My old friend Alan Pike, no longer finger-farming with us, was the originator of that term; and as a matter of fact, I never heard anyone else use it. The closet to finger farming I get with an internet search using that term, is the Finger family farm on Facebook, where you will find some monster tractor pics, and the possible impression that they are a family of seven or eight burly men who have gotten together to raise a small child and several thousand cows. I don’t think the milking is done by hand on the Finger Family farm. but it is worth a visit for the picture of a cow trying to lick the person taking the picture.
Finger-Farming in the better sense of the Alan Pike usage, is farming with one’s fingers, although Alan did of course use ordinary tools, and even used a borrowed tractor for a while, but often did with his fingers what might have better done with an easily available tool, often put more of his back and arms into the work than his fingers, and often used the term “finger-farming” in a general or analagos sense, as in “that’s just fucking finger-farming!” when some one tries to remove lug nuts with a bare hand and a rag, or shovels snow off the deck with a spading fork. Not that anyone ever tried such a thing.
On the other hand: We have, and Alan appreciated, the appropriate application of finger-farming: hand-breaking dirt-balls ( get them when they are exactly ripe and prime with moisture for busting), pulling weeds (after rain), pinching off suckers(cultivate typical guitar-picker’s thumb and index finger-nails for this, and using the same fingers for flipping off Stink Bugs, and flicking spiny little Mother-Buggers.