The Bigger Picture
Disconnected and Loved It

Disconnected and Loved It

Everyone, including and maybe, especially, farmers need down time to recharge.


My wife Trish and I took off the last week of September for a fishing trip to northwest Ontario. Before leaving, I told my boss Willie Vogt I was going to totally "disconnect" from email and voice mail.

I work with the best group of ag editors in the country so I wasn't worried about "business as usual". Still, it's tough to walk away from the job you like and the people you work with. But it was a smart move on my part.

It's often called "recharging the batteries" and after a week "off the grid" I did come back ready to go to work. Not surprisingly, the ship was still right on course and I doubt if I was missed.

RECHARGING: A week spent fishing in Ontario helped me recharge my batteries.

I didn't miss email, seeing the nightly news or checking the news on the Internet, either.  We were in a camp that had phones and Internet so we were reachable in an emergency. We didn't call home or check email, however.

Back in 2001 my wife and I were on a similar trip in the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area.  That was one time I was glad we had access to news. We set up our tent at a campground on September 10. On the 11th, after canoeing in the BWWCA all day, we returned to the camp at dusk and as we were taking the canoe out of the water, my wife said, "Something's happened". Another camper had the radio on in his pickup while he was cleaning fish. My said she heard senators talking about an act of terrorism, etc. So, we asked the fisherman what was going on. That's when we learned about the planes hitting the World Trade Center. The next morning we drove into town to find a newspaper and call our sons.

MASKED BANDIT: Mrs. H felt compelled to cover up to prevent sun and wind burn. But it didn't prevent her from catching some nice walleye.

I don't think much would have changed if we hadn't known about the attack until we exited the BWWCA at the end of the week. Still, this was a major tragedy and I'm sure our family was glad we checked in.

Many farmers feel they can't leave the farm, or disconnect from it for a week or so. Some things won't get done or they will get done differently than they would do them. So, what? One's mental and physical health is more important.

Granted, harvest is upon us and it's one of the busiest times of the year so there's not much chance you can get away now. But you can still "recharge". A 30-minute nap in the combine could be all it takes to revive and help prevent an accident. Afterall, agriculture is one of the most dangerous occupations.

Think about it.

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