Saturday, February 18, 2012

Welcome to the Future

I hate change.

I was perfectly content to hand-milk the cows, to use a hoe in the garden and correspond with pen and ink. Yep…seriously!

“Back in the day”, a friend came by and exclaimed, “oh my! I thought I had actually entered Little House on the Prairie”! Yeah, that was here….that was me...
…and it was great.

Once I learn how to do something and it works, I would be completely happy to perform that task in that manner forever. To my mind, the old ways are the best ways. Unfortunately for me, this is not the way of the world and PROGRESS is the name of the game. I am learning to adjust, although I usually go kicking and screaming.

For years when I did the farm bookwork, it was with a pencil, an eraser, green ledger paper and my trusty adding machine. I loved that adding machine! At the end of a session of paperwork, it was satisfying to see that long coil of adding machine tape rolling around the chair leg, onto the floor and across the room. It was tangible evidence of my hard work.

Eventually, our accountant convinced us to try Quickbooks and do our accounting on the computer. I wasn’t certain…committing all those numbers to “cyber-space” where I might never see them again was a real stretch for me. That actually happened once. EVERYTHING…and I mean EVERYTHING disappeared into thin air. Despite my complete mental melt-down at that point, the situation was corrected and order was restored to the universe.

Today, I wouldn’t want to do it any other way. I get that same sense of satisfaction when I hit the “reconcile” button and instantaneously the columns of numbers check themselves, or I generate a report with another button…and think of all the trees we are saving! I do miss my adding machine tape, though.

Eventually, we went a similar route with the tax preparation, and I learned to do that as well. I gained confidence and we no longer have an accountant. All our Winter sales are done on-line, too. I never intended to use the computer on a daily basis…but, here I am.

Gone are the days of the little bits of paper and a stubby pencil that noted my sheep records at the barn. All too often that piece of paper went through the laundry and was rendered useless by the washing and I had to depend on my recollections. Now, I have a computer program where I can input the information with a few simple steps and can trace genealogy and growth records without searching my pockets for lint. I can even put a photo of the sheep on the file with relative ease. Once I learned this program, it has made tracking the sheep much easier, and far more accurate than my somewhat faulty memory. The successes and failures will be part of the record, hopefully eliminating the possibility of repeating mistakes!

Now, technology has taken another great leap forward here on the farm. We entered the 21st century and got a smartphone.

With my new smartphone and the Square app., we can accept credit cards. This app. will be incredibly handy at the Market, where we are hoping to dramatically increase sales of our items with higher pricetags. Customers won’t have to root around for cash or make a special trip to the bank.

With every change, there is a learning curve. It took far longer to make the first sale with the card reader than I thought necessary. However, that will become easier given time and practice. We will be grateful for patient customers and hope we learn quickly.

The more research I do, the more apps I explore, the more I realize that this new phone may have changed our operation forever. Did you know I can now check the weather without ever leaving the greenhouse? I can research plants or sheep illnesses while standing the barn. I can even order things while I am walking back to the house. Oh, man…this thing is COOL! Yes, I hear the Boss laughing…he thinks it’s SO funny when I get even the least bit “geeky”.

I never would have predicted these changes when we started doing this “way back when”. I would have never anticipated my own acceptance. Nope, I figured we stay with the “old ways” forever. Boy, was I wrong.

Wonder what changes the future holds?

…and ya think can I get an app for it?

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