It goes without saying that there will always be differences between women. Our likes and dislikes, our shapes and personalities, our taste in clothes, music, food, hair stylists, doctors, home decor, ingrown toenail remedies, bathroom scale accuracy, laundry soap and more.
But perhaps our biggest differences lie in the way we choose our spouses and where that choice takes us. This brings us to the differences between farm women and our urban counterparts.
I spoke recently to a farm wife who has raised her family, but still says she’s a city girl who hasn’t yet adapted to life on the farm. It takes awhile to adjust.
Take the laundry. I don’t doubt that women in town have husbands who tend to get into the grease and present her with the challenge of getting it out of his clothes. Farm women also deal with that, and the issue of natural fertilizer.
I truly don’t know if urban women have to hose off blue jeans in the front yard before they get washed, but I know I’ve had to do it a few times. The mailman must wonder what goes on around here.
The farm woman knows that supper is served at “dark-thirty,” and not before. A 6 p.m. meal would serve only as a snack, since there are at least four more hours of work to do before it gets too dark, and everyone is hungry once again.
Cleaning the farm house is even different than cleaning the urban home. While certainly young children and household projects can create messes in any home, the farm woman deals with ag commodities in her house.
Corn, soybeans and oats are scattered on the basement floor from the clothing and shoes of tired farmers who come in late at night, and acres of dirt from shoes and socks after the guys have been out picking up rocks in the field all day.
The farm mom will even find an occasional sheep’s tail hiding in the basement – a treasure that young hands have discovered and rescued. And if she doesn’t find a corn stalk growing in her basement, she’s been successful in house cleaning over time.
And the dust. By the looks of our house, historians would scratch their heads in bewilderment over how the Dust Bowl of the 1930s has managed to still hover directly over our farm 70 years later.
There are many babies on the farm – some two-legged, but most four-legged. And many a farm wife can tell you that their own babies will be winter ones, lest they find themselves in the delivery room alone because the crops need to be planted, hay needs to be baled or the corn needs to be combined before it rains.
Farm children themselves are even different than children who grow up in town. While children growing up in town know the rigors of household and yard responsibilities, farm kids also know what it is to get out of bed early every morning even during the summer simply because their animals are waiting to be fed.
They learn to operate farm machinery, vaccinate animals, build fences and gates, and work with livestock – sometimes chasing them down country roads and out of fields when they break free. It’s Mother Nature’s track practice, which unfortunately knows no age limit.
Only a farm mother has the gall to bring manure-spattered young children into the house, clean them up for the day, and kiss them good night. Sometimes her husband is the manure-spattered one, and sometimes it’s she herself, too.
To the farm woman, red and green are more than just a display of Christmas colors. The banter goes on all year long as to which color dominates in the farm yard.
A young urban girl might hear the words, “Get your boots on, let’s go,” and think of a snowmobile excursion or some kind of social event.
But that same thing being said to a farm girl doesn’t hold the same appeal. She knows it’s time to clean out the barn again.
Oh, the injustice of it all.
One thing binds us together as women, though, and that is what we see as beautiful. Our urban friends may not see the beauty in a manure-spattered young child, but the farm woman sees tomorrow’s food producers in all of that mess that she cleans up each day.
Whether they’re from the farm or from our urban population, beautiful adults emerge from both places , even though the process of getting them there are as different as the people who raise them.
Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org