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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Oh! The Life of a Farm Wife

If you have ever wondered what it takes to be a Farm Mom, here is a taste of what a couple of us came up with last week while at swimming lessons.   I enlisted the help of a couple of farm mom friends to write this week’s post.  One is a Kansas Farm Mom that has been married to a Kansas pig and crop farmer since 1975.  The other works in town full time, but still gets to help whether she wants to or not.  The other moms (not farm moms) listening to our conversations at the pool were either in disbelief at what we do or laughing out loud.

1.        No matter what happens in a day, you still have to go home with the boss.  You can also never be fired or written up.  If you could, we all would have been fired years ago.

2.        Don’t ever ask what time you might get back to the house.  We have learned that will just jinx you.  Someone will call to say you have cattle out, a tractor will break down….I could go on and on.

3.       It is in your best interest to have an idea for the next meal.  I like to have 2 options:  one that takes 15 minutes or less and one that in the surprise chance I have time to cook.  A crock pot is your best friend in the kitchen.
One of my favorite crock pot meals is a French Dip made from a roast.  You can find the link here.

4.       If you are driving through town at dinner time, most farmers are actually open to stopping at Dairy Queen, Sonic, Pizza Hut, etc.  This is especially true if you have been helping him.

5.       Whether you are paid or not by the farm, you will have a job.  It might just be a taxi driver or part time book keeper, but you will be expected to help.  Like it or not.

6.       You will find that a camera phone is the best invention ever when visiting the parts store for the thing-a-ma-jig.  It has saved me more than once.

7.       If you have to drive more than a few miles to the parts store, it is a good idea to call the farmer before you leave to make sure something else hasn’t been added to the list of needs.  It never fails that they find something else that needs fixed while you were driving.  (Our John Deere dealer is 12 miles from the house and our Vermeer dealer is 60 miles away.)

8.       Trying to cook or bake more than a quick meal while the Farmer is in the field can be an adventure.  Some days there are constant phone call for a taxi due to flat tires, blown hydraulic hoses, more seed is needed, cattle are out on the road, oh really the list is endless.  (My mom quit trying to make us homemade doughnuts.  Every time she made them, the phone would ring and we would have to leave to put cattle back in the pasture.  The doughnuts were always light as air, because their raised twice as long as they we supposed to.)

9.       Learn to enjoy going places by yourself.  Or better yet, find some farm mom friends to go places together.  Farmers must stay and work when the weather permits.  Your social calendar WILL rotate around the weather.

10.   Always keep a good book or magazine in the car.  You never know when you will be the taxi driver that has to sit and wait a bit.  Smart phones have decreased this need a little, but it is still a good idea.

11.   ALWAYS keep more than a quarter tank of gas in your car, especially during the busy seasons.  You never know when he is going to call needing an emergency ride from the farthest field from the house to the parts store.  During calving season, you never know when you are going to need to make that emergency run for supplies for a calf that could be declared in ICU.
The ICU for newborn calves is my mudroom.  These 2 had a very rough entry into the world & spent the night in my house.

12.   It is a good idea to keep extra lunch coolers on hand.  Our husbands often work after midnight.  When they leave the tractor, bringing the lunch box with them is often the last thing on their mind.

13.   When a farmer says he will be home in 30 minutes, that does not always equal 30 minutes.  I will say that my husband is on time most of the time, but I have heard other wives say their farmer hubby’s are not so good at telling time.

14.   Physical fitness for a farm wife is a plus.  From outrunning mama cows that are not happy with you, closing grain bin lids before the lightning and rain storm shows up ( I hate doing this job), to chasing kids in the great wide open spaces we get to raise them in, keeping in shape is always a great idea.

15.   Date nights take on a whole new meaning when you are married to a farmer.  Here is a list that we have come to enjoy:  farm shows, trips to the parts store, soil sampling fields, checking cows, checking crop progress, and riding in the tractor together.

16.   No matter when you get married, your anniversary will end up during a busy time of the year.  It is better to get used to it early in life rather than begrudge the farm your whole life.

17.   The Orange Goop soap isn’t just for the shop.  I keep it at my mud room sink.

18.   Have a laundry smell that just won’t come out?  Such as diesel, hog lagoon, etc.  Hang the clothes on the line and let the rain wash it out.  Got this from my hog farmer wife friend years ago and it really does work like a charm.

19.   Packing a lunch for a farmer includes packing lunch, snacks, possibly a light supper and anything else you can think of to keep the farmer alert.  In my lunch box, I pack one thing most people would never take in their lunch box-Toilet Paper, because I am not a drip dry kind of girl.

20.   If you are a farm wife that is lucky enough to get to drive a tractor, there are 2 things you can do to keep yourself out of trouble.  Check the oil every day!  Watch your gauges.  Know that the tractor is getting hot before the alarm goes off.  My farmer hubby always appreciates a phone call before I am stopped.  He can diagnosis a lot of problems over the phone and fix them without leaving his tractor!  Let him know before you are in crisis mode and he WILL appreciate you for it.

I am sure I will hear from my Farm Mom friends on this one.  Feel free to add yours in the comments section.  I will also add any others posted to my Facebook Page

I almost forgot...we all would not trade our farm life for any other way of life.  We love what we and our husbands do and are proud that we feed and clothe the world.

Have a great week everyone!  It is going to be a scorcher here.  One of those weeks you hope and pray that your air conditioner keeps working. - A Kansas Farm Mom

 We put up some bales of straw last week.  Thought you might enjoy the pictures of 3 generations putting hay in the barn.

Child Labor at its finest.  They thought it was the absolute best time in the world!

Yes, I have shorts on.  Why?  I was working in the office.  I was told to come get the 4-H calves out of the pile of straw.

I wasn't told that the kids would think it was great fun and we should stay and help for a couple of hours.