The Farm Wife
I found this article in the Harris’ Farmers Almanac 2013 pg 45 and thought how profound this is. When I started Lucky Nickel Ranch in 1999 I had no idea I would find a wife like this. As I read the story I see my wife who is a school teacher and I do remember her going to the feed store to pick up pig feed and sweet feed for the horse on her way home from school to save a me a time and fuel trip. I bet ole Dick Powell at Powells Feed and Tack has seen it all.
Many a farm wife worked with the animals and the crops right along side the men. But not all were cut out to help with the haying or the lambing. In that case, there was plenty of work closer to home, cooking for those in the fields, caring for the chickens, ducks and the kitchen garden. Once machinery replaced all those farm hands it became more common to find the farm wife operating it. In fact, there are now more women who own farms than ever before, and they may or may not enjoy cooking and canning. They can define the role however they wish. Sometimes a farm wife supports the farm with a good, steady job, like teaching school. Some farm wives work at home to bring home extra income. They are writers, artists, potters, weavers, or entrepreneurs. Farming is one of those occupations that are labor intensive, but only at certain times. It follows the weather and the seasons. It has a rhythm to it. Farm wives deserve more credit for the role they play, since they are often the ones who hold it all together. If her husband gets sick or injured, most wives step right into his muck boots and carry on. A great many widows keep the farm going by themselves. Often they are bookkeepers and usually participate in making major decisions. I know of one who shows up in the feed store wearing her business suit at the end of her day at the office, but has switched out the high heels for the muck boots.
A beginning farmers guide.
When you begin your small farm you must have some kind of steady income that will allow some flexibility in your schedule. You cannot do it on an 8-5 job unless you enjoy working in the dark early and late. The cost involved to acquire all of the tools necessary just to repair the major equipment you have yet to purchase is quite large. In your tool acquisition phase, one lesson my dad taught me was to never borrow a tool that you cannot afford to buy new for yourself. It will inevitably break when you use it and then you are obligated to fix or replace the borrowed tool. You may rent one from a small tool business and reduce your risk exposure, but never borrow. As the same rule applies to borrowing I do not lend my tools out that I have worked and paid for. I will go use the tool for someone, but I will not just lend a high dollar tool out. They come back broken and with no ability to fix or repair it by the borrower.
Credit to the Farm Wife
So the story said that farm wives deserve more credit for the role that they play and I agree. My wife teaches school, is an entrepreneur, and cooks for the The McKenzie Inn Bed and Breakfast some of the best Greek food has come out of my own kitchen. We don’t have chickens or ducks, but I have heard of her lancing a pigs boil with my daughter. There is a lot that she has contributed and you can see her fingerprints on quite a bit around here. So if you have a farm wife I think it may be time to give her some delayed credit due.