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View From the Farm: Offline and Back in Touch

Staying in touch online isn't as easy as it seems; Jorie explains how she's managed to stay in touch with herself off the web.

There are many e-ways of staying in touch these days, but I feel that social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, seem to do a better job of connecting acquaintances than friends. In fact, Facebook seems to have more to do with projecting oneself to an adoring audience than maintaining any kind of real connection. (At least, we assume the audience adores.)

In actuality, I'm not at all sure that the social media are helping me to keep in touch. In fact, I sometimes feel that not only am I losing touch with my friends, I am also losing touch with myself. I am lost in the plethora of miscellaneous updates from others.

It doesn’t help that so much is going on here on the farm. As my regular readers might have surmised from my two week hiatus, spring has brought a lot of activity to the farm. Early Friday morning a lovely new filly was born from Rocha Lily - see picture above. She is charming, good-sized, strong, and is already as active as a typical 2 or 3 week-old foal.

Simultaneously, our garden is bursting with new growth – radishes, lettuce, strawberries and spinach ready to be harvested and eaten. Tomatoes are forming on the vine. Onions, leeks, carrots, broccoli, and snap peas are small but growing apace.

All of this fruition brings joy to me; perhaps because I love watching others relish it. However, I find my own inspiration in ideas. The journeys that I take with books are what bring excitement and adventure to my life. I remember when I had to answer the question about hobbies or free-time activities on every college and job application; I was always embarrassed to say “reading.” Couldn't I have an interest like scuba diving or horseback riding?  While I also love to dance and to hike in the outdoors, the stuff that makes my blood flow faster and my heart race are ideas. And where is the best place to gather new ideas? For me, it is books. I don’t read as much as I did when I was younger, but it is in reading that I often discover ideas and experience feelings that transform me.

Lately, I have found a way to include this passion in my farm life. Every day from 10 to 11 am, I retreat to for some time away from the activity. Neither phone nor e-mail can reach me there, and so I can luxuriate in a book or writing or just being still without interruption.

I have enjoyed using this time to get in touch with myself. The format of the new “By the Book” feature in the New York Times Book Review has helped to guide my search. In this feature, celebrated authors are asked a series of questions, the answers to which reveal their taste in books – and, by extension their identities. The questions address both current and previous favorites, thus uncovering lines of intellectual development. I was particularly struck by Madeline Albright's responses. As an admirer of her memoir, Madam Secretary, it was intriguing to me that she identified “Personal History” by Katherine Graham as her “model memoir.” I thoroughly enjoyed both of these books, and have often recommended them to friends. For the record, Madeline, I think yours was even an improvement on Graham's.

So I have happily found a way to balance out my active days with a pool of quietude. For your viewing pleasure, however, I have uploaded some cute baby pictures. Enjoy!

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