gene Logsdon’s words resonated with me and helped me understand the direction we should be going. In his book Homesteading, he breaks down everything that needs to be done, by the calendar month. He further breaks down the details of fruit growing which is separate from the unabridged vegetable growing section. His insights inspired me but his contrary opinions amused me.

I’ve been reading his books over and over, it seems like every year for the past decade or more. Next to me is a worn and tattered copy that is used as a reference every time I get into a bind. He mentions that every serious organic gardener should collect books. Farming books that were written before WWII. Today, I think his advice is more important than ever.

Computers make our lives easier, at least in some ways. The access to information anywhere in the world at your fingertips is attractive. But lately, some of the information I’ve been getting has been wrong.

Recently, I bought green bean seeds. I was switching variety, hoping to find something that I could protect from the rabbits. But the part that was troublesome was every internet search and packaging said I needed 1/2 pound per 100-foot row. That’s double what I’ve been planting for years. Reluctantly, I broke down and bought the correct amount of seed. In the end, it was twice as much seed as I needed.

I eventually planted more rows by cutting my row spacing, but I didn’t want to do it. It takes a lot of work to put away over 100 quarts of green beans from the garden. The only thing harder than putting up that much is keeping the kids away from it. Predators in the house are less forgiving than the ones out in the garden.

As my wife and I usually end the day sitting on the porch drinking a spiked beverage, we can’t help but appreciate all that we have and be amused by what we’ve learned. Like where the term pecking order or egg on your face (from the troubled hens eating their eggs, only to be caught by the watchful farmer).

We are so blessed, but we’re so ignorant. Problems that I search the internet for, or read relentlessly, could have been solved by anyone, even a kid, just a couple generations ago.

Today, I have found that I have to use technology to interpret information from old books. References used are over my head and beyond me. One of the manuals for my tractor state the Henry Ford designed the tractor to be mechanically simple, as the only competition was the horse. I have two college degrees and still don’t understand the mechanics of it. I adjusted point six times recently, trying to do a tune up, right before I shorted the whole electrical system out.

I love technology and use computers daily. But I have an immense reverence and appreciation for the knowledge that the old timers needed just to survive. I’m thrilled to have access to technology but will continue collecting and reading older books; just as I will have to continue proving to my computer that I’m not a robot.

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