farm women

Thank You Mom For Making Harvest Look Easy

My mom always told me that in a marriage, sometimes someone was giving 150% to help your spouse through. In farming, those wise words couldn’t be truer.

My mom always prepared large harvest meals for our family. The gentleman who did our custom combining for us, along with my dad, and siblings, would all come in and sit around the kitchen table each night for about 45 minutes with an amazing meal that my mom prepared.

Everything from roast beef or pork roast with mashed potatoes, corn, squash, fresh homemade bread, and always dessert, usually a homemade apple pie or brownies would be waiting for us. My dad always took that time to stop what he was doing in the field and come in for supper. Luckily for us, growing up, all of our fields were relatively close in proximity to our home farm which made it possible.

I often think about my mom running us kids to sports and other activities, getting laundry done, some years working a job in-town, others being a stay-at-home mom. She always made sure my dad had a thermos of coffee and breakfast before heading to work in town or to the fields. She did a lot during planting and harvest, for all of us.

My mom always went above and beyond for our family during those tough spring and fall seasons on the farm.

She taught me that I was capable of anything. That being strong and independent was just part of the farming lifestyle. Taking my daughter to her doctor’s appointments, gymnastics lessons, grocery shopping, the museum, etc. all by myself would just be part of this new season of my farming life, and it is one she showed me how to do with grace on a daily basis.

Sometimes, it is those that are behind the scenes in harvest that are the unsung heroes. The ones we don’t see pictures of driving tractor or combine, but instead are folding laundry, tucking kids in at night, cooking meals for harvest crews, feeding livestock, or sitting down to pay all the bills each night. They keep the home running while someone is in the tractor from 7am to midnight, and do their best to give a few comforts of home during that time.

When you are a farming family, it truly takes a team to make it all work. It may mean that one of you gives 150% for a while to keep it all going. This is the industry we live and breathe.

So thank you Mom, for all you did for our farming family growing up. You made it look easy, and I never thanked you enough. And for teaching me that sometimes a hot thermos of coffee and fresh cookies are the best thing you can send with your husband when he’s going to spend 16 hours in the tractor, thank you for that too.

-Sara

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To the Farm Momma Doing it All

I belong to a group on Facebook for women in agriculture. I often see posts or questions pertaining to children on the farm – how do you keep them occupied while doing chores? Do you baby wear? What carrier do I get? What creative ways do you have for strapping them in a tractor?

Lastly, how do you still make sure you are giving your child your most precious asset, time?

I have been struggling with figuring out this new role on the farm. Am I farm mom? A Farm wife? Am I farmer? Am I a full-time employee? Am I a student in agriculture? Am I a mom? Am I a wife?

Needless to say, I am all of those things in one form or another, and finding the balance among it all has been a tricky one. I have been having a hard time accepting that I am in a new season of my life, and as such, a season of my role on the farm. Things are more difficult (but fun!) when you throw a kid in the mix.

Last fall, Harper spent a lot of hours in the car seat in the tractor with Dad. I had taken on a second job because we had bills that needed to be paid, which meant Dad had to step-up his game and besides working full-time, farming, and being a Dad without Mom while she worked 2 jobs was part of that. He did beautifully. We only lost 1 toy and 1 changing pad, and had one feeding mishap in the 2 month harvest season. No tears over any of that.

Time with Daddy in the tractor. He drove grain cart most of the time so he could stop for bottle feedings!

Time with Daddy in the tractor. He drove grain cart most of the time so he could stop for bottle feedings!

This spring was not as easy. Especially with livestock chores. Packing up a kid in a car seat, to move her to a stroller for chores, to pop her back in the car seat to go back to where we were currently living since we weren’t at the farm full-time yet, was an interesting predicament. I quickly realized that I can’t just hop in a tractor anymore or  run a supper out to the field when bedtime is at 7. I felt a little isolated. A little disorganized, and out of sorts with my “normal.”

This fall, I chose not to pick up my normal second job. Could we use the income, oh most definitely yes. It seems like every other day something goes wrong with this renovation…not having a working air conditioner and a softener we are pretty sure just kicked the bucket a few days ago. Some projects are on the back burner…that new garage roof is going to have to wait another year. Strapping Harper into a tractor is a little different as an almost 1 ½ year old. I won’t be as easy for Mark to just take her a long if I had to work, and he is also traveling for his full-time job on top of it. I chose to focus on taking care of my family this fall. It may mean I get to run more meals out to the field, or it may not, if Harper has an early childhood class instead. It means I probably won’t be spending much time in the tractor, but instead attending Halloween parties, feeding the pig and chickens at home, and selling honey. Will I still strap her in her Tula for some tractor driving? Most definitely!  However, I am also recognizing that she’s little, and a mover, and hours in the tractor won’t last as long as they used to. A second carseat that was a little easier to remove and transfer in vehicles was purchased in preparation for picking people up, transferring equipment, etc.

Harper in the Tula while doing horse chores with me. This is how we get chores done now.

Harper in the Tula while doing horse chores with me. This is how we get chores done now.

It is strange, being in this new season of my life. It is strange trying to figure out my role as a mom, a wife, a farmer, a business owner, and so much more. But I also know these days won’t last forever. Before I know it, she’ll be learning to drive the tractor herself, feeding the livestock herself…these days are precious. I don’t want to take this time for granted.

So mommas struggling to do it all on the farm, here’s what I’m saying…Go easy on yourself. You are doing SO MUCH.  

I once got told that the most important job you can do on the farm is to raise the next generation. What an undertaking we have.

It can be really hard some days. When your baby is crying, and somehow you are still supposed to do laundry, feed yourself and your husband and the dog, write out checks for seed and fertilizer, and schedule the veterinarian’s next visit.

It can be really hard. But mommas, it is so worth it when you see those little munchkins checking fields with their daddy or riding next to you in the tractor or showing their first calf. You are not alone in your struggles, your feelings, your excitement, your celebrations, or the long, exhausting days. We are a strong group of women, raising the next generation. What an undertaking it is.

Mark with Harper checking bean fields earlier this year.

Mark with Harper checking bean fields earlier this year.

-Sara