Living an Earth Connected Life of Elegant Simplicity – WITH? / VERSUS? – the Internet and Social Media!

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I find myself pondering, all to often, the impact of the internet and social media on my  earth connected life.  Can the two extremes function together?  I  have been going back and forth and back and forth and…………. I think I have finally come to a satisfactory conclusion  *for me* !  They can work together!

I was born on the Family Farm in Concord, Massachusetts. While life has taken me to many places and in many directions, I have always maintained a connection to the soil, to the land. It is in my blood!   As a child, I lived in the country, we had a big garden and I can remember renovating a large shed with my brothers (using lumber from a collapsed barn, salvaged nails, a hand saw and a hammer) to ready for the pair of bottle lambs our neighbor was giving us.

Later as an adult, we raised our own beef, pork, lamb and poultry. Hand milked our Guernsey cow, Molly, and eventually her two daughters Matilda and Martha.

During these years there was only television and it played a very small role in life!  Strictly controlled when we were young ( Black & White) and not that important in later years.

WELL, full disclosure requires that I confess to watching a full week of Betty Davis movies (two per night) when I was in college!

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Now, in my 65th year, the world is much different and more complicated

The world is wired.  Computers and Smart Phones link to the internet, facebook, twitter and on and on.  Many people are “connected” all the time. Separated from real human to human interactions. Families, under the same roof, connect individually to the net while often communicating with each other electronically!   This electronic evolution/revolution seems to isolate and separate from other people and from nature.

Part of me has argued internally for outright rejection. I resisted computers until I decided in 1997 that I needed to learn how to use them or be left behind. At that point they had not become so invasive.  I decided, that in order to understand how they work, I needed to create a webpage from scratch using html codes. I did it and never have had to since as an IT Husband does it for me now:)

I do not have a smart phone! I do not want or need one. I do have a cell phone. I can make  a call, send a text and take a picture. That is all I need.

My being loves having my hands in the dirt in the garden, the poultry, the natural world in general AND my being enjoys and needs nice things – books, art, silver and china. That combination creates what I call “elegant simplicity”

Nothing beats an evening with friends, gathered at a nice table, with good food and conversation and suddenly someone says: “OH my goodness it is after midnight” Those not frequent enough occasions are the frosting on life.  Now, chances are the communications that gathered us together were via e-mail.

SO yes, modern technology fits an earth connected lifestyle if it is managed to enhance and not take over!  I use facebook!  Not for a zillion friends I do not know but to maintain contact with a few friends scattered far and wide.  Friends from my days at Borders. Friends connected to Star Island. Some friends I have connected with because of joint interests in gardening, poultry, food and lifestyle.  I use FB for gardening connections.  How else would I be able to connect with and follow Ben Falk  or John Forti  or, or, or……

I use the internet for this website, where I connect with people around the world and promote our poultry which I hatch and ship.  I maintain a facebook page for our Chanteclers  and our Icelandics.

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Fayrehale White Chanteclers in winter housing.

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Fayrehale Icelandics in winter housing

Currently there are 427 people following the Chantecler page and 75 following the newly created Icelandic page.  That is over 500 people that we have connected with for our poultry sales.  Something that would never have happened without the internet!  Our beautiful small Vermont village is the perfect place to live.  Selective utilization of modern technology allows us to connect across the country and around the world with like minded people.

I am state emphatically that modern technology enhances and expands our simple, earth connected life!  It allows us to be connected with like minded people and thus less isolated in our existence.

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So, as the Hackmatacks turn yellow and prepare to shed their needles, we have moved back into the house for the winter. It is time to dust and clean the dining room  (The incubator ran in the dining room from March to September:) so that we can have friends over for supper.

And YES, we will use e-mail to make the arrangements!

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7 Responses to Living an Earth Connected Life of Elegant Simplicity – WITH? / VERSUS? – the Internet and Social Media!

  1. Susan October 28, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

    Lovely post and an issue I find myself pondering often. I feel my life is enhanced by the connections I have made via Facebook for instance. I find my views on things broadened or better informed and I enjoy the “fellowship” of staying in touch. The only misgiving I have is that the time gets away from me sometimes and I have to discipline myself about that.

    I watched the video you posted recently about Grounding and was amazed by the actual NEED humans have to be connected to the earth – grounded literally. Your life at Fayrehale Farms has taught me so much about reconnecting with the earth and I, for one, am very thankful that your debate has ended in peace with the internet! It would not be nearly as satisfying for me if you were not here.

