Like Legos for gardeners

my farmville farm. click to see the whole thing

I got a call out from Susan over at GardenRant to help explain the appeal of Farmville.  Here’s the comment I left.  (Click on the image at right for a larger view of my ‘farm’.)

 If the Facebook clutter bothers you, you can block Farmville and other Facebook games.

What’s the attraction? I liked playing with Legos as a kid. So for me, Farmville is kind of like online Legos for gardeners.

Lord knows the lines in my real garden will never be that straight, nor will the color of my bulbs match the color of my trees. But I can make that happen in Farmville.

I also play along with some family members. We have a little friendly competition going. Some folks I know are more into the social aspects, and have struck up friendships with people around the world who they met through Farmville. (I can always use more neighbors. Friend me.)

I harvest my crops and manage my ‘farm’ while I watch the news at night. It beats the heck out playing solitaire, keeps me off the streets and out of trouble, and provides a little distraction and diversion to get me through the winter.

A educator friend of mine lamented the other day, “I do wish kids could actually learn something about farming by playing Farmville.”

That’s a legitimate complaint. But it would probably make the game way too complicated to have mass appeal. Play SimFarm (if that’s still around) if that’s what you’re looking for.

But one thing the game does teach is delayed gratification — which is probably one of the most important traits to foster in future gardeners. You plant crops but have to wait hours or days to harvest them. You visit well-developed farms of your ‘neighbors’ and know that you can gradually build your farm to their level if you’re persistent.

The game can also be a creative outlet. Sure, most of the farms are pretty boring. But some folks arrange their farms to form quilt patterns or create 3-D effects.

I’ll add a picture of my farm over at Ellis Hollow later this morning (it’s been neglected lately) if you’re curious.

High Wide and Handsome

charlie poole et alCongrats to Loudin Wainwright III, extended family and friends for the best Traditional Folk Album Grammy for High Wide and Handsome — The Charlie Poole Project.

I spent considerable time on that website over the holidays. (Making of documentary clips here.) In a nutshell, it’s a tribute/documentary to Charlie Poole, the first country music superstar back in the ’20s. He and the North Carolina Ramblers took the train from the mill town of Spray, N.C. to the Big Apple to record songs that laid the foundation for country and similar genres.

Loudin tells the story much better in this song he composed for the project. (I’m a sucker for good work crafting.)