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September 15, 2014

A Farmer's Wife

When we started farming over 20 years ago I really had no clue what our daily life would look like. Even though I had never lived in a town or city we never really were a farming family growing up. We always lived on an acreage and had a few animals. But that was the extent of what I knew of farming. And none of this prepared me for life as a farmer's wife!

I really love the farming life that we live! What other occupation can you have that you can often have your kids by your side and that you can talk about and enjoy the Creator and His Creation all day long. I can't imagine our children growing up anywhere else!!!

But as many are the joys of farming, so are the struggles. There are days where you wonder where the strength is going to come from for all that needs to be accomplished! I am so proud of our men and all the long hours they willingly put in to make a living for our family. 

And this brings me to my role on the farm. A farmer's wife. 

A farmer's wife. What does this role look like? Growing up I wanted to marry a farmer. But I had a fairy tale idea of what a farmer's wife looked like! I thought I would milk the cow, gather the eggs, plant a garden, make meals to feed my hard working man, clean the house, keep the yard mowed. Yup....all of this.....but so much MORE!!!

In reality? I love being a farmer's wife. But there are some things that I have learned over the years that I will share for those who are aspiring to be a farmer's wife! I hope is helpful in getting you through the transition!

# 1- Meals have to be made ready anywhere from 1 1/2 hours early to 2 hours late. It may be a little rushed, but as long as it's edible it will be fine! Men usually just inhale the food during busy season anyway! As long as it gives them enough fuel to make it until the next meal, mission accomplished!!!

# 2 - A $30,000.00 check does not mean that you are rich....it means you can now have money to pay the bills! Growing up, we did not have a lot of extra cash. So when we started farming and thousands of dollars started flowing in and out of our account it took me a bit to adjust. We definitely didn't have extra cash around so the numbers on the check were quite deceiving. A funny story: A couple years after we started farming and I was pregnant with our 4th child (and quite emotional :) I asked Mark if we could paint a room in the house. He then told me that we didn't have enough money for paint at that time. The tears flowed (quite funny when I think about it now!) and my poor husband had a very distraught wife to deal with!!! But we got through it and the room stayed unpainted for awhile. Then one day my sweet hubby walked in the door and handed me a grain check of a substantial amount and said, "Here's money for paint." We had a good chuckle and to this day the joke is when he hands me a grain check he says, "Here's paint money." :)

# 3 - You must be able to drive/operate any vehicle, tractor or implement on demand. Sometimes you get a crash course, other times you get some verbal instructions always accompanied with, "You can do this....you'll do fine!" In our years of farming I have learned to drive grain trucks, swathers, combines, balers, manure spreader and I'm sure other things that escape my memory right now. And you know what? As intimidated as I was when I first got on there....I did do just fine :) (Except for the one or two times...but that's another story :)

#4 - If you don't know the name of tools....you better learn quickly. The phone call goes something like this, "Can you bring out a crescent wrench, breaker bar, crow bar, punch, grease gun, 1/2 inch bolt that's 5 inches long, emery cloth, wire pliers, vise grip, 3/4" wrench, hammer, straight screwdriver, drill and drill bits, flashlight, pipe wrench, jackall.....Ok, maybe the list isn't quite that long, but close!!! I have also learned when I hear the words, "Can you bring" to get a paper and pen and WRITE IT DOWN, because sure as anything I am going to forget one thing, and it's always that one thing that was the most needed!!! 

#5 - If you bake bread during busy seasons, make sure that someone can finish it for you. Cause almost for sure it's the day you make bread that you will have to make a parts run!

#6 - Talking about parts runs, just get used to the fact that the parts guy will ask you a question that you have no idea the answer to. Even though you will ask your husband every imaginable question, and he tells you everything he thinks you will need to know, there will always be that ONE QUESTION!!! The invention of the cell phone has made this predicament a lot simpler. It usually just takes one phone call and the questions are answered.... unless of course your husbands cell is out of service :)

#7 - Giving a "quick" ride to the field may take minutes, an hour, or more than an hour! Never rely on being right back home!

#8 - Dirt, grease and farming go hand in hand. You will get dirt under your nails, in your nose and in your ears....get over it!!!

#9 - Working out (carrying five gallon pails of feed) is always helpful because there will be times when you will have to have "man" muscles. Who else is going to do it when there are only two of you in the field and something heavy needs to be lifted.....

#10 - Don't make a list of things you want to accomplish during busy seasons. It's always those days you have an agenda that will be running farm errands all day.

#11 - It's a good idea to know your directions and the names of the fields. Going to the wrong field is not the best thing to do when everyone wants you there 10 minutes ago!

#12 - Grocery shopping may not happen very often during busy seasons. Be prepared to be able to make something out of few ingredients. Always have lots of peanut butter and potatoes on hand :)

#13 - Taking the scenic route while going for a drive means checking every crop that you farm!

#14 - Don't make any plans in stone between April - October. Any plans you make will be very sporadic. Always be able to get prepared to go "somewhere" in 10 minutes or less!

#15 - RELAX!!! Getting uptight and frustrated only makes you and the people around you miserable!!! Trust in the Lord, keep your eyes on Him. Sit back and enjoy the life....while on the run of course :)

Now to all you farmer's wives out there...you must have something to add! 

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