  2. Laurie Barnett October 29, 2013 at 7:48 am #

    I have also struggled with where to draw the line between being connected and not. It has been a bit harder to be disconnected since we got rid of the land line. I do have a smart phone and love some aspects of it. But I don’t like not being able to get away from it. Some people expect that because I have a smart phone I am always available to answer it, I am not. Surprisingly I don’t have it one me when I garden, walk Maya, and numerous other times in the day.
    I enjoy facebook which has enable me to reconnect with family and friends. But I had to take the facebook app off of my phone, I found I was spending too much time there. Facebook will never replace a face to face conversation, the joy of finding a handwritten note in the mailbox, a glass of good wine in front of a fire with someone you love.

    • James Trundy Verrill October 29, 2013 at 8:27 am #

      I hear you Laurie! You, Noel & Natalie are special people I can maintain contact with because of FB. Our Cells are our phones… BUT they are basic and not always with us! I us it as I did a land line. It is just more portable. It is a balance. Something we all struggle and work with. Your gardening endeavors and your wood pile are inspiring.

  3. Little Feather November 12, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    For the first two years, on Little Feather Farm, I lived without a phone or internet, high in a mountain meadow valley, in Northwest Montana. I worked part time, where I used computers, answered phones, and worked with the public. I couldn’t wait to get back to the farm, anytime I had to leave.
    During those first two years, while I was building Little Feather Farm, a never ending endeavor, I lived without the “distraction” of the phone and internet, I spent a lot of time with my birds. Observing their behaviors and personality, I learned a lot about them. I call it farm girl tv, I get all the drama, sex, comedy relief, art, anthropology, etc. I could ever need! I do enjoy them so.
    And I connected to the land in an amazing way, it was such a beautiful wild place, woodland and meadow, the birds just loved it, and did quite well. Sigh, learned also, beautiful as it was, it wasn’t the right place for what I want to do, a rare and heritage breeds conservancy/hatchery, and a commercial organic vegetable garden. And found a new place to build my goal on.
    I finally realized that I was ready to move into the world of instant communication, bought a cell phone and had a phone and internet installed. I had forgotten how much I had enjoyed surfing the internet, and the wealth of information and amazingly diverse people! A cell phone only works in town, so the landline was essential. But the difference in dial up and wifi is worlds apart!
    So my time is balanced between working the farm from 0 dark thirty, to too dark to see with out searchlights, and those wee hours of morning, before going out the door, and the restful times after dinner, with no tv; books and internet are my communication and entertainment!
    With the shortening days, time is moving quickly through the day, less time to accomplish goals on the new place, but the birds are happy here, too. There is a large pasture, and thick groves of various conifers, a couple of huge noble firs that have branches from the ground up, where a large portion of the flock hangs out, shade shelter and roost. Dense growth makes a dry area, even in heavy rain and snow, and hawthorn growing around the base of the trees, makes a living, protective fence!
    The soil is tired, overgrazed and over grown with weeds, but it’s good soil, great for growing, with just a lot of work I’ll bring it back to health. Perfect area for terraced gardens, flat area near the year round stream (full of trout), to be dug out for a duck pond, and room for the birds, goats and horse to graze!
    The phone and internet has supplied a wealth of information, resources at my finger tips, and conversations with like minded, as well as other views, about the birds I love!
    Since I am focusing on the breeds that will thrive in the mountain environment, in which I live, with its diverse and challenging environment, with minimal care, shelter, and able to avoid predators, I am always looking for those rare heritage breeds that will fit in here!
    The Icelandic and Chantecler, might be very suited to my environment, and I will endeavor to add them to my flocks, this spring!
    Blessed Be,
    Little Feather
    Little Feather Farm
    Troy, Montana
    Birds of a Feather flock together!

    • James Trundy Verrill November 12, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

      Nice to hear from you! I too spent a couple of years a mile back in the woods on the top of a hill in a meadow w/o power or running water! I heated w/ wood and had a gas refrigerator & stove. Some of the most peaceful years of my life! Bathing out doors for three seasons! Canning on a wood cook stove in the middle of the garden! Life moved along and I have worked to find the balance with modern technology! The positive is that it connects me with like minded people around the country and helps me promote the Heritage breeds I works to preserve.

      See your e-mail and will respond next to that! Thanks

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