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KAREN SCHWALLER

By Staff | Aug 25, 2011

Ladies, it’s time to come out of the closet. Well, not in that way, but nonetheless – it’s time to confess something that it seems we have been hiding for our entire married lives.

We don’t have four legs and a tail.

I know this must come as a shock to those of you who never noticed that about us.

Truthfully, I may have had either those things in a former life, and I am spooked by that thought occasionally as I drool over the thought of eating fresh corn, and when I long for something that can swat biting flies off of my backside while I feed my young simply by standing up.

The farm dog will willingly hop into a truck and ride around until the cows come home with its head stuck out the window and slobber flinging back onto it and the people they love – thrilled to be in the company of those people.

But the farm wife is not as excited about neither wind nor slobber, whether her own or that of her canine counterpart. Nor does she willingly hop into the truck if she knows that the path from “Point A to Point B” will take on the path of a Spirograph game gone terribly wrong. Let me explain.

For my husband and others like him, there is no direct route to anywhere. People like my husband (maybe your husband) are drawn to the notion of seeing new country and what’s in it. And so far I’ve managed to see it all slobber-free, with the exception of a couple of rides home after especially dreadful dental incidents, followed by repeat performances at the mailbox when those bills arrived.

We married farmers, which means that we married people who love the land and looking at it, and the feel and smell of the soil and the machinery it takes to turn it over and plant new seeds of hope each year.

And finding that equipment and all of the parts it takes to keep it going is something that takes him, and us, more places than Expedia.

Short of saying “You can’t get there from here,” it seems as if whenever we get into a vehicle, the route is always wrapped around crop scouting, implement dealers, farm-and-home stores or at least a route that will lead us in and out of several counties before we are arrive at our destination.

I would be the most well-traveled farm wife in history if I ever knew where in the heck we were at any given time on most of those trips. Back roads are a farmer’s get-away, I’ve learned.

My husband likes to see new country and enjoys looking at the crops of those in surrounding areas, interested in how they compare to his.

To the untrained eye, those fields and animals look mostly the same, and we are amazed that our guys can find so many things to say about them all. I’m usually sawing logs over in the passenger seat, dreaming about a direct route to anywhere, so I guess I miss out on many of those windshield appraisals between he and our sons.

Nonetheless, it seems to be a necessary part of traveling with a farmer. When so many others are doing the same thing he’s doing with his life, there’s so much to be learned from watching the ways in which other farmers accomplish their tasks, or what they are doing with their crops, or seeing how much livestock is left in the country.

There are tiling projects to view, flooded fields to see, terrace farming practices to explore and then imagine actually doing. (How I used to hate walking beans on terraced ground when I was growing up. It was hard to anticipate being finished with the field because I never knew where that actually was).

There are implement dealer lots to drive through; machines to see and inspect; barns to marvel over and discussions that center around the stories those barns would share if they could talk.

These kinds of trips are much more exciting for our kids than they are for me, since they are all farming or studying/working in ag-related careers, and can contribute intelligently to any such conversation, whether carried on at the supper table or on one of my husband’s “business trips.”

At the supper table, I mostly just sit and chew.

And yet, as average farm wives, we know that the crops, machinery and things with tails usually take first priority and we’ve come to accept it as part of farm life.

I should never have cut off my ponytail. What was I thinking?

Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at kschwaller@evertek.net.

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