If you’re a farmer’s wife, then we both know that you have fallen in love at least once in your life.
We also know that you have spent much of your time since then falling into (and stepping into) things you haven’t always seen coming, and some that you have seen coming – cow pies, barbed wire fences, and the occasional friendly reminder from your banker via the mailbox, saying that you need to sell some grain before you get to have a personal relationship with the county sheriff.
Falling in love is easy, but as they say, staying in love really can take some work.
The diamond – the crowned jewel of all precious stones – seems to get the official “okie-dokie” as the best way for a man to tell a woman that he loves her. But over time, that diamond can often be out of range for your average farmer, especially in years when shopping for tractor or manure spreader is necessary; or in those years when paying the bills becomes larger than the list of Elizabeth Taylor’s ex-husbands.
If you’re a farmer’s wife, surely you have noticed there are many, well, less expensive ways in which your farmer husband can show you all year long that he loves you.
Here are just a few every-day examples that I have come up with:
- When you’re out working together in the hog or cattle yards, he offers to take the deeper end, which is much more full of natural fertilizer. If you listen to him long enough, though, it seems if some of that fertilizer has been ingested through the skin and ends up as vocal manure eventually. And don’t tell me you haven’t noticed it.
He doesn’t yell as loudly at you when you do something wrong while loading hogs. This is a tricky one, however, and can be directly related to how well the hogs are loading. If it’s not going well, the farmer will most likely find himself driving them to the buying station in bachelor style. Temperaments can be as unpredictable as the grain markets, and once that job begins, there’s no turning back.
When the trailer door is finally closed behind them all and you’re wallowing in the aftermath, that’s when the vodka is usually needed by all parties involved, no matter that it’s only 7:30 a.m. at the time. It could save the marriage on hog loading day.
- When you can’t open your twist-off beverage and need his help with it, he will work to find a clean spot on his handkerchief to use in order to help him get the job done.
- He offers to take the role of veterinarian when it becomes apparent that a prolapse needs to be repaired. While you’re skilled at sewing things in the house, the farm wife gets the job of handing him the things he needs so he can do the sewing out in the barns. Keep a feed bucket handy, though, your lunch may show up again. Yeesh.
- He cleans up your hair dryer before giving it back to you after using it to keep a new baby lamb warm. You have to save them all, you know. Nothing is spared in that process, including dry hair.
- When the calves get the scoots, he hoses off his own manure-soaked jeans outside before he brings them into the garage for later laundering in the house. Even then, you hope for a nice day because the combination of high temperatures and manure-covered jeans can curl the hair in your nose; and who knows what would happen to the paint on the car in the garage with the source of such noxious fumes so close by?
- When he spits his tobacco out, he becomes a one-man Federal Aviation Administration team and checks the wind speed and direction first, being sure to aim clear of where you are standing. That would be important. Yes.
- He acts just as mad as you are when the sheep get out and eat all of your flowers and half of the garden. Secretly, knows he better not say anything about the garden usually looking like CRP acres in previous years, leading the sheep to think it’s fair game for grazing any other year. To my husband’s dismay, they left the rhubarb last time.
You might know.
- He cleans out a spot for you to sit in his truck. Let’s face it, during the fall harvest, the farmer’s truck is filled with all the necessities of life, right down to bathroom supplies, food and beverage needs, tools for any job he may encounter at that time of year, and a wardrobe for hot, cold or rainy days. It all takes room, and if he clears a spot for you to accompany him for lunch on a rainy day in the fall, you know you’ve made the cut.
The farmer must be careful, however, of the size of area he clears out for you to sit. Too large of a spot, and the farmer’s wife could leave him to dine on his own. For awhile.
- He apologizes as he tells (or shows) you of a pair of jeans he tore that day, knowing how much you hate to mend blue jeans. It’s a little reminiscent of the hog-loading process, complete with the eye-rolling, occasional language, and the vodka coming out during and after that whole obnoxious repair process.
So ladies of the farm, take heart. You’ve already taken his, and if diamonds are out of the question for you this year, look at all the other ways your farmer tells you all year long that he loves you.
Even if you don’t see it coming.
Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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