Confessions of a farmer’s wife
A little over a week ago, I read a blog post that really made me pause and consider my position here, that being a farmer’s wife. IllinoisFarmGirl was once told by her father-in-law that she and her sister-in-law as farmer’s wives were the ones to determine how successful the farm would be. What?? Yikes. If that’s the case here on our farm, we’re doomed. I’m sort of kidding, but reading her post really hit home and I’d encourage others to read it to get an inside look into the behind-the-scenes machinations of farm family life. In fact, I need to read more on this subject because believe me, I don’t hold a candle to these farm wives! My god, I’m an imposter! A farmer’s wife by default!!
I kind of feel bad about that. I don’t farm side-by-side with my husband. I have a full-time job off the farm in a non-ag business (Strike 1). I don’t make my husband’s lunches. In fact someone once asked him if I made him lunch, and his reply was to start laughing (Strike 2). I still don’t know how to drive a tractor (Strike 3). I should be out at this point but I’m still here which had been kind of a running joke between us during my first 6 months on site; “oh, you haven’t left yet”, or “I guess you can stay a while longer”. Thanks dude.
And oh god, I just realized I don’t do his laundry either. That would be strike 4 so I better stop counting. At this point you’re probably wondering what the heck do I do around here to provide support and encouragement for my husband. I wonder too, so let me ponder the point for a bit…
Okay, here goes:
I’m his companion for life. Forever. I’m not getting back on the train to Chicago.
Gate watching. If he needs someone to watch a gate, I’m there. Even if it’s below 0.
Rodeo round-ups. I’m getting better at waving my arms and moving the cattle.
Barn cat care. It’s a shared duty and the barn cats are an integral part of our farm.
Bowzer B. Dawg. He gets older and he needs lots of attention. I’m there for him.
Clean up duty. I’m the kitchen clean-up crew. That’s my domain. I’m also available for sweeping up the dropped chips, wayward wrappers and loose laundry.
Fleet Farm Run. It just so happens that I work near Fleet Farm. Hence, I can expect to do a trip to Fleet Farm to pick up random calf stuff. Do I always pick up the right thing? No. But I’m getting to know the farm animal aisle better and better.
House cleaning. Mostly me. Which reminds me that I’ve been looking at the same set of boot prints on the stairs for a week now. I better get on that.
Second income. Handy for house renovations and random expenses.
Health Insurance. Thank goodness for my job or insurance would be costly.
Farm clothes repair. I mend his clothes. And now that I have a new kick-ass Pfaff, I can even repair his denim, which is very integral around here. First I have to learn how to use my new kick-as Pfaff. Today.
Fun stuff. Since I’ve been here, we’ve hosted parties in the barn a few times now. And we’re looking forward to another Cajun Fest at our barn this summer. Neither of us could have done this without the other.
Gardening. What was once a patch of weeds, has now become the herb garden. This has lent not only patio appeal, but a tasty addition to our meals. And each spring, I expand my reach and add more plants to the yard. The old asparagus patch is now 12 plants strong. Straw bale garden to come this spring.
Milk house repositioning. I turned the rundown, neglected milk house into an art space which adds a different dimension to the farm. We did tie-dyed tee shirts in there with Pete’s niece last summer. I would love to see more of that happen in there.
But let’s face it. I need to up my game here. For example, it’s been a long time since I’ve done a pitch fork review. That was one of the first things that Pete went over with me when we started dating. I had to revisit that recently to keep up on things. It would be bad form to pick up the wrong pitch fork for a particular job. The barn cats would laugh at me.
There’s lots more I could or should be doing around here, but at least that’s a start. I’m so encouraged to read about what other farmer’s wives do. Everyone is different but all are strong. Farm strong. It’s something to which I can aspire, but make it my own, and I’ve been lucky to have married the right guy to do just that.
Meanwhile, I better get outside. I heard there was a “procedure” I might need to do…