I see them all around the farm, and maybe you do, too. There’s the iron pile, the scrap metal pile, the silage pile, the pile of deceased livestock that makes its presence known over time, the pile of brush that needs to be buried or burned, piles of work that need to be done, and every now and then, someone lying around who we may or may not consider to be a lazy pile.
But even with all those piles around her on the farm, there are no piles more evident and more frustrating to the farm wife than the piles that appear inside the farm house.
Here at the Schwallers’, the mending pile is the crowned jewel of in-house aggravating piles – and I can’t even blame everyone else for that.
If I would just sit down at the sewing machine and plow through it, the pile would not grow at the rate of a Chia Pet’s hair.
For many a farm wife, house cleaning is something that piles up as well. The dirt blows in – especially for those living on gravel roads. The windows are never clean, and the dusting is never done because of it.
The laundry is something she only dreams of completing, especially when the crops need to be sprayed, and around lambing and calving season. And the combination of gravel road dust and wind doesn’t do much for laundry on the line that was clean when she put it there.
And just when she’s swept or vacuumed the last of the corn from her floors, the guys come in again with more of it. Clean kitchen rugs are only a reality for the urban wife and mother, and harvest-time lunch pails and their dishes (for everyone in her family who needs a lunch pail) are sometimes overwhelming when they come in late after a long day.
But even as annoying as all of that can be, there is one pile that never seems to go away, and the farm wife has no powers over making that happen.
It would be the farm magazine pile.
Farm publications are awesome. They contain so much valuable information and insight that it renders them worthy of their own area of the house. And the farmer will get to reading them “one of these days” because they’re too good to throw away. And it’s 100 percent true.
The trouble is that, even though the farmer intends to read them when he’s not so busy, that time rarely ever arrives, especially for the livestock farmer. Thus, the pile is the size of Wilt Chamberlain over time, and it eventually becomes a supporting beam of the house if the pile is left unattended too long.
The farm wife can’t throw them away without his consent, and by the time that consent comes, they could sign up to be on the “Hoarders” TV show.
Not too long ago, our family hosted the Thanksgiving gathering. Naturally, this meant we had to do some serious cleaning.
My husband even found reasons to use his pliers for the job. Of course. No farm wife should be without them as she cleans.
One of his jobs was to do something with the farm magazine pile, which had grown to about 4 feet in height, and was leaning like Uncle Vern at his nephew’s free wedding bar.
Finally the pile fell over on its own (not unlike Uncle Vern), and sprang an offshoot.
It was time.
My husband grabbed a box and began sorting, lamenting over all of the good reading of which he was going to miss out.
Today, the pile is nearly that high again, only now that I’m a little older, I’m not sure if it’s the pile that’s leaning, or me.
I may invite my family over for Thanksgiving in order to make the pile go away again.
I was a genius.
Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at email@example.com and at www.karenschwaller.com.
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