By Lisa Everhart Myers, Demeter Farm
I am currently in a state of, what I will call, “information-induced paralysis.” What, you may ask, does this highly technical term mean? Is it life-threatening? Painful? Let me explain.
Information-induced paralysis is a condition that occurs when one needs to make some sort of big decision so said person reaches over to the coffee table, picks up the phone, and taps out a question to their old friend Google. If this person is a tad more technologically advanced than I am, he or she might shout out a question to Siri or Alexa or some other information-spouting female trapped inside a small, handheld device. Regardless of the vehicle, within seconds, 1,235,632 answers to the question magically appear. Wonderful, right?
I know you can’t hear me, but I just shouted a vehement “NO!” at you. These 1,235,632 answers to my question paired with the 20 books on organic farming and hops production spread across the coffee table have given me a really bad case of this chronic disease. I have so many conflicting answers to my multitude of questions that I just sit here thinking about which answer is right and what to do next. I turn these answers over, ponder them, scrutinize them, and then think of another hundred questions. As a result, not a thing is getting done around here.
Don’t get me wrong—the house is still being remodeled. My partner, Julie, is doing an incredible job with it. Most of the new floors are in, and we can see the finish line on a major bathroom overhaul, which began with us taking the room down to the studs and floor joists. The last owner had finished the walls with chip board “paneling” and the toilet sat at a 30 degree angle to the floor telling us that the floor might be a tad damp below it. One of us was headed into the crawlspace riding a toilet if we didn’t do something.
So, we are busy. But, as we have been preoccupied inside the house, Mother Nature has been going crazy outside our windows. February opened up with sub-zero temps and snow, but, as I sit here writing this, I have noticed that the past week and a half of above-normal temps paired with rain has left behind a distinctly emerald tint to the grass out back. This, in turn, makes me realize that we don’t have a mower yet. Which, in turn, makes me want to reach for my phone and research whether we should buy a tractor with a belly mower attachment or a zero turn radius mower. If we get the tractor now, I can get the garden turned sooner, but it sure would be nice to be able to knock out mowing this big yard in a couple hours. Oh, look, I need more coffee.
Ultimately, I can’t blame poor old Google on my inaction. Fear of the unknown and my compulsive need to get whatever I do exactly right the first time I do it are certainly at work here. In my defense, I have made some moves in the right direction. Soil has been sent to the lab for testing. I’ve bought garden seed. It’s not in starter pots yet, as it should be, but I have it. I’ve been to two meetings of our Females Farming Forward female farmer chapter of the Indiana Farmers Union and I also attended a meeting of the Indiana Hop Growers Association recently. I have a gut feeling that both of these groups are going to be pivotal in the development of our farm so I want to make the time to stay active in them.
I also signed up to attend all three days of Purdue University’s Indiana Small Farm Conference and Michigan State University’s Great Lakes Hops and Barley Conference. Yes, all of these groups are providing me with more information to process, but at least I know it is field-tested and provided by professionals who gained the knowledge through hands-on practice.
Hands-on practice is what I need here on our farm, too. Mother Nature is working on the antidote for my information-induced paralysis as evident in the aforementioned color-tinged pasture outside my window this morning. She won’t wait for me to analyze every one of my 1.2 million Google search results. She will warm the soil and lengthen the days. She will send the rain that shows me where the water stands in my field and how far the creek will rise. I will run out of time for Google searches as I turn the earth and plant the heirloom seedlings into starter pots. I have faith that the genetic code I share with the generations of farmers before me, particularly my green-thumbed Grandma Rogers, will kick in and guide me. The changing season will call me from my couch, and I will get to work.
If you try to reach me this growing season, leave a message. My phone will be on the coffee table.
This blog is part of a new series hosted by Indiana Farmers Union. Each month, we will post blogs written by Hoosier farmers at all stages—from just beginning to long-established. If you’re an Indiana Farmers Union member and are interested in writing for us, please contact Sherri Dugger at firstname.lastname@example.org.