Yes, having taught English from 1998 to 2012, I realize that you should never begin a sentence with “so”. So, You Want to Marry a Farmer makes for a fun title though, doesn’t it?
I did contemplate on the title and thought I would call this post, A Day on the Farm. So, You Want to Marry a Farmer sounds better (even though this post is about the craziness that can happen on the farm).
I was thinking of topics to write about and couldn’t decide on whether I should post about calving season or the difference between hay and straw. There is a difference, and it’s surprising how many people are not aware of it.
This tweet by @MGigger made me laugh so hard.
Then I thought that this past week on the farm would make for an interesting post. There were many events that have transpired over the past week that my former city self would never in a million years even imagine could be real. My life this past week honestly felt like a script for a TV sitcom (or horror movie – depending on how you look at it).
I do have to say that one thing that irritates me is when people say, “Oh. You’re a farmer’s wife.” They insinuate that farmers’ wives do not help on the farm. Perhaps there is a portion of wives who do not help on the farm, but there are many farmers who have wives who DO help run their family’s farming operation.
Admittedly, I come from the city and farming is not something I was born into. When Hubby taught me how to operate the tractor when we first got married, I had Post-It notes all over the tractor! Hubby laughed when he saw the bright yellow notes that read things like “Push this thing with your foot and move this thing on the right at the same time” and “This is the clutch” with an arrow pointing to it.
Though it may be somewhat comedic, I refuse to be thought of as incompetent or useless. Sure, I wasn’t born into this lifestyle, but I am eager and willing to learn. Let me tell you, I’m pretty good at doing square bales in record time and I love helping Hubby haul hay!
The funny thing is that whenever I go back to the city, I’m an outsider there too. I’m no longer “city” enough and when I’m in the country, I’m not “country” enough. It’s really quite interesting. I often feel like I’m in limbo and that I don’t really have a proper place in either world. I see posts on Facebook from country girls making fun of city girls and it doesn’t really bother me. Things like “If you can’t load your own rifle, you must be a city girl” do not bother me. I just think it’s interesting that people need to put down others instead of lift each other up.
Alright, back to life on the farm.
So, you want to marry a farmer?
Here’s a lighthearted look at what a week on the farm can look like for me.
Calving season is my favourite time of the year on the farm. Every Spring, I look forward to seeing our new calves running around and playing. They are so fun to watch.
Our cows calve in the bush and in the fields, and do not generally require any assistance. We have some of our heifers in the barn so we can keep an eye on them. Generally, our cows are fine without help and have their babies in the bush or fields. We do have to assist on a birth on the odd occasion, but it’s not very common for us to have to pull a calf.
I remember when Hubby and I were newly married, I had to assist at a birth. We spent a long time trying to help the cow and had to use chains to pull the calf. That day, both mom and calf did not survive. The cow had a prolapsed uterus and the calf just never made it.
Though calving season is an exciting time of the year, and new life is always incredible to experience, it can also be an emotionally difficult one. No farmer enjoys losing an animal. Though life and death are a reality on the farm, it doesn’t make it easy. It’s still a challenge.
Our first calf of the season was born two days ago, but he did not survive. His mom calved out in the bush and the calf didn’t get up right away. All the signs indicate that it was a successful birth, but the calf was probably sleeping in the sun and if the cow isn’t watching closely enough, a raven will jump on him and pluck the eyes out. The calf will usually die fairly soon, because it just gives up the will to live when they lose their eyes. Plus, imagine the trauma of that?
This has happened to a few calves over the past few years, but it doesn’t happen that often. It’s really sad when something like this happens. I recently read an article about ravens attacking calves in Chatsworth (a few hours south of us). Like the article states, our major predators for our calves are coyotes, but these birds seem to be quite vicious too. Really sad. I’m trying to figure out how we can possibly protect new calves from the birds pecking out their eyes and eating the animals.
Here is our first “live” calf of the season. This one was just born a few hours ago.
Roosters can be really nasty
We had some non-sexed chicks last year and it turned out that we had five roosters in the coop. Not good! They were all well-behaved and didn’t fight. I did separate the roosters from the hens because I really just wanted laying hens.
This week, I learned that roosters can be really nasty creatures! I had a favourite rooster and he was so beautiful. He surprised me the other day by flying twenty feet down from the cedars and directly into my face…feet first! He whacked me so hard, he almost broke my glasses. My face hurt for a few hours after the incident.
I know many people are sensitive about farmers having to cull animals or birds, but when roosters are a danger to your little kids, they have to go. Little children are the perfect height for a rooster to peck at or even scratch. Luckily, ours haven’t been aggressive (except for this one in particular).
I joked that this bird would become soup the next day, but I wasn’t being serious at all. I haven’t ever killed a chicken or plucked its feathers. I’ll be honest. I can’t. A friend always volunteers. He has chickens and has no qualms about doing the deed for us.
Anyway, the very next day, I went to feed the chickens and found the rooster that attacked me and he was dead on a snow bank. Our dogs, Chance and Cupcake were excitedly wagging their tails with the “Look what we did for you!” look on their faces.
Farm trucks trump minivans
Since Hubby’s accident, I have been using his brand new Ford F-150 more than my van. I have to say that there’s something so liberating and empowering driving a big farm truck! I never appreciated the power in the engine, the capability to pull or tow things, and other features that make having a truck a necessity on the farm and in the rural north.
I told Hubby I’d trade him my minivan for the truck. He said no.
Farmer texts are funny
The following are typical text exchanges I have with my husband:
Life is never dull on the farm. I keep telling everyone that I really don’t need TV with all excitement that takes place on the farm every day. Honestly, I could not make these things up even if I tried!
I even got one of my friends from my cegep and university days to move up to the Island and marry a farmer. We often chat about the reality TV show that is now our lives. So, You Want to Marry a Farmer really is entertaining. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll find yourself amazed at all the things you get to experience living on the farm. Despite the hardships and the hard work (farm life is not for the faint of heart), I know I appreciate the moments when I’m able to sit back and soak them all in.