I don’t know a farm wife anywhere who wouldn’t enjoy a good old-fashioned “piddle day” – a day to just forget about all there is to do, especially as the rigors of spring fall upon us.
For our farm family, it seems there is no one season that is less ridiculously busy than another. Spring means waiting out rains and playing chicken with Mother Nature to try to get all of the crop in before the season gets away from us.
Summer means we’re up to our you-know-whats in hay cutting and baling, and trying to disburse all the proverbial eggs to all the proverbial baskets – keeping machinery running, working on livestock facilities and out buildings, and in general, keep the farm operation running smoothly.
Fall – the crowned jewel of all the seasons – brings with it the bounty of the year, but also hours that scare the hands right off of the clock. Winter should be a season of relaxation, but moving snow, lambing and calving, the holidays and income tax preparation are all enough to make us feel utter surprise when it’s time to get machinery ready for spring.
The farm wife – who often has her own job in town – goes with the flow of all that goes on around her farm home. It often means she leaves her eight-hour job in town and comes home to start in on the next eight hours, which often mean livestock chores, helping her husband with to-do projects outside, supper and caring for the house, yard and most importantly, her family. No wonder she’s exhausted.
This week on our farm has felt like three weeks packed into one. My husband suffered a serious fall the week before, placing added stress on an already-stressful wet and cool spring planting season. Re-arranging the game plan took little effort because there are plenty of people to help get the crop in, but soon came the feeling that befalls a farmer when he can’t get his own crop in the ground. And the farmer’s wife is there to listen and encourage.
Add to that week some wonderful company who came to see him following his return from the hospital, and my work list – the lawn that needed to be mowed, the garden that needed to be planted, the mending pile that needed attention, our 4-H club’s “Ag Day” to lead, a speaking event to prepare for the following weekend, graduation parties to attend, taking care of my husband, getting meals out to people who could finally get in the fields, livestock chores and writing deadlines.
I would have given anything to find myself in Oz. I could have dealt with a wicked witch following me – as it was, my work list for that week seemed much more ominous than any witch who could write in the sky with her broom and send out flying monkeys.
Actually, I was pretty jealous of her broom and her monkeys this week.
The truth is, getting away from it all is something so many women – farm women or not – seem to take for granted. There will always be that ‘someday’ when we will be able to do the things we want, and so we just keep on doing what we do so well – being the woman of the house – the heart of the home and family.
But my husband’s fall last week helped me remember that tomorrow is never guaranteed; that all we really have is today, and that we need to make the most of each day with the people who were given to us by Someone much great than us. Our greatest gifts are the people in our lives.
So ladies, let’s take those vacations, let’s do those girls’ weekends, let’s take the time to sit with a glass of wine in a field driveway or on a beach and encourage and support each other in this wonderfully difficult role of being women – whether we’re on the farm or not.
If we do it right, we’ll look at brooms in a whole new way. And that just plain womps.
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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