Don’t Ask Me How, But Guess Who’s Hit the Big Time

“Don’t ask me how, but guess who hit the big time?” These are the lyrics from a song called “Lucky Ones” by a cheesy 80’s rock band called Loverboy. Michelle and I sing this song (jokingly, of course)  any time we hit some sort of milestone, like getting an article published in Mother Earth News, being interviewed on the radio, being asked to autograph one of our books, or even managing to wake up without stiff joints.

And then there’s The Police’s stalking song, “Every Breath You Take.” It includes the line, “I’ll be watching you” and now, they are watching me! I know, you visualize me sitting here in my Star Wars pajamas with a pointy hat made of aluminum foil trying to deflect the mindprobes of aliens. But no, this is real. We have hit the big time and they are watching us, because we are now on Google’s “Street View.”

It’s sooooo creepy!

I love Google Earth and the function in Google Maps where you can zoom in on the map you’re looking at, and see it as an actual satellite image. It’s unbelievable. I can zoom in on the backyard of our old suburban house and see the brand name on their bar-b-que. Cool, but creepy!

I wasn’t concerned at first because Google only bothers to provide high-resolution images in urban areas. Our rural house was almost impossible to see because the resolution was so low. And clouds obscured the whole area when they took the photo. It’s just great! “Can’t see me!”

Then they added “Street View” which allows you to see an address at street level. You drag a little yellow person icon onto the map and it’s like you are actually on the street! You can walk around and see the view from different angles. Holy cow! It’s like I work for an intelligence agency! Street view has been a huge assistance to me. I am incredibly anal retentive so if I’m going to do a talk somewhere I want to know exactly where I need to go. Even though I usually arrive hours early, there’s been the odd time where the directions or address are confusing and I freak out driving around looking for the venue. So street view has reduced that stress and allows me to figure out exactly where I’m going and what the buildings look like!

The time they must spend blurring out peoples’ faces and license plate numbers is bizarre, considering the function is free. But it’s out there, so I use it. Again, I could tolerate it because it invaded other people’s privacy. Because, really what were the odds of one of those Google Cars with the crazy camera on the roof driving past my house? Our nearest neighbours to the west are 6 kms away and our nearest neighbours to the east are 4 kms so that’s a stretch of 10 km (7+ miles) with only one house on it. What would the point be of offering street view here? It’s woods! Over that 10 km you might see one hunting camp, one abandoned bus (like in the movie “Into The Wild”), a few hunting camp gates, and our house. Really. Street view would be a major waste of time here.

Then it happened.

We are now on street view! Aaaahhhhhhh! Time to move! The black SUVs will know exactly where to go! This is a dark day at Sunflower Farm. Although, our public awareness rating is probably through the roof now! I’m conflicted obviously. But really, what could possibly be their motivation to come out here?

Remember that blog where I said I didn’t want to do the prepper documentary because it would just paint a big bulls eye on my house? This feels kind of similar. I often mention the name of the small village closest to my house, but I try not to make it too easy for people to find me.

If you’ve ordered a book or DVD from us you would have received a box with our return address on it. (If you have ordered something from us, thanks!) We do have a post office box number but we still provide our street address for couriers to use.

If you do manage to find me on street view, here’s what you’ll see.

Farm sign smudged

That’s it. The driveway is long so all you really see is our gate and our awesome Sunflower Farm sign (made by our wonderful friend Heidi.) For some strange reason Google decided to leave “Sunflower” at the top, “Mather” at the bottom, but they’ve blurred out the word “Farm.” Really? It’s okay to leave our name and the name of our place but they needed to take out “Farm?” That’s weird.

I’ve been debating getting a new passport but now they come with RFID chips, which makes it even easier for the black SUVs to track me down. It seems that my dream of really “living off the grid,” under the radar, is now officially over. Google, the company that doesn’t charge for anything they do, has enough money to send a person, in a car, down my road to take photos, and then have someone take all the data and link it up to their mapping software that they let me use for free. Oh, and blur out “Farm” from my sign. Good Grief.

Now I’m thinking I really should have bought a place down an old abandoned logging road, snowplowing issues be damned. But wait, the satellites still know where you are.

“Hey Michelle, how much tin foil do we have around, my hat isn’t big enough!”

10 Responses to “Don’t Ask Me How, But Guess Who’s Hit the Big Time”

  • Jeff:

    Good stuff! Google street view is a help to me also. Interesting you mention tin foil hats – see my wife’s sustainability, healthcare, and gun control issue blog at She’s one to call it like it is, and not politically dependent on any viewpoints. She goes from chickens to gardens to guns to our healthcare issues in the US.. always interesting. Enjoy!

  • rita:

    Not only can we all see you now, but we all can see that you’re looking into buying and selling some stuff. The targeted advertising came along with the songs you posted. “Need to sell your stuff? Canada’s largest, most respected content and estate sale company” and “Haith Potato Equipment. Robust construction for any volume. Compact Footprint!” Ha ha! Don’t look into buying underwear or we’ll see what brand you prefer.

  • Cat:

    Welcome to the real world. Big Brother is watching. It is what it is, an unfair world. The last time a satalite shot our home both of our work vehicles where gone, we were not there. BUT somebody was standing in our driveway looking into the window of my husbands street rod.

  • John:

    Big brother is watching. There are camera’s every where, and they have the nerve to tell us in this country that we must adhere to the governments privacy act. However the act is very much one sided. Remember your call is being monitored for quality assurane. Privacy my ass.

  • Jeff Goodman:

    Ah – Loverboy! How much longer before the red leather pants & headbands make a comeback?

  • Jean S:

    I was driving down Mountain Road a year or so ago (driving from your house I think) and I saw the Google Earth special Prius doing its thing.

  • I’m with you on the cool but creepy perspective of Google Earth. It’s still pretty weird for me to see my house (and we’re in the country surrounded by trees) on some worldwide used app. However, since I’ve been reading your blog, my desire to travel the world (or at least to some European locations) is slowly disappearing (ignorance was working well for me in that respect :-D) so it’s cool that I can still see these locations at my leisure. Good tunes you’ve included!

  • Connie Murray:

    O come on, Cam, don’t add to the paranoia level. That’s all we’ve got here in the States, too many people think the “gubermint” is out to get them. Seriously, we’ve got a struggling economy, two foreign wars going on and a lack of funding to do anything, but some people believe this nonsense. Unless you’re cooking meth in your backyard, the government doesn’t care what you’re doing. Yes, people can use google to see your house! But does anyone really complain when the feds can see what North Korea is doing with their nuclear program?

  • This is going to make it alot harder to repel the zombie horde when it arrives Cam.

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About Cam
Cam Mather and his wife Michelle live independently off the electricity grid using the sun and wind to power their home and their CSA. Cam is working towards the goal of making his home “zero-carbon” and with his extensive garden he aims to grow as much of his own food as possible. He is available to speak at conferences and other events and has motivated many people to integrate renewable energy into their lives, reduce their footprint on the planet and get started on the path to personal food, fuel and financial independence.
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