This time in 2 weeks we won't be leaving the farm, let alone the country!
Lambing 2017 will be well under way, its a time of year that can stir up lots emotions and feelings, but we wouldn't change that for the world, bringing new life on to the farm is something to cherish and be proud of.
However, before this mayhem, we like to escape to Abersoch for a couple of days to recharge. Many of you will concur that holidays do not feature in the farming calendar anywhere, If they do, they are for a quick weekend or an agricultural show!
Luckily for me, this weekend was god damn awful weather, so, my husband agrees to go away with a grin, the wetter it is the happier he is, how dare I think of removing him from the farm when the sun is shining!
It's funny, since all the events of the past year, things have evolved. Family time has become more important and even more cherished. We often have the conversation, why put all this time and effort into the farm if you don't have a loving family to share it with? This is why we believe we need to, every so often, take the kids away from the farm and re connect with them. Its all too easy to get consumed by 'jobs' and say 'hold on kids I'm busy' in day to day life. Our little breaks to Abersoch give us this precious time and strengthen our bond, which you'd be hard pushed to crack. All our attention is on us as a couple and our kids, you see, the stronger our relationship is as a family, the stronger the farm is as a business.
So when we are being blown along the deserted beach, getting drenched by the pouring rain, eating THE best scotch eggs with a pint in The Vaynol and spending too long looking at the rusty old Muir Hill's in the harbour, we are doing it with a smile, living in the moment and of courses getting excited for the forth coming lambs.
Don't get me wrong, the farm is our biggest priority, but, our little family will ALWAYS come first.
"Thank God it's the weekend" Said no stay at home Mummy or Farmer ever, I've demolished two loads of washing, tidied the kitchen, lit the fire all before 9.00am, so now I'm sitting down to a cold cup of tea, whilst both children nap and reflecting on what my actual 'job' is;
"Are you still a lady of leisure?" a question that I hear more than "why mummy?", this is someone trying to ask me if I went back to work after maternity leave or am I just 'lunching with friends' most days. Which to many mummy's today seems to be a very topical subject. A woman who doesn't earn a wage can be perceived as having little worth to some, however, to others a mummy's place is at home raising the family and keeping a home. As far as I'm concerned neither is right or wrong, your situation and the path you choose is the determining factor.
My answer to this all too frequent question is a big fat "yes", but thinking about it, my spontaneous answer is not completely correct. To start with, any farmer's wife will tell you that she 'goes out to work' nearly every day, whether it's to get the sheep in, receive a delivery, move the tractor, weed the garden, help muck out the cows, or go hunting for the child you've lost knee deep in the mud, usually dressed in their best clothes. All of the above is work trust me.
In addition, I do have 2 little 'jobs'. Since leaving my 12 year employment at a local marquee and events company, I have started 2 'from home' businesses!!! So I am one of those smug people who say they 'work from home around the children' (in reality I actually work when the children are in bed and the dishes are done!), this in itself is a term that presents two different types of mummy's, the one's that do actually work from home and the other mummy's who just stay at home being a referee to the children and hiding from mess that is quickly being created around her. Admittedly, I slip into both of these categories!
So to keep my answer to the original question concise and not go into all to my daily duties and responsibilities, I simply respond with "yes", which then finds me needing to back myself up, saying "I used to have a job" and "I graduated from Britain's leading Agricultural University" (Harper Adams), just on the off chance they quickly judge me as a mere uneducated, unambitious farmer's wife. Honestly, the thought of having my 9-5 job now seems like heaven, I didn't have to work nearly as hard as I do now...
Chatting to my friends, who are also farmer's wives, they agree and share stories of their husbands coming in to find them slaving over dinner, doing laundry, calming a crying baby, and talking to someone farm related on the phone all pretty much at the same time. His boots dripping mud on the freshly mopped floor, the farmer will say, “What have you done today love? Are you busy?”
The farmers' wife is tuned in to lie at moments like that and say, “Not much dear, what do you need?” The answer is irrelevant anyway. He has a job ready for her, and he is unlikely to listen to her answer.
The promise of; "it'll only take a minute" is tinged with the reality that she knows better. So, as everything is dropped and the children are either togged up to join the workforce or tucked up in bed we venture out to do the very important job he has lined up, be it, going to collect spares, moving cows, lambing or (due to her small hands) holding a hidden nut on a rusty piece of machinery for a finger aching long time. The farmers' wife knows all too well it'll be late before they get back into the house and then the darling farmer will spout out "What's for dinner?"
(NB, before someone decides I've left my children alone whilst doing these 'jobs', I wouldn't, you see, as farmer's most of us live like the Walton's!)
In today's quick to label and judge world, the term you choose to define a farmer's wife and mummy doesn't really matter. The truth is that the only ones who completely grasp and appreciate the extent of her 'job' are those who have been in her very well worn and ridiculously muddy shoes.
Keep up your amazing work ladies, our country depends on you. x
This morning it dawned on me that we lost our dear Dad to the "big C" little over 4 months ago. As I sit here overcome with emotion whilst writing this, it seems the past 4 months have been no less sad than before.
