Opinion: Technology is wonderful, until it goes wrong

“Never worry about what you cannot change.” That should be tattooed on every farmer’s forehead so that when they collect in the pub they are constantly reminded that Mother Nature is having a laugh, constantly, at their expense.

The harvest is in, thank goodness, but not without constant weather-induced fretting. The lovely Keeley on the BBC’s Look North did little to calm the current husband’s panic at the procession of predicted showers on most evenings. His weather app was being used more frequently than the youngest’s snapchat feed.

Everything is calmer now. The rain gauge is still monitored, of course, but not quite so obsessively and not necessarily first thing in the morning while sporting pink boxer shorts.

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Andrew decided during harvest (he has too much time to think on that combine) that the design of the insulated lunchbox left over from when our children took lunches to school every day is not fit for purpose.

While in the local John Deere dealership, he noticed a high-performance lunchbag with xenon lights (sorry, made that last bit up, but you would have thought it had).

Unfortunately it will arrive too late for this harvest. I’m not sure that he’ll ever stoop to sullying it with mere sandwiches, anyway.

Instead, it will stand on the mantelpiece in his office taking pride of place beneath all the farm-related pictures that he thinks are lovely, yet are banished from the rest of the house by me and the children.

Meanwhile, the next grand project is nearing completion. A large lean-to one side of the corn store has been converted to form a new spray shed and workshop.

The newly installed water collection tanks are busy gathering in the rain, the solar connections are whirring in a special room that will double as a “snack room” for Carl and Josh plus the lads on the farm park who have been expelled – along with their dirty boots and oily hands – from the new general staff room.

Everything was prepared for the delivery of the new sprayer. It sings, it dances, it almost does the spraying itself. Unfortunately the current husband, when designing the layout, failed to appreciate that an upgraded sprayer with a wider boom would be considerably taller when in transport and storage mode and has found, to his horror and to the amusement of his men, that the sprayer will not fit in the shed once the concrete has been laid.

Luckily Andrew is the king of procrastination and his loathing for spending money before he needs to means that the lean-to is still a work in progress, with some walls and doors waiting to be completed and installed.

Most importantly, we still have the flexibility to hire a mini-digger to be deployed to dig out several inches of soil to allow the concrete to be poured at the new desired level.

The solar installation, ground-mounted in a nearby field, has provided Andrew and the eldest with the opportunity for the purchase of a new app. It tells you how much sunshine there has been and how much money the solar has earned you that day.

Unfortunately, I feel that the eldest is looking on it as an inheritance calculator and keeps telling me how much Dad is earning. After a particularly sunny day I am waiting for him to ask for a sub for a pint in advance of anticipated income.

Their obsession with figures was confirmed when Luke burst into the house after traveling back from Newcastle. I received a perfunctory kiss as he shouted: “Where’s Dad?”

When I inquired as to the reason for this urgency, he said: “I’ve just managed to get 48mpg. I’ve photographed the car dials just in case he doesn’t see it, but I’d prefer to show him in person.”

Considering this is a third-hand diesel V6 Audi Quattro with more than 200,000 miles on the clock, it is probably a greater achievement than his father getting 75mpg from his newer BMW.

Like father, like son. Dad was suitably impressed. Sad, really.

Technology is obsessive. My sister and her middle child were following her eldest who was heading to a work experience job in the summer.

He had to catch a bus and was texting, head down, with music playing in his earphones as he headed towards the bus stop.

They watched the bus come past him, pull up, load passengers, then pull out just as he looked up when he reached the stop. Needless to say, he missed the bus.

What worries me more is that he has just passed the exam that allows him to apply to medical school. Do they allow music and phones in surgery?

All technology is wonderful, until it goes wrong. We have new tills causing teething problems in the farm shop, which has been a nightmare throughout the summer holidays.

Now the children have gone back and we get some peace I will be shouting at reps until it all gets sorted. Sometimes I yearn for the vintage cash tin when the only thing that could go wrong was my brain.

Sally and husband Andrew farm 364ha just outside Scunthorpe in North Lincolnshire. They have a farm shop, The Pink Pig Farm (a former winner in the diversification category of the Farmers Weekly Awards), with a 90-seater café and farm trail. Sally is chairman of the Farmers’ Retail and Markets Association (Farma).

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