Rural Reflections: So God made a farmer’s wife

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Farm Forum

When a woman marries a farmer, does she keep her identify or does she take on a whole new persona? For some women, they become bookkeeper, livestock manager, combine driver, head cook and bottle washer or mom. Or maybe combine all of these essential jobs while also working a job off the farm.

This week, I’ve thought about how women take on some of those roles. One of my friends is on equal footing with her husband, heading out each morning to fix fence, ride horse, move cattle, order feed. Another neighbor doesn’t get into the field as much since she has five grown sons, but her job is to have a hot meal ready around noon for those who are working. And she has to be flexible as it has to be something that will keep because lunchtime could be anywhere from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

I don’t know how some women are able to help in so many ways. I admire and am in awe of many of the day-to-day chores that are done as well as helping out in the community.

On our farm, I haven’t been out in the field with Dale as much as I’d like. On Saturday, Dale was seeding the headlands on the cornfield just north of our house. When he came to the yard to fill the seed tanks, I rode along with him. It’s fascinating to watch the monitors and understand how the corn planter works. When going around the wet areas, the tractor’s auto-steer grabbed hold and put down straight rows for a few minutes. But it didn’t take long until it was time to disconnect, turn around and go around a wet spot. As we finished, monitors showed that two of the rows were plugged.

As we pulled into the yard, Dale surveyed the planter. Packed with mud, the gauge wheels needed to be taken off and cleaned.

When I asked if I could help, Dale handed me a scraper and a screwdriver. The work wasn’t hard, but tedious. After an hour, Dale had the 16 wheels back in place and headed onto the next field. Who would know that there could be that much mud packed in those little spaces?

That’s not an unusual way to help on a farm. As I’ve worked in the newspaper business for the last 30 years, I’m not always around to assist in such ways. The distance between some of our fields is 10 miles. We spend time moving machinery from one field to another. Working fewer hours gives me the opportunity to share such moments, more than a quick ride to the field or dropping off a lunch.

Since we have a section this week that focuses on “Farm Lifestyles,” I thought I’d share some portions of “So God made a farmer’s wife,” that have appeared on the Internet.

“On the 9th day God looked down on his creation and said, ‘This is good, but Farmer needs a helper.’ So God made a farmer’s wife.

“God said, ‘I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, feed the farmer, work all day in town, come home to work alongside her farmer, make supper, and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.’ So God made a farmer’s wife.

“ ‘I need somebody with arms strong enough to keep up with the farmer yet gentle enough to cuddle a newborn baby. Somebody to run for parts, help in the fields, move trucks, deliver meals, look the farmer in the eyes and tell him “I love you and the life we’ve built” – and mean it.’ So God made a farmer’s wife.

“God said, ‘I need somebody willing to sit up all night with their newborn baby. And raise him right. I need somebody who can use a wrench and know where to find it, doesn’t mind getting dirty, who can remove stains, and keep a house clean. And who, will finish her forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then come home from her town job, take care of the kids, and fieldwork, put in another seventy.’ ”

Bless all of you who are working together to create this rural life we love.