Before this life changing event, I would have felt so guilty about seeing any positive side to my families devastating situation. But recently I figured that is ok to have opposing feelings at the same time. You would have to be superhuman not to let such a negative emotion weigh you down, but do you know what? We can be angry and happy, sad and relieved, frustrated and grateful, realising this helped me cope with my grief immediately after my father’s death.
Even in his last few weeks, we spent everyday as a whole family, my brave Mum, my 2 older brother and I. We sat with Dad laughing, joking, playing games, reading him sailing articles, eating takeaways with a side of tears and generally being ourselves, I was so grateful for the present even with Dad slowly slipping away.
Looking back I'd be selfish to let myself become suffocated by what had happened. My brothers and I had Dad's best years, he was a fabulous father, Nothing was too much trouble (even the recorder concerts and trumpet lessons) and no party was too late to fetch us and our friends. He taught us right from wrong, how to interact with others and skills that have got us successfully to where we all are today. Now, you tell me how I can honestly be sad after having someone like that in my life? He was simply amazing, don't get me wrong I would love more than anything for him to see his grandchildren grow up into beautiful people, but that is just a greedy thought.
After that dreaded phone call on that Thursday night I found that my children brought me back into the moment. It's not easy to deal with my own grief while also dealing with the day-to-day dramas of looking after 2 toddlers, there were times being alone would have been a great option. But if children are good at anything, they are good at living in the moment and making it count, so when I find myself in dreamland letting my sad thoughts take over, I just focus on the cutest little smile or giggle aimed at me.
I'm not saying that this is how everyone can deal with grief, as its a very personal thing and can be very private, however, it has had a great impact on my life without my Dad. I'm not pushing away the challenging moments, I'm letting myself be accepting to both joy and pain at the same time. purely negative emotions and feelings can be so consuming, I simply look for a little glimmer in every situation.
Being a farmer's wife is fun, don't get me wrong, but there are some things that we can all relate to when we have this 'label'. Farmers are an unique breed and it depends which "funny farm" they grew up on, to how much of the force is in them.
For a bit of fun i asked a few of my FWAG's (Farmer's wives & girlfriends) to tell me how they know they are married to farmer.... Please note these are not edited, they mad me laugh and pretty much all of them happen here!
Feel free to comment below and add your twist, all for one, and one for all!
Hmmm- when his idea of a family day out is going to TFM to buy a new chainsaw (kids might get to look longingly at the Britains toys there if they're lucky!) via checking the cows on the way and having a nice walk on the way back (checking out every fence line/ crop of neighbouring farm obvs!) oh and finding spanners/ pen knives/ grain in the bottom of the washer on a regular basis!)
1. Car journeys are usually quite slow and often have some near misses due to husband looking over others peoples hedges to assess what they are doing; 2. He knows way too many people so we spend lots of time talking to 'thingamejig' from 'you know where' when we do have any trips out; 3. Any gardening carried out at home is only ever completed with machinery.
Your new home always comes fully furnished, complete with carpets, sofas curtains & crockery previously owned by the in-laws/ deceased grandmother.....wow betide you suggests removing it as you quite like to do a bit of decorating yourself!! X
Milk tickets on the table, ear tags on the table, trail of straw up the stairs, go to the cinema and he falls asleep in the first 10mins
Oil seed rape everywhere- the vacuum cleaner is in heaven.
Dust clouds on the carpet where he dumps his clothes on the floor.
Do not have white towels....
Taking the children 'grain swimming'
Riding great grandmother' mobility scooter around the empty sheds
Wellies always in the car, you never know when u will be called to do something, the ability to stand in about 20 different places when moving stock, the constant wonder of how anything is still standing when u find nuts and bolts in the boilersuit on a weekly basis..taking the kids for a picnic in the silage field whilst feeding 9 men a hot dinner out of the car boot...
You get a weather forecast in bed every morning summarised from three different weather apps before you've barely opened your eyes and the car always has a whiff of silage about it even when you've not been near any x
There's a muddy boot trail through the boot room, utility and across the kitchen floor within moments of the floor being cleaned. You have to listen to endless drivelling discussions about tack, what the best make is, whose bought what, what's broken down.... you are sent on a mission to pick up said replacement parts with little detail or direction! You normally have an in-law of some description living within a few hundred metres!.....
When you get married all your old YFC friends greet you with a guard of honour made up of pitchforks, every none farming guests suddenly turns into a mad photographer, as this is not normal in the 'city'!
If any of you wonderful farmers are reading this, these are not criticisms, they are loving observations.
I do think we should give the lads some credit (and you can find the sick bag if you want) - I know I am married to a farmer when he does make the effort to get home on time and tidy himself up as my heart skips a bit at what I see under all that grease and shit and I know I am the luckiest lady on the planet! On the flip side knowing how a farmer loves his cows I should be quite safe!!
So, on sitting here writing my first ever blog post, i have a cold coffee, 2 burnt crumpets (that every unpredictable AGA owner would understand) and both children napping... this means i'm still smiling.
Life over the past few months has been challenging to say the least, I'm coping with the loss of my Dad, a house being knocked about and to top if off a 2 year old who thinks he's 15!!!
I can't moan, its all teaching me that i must get and do what i enjoy and do it today. Life waits for no man, or wife!!