DownwindA Common Farm Tool
How many people do you hear complain about their memory? Add me to your list. Faulty nerve cells, misfiring synapses, a bad cerebellum? I don’t recall.
Random thoughts, ideas, facts, data, concepts and information invade my mind when I’m listening to the news, working out, doing yard chores, putzing in my workshop, driving (billboards and vehicle placards) or at night when I’m supposed to be sleeping. Some of it is good stuff if I can remember.
Does it stick? Not likely. As a result, my memory for details and data can be fleeting. I chalk it up to there being way too much knowledge out there for me to store in my little brain.
I wish this “stuff” would magically lodge in my brain at a convenient time (like when I’m at my desk, pen poised for capture). But no - that’s when my mind decides to play the brain fog game.
My solution has been to go “old school” ... pen and paper. I carry around a pocket-sized spiral-bound notepad, so I am always ready to record those fleeting snippets of thoughts, concepts, ideas, data, etc. I usually have a maximum of 27 seconds to write it down or I risk that it will be gone forever.
Later, when I go back to look at my captured notes, I hope they make sense! I find some useful notes while some notes should be gone forever.
An example of a “not useful” note I wrote recently…Set a goal for solutions to be less stupid. What? Huh? I’m sure it made sense when I wrote it down?
The use of a notebook has made me realize that I’ve become my father! My dad, the Farmer, never left the breakfast table for his work on the farm without his seed corn cap, his pliers, and his pocket spiral notepad. He possessed various of these small notepads distinguishable by the cover promoting an agricultural entity…FS, Illinois Farm Bureau, Country Companies, Pioneer, DeKalb, Gutwein, Asgrow, or Farm Credit to name a few.
The pocket spiral notepads were given to the Farmer “free” as a promotional item by each company. Spend thousands of dollars and we will give you something free to write on. The notepads certainly didn’t go to waste.
Further evidence that I’ve become my father, the notepads I use are freebies. Unlike the Farmer, I did not spend thousands of dollars to get them.
I recently was comparing notes with my father about our notepad similarities. I have witnessed him pull out a notepad hundreds of times to add a notation to the page. What was he writing down? I decided to ask.
His response, “Let me look!”
No shock. He still has them, and he retired from farming nearly a decade ago! (That’s correct, I don’t throw anything away either)
After riffling through his desk, Dad pulled out several spiral bound notepads. Leafing through them, he began reading his notes and content from years past…
- addresses and phone numbers of landlords
- business phone numbers and cell numbers of various people
- crop yield numbers during combining
- truck delivery pounds or bushels of commodities
- crop prices (heard on the radio from Orion Samuelson?)
- oil filter numbers
- tire sizes
- fertilizer application rates
- grain bin measurements
- planting rates by field
- tax data
- to do lists
- shopping lists
- farming ideas to try and concepts to consider
Certainly, a much more impressive list than what I find in my notepads. Mine contains names of people I meet along the way, including spouses/kids’ names, addresses, email, phone numbers, etc. (allegedly, a smart phone will store this information also), computer passwords, to do lists, expense information, phone numbers, information to check out, to do’s, measurements, shopping lists, books to read, articles to find, etc. I even found a card game score versus my wife (I rarely win).
This seemingly small link between me and my father and his “farm tool” has made for another nice connection between us.
It’s not so bad to turn into my father! I should write that down.
Jim Goebbert, a longtime leader and past president of the Cook County Farm Bureau, will be missed, not only by his family but by the Farm Bureau family, the farming community and the people that call him “friend”. His creative thought processes, willingness to try new things, attention to marketing and finance, and the respect he garnered made the Cook County Farm Bureau a better organization. A humble, down-to-earth man, Jim left his indelible mark with so many including with me. Thank you, Jim…rest in peace.